Teen Wolf seems to get more and more ambitious with their storytelling. In Season 3, Episode 8, "Visionary," instead of just telling us the story of Derek's blue eyes, the show uses a couple of liars and they lying lies they tell to present the tale in flashback. Peter Hale and Gerard Argent lead viewers through the past to reveal secrets about Derek and Deucalion, but we also get to see what actually happened juxtaposed with their polished version of events.
Someone’s running through a shadowy, moonlit woods. Scott, is that you? No, it’s a stranger, running from the Argents and their anti-werewolf weapons. The teenager literally runs into someone, who asks, “You’re a Hale, aren’t you?” He gets an arrow through the neck for his trouble. So does the Hale, nearly, until someone grabs it out of thin air.
Mr. Argent and Gerard are plotting how to capture the runaway werewolves. “Bring the others back alive. Alive. We go by the code,” insists Chris Argent to the assembled hunters.
In an equally shadowy basement, the two werewolves sit panting. “They were there for two days,” Cora says as we transfer to the present, revealing a younger Derek to be the frightened werewolf. Talking to Stiles, the female werewolf is looking at the storm. (No word if it’s a Demon Wolf storm.) Stiles starts to enumerate all the terrible things that have happened in the past few weeks and says he could go on “for like an hour.” In a way, Stiles thinks Derek is responsible and should do something about it. “There’s something different about him,” Cora tells Stiles. “He wasn’t like this when I knew him.”
That’s when Peter proves he was eavesdropping on their conversation the whole time, saying Derek was once “a lot like Scott”: Romantic. Narcissistic. Tolerable only to other teenagers. Then a girl changed him. “Some girl broke his little heart?” asks an amused Stiles.
Broke his heart and changed his eye color. “If you want to know what changed Derek, you need to know what changed the color of his eyes,” says Peter.
Still in the present, Allison brings Scott to her grandfather Gerard. The black goo machine wants Scott’s healing touch. In exchange, the elder Argent will tell Scott and Allison everything.
The sound of a cello and a metronome can’t drown out a bunch of hooligans playing basketball in the school hallway. It’s young Derek, who finds the pretty cellist flirt-worthy. The cocky werewolf tells the girl to get the ball away from him, and he’ll stop practicing in the hall. She tries, fails, and walks away.
“Sorry about that,” young Derek tells the cello player once his dude bros have left hallway. Then he promises to leave her her alone after he gets a name. She makes him a deal: If he can play one instrument, in the room, she’ll tell him. He picks up a triangle and dings it. Her name is Paige, but she already knows who he is.
Allison and Scott listen to Gerard hint that Deaton, the veterinarian, may know more than he’s telling. In fact, Scott’s mentor might have faked his own kidnapping because he is the dark druid. “He would never let anyone innocent die,” argues Scott. Maybe not under normal circumstances, but if he was trying to beat Deucalion... Then, like many elderly people, Gerard gives a lengthy health update: The cancer’s gone, but he’s still spewing black goo. The doctors are baffled. Anyway, Gramps Argent tried to beat Deucalion before. Annoyed with her grandfather’s many changes of topic, Allison wants to go. In order to get them to stay, Gerard says something enigmatic: “Deucalion may have lost his eyes, but he’s not always blind.” Oh, all right. We’ll stay and help wipe off your goo, grandpa.
After their romantic cello room intro, sophomores Derek and Paige spent most of the time engaged in “frantic groping in any dark corner.” But their favorite spot was an abandoned distillery outside Beacon Hills. Though Derek’s uncle claims he was BFFs with the teen wolf at the time, we actually see him being a peeping Peter in flashback, peering through at the couple making out through an opening in the distillery. While they’re whispering sweet nothings to each other, young Derek hears banging. “Something happened here. I caught a scent. It’s blood,” Derek tells her. Then he hears the sound again and says they have to go.
A pack is walking toward the distillery. We see Marco, Ennis, Kali, and Deucalion — before they formed their “little all-star team,” as Gerard says, and when the Alpha of Alphas still had his sight. The werewolves, all members of different packs, are upset about the wolf who was killed by the Argents’ arrows. “They dragged him here,” says Ennis, and “cut him in half.” It turns out it was retaliation — a Beta “accidentally” killed a hunter.
