Teen Wolf season 6, episode 9, “Memory Found,” had the senior pack walking down memory lane, trying their damnedest to remember what Stiles means to them.
With so many people having been taken by the Ghost Riders, the plot of this week’s episode of Teen Wolf is a lot more linear than it has been in a while. Instead of jumping around to three or four different, albeit interwoven, plot lines, we have two stories to keep track of — Theo and Liam in the hospital, and Malia, Scott, and Lydia in the bunker.
Sheriff Stilinski is not looking forward to asking Theo for help, so he does his absolute best to drive the kid a little insane as he dangles his freedom in front of him. Theo has a lot of great lines in this opening scene that show off his bluster, but it’s clear he’s terrified of what may happen if he’s left in his jail cell when the Riders show up.
The sheriff asks Theo to tell him just one thing about his son. “He was smart,” Theo says, reluctantly. Reverently. “Smart enough not to trust me.” Ironically, this gets the sheriff to open the cell door for Theo, but it’s already too late. They try to leave the station and are confronted by more than a dozen Ghost Riders. Bullets instantly start whizzing by and just like that, the sheriff is taken. It’s a shockingly abrupt departure, especially compared to the lengthy fight we saw last week with Hayden, but there’s little time to mourn Stiles’ father. Theo and Liam must run.
The pair of them flee the station and there’s a hilarious bit where Liam tries to find the right key for the car and Theo tries not to murder him. If these two weren’t sworn enemies who have tried to kill each other on multiple occasions, I think I’d really love to see them as contentious friends. Maybe that’ll come in the back half of season 6.
“I’m on your side as long as it helps me,” Theo says, surprising no one, least of all Liam. Liam promises to repay the favor, but in the haste of trying to fight off the Riders, they end up working together. “We’re both getting caught,” Liam tells Theo. “You can do it while you’re running. I’m going down fighting.”
Just like Peter, Theo has an opportunity to abandon his “friends” (I’m using that loosely for everyone’s sake), but gives it up in order to be a hero. Both Peter and Theo have always been complicated villains who, at one point or another, showed themselves to be more misguided than evil. They’re both reluctant heroes now, and I just love seeing how much that annoys the hell out of each of them.
It turns out that Theo is pretty good at the hero thing, though. He finds out that when you cut a Ghost Rider, they can still bleed, whereas Liam realizes you can shoot them dead with their own guns. That’s useful.
But it’s only useful when they’re not outnumbered three to one. It looks like Theo is going to run, to take the elevator up a floor and save himself, but as Liam prepares to go down swinging, Theo drags him into the lift and traps him there. “What are you doing?” Liam yells. “Being the bait,” Theo responds.
I wish the motivation behind Theo’s actions was a little more clear — what tipped him over the edge? — but I can’t say this wasn’t an emotional and validating moment for me. I’ve always liked Theo, but hated how terrible he was. Now we’re seeing his softer, kinder side, and I’m not about to turn my back on him. That said, I’d like to know if it was his time in hell, his hallucinations of his sister, or Liam’s bravery that convinced him to sacrifice himself. At least with Peter we know it’s because of his love for his daughter.
In another part of town, the senior pack isn’t fighting off Ghost Riders, but rather they’re trying to find a way to remember Stiles. “It’s not as cold as the ice bath you gave Isaac,” Lydia tells Scott, but Parrish’s cold chamber will allow Scott to experience hypnotic regression, which will hopefully restore his memories of his best friend.
This is just the beginning of an episode filled with past memories of Stiles. We start at the beginning, on that night when Scott’s werewolf powers are a bit too much for him, and see the way it hurts Stiles to be betrayed by and afraid of his best friend. From that moment on, it’s a whirlwind of moments the two friends have experienced side by side.
But that whirlwind is too much. Scott gets overwhelmed by the memories, and so Lydia realizes she must guide him through the onslaught. She tells him to imagine he’s standing in the school, in front of a line of lockers. Every locker is a different memory of Stiles, and Scott must find the right one.
“He said you were getting an apartment together,” Malia reminds Scott, relaying a story she remembers of Stiles from earlier in the year. “And I remember saying something to Stiles, something like, ‘It’s not always a good idea to live with your friends. Even your best friend.’ But Stiles said it wouldn’t matter because you weren’t just friends. You guys were more like brothers.”
It’s that single word, that single idea — brothers — that transports Scott back into the “Motel California” episode that destroyed us all in season 3. We see the moment again, and it’s just as powerful as it was the first time. I won’t even try to pretend it didn’t make me cry.
Unfortunately, Scott’s heart rate dropped too low for him to continue on in the cold chamber. Despite the fact that he can now remember Stiles, nothing happened. They didn’t open a rift in order to bring Stiles back into their dimension.
But now it’s Malia’s turn, and she can take the cold even better than Scott. Stiles was the first person she had connected to in a long time, and she chooses to remember him by flipping through books in a library. The big memory for Malia was from season 4 when she, Stiles, Scott, and Kira have been poisoned and are stuck in the Hale vault. “You’re coming back, right?” Malia asks Stiles, who must leave in order to find a way to save his friends. “Yeah, I’d never leave you behind,” he replies.
When Malia starts freezing out, they must pull her from the tank. It’s a blow to their plan considering something had started happening, but if they had kept at it, they would’ve brought Stiles back only to lose another friend.
But Scott knows what they have to do next. Lydia has the strongest connection to Stiles, and so it’s her turn to try her hand at getting him back. She can’t go into the cold chamber, so she’ll have to use actual hypnosis. (Side note: Malia lighting a small white candle with a blow torch is just about the most perfect metaphor for her outlook on life I’ve ever come across.) Malia is hopeless at reading Lydia’s script for the hypnosis, so Scott takes over, telling her to sit in front of a TV in order to watch the memories from her life.
The significant memory for Lydia is when she stops Stiles from having a panic attack just by kissing him. “It’s like the sun came out,” the song says in the background, and Lydia remarks, “When I kissed him, that’s when it all changed.”
Stydia shippers will surely go to town after this episode, and it’ll be fun to look back over the last couple of seasons knowing that Lydia had loved him all along, even when they were seeing other people. I’ve always been vocal about their connection, romantic or otherwise, and I love the throwback to this moment being the one that changed everything for her. This is truly when she saw him for the first time.
Lydia then remembers when Stiles was taken by the Ghost Riders. “I never said it back,” she tells Scott and Malia when she remembers his confession of love. It’s that realization, that remembrance of their connection, that opens up a rift right there in the tunnels. The ground shakes and a bright white light is seen at the end of the tunnel. The episode fades to black, but we still hear Lydia mutter, “Stiles?”
My love for Teen Wolf has been and always will be eternal. Despite the highs and lows, this show has always meant a great deal to me, and it has always kept me wanting to come back for more. But I don’t remember a time in all six seasons of this series where I have felt such an incredibly strong desire to see what happens next.
Perhaps it’s because I truly don’t know what will happen next. Dylan O’Brien’s schedule is hectic, between The Death Cure and American Assassin, he’s got plenty on his plate. I do believe he’ll be back for episode 10 (as of this writing, I haven’t seen the trailer for next week yet), but I don’t know how they’ll handle his character for the final 10 episodes of the series. If he makes it out of this alive, it doesn’t guarantee he’ll be around for the rest of the season.