The mystery of the familiar face in an old photo is resolved. An important clue to defeating their enemy is revealed through the story of a World War II Japanese-American internment camp. Nogitsune Stiles uses Kira’s father to get to Kira’s mother, the kitsune, Noshiko.
**********CAUTION********** SPOILERS DEAD AHEAD **********CAUTION**********
This was a different sort of episode for Teen Wolf with flashbacks to a historical time in American history that is very rarely discussed – that of the horror of Japanese-American internment camps during World War II. Teen Wolf has ventured into the past to tell a story before, but the story was focused on Derek’s life and did not deal much with the specific era in which it was set. In this episode we go back to 1943 and discover the origin of the nogitsune which has returned to haunt the lives of the Beacon Hills residents. And it all begins with the photo Stiles and Malia found on the soldier’s corpse at Eichen House in the last episode, “Echo House.” There is a very close connection to someone in the pack’s orbit and it’s a bit of a surprise – it’s Kira. And while I am a little disappointed that my wild theory about Gerard being connected to all of this doesn’t seem to be panning out, I’m still intrigued, because I didn’t see this connection coming – at least not in this way.
Arden Cho stands out in this episode in a dual role – as Kira and her mother, Noshiko, a young woman in the Oak Creek internment camp. She does a wonderful job slipping into the role of Noshiko, who is more confident, stubborn, and playful than the teenaged Kira, a young girl who has yet to come into her own. But Arden Cho is able to play both characters and make us believe these are two separate people with personalities that reflect their different histories and stages in life. And her perception of young Noshiko flows beautifully into Tamlyn Tomita’s portrayal of modern Noshiko. As she tells her tale, we begin to understand how she became the more cautious, reserved, serious woman that Kira knows as her mother. Tamlyn Tomita and Tom T. Choi are great in their roles as Kira’s parents, a couple who has a rich history together and share a profound secret and a daughter who they are determined to keep safe. [When Mr. Yukimura says to Kira, “That’s how I met your mother,” I had to giggle. But then I thought — that’s a story I wouldn’t mind seeing.]
Modern Noshiko tells the story of how she ended up in the internment camp at Oak Creek, where the Japanese-Americans were poorly cared for and mistreated. She falls for a sympathetic soldier, Rhys (very nicely played by the handsome and charismatic, Skyler Maxon), who tries to protect her and the other people in the camp as much as he can. The two of them stumble onto the conspiracy of the army doctor to steal medical supplies and sell them on the black market. When people begin dying because of the lack of medicine, Noshiko reveals what she knows and it incites a riot. The soldiers open fire on the crowd, killing almost all of them, including Army hospital personnel. Rhys is horribly burned and dies an agonizing death. Noshiko is near death and her body about to be disposed of along with her love, Rhys, when she calls out for a powerful nogitsune to come and possess her and reign chaos, strife and pain on their attackers. But the nogitsune possesses the body of Rhys and wreaks death and havoc over the entire camp leaving no survivors. Young Noshiko regains her strength and, with the surprising help of a female werewolf who is also interred at the camp, is able to defeat the nogitsune (though destroying her sword in the process). Rhys is able to die in peace as his true spirit. She hides the spirit of the nogitsune in the form of a fly in the Nemeton tree, where it has remained trapped until now.
Back in the present, Noshiko explains to Scott and Kira that Scott, Allison and Stiles’ sacrifice to the Nemeton released the nogitsune and made them vulnerable to its darkly mischievous possession. Noshiko and her husband warn Kira and Scott that Stiles no longer exists, and that the only way to save Stiles’ spirit is to destroy him along with the nogitsune. But, Scott refuses to give up on his best friend. Kira uses her newfound power as a thunder kitsune to restore her mother’s sword to its former glory. Noshiko proudly passes the blade onto her daughter as Kira and Scott go off to face the nogitsune and save their friend.
Meanwhile, Sheriff Stilinski, (Chris Argent), Allison and Derek follow clues to track down the location of Nogitsune Stiles (“trying to outfox the fox”). Derek and Chris partner up — a pairing which I think works really well and want to see explored more– to check out Eichen House, while Stilinski and Allison pair up to search the hospital. At the hospital, Allison has a very emotional moment in the elevator with Stilinski. When he compliments her on her fearlessness and strength, she breaks down and reveals that she doesn’t feel that strong or confident at all and that she is constantly terrified. Crystal Reed gives a stellar performance as she reveals the cracks in the armor of young Allison, who always seems to have it all together. The moment between Allison and Stilinski is quite sweet as she receives the supportive shoulder to cry on that she can’t seem to get (or ask for) from her father and never got from her mother. Her confession is also representative of the dilemma that many young people experience as they face the trials and tribulations of the transition to adulthood and bigger life decisions. It is a great moment and handled well by both Reed and Ashby.
