It was the highest rated episode to date at the time of its first airing, attracting 2.36 million viewers.
The action picks up a few months after the events of the Season 2 Finale.
An unidentified young woman (Meagan Tandy) revives an unconscious Isaac Lahey using a car battery and jumper cables. His body is covered in bloody slashes. There are also deep punctures in his neck. The girl explains that it’s “from their claws” and that it’s how they share and steal memories.
She manages to get Isaac onto a motorcycle and races off into the night. Isaac says he hears someone coming and we see two shadowy figures on foot gaining on the bike. Two men (Max Carver and Charlie Carver), identical twins, slash and grab for Isaac, their eyes glowing the red of Alpha werewolves.
The girl manages to elude them briefly by crashing through a large window into a warehouse but then Isaac, close to unconsciousness, overbalances the bike sending them skidding in a shower of sparks.
The twins enter through the broken window. One kneels, the other slams his fist into the kneeling twin’s back and the two begin to merge into one giant figure. This new “mega-alpha” stalks toward Isaac growling.
The girl pulls a weapon and fires a large projectile into the giant’s chest. When it makes contact the creature is consumed in electric current and falls into two distinct individuals who lay twitching on the floor in a blinding flash of electricity.
In a Tattoo Parlor in another part of town, Stiles jokes that Scott should get a tattoo of a lizard creature that looks suspiciously like the Kanima. He then questions the meaning of his friend’s choice to get two simple black bands permanently inked around his arm.
Scott says he doesn’t know why he likes the design but that the act of getting a tattoo has meaning in itself.
The tattoo artist (Kevin Thomas) then provides a brief history of the art saying it goes back “thousands of years”. He explains that the Tahitian word for tattoo means “to leave a mark,” like a rite of passage.
Once the process begins, Stiles faints.
In the Jeep later, Stiles holds an ice pack to his head and Scott’s arm is heavily bandaged. He says it burns and the pain becomes so bad he rips off the bandage just in time to see the tattoo fade as his werewolf healing kicks in. Stiles says he hated the tattoo.
Lydia and Allison are driving, heading for a “group thing” and, Lydia promises, not a double date. Allison says she’s not ready to get back out there and Lydia ridicules her for not dating at all while she was in France for “four months”. Allison turns the question back on her asking if she dated after… Lydia cuts her off with a hasty “could you not say his name.” They are talking about Jackson and Allison asks if he is okay, if everything worked out.
Lydia explains that the doctors looked like total idiots after he turned up alive (he “died” in Battlefield). She says Derek taught him the Werewolf 101 like how NOT to randomly kill people during the full moon.
Lydia says she hasn't talked to him since his dad moved him to London making a joke that an “American werewolf in London” will be a disaster, a reference to the 1981 film of the same name.
She then admits that they are actually going on a double date but “it’s not an orgy.”
Scott and Stiles pull up beside the girls who have stopped for a light. They too are discussing relationships, specifically how Scott is giving Allison the space she asked for. He hasn't called or texted all summer. He says he’s not sure she’ll return to Beacon Hills at all after all that happened (in Season 2).
At that moment Stiles notices Allison and Lydia in the next car and says he is 100% sure she will be back.
Allison urges Lydia to run the red light so she can avoid talking to Scott. Once the light changes, Stiles continues down the road but stops once Scott points out it looks like they’re following the girls. Once Stiles stops, Allison decides that she should talk to Scott and so Lydia stops in the road too.
While they’re deciding if they should talk to the boys, a deer runs straight into Lydia’s car shattering the windshield.
Everybody freaks out. Lydia says she saw its eyes before it hit and it looked like it was crazy. Scott touches the deer and senses that it was terrified.
At the hospital, Melissa McCall sees Isaac as he rolls in on a gurney. She asks him if he’s not “healing” he assures her that he will but that “the girl” needs her help more.
Melissa leaves his side to attend to the Mysterious Girl who saved Isaac earlier. On the gurney she babbles that she needs to find the Alpha. Melissa mentions Derek but the girl says no. Once she is out of Melissa’s hearing, she says “not Hale, McCall. Scott McCall”
That morning Scott is working out in his room. One armed pull-ups while reading “Call of the Wild” by Jack London. Among the other books he’s apparently read this summer are
- “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens
- “A Farewell to Arms” by Ernest Hemingway
- ”The Longest Journey” by E. M. Forster
- ”White Fang” by Jack London
- ”Absalom, Absalom!” by William Faulkner
- ”For Whom the Bell Tolls” by Ernest Hemingway
- ”The Snows of Kilimanjaro” by Ernest Hemingway
While he’s working out, his computer beeps. On the screen we see the wallpaper is a shot of him and Allison. On top of this an internet window is open with a “Word of the Day” site displayed.
Today’s word is “Ephemeral” with the Adjective definition “Lasting for a very short time,” the Noun definition “An Ephemeral Plant” and the Synonyms “transitory, transient, momentary, short-lived”.
Scott reads the top definition and a couple of the synonyms aloud and looks longingly at the space on his arm where his tattoo used to be.
At the Argent's new apartment, unpacked boxes fill Allison’s bedroom.
Chris walks in and says she doesn’t have to go back to school if she’s not ready. She says she is going since she’s driving Lydia after her car was wrecked.
Stiles is at his computer researching Deer/Car collisions and his dad literally pulls him away from the screen.
Lydia is putting on lipstick and tries on a leather jacket.
She is admiring herself in the mirror when an unidentified boy in her bed tells her it looks good on her. She promptly takes it off.
- EDITOR'S NOTE: According to the credits for this episode the boy's name is Brandon and he is played by actor Cody Griffith.
He asks if they can go on a “real date” sometime to which Lydia responds with a negative “hmmm.” He then asks if they can have sex again to which Lydia offers a more positive “hmmm.”
Scott arrives at school on his green dirt bike with a number 32 on the front. He seems pleased with his bike until he sees two M.V. Agusta F3s parked nearby.
Scott mentions to Stiles that he wants to ask Derek about the tattoo thing because Derek obviously overcame the healing issue to get his. Stiles points to two “Missing Persons” posters featuring Erica and Boyd pinned to the bulletin board and says Derek has his hands full.
- EDITOR'S NOTE: The missing person posters of Boyd and Erica list birth dates in 1996 but also list the character's ages as "17" this is inconsistent with the canonical Teen Wolf timeline which places this episode in fall 2011.
In the School office, we see the former principal (Co-Executive Producer Christian Taylor) last seen being tortured by the Argents in Shape Shifted.
He is discussing the applications for the new “Career Adviser” and saying that whatever happened to the library while he was gone needs to be fixed. He then holds up a long sword (last seen being wielded by Gerard in Battlefield) and demands to know “What the hell is this!”.
Lydia is admiring all the freshmen or “fresh men” as she says it. Allison points out that they are “fresh boys” and are age 14. Lydia dismisses this saying some are more mature than others. Allison points out that they can be single and take the time to focus on themselves. Lydia says she doesn’t want a boyfriend she wants a distraction.
Lydia and Allison see the twin Alphas we saw chasing Isaac last night walk into the school hallway in motorcycle gear and suddenly we are in the hospital with the Mystery Girl who opens her eyes and gasps in shock and fear.
Melissa McCall slowly removes Isaac's bloody bandages revealing four deep gouges across his chest and side. The wounds are smoking slightly and Melissa declares they are healing. She worries that someone will see it especially when they take him in for surgery that he’s not going to need.
He urges her to do something but she points out that she’s still new to all the supernatural stuff. She’s tried calling Derek “five times” and asks if he has any other “emergency werewolf contacts” and he says to call Scott.
In the hallway Sheriff Stilinski tells Melissa that he needs to ask the Mystery Girl some questions. He describes the weapon she used as a “modified stun gun” and says she caused $10 thousand in property damages. Melissa says the girl is heavily sedated but at the same time we see the girl has removed her IV and is no longer receiving the sedative.
At school, Allison walks into Ms. Blake’s (Haley Webb) English class and finds all the seats taken except the one directly in front of Scott. She reluctantly takes the seat. All the students phones begin to chime at once all with the same text message. Ms. Blake enters reading the text from her phone –
- "The offing was barred by a black bank of clouds, and the tranquil waterway leading to the uttermost ends of the earth flowed sombre under an overcast sky – seemed to lead into the heart of an immense darkness."
