After six episodes missing Stiles, “Teen Wolf” finally enacts a plan to get him back. Scott, Malia, and Lydia carry it out while they enlist Theo, Sheriff Stilinski, and Liam to act as decoys for the Ghost Riders.

Sheriff Stilinski is all of us

As he and Liam head to the police station to take on the Ghost Riders, he’s adamant about not involving Theo. In fact, he’d take anyone over Theo at that point - except there is no one left in Beacon Hills to help. Instead, he promises Theo to shoot him if the teenager does anything he doesn’t like.

No one in the audience trusts Theo, and I can’t be the only one who was worried when the decoy tactics were left up to him and Liam.

I would have much rather watched the sheriff and Liam interacting since we haven’t seen them have a lot of scenes together. To be frank, seeing Liam and Theo sniping at one another while on the run didn’t even need to be included. It’s enough to know that they’re acting as a distraction. The better focus of the episode is on Scott, Malia, and Lydia trying to open the rift by remembering Stiles.

Searching for memories

The ice chamber that used to hold Parrish is what Lydia decides is the perfect tool to put Scott in a trance-like state to make his memories of Stiles more accessible. No one wants to be a downer when it comes to “Teen Wolf,” but when it comes to flimsy plans, this one might be the flimsiest the show has done since Lydia, Scott, and Malia have no idea how to use this machine and Lydia has to rely on what little she knows about hypnosis (though, smart to have her use locker doors and opening books to stand in for separate memories, the kind of visualization techniques actually used in regression therapy) to steer them in the right direction.

On the plus side, this plan allowed the show to take the audience on a stroll through memory lane and use a lot of archived footage of Dylan O’Brien while he was recovering from injuries suffered on the set of “The Death Cure.” The show makes good use of those memories, flitting through a lot of early scenes on the show before having Scott, at the halfway mark for the episode, remember Stiles offering to die with him and taking the flare from him so many seasons ago.

It was one of the most powerful moments the show has done, but here - Scott finds that it’s not enough.

Teen Wolf” has certainly found a way to tug at the fan’s heartstrings in this final season.

Hypnotizing Lydia

Everyone saw this coming, right? Despite the focus on Scott being the Alpha, we all knew that it was going to come down to Lydia having to remember Stiles.

It’s interesting that her script is using television channels to stand in for memories. I would have thought she’d be the one to open books in the library.

We do get several callbacks to earlier seasons though, including the infamous “what the hell is a Stiles” line that this season had already referenced and the first time Lydia kissed him. Those moments have long been fan favorites, but this time, we get to see things from Lydia’s point of view instead of from Stiles’. While Stiles had always been aware of Lydia, the moment everything changed for her was that first kiss.

It’s sweet, but it’s also an excellent way to acknowledge the group of fans who have been rooting for these two characters to get together since the show started.

“I didn’t say it back.”

Ending the episode with Lydia’s memory of her final moments with Stiles, and the realization that he told her he loved her, but that she didn’t respond is a powerful hook to get us to come back for more. Everyone’s got to wonder: are these two going to end up together by the end of the series? Or is this connection going to stay a platonic one?

The verdict and what’s next

Despite not liking the cutting between the decoys and the plan this week, I did think this was one of the strongest episodes yet. I love the interweaving of the nostalgia with the sense of urgency.

4 out of 5 stars.

We head into the “Teen Wolf” midseason finale next week:

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