Back at home, in Stiles’ room, the group has reconvened and they find a chess board with several pieces labeled with the names of the wolf pack (Derek is the king, yay!). They decide it is a clue from Nogitsune Stiles leading them to Derek’s loft. But it may just as easily be a trap. They send a message to Scott and Kira to meet them at the loft. Sheriff Stilinski (please give him a first name!) enters the loft alone to find the person they have been searching for – Stiles. Or is it the nogitsune before him? Is this a plea for help from his son or a trap by the nogitsune?
Stiles turns to the Sheriff and says, “Hi, Dad.”
Once More With Feeling
On a final note, I want to thank Jeff Davis and the Teen Wolf writers for continuing to write some fantastic adult / parental figures in the show. Our young heroes are some amazing people and it’s nice to see them not written in a vacuum, as some shows tend to do. They did not spring up out of the ground and if they are that amazing then let’s show where some of that strength, intelligence and compassion comes from — how their core characters were formed. For some, the influence has been a positive, nurturing experience (Scott, Stiles, Kira) while for others, it has been a much more harsh rude awakening (Isaac, Ethan, Aiden) and sometimes a combination of both (Allison, Lydia). But, while maintaining the perspective of the Teen Wolf pack, the writers (and actors) have managed to enrich the characters with a full life that includes people outside of their inner circle. Bravo! Shout outs to Linden Ashby, JR Bourne, Melissa Ponzio, Matthew Del Negro, Seth Gilliam, the newly added Susan Walters and even Orny Adams as the acerbic Coach and Bianca Lawson as the enigmatic Ms. Morrell (who goes back and forth between supporting and threatening the gang) for rounding out a fantastic ensemble cast. And special shout out for Ian Bohen for his portrayal of Peter Hale, who may not really be a positive influence on our heroic wolf pack, but is always interesting and brings the witty snark to any scene he is in.
All I have to say is, “more, please, and thank you.”
Check out the promo (on the Promo24 YouTube channel) for next week’s episode entitled, “De-Void.” It packs a punch!
Teen Wolf airs on MTV on Mondays at 10/9c. Full episodes are also available at the MTV Teen Wolf website and On Demand (check your cable listings) as well as on iTunes, Amazon, Hulu and Google Play.
I always like to include some of my favorite quotes and exchanges from the episode. If you have some quotes or moments you liked, please share in the comments section.#1 Nogitsune Man (past) to soldier: “What has a neck, but no head??” [rips off soldier’s head] #2 Scott to Kira’s Mother, Noshiko, regarding person in old photo: “If that’s you, then you’d have to be like 90 years old.” Noshiko: “Closer to 900.” Kira: “Okay, sure. Why not. Dad, how old are you?” Mr. Yukimura: “43. But I’ve been told I look mid-30s.” #3 Scott to Mr. Yukimura, regarding lying to his friends: “Hold on. You told Allison and Isaac that there was no internment camp at Oak Creek.” Mr. Yukimura: “Allison’s family has a certain history of violence. I didn’t know if she could be trusted…” #4 Kira to her mother, Noshiko: “So, where did the nogitsune come from?” Noshiko: “Isn’t it obvious yet? It came from me.” #5 Young Noshiko to Satomi, older woman in barracks (1943): “I can feel your glare on the back of my head, Satomi.” Satomi: “You take too frequently. And you take too much.” Young Noshiko: “Should I give some back? [she pushes bottle of aspirin toward Satomi] I know you get migraines at least once a month.” Satomi: “I prefer to suffer. [she pushes bottle back to Noshiko] I know what you think of me, Noshiko. You think I am weak because I follow the rules. You think rules are for the obedience of fools and cowards. The young fox always knows the rules so she can break them. The older, wiser animal learns the exceptions to the rules.” #6 Noshiko (present time) to Kira and Scott: “Wolves and foxes tend not to get along. Not just in fables and stories.” Mr. Yukimura: “But allies, however unlikely, should be welcomed – especially in times of war.” #7 Deputy Parrish to Argent, regarding stun gun: “Sorry, but I can’t let you walk out with this. It’s way above the legal voltage limit.” Argent: “I only use it for hunting.” Deputy Parrish: “Yeah, well, I’m pretty sure you could use it to jump-start a 747.” And later… Deputy Parrish to Sheriff Stilinski regarding stun gun: “Sheriff, I’m not kidding; this thing’s a few watts from being a lightsaber.” #8 Argent to Sheriff Stilinski, regarding nogitsune faking disease in Stiles: “So the trickster is still playing tricks.” Derek: “But why this trick?” Sheriff: “When I was in the Army, an officer told me, ‘If you want to defeat your enemy, you don’t take away their courage. You take away their hope.’” Argent: “You don’t look like a man who gives up hope easily.” Sheriff: “But Stiles might. If this thing inside him, if it’s using his mother’s disease as some sort of psychological trick, then this isn’t just a fight for his body. It’s also a fight for his mind, right? #9 Kira to Noshiko: “We don’t want to hear your Casablanca story. We wanna know how to save Stiles.” Noshiko: “I’m trying to tell you.” Scott: “You’re trying to stall. When the sun goes down, the oni are gonna come after him again, aren’t they?” Mr. Yukimura: “Your friend’s gone, Scott.” Scott: “I don’t think you know that for sure. You brought the oni. Can you call them off?” Kira: “It’s not his fault.” Noshiko: “Stiles may be your best friend, he might be like a brother to you, but he is nogitsune now. He is void.” #10 Argent: “That’s the problem. We’re all trying to outfox the fox.” #11 Noshiko, telling her story: “… I was going to die. With time slipping through my fingers, I knew I was making a terrible decision. But I could not die knowing they would get away. So I called out to our ancestors for kitsune-tsuki – possession by a fox spirit; for a powerful nogitsune, one that feeds off chaos, strife and pain, to take control of my weakened body, imbue it with power and use it as a weapon. But calling on a trickster spirit is a dangerous thing. They can have a very dark sense of humor… because while the nogitsune did come to possess someone… it wasn’t me.” #12 Rhys to Young Noshiko, his dying breath: “Coup de foudre.” Nishiko (present time): “The literal translation is ‘bolt of lightning.’ In French, it can also mean ‘love at first sight.’” #13 Noshiko to Kira: “Do you trust me?” Kira: “I just found out you’re 900 years old. I don’t think I’m ever gonna trust you again.” #14 Derek to Sheriff, Argent and Allison, regarding chess board in Stiles’ room: “You think there’s any reason my name’s on the king?” Sheriff: Well, you’re heavily guarded. Though I guess the alarming detail is that you’re one move from being in checkmate.” Argent: “It’s not a message from Stiles. It’s a threat from the nogitsune.” Allison: “He’s at the loft. That’s what he’s trying to tell us.” Argent: “And he wants us to come there.” #15 Noshiko to Kira, after handing her the sword: “You need it. You see – it gives you balance. My power is yours now, Kira. If the oni can’t stop Stiles, you have to. The same as I did. And maybe seek out a wolf to help you.” Scott: “You didn’t tell us anything.” Noshiko: “You want to save Stiles? Kill him. That’s the only way.” #16 Mr. Yukimura to Noshiko: “History has not done well with making children into killers.” Noshiko: “These children played their part in it long before we came back to Beacon Hills. [flashback to past and Young Noshiko running with nogitsune fly in jar] I buried the jar deep within the roots of the Nemeton. It was their sacrifice that brought its power back. They let the demon out of its cage.” And my favorite exchange of the whole episode is between Sheriff Stilinski and Allison on the elevator. Crystal Reed was great in this scene as Allison reveals her fears and shows Sheriff Stilinski how vulnerable she really is. And I loved seeing the Sheriff showing some parental type support. It was a nice bonding moment. Sheriff Stilinski to Allison, on elevator: “You know, I don’t know how you guys do it. You’re all so strong. You’re fearless. Hell, you even manage to keep your grades up.” Allison: “I am failing Econ.” Sheriff: “Is that coach’s class? [she nods] Well, I’ll have a talk with him.” Allison chuckles but then becomes quiet and is clearly very upset, almost crying. Sheriff stops elevator. Sheriff: “Hey, you okay?” Allison: [breaking down] “I’m not… fearless. I’m terrified. I’m always terrified. I… I act like I know what I’m doing, but I don’t. I don’t know if Isaac is dying right now. I don’t know if I made a mistake with Scott. I don’t know what my dad is thinking. I don’t know if we should trust Derek. I don’t know… I don’t know… [crying] I don’t know anything.” [Sheriff gives her hug, comforting her] Sheriff: “You know what’s funny. You sound just like a cop.”