A Novel Approach is the 5th episode of Teen Wolf Season 5.


The pack enters Eichen House in order to learn more about the Dread Doctors.

Full RecapEdit

Stiles Stilinski struggles with Donovan in the parking lot of Beacon Hills High School (Location: Teen Wolf HQ Northridge, California) just minutes after the end of Condition Terminal. Stiles manages to get away, head butting him and striking him with a wrench. He flees into the school.

Donovan follows. A mouth, like the one seen on his hand earlier, appears on his neck briefly then disappears.

Stiles uses his student ID to access the library keycard reader and unlock the doors. Donovan does the same with another key card a few seconds later.

Stiles phone buzzes. Donovan picks it up and says it is Malia and offers to text her back. Donovan tells a story about how his father became paralyzed in a shootout. A bullet shattered his T-9 vertebra. Sheriff Stilinski, a deputy at the time, was calling for backup at the time and Donovan believes this to be cowardice on his Stilinski’s part. He says his father was paralyzed from the waist down by the incident and he blames the Sheriff.

Stiles, from his hiding place among the rows of books, sees Donovan climb the stairs but seconds later Donovan is on the same level and grabs Stiles by the throat pulling him through the bookshelf. They struggle over to some scaffolding repairmen are using to do construction on the interior. Stiles begins to climb. Donovan quickly grabs his legs and says he plans to eat them. His eyes flash white showing that the Dread Doctors used Wendigo as part of his chimeric genetic makeup.

Stiles sees a pin with a ring just above him. It is holding up part of the structure and he grasps for it. Finally getting hold and pulling it out, he releases several metal bars on top of Donovan. He falls backward impaled on one of the bars.

Stiles approaches and starts to try pull the bar out of Donovans’ chest but stops. Donovan gasps, coughs and dies. The doctors silver fluid flows from the wound.

A 911 call is displayed via a graphical sound wave on screen. The caller does not speak but can be heard breathing. The operator asks several times about the nature of the emergency. Another voice is heard asking where the call is coming from. The operator says the school and they dispatch a car to check it out.

Stiles hangs up the phone in the library. He looks again at Donovan’s body then makes to head outside leaving a book to prop the door open. Then he hears his phone buzzing. He returns to retrieve it from Donovan’s pocket. The call is from Malia. He rejects the call, then runs out the door.

Stiles manages to start his jeep then sits for a moment trying to figure out what to do. He hears sirens, turns off the headlights and backs into a darkened corner of the parking lot as the sheriff’s patrol truck pulls into the lot. Stiles watches as the deputy enters the school. He is nervous and out of sorts. His hands are still covered in Donovan’s blood and he can’t keep them still.

The deputy exits the school and radios back to dispatch. Stiles quickly turns on his scanner and hears the officer say the call was a “653” which is a “prank call” in the Beacon Hills department. The officer drives away. Stiles returns to the school and finds the library clean. Donovan’s body is gone and there is no obvious sign of the earlier struggle but Stiles touches one of the steel beams and his hand comes away wet with fresh blood.

Scott and Kira are in bed together. She is talking in her sleep repeating the Japanese phrase she used when attacking Lucas (See: Condition Terminal). Scott’s phone beeps. He picks it up and sees that the alarm at the animal clinic has been tripped.

Back at home now, Stiles writes up three scenarios on his “murder board” – “Donovan not dead. Walked out,” “Donovan Dead” and “Someone took the body.” He seems near tears, lower lip quivering, as he frantically erases the list. He throws the eraser at the board and begins to rub his shoulder where Donovan’s hand “bit” him.

Stiles phone buzzes. He answers and Scott tells him someone has stolen the body of Tracy Stewart from the Animal clinic and Lucas’s body from the hospital morgue.

In the Beacon Hills Preserve near the Nemeton, Deputy Parrish unloads Donovan’s body and carries it away. His eyes glow orange and he seems to be in a trance.

Lydia and Malia discuss the book “The Dread Doctors” by T.R. McCammon as they enter School the next day. Malia says she’s read it but it didn’t make any sense. Lydia says there is something familiar about the book and they should all read it. Malia says Kira is working on that.

Kira is in the library running off copies of the book.

Malia says Stiles can’t find anything on the author and believes it is a pen name. Lydia reads the back cover:

“In a small New England town, teenagers are taken in the night and buried alive. Days later they emerge transformed wreaking havoc and spreading terror, commanded by an ancient order of parascientists known only as the Dread Doctors.”

Lydia says it sounds “vaguely familiar.” She asks Malia how the book ends. She says it doesn’t that the book they have is volume 1 but there is no volume 2. Malia thinks they’re living volume 2.

Scott talks to Kira in the library explaining that he doesn’t believe the Dread Doctors are stealing the bodies because on two occasions that they know about the doctors left their victims behind. Kira agrees that someone else must be taking them. Scott says the bodies aren’t just bodies, “they’re failures.” Kira wonders if the chimeras are all failures what a success might be.

As Scott is leaving the library he catches a scent of blood.

Scott shows the book to Theo. He feigns ignorance claiming “I’d never even heard of a Kanima until a few days ago.” He comments on the fact that Scott’s pack gets involved a lot then suggests Scott look for the author of the book. Scott explains that it’s a dead end. Theo then “finds” the acknowledgements page in the book.

In class Malia wants to know why Lydia’s heart is beating so fast. Lydia shows her the acknowledgements page.

“For providing scientific perspective and invaluable insight this book is dedicated to Dr. Gabriel Valack.”

At the Dread Doctor’s lair, Theo says the book worked and they’re going to find Valack at Eichen House.