She explains that it is the closing line to the first book they will be reading in her class (“Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad) and that it will also be the last text any of them receive in her class. She instructs them to turn off their phones. Scott complies and we see he has upgraded to the new Garnet Red Samsung Galaxy S3 from AT&T.
Scott’s mom is trying to reach him by phone at that moment and gets voice mail. A nurse (Felisha Terrell) enters Isaac’s room and injects an anesthetic into his IV saying “We don’t want you getting away again”. As the drug takes hold Isaac notices that she is barefoot and that each toe is capped by a sharp black claw. She then counts him down to unconsciousness ticking off numbers on claw topped fingers as her eyes begin to glow red.
Allison passes Scott a note that reads "Can we talk?" As he is replying, the principal enters Ms. Blake’s classroom and she calls Scott to the hall. She explains that his mother needs him to leave school but adds that she is aware of his poor school record and wants to warn him “in the nicest possible way” not to slip back into old ways.
He says he won’t but she says resolutions are only good if you stick with them. He promises he will and won’t be “ephemeral.”
The nurse with the claws comes into the Mystery Girl’s hospital room and finds the bed empty and a deputy handcuffed to the bed. She growls deep in her throat.
Lydia has a bandage on her leg. Stiles asks about as they sit in Ms. Blake’s class. She says her dog, Prada, bit her. Stiles says that animals, Prada and the deer, seem to be freaking out the way they do when they sense an earthquake. He says maybe it means something bad is coming.
Lydia brings up the rule of threes. That is, bad things happen in groups of three. She begins to count and when she hits three, a bird smacks into the closed window leaving a smear of blood and feathers.
Ms. Blake turns from the blackboard where she was assigning homework that is “due Friday”. She crosses to the window and spots a huge flock of black birds coming toward the school. They begin to strike the windows until a few break through. Then it’s chaos in the room with live birds scratching and pecking at students and smashing into walls and dying.
Scott and his mother race down the hospital hallway, Melissa says she selfishly didn't call Scott first because she recognizes how hard he’s been working with the extra reading and “summer school and saving money for the motorbike (she hates the motorbike) and doesn’t want the supernatural crazy to interfere with everything he is accomplishing. Scott says he won’t stop, vowing to be “a better student, a better son, a better friend, a better everything.”
Scott heads to the elevator to find Isaac but the doors are stopped before they can close by what appears to be a blind man’s cane. A man in dark glasses with a British accent (Gideon Emery) enters and asks Scott to press the second floor. When Scott tries to exit on the floor – the blind man asks for his help and grabs his shoulder aiming to use him as a guide. Scott reluctantly complies.
Isaac is already in surgery. His wounds have completely healed and the Doctor (Brandon Boyce) is angry telling the orderly to get him out of the operating room. The orderly (Ennis in disguise) wheels Isaac away and we see he has claws protruding through his surgical gloves.
Scott arrives just in time to see the orderly wheeling Isaac into the elevator. Scott senses that he is another werewolf and dives headlong toward the closing elevator doors.
He lands in a heap with claws and fangs bared. They fight with the orderly quickly gaining and maintaining the upper hand. He slams Scott into the ceiling and the floor several times and informs him that he is dealing with an Alpha. At that moment the doors open, Derek claws the guy in the back and says “So am I” and throws the guy out of the elevator and across the hall where he seems to land unconscious.
Turning to Scott, Derek deadpans “Aren't you supposed to be in school?”.
In the aftermath of the bird incident, the Sheriff and Allison’s dad are both at school. The sheriff approaches Argent about the animal weirdness and Chris demurs saying he’s not a hunter anymore.
Scott, Derek and an unconscious Isaac have made it to Hale House. Scott tells Stiles by phone to join them there. Derek says he doesn’t live there anymore and that the county has taken over the house.
He is digging around the hole in the floor where Peter was buried in Season 2. He says there’s something he needs to help Isaac heal the wounds from an Alpha on “the inside.” He pulls out several wolfsbane plants and lays them on the table next to the still unconscious Isaac.
Derek explains that the Alpha in the elevator is from a “rival pack” but stops there and says it’s his problem and tells Scott to go home and “back to being a teenager.” Remember his tattoo problem, Scott asks Derek to help.
