Warning: This recap of the “Memory Lost” episode of Teen Wolf contains spoilers.
Every now and again, events outside of our control will make us feel really bad. Natural disasters, shootings, elections, stuff like that. Everything will be going great until suddenly everything is terrible and it’s like you’re wrapped in a wet, heavy blanket of darkness and it’s getting harder to move and breathe and where is everybody? But then you remember that there are still good and wonderful things in the world, sources of light, reasons to press on and endure. And one of those things is called Teen Wolf.
As we embark upon Teen Wolf‘s sixth and final season, it’s important to accept one thing: Even at its messiest and most confusing, Teen Wolf is one of the greatest shows on television, and at its best it IS THE BEST. A lot of people may have given up on it around the time its central love triangle collapsed (thanks A LOT, Japanese firefly ghost ninjas), but Teen Wolf has never wavered in its audacity, its devotion to dream logic, its nightmare imagery, and its sincere celebration of youth and heroism. There is no show like this one, and its sixth season premiere, “Memory Lost,” was a like much-needed blast of fresh air in an otherwise smoky room. Let’s talk about it!
As with most TV shows about paranormal woodland creatures, we began IN THE SKY.
Yes, we were flying through the clouds toward a small beacon of hills called Beacon Hills where a couple of attractive monsters were enjoying a romantic date on a desolate, deserted back road. But Liam and Hayden’s flirtation was interrupted by the northern lights (romantic) and also a driverless car crashing nearby (annoying)!
Liam was suspicious that something weird was going on, mostly due to the fact that the car’s windshield had been blasted out, the passenger door ripped off, and a scared child was in the backseat.
The kid was obviously afraid of whatever had taken his parents, but Liam and Hayden could do nothing but stare into the middle distance with concern. (I think they probably just wanted to get back to doing sex soon.)
Meanwhile, Scott and Stiles were up to their old tricks: stopping criminals by jumping onto the hoods of their speeding vans! In this case, Scott busted a guy for stealing a couple of helium tanks. Sheriff Stilinski admonished them for getting a little overzealous with their crime fighting, but Scott reasoned that, hey, maybe the distinct lack of mass murders lately was a good thing? Spoken too soon, however.
The little boy Liam had found was now in the sheriff’s station yammering about not being able to remember what had happened to his parents. But this was nothing a set of werewolf press-on nails couldn’t fix!
After Scott poked his werewolf manicure into the boy’s spinal column (no big deal), he learned that a terrifying, mysterious horseman had attacked the family car with a magical gun and had whisked the child’s parents out into inky darkness. A fairly unforgettable moment, if we’re being honest!
Speaking of unforgettable: new opening titles! Instead of those stark, slow-mo pose-downs of previous seasons, they’re now mostly clips of the spookiest creature moments of the past. Plus the parents all got promoted to the front credits! (And hey, Mr. Argent seems to be a main character this time around! Can’t argue with that.)
Later, the local No. 1 Teen Abomination Detective Agency convened in the impound yard and started sniffing around the car in question. Lydia the banshee detected death (she always detects death), and Stiles noticed that the windshield had been singed an unusual color. But the investigation couldn’t REALLY get underway until everyone’s favorite coyote arrived!
It’s not every TV show where a coyote makes a majestic, slow-mo entrance and then morphs into a naked lady.
MALIA! Malia is one of my favorite characters on TV, because as you may recall, she isn’t just a run-of-the-mill were-coyote. When it comes to were-coyotes it’s like, been there done that, bring a book. No, Malia is like the opposite of what you’d expect. She spent most of her life as a coyote and now is only reluctantly a human being, so her favorite food is deer and she is distrustful of literacy. (The fact that she is played by worldwide infinity crush Shelley Hennig only makes her that much more appealing.) And come on, how could you not love a gal who smiles like this for her yearbook photo:
Welcome back, Malia!
That being said, I will miss Kira. I may have missed it, but did anybody even remotely mention Kira? You know what? It’s fine. I sort of like this core foursome, makes things feel a little tighter. (That being said, if Teen Wolf wanted to bring back Isaac it would go a long way toward helping me get my life back together.)
So, this season we’re still in what appears to be the fall semester of the kids’ senior year. I say that because lacrosse is still happening and they’re only now taking yearbook photos. But also the kids are talking a lot about the future, and what they hope to remember about high school, and it’s this last thing that would take on a bitter irony by episode’s end. Stay tuned.
In case you were wondering if Teen Wolf still enjoys putting gratuitously handsome men on camera constantly, meet Mr. Douglas! And yes, the entire physics class (including Mason and Corey, still boyfriends!) were fawning over him. Yes, this episode brutally deprived of us a towel scene, but other than that, this show’s still got it!
