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Teen Wolf 3×06 “Motel California” Recap

Warning: This post contains spoiler from the latest episode of Teen Wolf.


Welcome back! Come, make a semicircle around me like a third grade class while I tell you about the ten greatest moments from this week’s episode of Teen Wolf, “Motel California”!

1. Stiles’ List of Suspects

Aaaaaaand, commence creepy rundown ‘50s hotel episode of Teen Wolf!

We start off in relatively normal territory (with the added bonus of the group from last week stuck overnight at a hotel since their cross country meet has been pushed back a day), with Stiles talking to Scott about the sacrifices plaguing Beacon Hills. His list of suspects includes Cora, the sacrificed chemistry teacher they don’t yet realize is dead, Badass Vet, and Derek (twice). Interestingly, he’s added Lydia to the list – since she has a tendency to go all amnesiac and wake up next to bodies.

2. Back in Beacon Hills

Although it would have been interesting to do a bottle episode of sorts at the hotel, action in Beacon Hills keeps on trucking. Jennifer gets Derek back to his pad after watching him collapse in the school parking lot last week, while Papa Argent checks out the abandoned mall where the werewolf brawl went down. Why, I have no idea.



3. Creeeeepy Hotel Moments

Based on the opening scene – where a guy wolfing out chooses to off himself at the motel – the place has a special significance for lycanthropes. So far, only our wolf pals have started acting funny (Scott getting too close for comfort with a showering Allison, a dead-eyed Boyd smashing in the snack machine, Isaac way too enthralled with TV show).

Lydia’s conversation with the owner suggests there’s a mysteriously high suicide rate at the establishment, as well.

4. The Argent Family Phone Call

Allison and Papa Argent talk on the phone, each one keeping secrets from the other. While Allison lies through omission about her part in the werewolf brawl (oh, so that’s why Papa Argent was investigating at the mall), her dad lies about checking up on her whereabouts. He offers to come gets her and her friends, but she turns him down, even though the hotel is super creepy and obviously a pit of doom.

5. Another Hilarious Derek/Jennifer Scene

Well, this plot line just refuses to stop, doesn’t it?

Not much happens here. Jennifer makes an extremely out of place comment about Derek’s abs (she herself notes that it’s out of place, but not because he’s apparently dying, but because he’s bleeding black blood – it’s good to know that if he were bleeding out red blood, their “first date” would have been a success in her book). Derek comes to and Jennifer throws some lame English teacher banter his way about heroes faking their deaths in classic literature. He eats it up and they start making out, as a suitably cheesy song swells.



6. Various Hallucinations

While Lydia has her aural visions of past deaths, the wolves begin hallucinating their fears. Boyd sees a dead woman from his past named Alisha (his sister??) in the ice machine, Isaac relives his abusive father’s taunts and gets trapped in a real/metaphorical freezer, Ethan’s wolfieness tries to escape his body, and Scott sees his mom’s throat get ripped out by the Uber Alpha.

In a refreshing move, Allison doesn’t question Lydia’s lucidity after all the werewolf shit they’ve been through, and they immediately try to seek out the owner to ask her more questions, only to find that the number sign on the office wall marking suicides has jumped up by three.

7. Mystery Trio Unite!

Oh, god, that title – shoot me now.

Well anyway, Stiles, Lydia, and Allison meet up and hash out details about what they know. They make the “only happening to werewolves” connection, figure out that there are newspaper clippings hidden in each room about the suicides that occurred there, and then they hear a hand saw…

Ethan is trying to cut whatever he’s hallucinating out of him, but Stiles tries wrestling it away from him while Lydia shuts it off. Ethan leaves in a huff (typical alpha behavior). Stiles then brings up the fact that people seeing their greatest fear is similar to a season two episode in which partygoers drank wolfsbane. He suggests that maybe Lydia is responsible for everything that is going on without strictly realizing it, but she is so not down for that explanation.

8. More Werewolf Shenanigans

Boyd listens to a radio rendition of his younger self being questioned about Alisha’s disappearance while Allison goes looking for Scott, who seems to be missing. Boyd then goes down to the office in some sort of trance and eyes a heavy-looking safe. He uses it to weigh himself down underwater so he can drown without backing out, but another vision drives Lydia to his room and with Stiles’ help, they manage to save him. By using heat to burn the would-be victims, they knock Boyd and Isaac out of their trances.



9. Scott’s Big Finish

While the other two were easy to snap out of the trance, Scott proves to be much more a challenge. He’s dowsed himself in gas and is holding the last, flaming, flare in the parking lot when Stiles, Lydia, and Allison find him. He talks about how there’s no hope (in regards to Scott’s guilt over Derek’s “death”: dude, Derek is currently banging your teacher, so I think you’re absolved in that particular area), and that he and Stiles were “nobodies” before werewolves came into the picture.

Stiles tells him he’s wrong – that Scott has always been a somebody to Stiles – and then steps into the circle of gas, managing to get the flare away from Scott before he does any damage. There’s barely any time for them to relax before the thing causing the sacrifices magically appears and shoves the flare into the gas.

Sudden Badass Lydia manages to knock both of them out of the line of fire, just in time to see the creature – an old crone, apparently – materialize in the fire.

10. Resolutions

The next morning, Lydia steals the coach’s whistle from around his neck and finds wolfsbane inside, explaining why only the werewolves were affected by the visions.

Ethan thanks Scott (ignoring an incredulous Stiles in the background) for saving his life, and in return he tells Scott that Derek is alive, but because he murdered one of their own, Derek either needs to join the Alphas or start killing his own pack.

Finally, Papa Argent goes to visit gross, decrepit Grandpa Argent (who’s totally alive, surprise surprise) for information on who turned one of his ancestors. Turns out, it was Deucalion, the Uber Alpha himself.


This was a very good episode. It was nice getting a break from all the Alpha shenanigans back home for a week, since, while entertaining on an episode to episode basis, is sort of spinning its wheels.

Lydia taking center stage was great as well, something I’m hoping for more of as we get deeper into this Dark Druid storyline. The only downside of the episode was zero explanation for all the suicides. I get why shit went down with the wolves, but what was it about that place that made all the other guests kill themselves?

I mean, it’s a crappy hotel, but trust me, California has much worse motor roach castles.

Rating: A

What did you think of “Motel California”? Hit up the comments and let us know!

Check out the preview for next week’s episode: