Stiles, Allison and Scott struggles to tell the difference between dreams and reality after coming back from the dead in Teen Wolf’s winter premiere, “Anchors.”

In the summer finale, Siles (Dylan O’Brien), Allison (Crystal Reed) and Scott (Tyler Posey) underwent a supernatural ritual that essentially left them in a semi-dead state to free their consciousness to find their parents before they were used as human sacrifices. Dr. Deaton (Seth Gilliam) had warned them that the risky procedure was not without consequences. In their temporary death, the three friends invited darkness into their hearts, and now that darkness is slowly taking over their lives.

Stiles Is Trapped In His Nightmares

We begin with Stiles, who finds himself prisoner to his dreams. “Don’t let them in,” he mumbles in his sleep before his dream self stumbles out of his locker in the locker room at school and into a dark, abandoned hallway. Slowly he makes his way to a classroom, where the giant tree stump nemeton waits for him. He puts his hand over it and roots sprout from the stump, wrapping around his hand, holding him there. He screams, and wakes suddenly in his bed. Lydia (Holland Roden) appears next to him and tries to comfort him, but Stiles is confused. Why is she there? And, what is making the door to his bedroom ajar? He goes to close it and walks through, into a forest and to the nemeton. Stiles, afraid, forces himself to wake up, but is still freaked. At school, he tells Scott that he was suffering from ‘sleep paralysis,’ when his mind woke up from sleep before his body, and he was aware that he couldn’t move that morning, causing intense nightmares. Just as he tells Scott that what scares him the most is that he’s not sure what’s happening is real, Stiles wakes up screaming in his bed. And his father comes rushing in, hugging him in an effort to tether him to reality. It wasn’t real after all, but the lines are becoming increasingly blurred for Stiles, and he’s not the only one.

Scott, who not only died and came back to life, but also became an Alpha on his own at the end of the first half of the third season, is struggling to control his werewolf side. His shadow appears to him in his wolf form, his eyes look red to him, even when they’re not. As for Allison, she is plagued with dreams of her (supposedly) dead aunt Kate, the vindictive werewolf hunter.

Lydia and Stiles are quick to put two and two together: Scott, Stiles and Allison must all be suffering from the same thing, and they just have to figure out what it is and how tos stop it. Easier said then done as the hallucinations escalate. Stiles, who says that a person is unable to read in dreams, is having trouble reading when he’s awake. The letters are the same, but are scrambled, and numbers become symbols. Even his subconscious tells him things in languages he can’t understand. During a waking dream he experiences in class, his classmates begin signing to him. When he wakes up, he thinks he just fell asleep in class, until Scott informs him that he was definitely not asleep. On his notebook, Stiles had repeatedly written ‘Wake Up.’

Scott Loses Control

Meanwhile, Lydia takes Allison out for target practice after noticing her shaky hands, and Allison almost kills Lydia after hallucinating that her dead aunt was running around in the trees. Luckily, Isaac (Daniel Sharman) was there to grab the arrow just before it collided with Lydia’s face. Isaac, who is now living with Scott and his mother, is silently stalking Allison. The two have bonded, and, while nothing romantic has happened yet, Isaac definitely feels protective over her. Allison isn’t the only one almost accidentally murdering people. Scott begins to transform in the middle of the hallway at school and cannot control it. Stiles tries to help, and in the end Scott uses pain to bring himself back (he jams his wolf finger nails into his hands until he bleeds).

The gang meets up over lunch and discusses their symptoms. Kira (Arden Cho), the new girl in school, overhears their discussion and informs them that what they are describing is ‘Barto,’ a Tibetan word that means ‘in-between state.’ Essentially, she tells them that the symptoms they were describing are all part of Barto, a sort of purgatory state between life and death. The final stage, she says, is death.

The Open Door

Scott and Stiles meet with Dr. Deaton to tell him about their hallucinations and Deaton says that he doesn’t know how to help them. All he does know is that they are experiencing some kind of darkness from the sacrifice/death ritual. When Stiles tells him about the sign language message he received during his waking dream, Deaton translates it as, “When is a door not door?” Deaton believes that the ritual they performed open a door in their consciousness, and now they must find a way to close it before darkness consumes them.

Outside of their psychological hells, Scott and Stiles try to help Sheriff Stilinski (Linden Ashby) with an old case that has been bothering him. Now that the Sheriff knows about the supernatural creatures that have been populating Beacon Hills, he is obsessed with going over old, unsolved cases to see if the knowledge sheds any new light on them. One case in particular catches his attention. Eight years ago, on the night of a full moon, a woman and her two daughters were in a tragic car accident and it appeared that they had been attacked by a pack of coyotes, who had left them with bite and scratch marks. One body, that of the youngest, Malia, was never found. The police believed that she had been dragged from the scene of the crash by the animals, but now Sheriff Stilinski is convinced it was a werewolf attack and Malia’s body might still be out there. After hitting some dead ends, the Sheriff gives up. He’s getting ready to be pushed out of his position as Sheriff by Scott’s FBI father, who is building a case against him, and this was his last ditch effort to solve a case before his badge gets taken away. Unwilling to let his father ruin Stiles’ family, Scott drags Stiles out in the middle of the night to find a dead body – Malia’s body. After surveying the scene of the crash, Scott and Stiles quickly determine that it was, indeed, a werewolf attack. Scott hears an animal, a wolf, and goes in search of it. When he meets it, he flashes his red eyes as a signal to the animal and is shocked when the wolf’s eyes glow blue. “Malia?” he asks, but the wolf runs away.

Finally, Derek (Tyler Hoechlin) and Peter (Ian Bohen) pop up. In the summer finale, viewers will remember that Derek and Peter left Beacon Hills. Scott calls Derek for help, but he can’t get to the phone. He’s tied up, chained to a chain-link fence alongside his uncle, Peter, being electrocuted by someone unseen.

Teen Wolf returns Monday at 10 p.m. on MTV.

Olivia Truffaut-Wong

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