Probably my favorite joke of the episode was when Stiles and Scott decided they needed to do more investigation and attempted to play hooky only to have Lydia’s mom forcibly drag them back inside. Yes, she knew they were secretly monster crime fighters, but she was tired of having to cover for their absences all the time. It was just a good reminder that even though they are world-saving heroes, they are still teenagers. I think this show does really well when it grounds its characters like this; just my opinion.
During a boring class video, Lydia began to hear a cover version of the Doors’ “Riders on the Storm” and then later when she was by herself, a lightning bolt struck her across the room! But it turned out she’d imagined it. Still, that song plus lightning must mean SOMETHING, right? Like, if I’m gonna have a Doors song stuck in my head, there better be a damn life-or-death REASON for it.
After school FINALLY ended, Scott and Stiles decided to investigate the home of the family who’d been terrorized by the horseman. Creepily enough, almost the entire house was empty and dusty, like nobody had lived there. Except the boy’s bedroom was still intact and perfect. Except for when Stiles noticed the BLOODY GHOST HORSE walking on the clean carpet. Very rude!
Guess who else had arrived? A rider on the storm!
This horseman attempted to shoot Stiles with his magic gun, but he missed and then disappeared. Even more strange, nobody downstairs could hear the gunshots. Was the guy only visible to Stiles? (Answer is yes.) And even more creepy, the boy’s bedroom began to disappear and turn desolate, just like the rest of the house. As it turned out, the boy himself was due to be whisked out of the sheriff’s station (where he’d been locked in the jail cell for protection), and this rider on the storm was just there to steal all his s***. It was paranormal petty larceny!
In another highly creepy moment, Liam was in the middle of fretting about whether he might get to become the next alpha after Scott leaves for college when he and Hayden began to smell the familiar aroma of HUMAN BLOOD. That macabre waft led them to a supply closet where they found this dead guy! And unless I’m mistaken, I think it was the same guy who’d attempted to steal helium earlier? Either way, not a great thing to find in a high school supply closet.
By this point Lydia and Stiles had begun to put their heads together (and in one sweet moment, lips and cheek together) to discover just which mythical force would be descending upon their poor town. I loved when Stiles flipped through his terror book to the page on the Roanoke Colony, mostly because I immediately pictured Kathy Bates chasing after Sarah Paulson with a meat cleaver. But eventually Lydia was the one to nail it… The kids were now facing something known as THE WILD HUNT, and its main thing was capturing people and erasing them from existence. Which explained why the kid couldn’t remember his parents and why they had disappeared from family photos. This was obviously a dream-logic type thing, and that made it even scarier. Not just death but actual nonexistence? That’s terrifying on a primal level.
And unfortunately for Stiles, the riders go after anyone who witnesses them at work. Which meant Stiles was suddenly finding himself forgotten by his own friends!
And even more heartbreakingly, his own father didn’t recognize him anymore. A quick phone call to Scott revealed Scott had deleted his number, and when Lydia asked Malia about her boyfriend she was like, “I don’t know her.”
But Lydia DID still remember Stiles, and as they ran hand in hand away from an approaching horde of terrifying horseman he led her into his Jeep and realized he wouldn’t be able to escape them. (She’d be safe because she couldn’t actually see them.) He made her promise to remember him, and all the experiences they’d ever shared together, and she said she would.
And just like that he was whisked out of the Jeep and into darkness!
And Lydia just sat in Stiles’s Jeep stunned, chanting to never forget her friend.
Unfortunately, the next day at school, something was clearly wrong…
She’d forgotten! Stiles had been erased from existence! It was a fairly shocking and very heartbreaking start to the season, but damn if it wasn’t effective as h*ck. Much like in Season 3B when Stiles was possessed by the Nogitsune and became “void,” few things provoke more audience panic than Stiles’s endangerment. He may never have had supernatural powers, but he’s been the unofficial star for a while now. So in its sixth and final season, Teen Wolf is going there, and man do we care.
“Memory Lost” was successful on many fronts: Fleet and funny, yet scary and exciting, this was not only a strong season premiere of Teen Wolf, it was exactly the reminder we needed that this show is vital and strange and compelling in a way most shows aren’t. And where most seasons of this thing take a few episodes of setup before swan-diving into chaos, this episode truly jump-started a compelling and crazy plotline right from the get-go. If Season 6 HAS to be our last go-round with this gang, it’s a relief the time spent promises to be this good.
What did YOU think of “Memory Lost”?
Teen Wolf airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on MTV