Whew! It was a bit of work to keep up with Teen Wolf Season 3, Episode 5, “Frayed.” Not only were there multiple deaths or near-deaths or fake deaths, there were flashbacks and time jumps galore! While we start on a school bus trip, part of the episode takes place in the past in order to reveal how a certain Alpha — gulp — died! Or not. Let’s get this sorted out.
Road trip! The cross country team is going to an away match. Danny and Ethan are bus buddies, while Scott’s weird dream is interrupted by an SAT-obsessed Stiles. Oddly, darach (the druid serial killer) is one of his vocab words. Unfortunately, the guy who really needs to be studying — Scott — is in no mood. Probably because he has huge, unhealed Alpha claw marks across his side. Stiles thinks it’s weird that Boyd and Isaac are fine when his bestie is not. Then Scott blows our minds: I can’t believe he’s dead. I can’t believe Derek’s dead.”
Whaaaaat? And credits.
Allison is tailgating the bus, with Lydia in the passenger seat. She admits to stalking her ex-boyfriend because she doesn’t want to let him out of her sight. In a flashback, we see Scott confronting Allison about the fact that she’s still mixed up with bows and arrows. Then two do a weird half-flirty, half-serious sparring match. After Scott accidentally hurts Allison’s wrist (and doesn’t kiss her), he warns her to be scared of the Alphas. Leaving the Argents, Scott runs into Deucalion in the elevator. (They have to stop meeting like this.)
“The schemers are scheming,” Peter tells an alarmed Scott, who’s run to Derek’s to tell them about the Alpha pack’s whereabouts. It turns out they already knew.
Another slow-mo dream fight sequence leads us back on the bus. Scott is still bleeding, but he’s willing to stop “ticking timebombs” Boyd and Isaac from going after Ethan if he has to.
In another flashback, we’re in Derek’s loft. The werewolves plan is to just go after Deucalion. “It’s a Hydra,” warns Peter. Even Scott knows that killing Deucalion — aka, cutting off the Alpha pack’s head — may make two more heads grew back. “Somebody's been doing their summer reading,” says Peter. And their pull-ups.
It turns out Allison is worried about more than just Scott: She wants to keep Lydia away from Aidan. Flashback to Lydia and the Alpha twin making out. Profusely.
The bus slows to a stop in a traffic jam, which may give Boyd the opportunity to murder Ethan. Scott gets up to stop him. Flashback to Scott in the elevator with Deucalion. While Scott say he doesn’t want to kill anyone, the Alpha leader warns him that he might have to one day, to protect someone else.
Back at the slow-mo fight, it’s all werewolf faces and hazy lights. Derek and an Alpha, Ennis, fall down a hole. Looks pretty bad.
Later, at the site of Derek’s fall, Cora and Peter look for his body.
On the bus, Scott is seeing fuzzily and remembering a conversation with the vet, Deaton. “How do you save someone who doesn’t want to be saved?” the werwolf asks. Deaton tells him to leave Derek.
The cross country trip from hell continues. As Scott is talking Boyd out of his murder plot, Isaac catches a glimpse of his roomie’s wound and looks at Scott with puppy dog eyes.
Ethan keeps checking his phone, which Stiles takes to mean something evil is afoot. Stiles texts Danny to play detective and find out what’s up with his attractive seatmate.
Meanwhile, Deaton gets a visit from Ms. Morrell and some Alphas, including the wounded Ennis. The only way she convinces him to open the gate is by telling him the werewolves will go after Scott if Ennis dies.
An annoyed Coach gives his players an Inspirational speech about not giving up, despite the traffic jam and the threat of teammate Jared vomiting all over the bus. Stiles calls Lydia to give a Scott update: His bloody wound is turning black. “Do I have a PhD in lycanthropy?” Stiles asks when Lydia asks what’s wrong.
Unfortunately, the coach is not sympathetic to Stiles’s pleas to turn the bus around, so the high schooler induces vomiting in the carsick Jared. This clears out the bus.
“This shouldn’t be happening,” says Allison after she gets a peek at Scott’s black death wound in a rest stop bathroom. Lydia decides it’s all in his head because of Derek’s death.
When Allison is alone with Scott, trying to sew up his gash, she gets a vision of her mother telling her to stop shaking and crying and just thread the needle. (It’s so nice the two can have some mother-daughter bonding time, even post-death.) After a moment, she does. By the time she’s done, Scott’s stopped breathing.
Allison brings Scott back from dreaming (and the dead?) about the fight sequence with her voice. “It’s my fault,” he says of Derek’s death. Then he sees her sutures. Mrs. McCall would be proud.
Another flashback shows Scott and Isaac facing down Deucalion. “You didn’t come alone,” says the Alpha, and he’s not talking about Isaac. Derek’s followed them there, and he wants Deucalion to die. The only problem? Deucalion’s not alone, either. The whole pack, minus the twins’ shirts, is there.
Back outside the bus, Isaac is punching Ethan. A lot. The only thing that can make him stop? The sound of Scott screaming his name. (Note: That’s the same thing that brought Isaac back from the brink of transformation when when was locked in the janitor’s closet with Allison. Bromance.)
Peter and Cora head to the vet’s, only to discover the Alpha pack beat them to it. Luckily, they figure that out before they head inside. “How’s our patient,” Deucalion asks Deaton. “He’s going to make it,” replies the vet. Deucalion sniffs his pack member then squeezes his face until it spurts blood. “I think you might have overestimated his odds,” says Deucalion and leaves the dead Alpha.
Back in flashback fight sequence, Derek runs at Deucalion. Isaac joins the fight, which makes Scot roll his eyes, then transform. Deucalion stands and listens to the bone-breaking sounds. They reach a stalemate, but Boyd is bleeding. “You’re beaten,” Deucalion tells Derek and instructs him to kill Boyd. “Take the first step.” Derek is saved from having to choose between his pack member and his sister by Allison and her flash bombs.
Earlier, Allison is talking to her father, who just wants to work in consulting and shop at the grocery store like a normal person. He reminds her that the werewolves are not her family. She reminds him that they’re not exactly the Duggars and could use a few more people in their lives.
The fighting sequence shows that Derek going down the hole sort of was Scott’s fault. As the Alphas were battling, Scott sliced Ennis’s leg, trying to help. Ennis pulled Derek with him into the abyss.
Lydia and Allison have ditched her gasless car to hitch a ride with the cross country team. The two smartest people on the bus, Lydia and Stiles, talk about the dark druid. “Some ancient cultures sacrifice in preparation for battle,” she tells him. Stiles is not pleased: “We’ve got Alpha werewolves against a dark druid.”
Allison tells Scott that Derek’s death is not his fault. He thanks her for not staying out of the werewolf business. They look at each other as only two exes who still really want to make out can.
At the vet’s, Ms. Morrell covers up Ennis and tells Deaton not to play big brother. Sorry if anyone was ‘shipping those two.
Ms. Blake is getting into her car when a big bloody hand appears at her window. It belongs to Derek! He’s not dead... but he does collapse in the parking lot. If he’s turning to the English teacher — whom he’s met twice — for help, it’s a sure sign Derek needs to get out of his loft more.