Still in flashback, we learn about a shape-shifting Alpha who was admired by all the werewolves. A full-on wolf makes her way to the distillery, and Deucalion is clearly captivated, even though she’s all fur. Then she transforms into a (naked) human, Talia Hale — Derek’s mother.
Seeing that he’s not getting much cooperation from an angry Ennis, Deucalion makes a plea to end the feud with the hunters. “It never ends at an eye for an eye,” he says. Instead, Ennis draws the vendetta spiral in the distillery’s steel door. In the present, Peter traces one in the window. Stiles is not impressed with the ritual, but Cora tells him losing a pack member is more damaging than losing family. She says, “It’s like you lose a limb.”
Even a brief cameo by a then-deputy Stilinski (who’s trying to keep peace after Ennis shows up at the hospital, demanding his pack member’s body) doesn’t appease Stiles. “What does this have to do with Derek?” he wants to know. Peter explains, “It’s never just a single moment, it’s a confluence of events.” Then he claims Derek saw an opportunity to be with Paige forever.
Romeo and Juliet, if not statistics, tell us that you always end up with the person you love at 15. Derek is clearly smitten with his girlfriend, but since we haven’t seen her in the present, we can only assume something goes wrong — like she dumps him for the lacrosse captain. Still, Peter says Derek was obsessing over Paige’s mortal condition.
Only, young Derek and Paige don’t even sit at lunch together. She’s clearly his secret girlfriend. A too-old-for-school Peter shows up at Derek’s table and, in a thinly veiled reference to the Reese's Peanut Cup he’s eating, calls the werewolf and his human perfect for each other. “Perfect combinations are rare,” says Reese’s marketing team and Peter. Then we switch back to Teen Wolf, and Peter says there’s only one way to make sure they’ll always be together: Turn her.
“I kept telling him not to do it,” lies Peter in his story to Cora and Stiles. “I bet he even blames me.” There are clearly two versions of the story and Peter has already proven himself less than trustworthy. In the flashback, Peter tells young Derek that turning Paige into a werewolf will keep her safe from illness and other dangers. “The bite is a gift,” says Peter.
Still in the past, Chris Argent teaches Gerard a new word: Nemeton. It’s a sacred place for druids, who used to use old trees for their rituals. Harming the tree would cause plagues and strife to be visited upon nearby towns. Beacon Hills, is that what happened to you?
Allison is curious about why her dad is a druid scholar. “Know thy enemy,” says Gerard, in the present. It seems Gramps has learned a thing or two since then and tells Allison and Scott that older wolves were tight with the druids, who became the creatures’ emissaries. Then Gerard begins reciting the Lycaon myth. Certain Greeks worshipped Prometheus even more than the Gods of Olympus. One of them was Lycaon, who tried to serve Zeus human flesh. Zeus was not a fan, so he turned Lycaon and his son into wolves. We’ll have to try that next time McDonald’s puts cheese on our hamburger. Anyway, the wolf wanted the shape-shifting druids to turn him human again but the best they could do was teach Lycaon how to shift back and forth. The druids and werewolves struck up a friendly arrangement, whereby they’d advise the supernatural beings.
Also talking about emissaries? Cora, who tells Stiles, “They keep us connected to humanity.” But their identity is such a secret that only the Alpha usually knows. That’s when Stiles gets a knowledge bomb: Ms. Morrell is the Alpha pack’s emissary. Stiles is upset because of all the times he got emotional in the guidance counselor’s office. The werewolves point out that she gives good advice. Emissary appointments seem to run in families, because Deaton was Talia’s.
One of Deaton’s jobs as an emissary was to tell fables. Back in the day, he explaine the story of the scorpion and the frog to Talia and Deucalion: In need of a way to cross the river, the scorpion promises the frog he won’t sting him, or else they’ll both drown. Halfway across the river, the scorpion proceeds to do just that because, as he tells the frog, “It’s my nature.” Though Deucalion has faith in humanity, it might not be in sync with Gerard’s nature. Talia advises the optimistic Alpha to bring friends to any meetings with the elder Argent.
