SEPT / OCT 2015: BY CARISSA HORTON
In Teen Wolf, there’s a lot of comedy, darkness, maiming, and smooching going on, per the norm. There’s also the predictable hero who does just about everything right and the goofy sidekick who people either love or hate. In this case, the latter is Stiles, best friend to Scott McCall a.k.a. teen werewolf who eventually becomes an alpha. Obviously not the heroic lead, Stiles trips over his own two feet, has had a crush on the same girl since he was in the 3rd grade and is always, always, always loyal to Scott, his best friend. Stiles is goofy and kind and jittery and… brilliant. He loves his dad, grieves the loss of his mom, and still has night terrors sometimes, just like when he was little. He’s just… Stiles, and you always know where you stand with him. That predictability of character is something fans can take to the bank.
Which is what makes the last 12 episodes of the 3rd season so utterly terrifying. Suddenly, Stiles isn’t Stiles anymore. He’s something else, something evil, something manipulative, dark, and abusive that delights in tricking his friends. It evokes a petrified sense of loss as he starts to change, as the nightmares consume him and he can no longer determine if he’s sleeping or awake.
But let’s go back. Let’s return to that single moment when Stiles opened a door that should have never been opened.
He, Scott, and Allison Argent (Scott’s once-girlfriend) must perform a ritual to prevent all hell from breaking loose and to save their parents. They literally drown themselves in a tub of ice in order to trigger a dreamlike state so they can find something that needs finding. They are warned that this act has consequences and they will feel darkness around their hearts. For Scott, it means not being able to control when he changes into a wolf. For Allison, it means suffering visions of her dead aunt and having her once-steady hands shake. For Stiles, it means night-terrors and not being sure when he’s awake or asleep.
Weeks later, Stiles hallucinates a terrifying figure who begins telling him riddles. One of them is, “When is a door not a door?” and the answer of course is “when it’s a jar.” The ritual of dying and coming back to life left a door ajar in Stiles’ mind, something he can’t shut, and that lets outside influences in.
How often do we play around with things we have no business messing with? You know, those spiritual vibes you sometimes get when you’re watching a movie or a TV program? The vibes you push away because it’s a show you like and you must be imagining this reaction? Like certain episodes of The X-Files or the Johnny Depp film Secret Window does for me? There’s a reason for those vibes. It feels like watching or reading or listening to certain things can leave a spiritual door ajar in your mind, opening yourself up to evil influences beyond your control.
While this being, this evil Stiles that wreaks havoc for so many episodes, is not really Stiles, it is something Stiles had to let in. He did that by playing around with spiritual powers and truths that should have been left alone. Life and death are not things to be taken lightly. His mind became vulnerable to evil influences, and he had no control over those influences. None, whatsoever. He could not save himself.
In a moment of profound insight Teen Wolf stumbles across an important truth. We all need someone to lead us back to the light. Stiles lost himself by leaving the door to his mind ajar. He wandered and couldn’t find his way back to the father who loved him or to his friends who are being plagued and tormented by the being who has taken his place in their lives. It takes a savior figure to call people back from a life of sin and torment, an existence devoid of any depth or meaning.
For Stiles that moment came when Scott reached him. Across a long white room in Stiles’ mind palace, Scott can’t make himself seen or heard. Then Lydia (Stiles’ eternal crush), also there in his mind, reminds Scott that Stiles is in his wolf pack. He may not be a werewolf, but Stiles is an integral part of the pack, which means Stiles will hear him when Scott howls. So he does. And Stiles hears him. That is the moment, when there seems to be no hope, when the savior figure bellows and the member of his pack hears the call. That moment pulls Stiles up and out of himself, out of the darkness and the terror and into light.
This scene is one of the most profound renderings of a salvation experience I have ever seen in television. No amount of opening doors, of letting evil influences in, of Ouija boards or dark rites or sinful acts could keep Stiles from hearing Scott’s call. Such is the same with Christ. He continues to call, and He will not stop calling because He loves humanity even more than Scott loves his best friend. But like Stiles, it means hearing the call and responding to it. It is possible that Stiles could have just sat there, unresponsive in his own mind, ignoring the call of his alpha. But he didn’t. He responded.
And that’s all it takes. ♥
Carissa Horton spends her working hours at Compassion International whose tagline reads “Releasing Children from poverty in Jesus’ name.” She is an avid crafter, a prolific blogger on Musings of an Introvert about all things literary and film-based, and dreams of someday getting her stories published.