Lydia tells Allison that Beacon Hills is turning into “Beacon for the totally bizarre and supernatural.” The Mystery Girl approaches them and asks for Scott. She grabs both their forearms but sees the twins at the end of the hallway and runs away. Lydia notices that there is a bruise-like mark on her forearm where the girl grabbed them. Chris Argent arrives to take them home. He reassures Allison that they are staying out of the supernatural nonsense.
Sheriff Stilinski visits Dr. Deaton saying they've gotten 15 calls in an hour about animals freaking out. Dr. Deaton takes him back to the cat cages where every single animal is dead. The Vet says he thought someone broke in and did it but then realized the animals killed themselves.
Back at Hale House, Derek is looking at Scott’s arm. His eyes glow red and he says he can “see” Scott’s healed tattoo. Scott explains that in Samoan tattoo means “open wound.” He says he planned to get it when he was 18 but decided to get it after he successfully didn't text or call Allison all summer. He says four months later his feelings for her still hurt like an open wound.
Derek lights a blow torch and says he needs Stiles to help hold Scott down. He then applies the torch to Scott’s arm which begins to sear and burn. Scott’s eyes go yellow and his fangs come out.
At some point he lost consciousness and when he comes around he sees that his tattoo is now fully visible and the skin around it seems to have healed from the torch. Stiles points out that it looks permanent. Scott says they need something like that because everything they've gone through, everything changes so fast. He says it’s all so ephemeral to which Stiles says “Studying for the PSATs?”. Scott says yes.
Scott then notices a new coat of paint on the Hale House door. Thinking that Derek did it to hide something, he claws the paint off revealing the Alpha Pack symbol we saw in Master Plan.
Scott connects the weird animal behavior to the way the deer reacted the night he got bitten by the Alpha in Wolf Moon. He realizes there must be more than one Alpha to inspire such fear in the wildlife. Derek says there is a pack of them. Stiles questions how that would even work and Derek says seems not to know much saying “I hear there’s some kind of a leader” he says the leader is called Deucalion.
He explains that the Pack has Boyd and Erica and that he, Peter and Isaac have been looking for them. Derek says he’ll need all the help he can get to deal with the Alpha Pack. Isaac then regains consciousness and asks about the whereabouts of the Mystery Girl.
The Mystery Girl has made it to the locker room at school. She breaks off a broom handle and wields it as a staff weapon. She is quickly surrounded. The twins, the nurse who drugged Isaac and the orderly who attacked Scott are all taking turns slicing at the girl. The nurse lands the decisive blow sending out a spray of blood and sending the girl to the floor where she does not get back up.
The blind man we saw earlier wipes blood from his hands, picks up his cane and puts his glasses on over eyes that appear to be Alpha red with a silvered iris. He approaches the girl, calls her “beautiful but defiant”. She says she is defiant because she knows he is afraid of Scott, "of the man he’ll become." The Alpha says he is aware of a certain “potential threat” but says he plans to get someone else to eliminate that threat for him. She surmises that Derek will be that “someone else.”
He then slashes at the girl viciously. We barely see the blow connect but we see blood spray across the lockers nearby.
Lydia is helping Allison pick out wall colors for her new room when they notice that the bruises the girl gave them on their forearms make a symbol when placed side by side.
The same symbol is on the floor in what appears to be a bank vault. A male figure sits hunched, leaning on a column and rocking slightly. As the shot zooms in we see a smaller, female, hand cover his and clasp tightly.
|← Season 2 Season 3 Season 4 →|
|#01 Tattoo||#07 Currents||#13 Anchors||#19 Letharia Vulpina|
|#02 Chaos Rising||#08 Visionary||#14 More Bad Than Good||#20 Echo House|
|#03 Fireflies||#09 The Girl Who Knew Too Much||#15 Galvanize||#21 The Fox and the Wolf|
|#04 Unleashed||#10 The Overlooked||#16 Illuminated||#22 De-Void|
|#05 Frayed||#11 Alpha Pact||#17 Silverfinger||#23 Insatiable|
|#06 Motel California||#12 Lunar Ellipse||#18 Riddled||#24 The Divine Move|