A transformed Ennis stalks Paige down a school hallway. Couldn’t he have done it anywhere else?
Peter explains that Ennis needed a new member for his pack and having Talia owe him a favor couldn’t hurt.”Did he turn her?” Stiles asks. Peter replies, “Almost.”
Seeing Paige crawling on the ground, young Derek has a change of heart and goes after Ennis. But he’s too late. Peter hides around the corner from the action, looking stricken.
It turns out Gerard also knows the scorpion story, but he tells it Scott and Allison as the scorpion and the turtle. Semantics. Actually, Scott already knows the tale, probably due to summer reading. “I know a werewolf’s nature,” Gerard says, saying he assumed Deucalion’s meeting was a trap.
Via flashback, we learn that Gerard may not know what a nemeton is, but he can explain distillation. At their meeting in the distillery, the hunter tells the group of assembled werewolves that it’s a method of separating mixtures based on differences in volatility. When Deucalion says he was hoping to avoid anything volatile, Gerard turns on the steam, choking the wolves.
Insisting to Scott and Allison it was an ambush, Gerard reminisces about his homemade spiked mace. He plays whack-a-wolf. “Your own people,” says Deucalion. “They wanted peace, too.”
It turns out werewolf bites don’t turn people 100 percent of the time. Peter sees young Derek clutching Paige’s bloody body. “Some people just aren’t made for this,” Derek’s uncle tells Cora and Stiles.
Deucalion crawls out of distillery in the flashback, telling Gerard, “I had a vision. A vision of peace.” Gerard isn’t a fan of vision. The hunter sends sparks shooting out of the werewolf’s eyes by jamming two arrows into the sockets. Gerard is the worst and maybe some sort of sorcerer.
As Paige wallows near death, young Derek offers her a sort-of-lame “Sorry.” It turns out Paige was smarter than most Beacon Hills adults because she figured there was something supernatural about Derek, what with his excellent hearing and sense of smell and perfect eyebrows. Derek’s impressed. “You still liked me?” he asks. “I loved you,” says Paige. Note the past tense. Trying to turn someone into a werewolf is a deal breaker. “I’m gonna die, aren’t I?” she ask, begging Derek to kill her before the pain gets worse. He holds her, apologizes, sticks his claws in, and screams.
Peter remembers taking her body from young Derek’s arms. Taking innocent life, he tells Cora and Stiles, darkens the soul, dimming it from a bright yellow to a cold, steel blue. “Like mine,” says Peter grimly.
Old-school Deaton unwraps Deucalion’s bandages. The vet breaks the news: the Alpha’s sight is gone. After letting out a wrenching scream, Deucalion asks that they respect his privacy at this time. Marco takes the opportunity to challenge his pack leader. We see the attack from Deucalion's perspective — which is tinted red. Through his red-rimmed pupils, Deucalion sees and kills Marco.
“He’s not always blind,” repeats Gerard back at his Center For the Mysteriously Ill. Deucalion sees as a wolf. Then Gerard asks for more healing from Scott and makes a half-hearted, “I was wrong” speech. Scott doesn’t buy it and accuses Gerard of lying. He grabs Gerard’s hand. “If you lied and it gets people hurt, I’ll be back to take away more than your pain,” says Scott in a surprising baritone.
At Derek’s loft, Stiles sits staring. Cora tells him his expression makes her want to punch him. Yep, she’s Derek's sister, says Stiles. The human has Heart of Darkness’s unreliable narrator on his mind. Maybe they shouldn’t trust Peter’s version of events, Stiles says. He realizes he’ll have to ask Derek about his dead girlfriend. Stiles might want to have a continent or two between them when he does.
Young Derek sits alone in the school when his mother comes in. “I did something. Something terrible,” he says. She already knows. “My eyes. They’re different,” says Derek. She tells him he’s still pretty.
Modern Derek stars at the spiral on distillery’s door as cello music plays.
Next week, we’ll see the darach’s true face!