Stiles insists on accompanying Lydia to Eichen House to see Valack. She says he doesn’t have to go because he earlier claimed he was sick. She points out that Malia won’t be going. Stiles explains that Malia is staying away because she knows it is a “nightmare asylum of insanity and death.” He insists on going.

Stiles winces as he puts on his hoodie. Lydia notices and asks him about it. He lies and says he has a bad elbow. She points out that it was his shoulder and he says “pain radiates.” He still insists he is coming, reminding her of what happened to Dr. Deaton when he talked to Valack (See: A Promise to the Dead) and reminding her of their own run in with Brunski (See: Perishable).

Kira and Scott are scouring his room for her belt. She tries to bring up the fact that Scott said he loved her last episode but backs out. She then asks him to look at her with his werewolf eyes. He sees the hulking, flaming fox aura surrounding her. The aura points to the belt under his bed. Scott doesn't tell her about the aura. He directs her to the belt and says everything else is fine.

Lydia tries to buzz in at Eichen House (Location: Mary Andrews Clark Memorial Home downtown Los Angeles, California). Stiles and Scott discuss the fact that Kira spoke Japanese without knowing how and tried to take Lucas’ head off until Scott stopped her. Stiles, thinking of his own experience with Donovan but not mentioning it outright, asks if there is ever a time that killing in self-defense is alright. Scott says no because these creatures they’re fighting are the victims. They are the people they’re trying to save.

The Eichen House gate opens and they all climb the stairs, pausing as one and turning back as the gate shuts and locks behind them.

Eichen House orderly Schrader (Clayton Froning) makes the group remove everything from their pockets. He also insists that Kira remove her belt because a patient might get hold of it and hurt themselves or someone else. Schrader stares at Lydia. Stiles notices the pin from the scaffolding was still in his pocket.

As a favor to Deaton and against his better judgment, Conrad Fenris (John Posey) leads the group down to the supernatural ward at Eichen House. Stiles asks about the etiquette for meeting with Dr. Valack, specifically should they look into his third eye. Fenris recommends avoiding eye contact with any of the patients.

Malia is reading The Dread Doctors novel again in the library at school. Theo comes and sits with her, taking out his pre-calculus textbook. They share a couple of looks, suspicious Malia and cocky Theo.

Halfway down the hallway at Eichen, Scott and Kira stop. Fenris explains that the Mountain Ash in the walls is thick and they can’t go any further. Lydia and Stiles go in together.

They pass cells, the first contains a female with the same facial deformity we saw with The Mute in Season 4. In the next cell Stiles sees Donovan but as he walks a few steps further he sees that what he thought was Donovan is actually a bulky creature with large pointy ears and a enlarged mouth with many sharp teeth.

Valack demands that Stiles tell him what he just saw. He explains that the creature in the next cell is a Sluagh and the myth goes that they can take on the appearance of the lost souls that have become inextricably bound to it. He asks if Stiles saw any lost souls and he says everybody down there is a lost soul. Valack says don’t’ give up on them yet because we’re all works in progress. Lydia recognizes the phrase and asks him where he heard it. Valack says it was “wise words” from a former cellmate.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This “works in progress” line echoes something Peter Hale said to Derek Hale in Battlefield. Lydia was not present for that conversation.

Valack explains that he wrote the book “The Dread Doctors” and that it is also a tool designed to open the readers’ eyes to the Dread Doctors.

Malia begins packing up her stuff to leave and Theo offers her a ride. She says she’ll take the bus and he says the last one left already. He then brings up her drivers’ education class and how she almost ran over a student. He offers her his keys so that she can practice and she accepts.

Valack explains that he used a pseudonym for the book because he had to protect his professional reputation from the ruination of putting it on a second rate piece of trash. He says he wrote the book because no one believed him. He surmises that they have returned, this time in Beacon Hills. He says they’re not entirely human anymore. He says they were scientists who worshiped the supernatural.

He then quotes Nikola Tesla “If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.”

Valack says the Dread Doctors found their secrets in electromagnetic forces it allowed them to prolong their lives, give them power and most importantly making you forget you ever saw them.  Valack then bargains with Lydia for more information. He wants her to record a scream into a digital recorder in exchange for the rest of the story.

Scott can’t hear anything through the Mountain Ash. Kira says she feels weak. Scott likens it to sedation. Kira regrets coming. Scott says Lydia and Stiles make a good team. He points out that they don’t have super strength or samurai swords but they manage to stay alive. Scott talks about how obsessed Stiles used to be with Lydia and how that has grown into a strong friendship and partnership.  He also reveals that Lydia used to pretend not to be smart but that Stiles knew the truth because he listened, remembered and paid attention.

The lights begin to flicker. Lightning flickers around Kira’s hand.

Lydia tries to convince Stiles to let her record the scream. Stile says Valack is a nutjob. Valack asks how many are dead so far and asks if they want to know how many died the first time the Dread Doctors came “here.”

Valack says it happened before and the doctors are back because “a few teenagers who never even considered the consequences decided to reignite a supernatural force they barely understand.”

Lydia realizes he is talking about the Nemeton and Stiles asks how he would know. Valack says he saw it and removes the bandage revealing the hole in his head the third eye inside his skull.

In the hallway, Kira is now consumed in lightning. Scott asks her to stop but she claims she’s not doing anything.

The lights in Valack’s cell begin to flicker and he realizes they brought a Kitsune with them as one of the overhead fixtures sparks and explodes. Valack explains that Kira is disrupting the building’s defenses. He says they use more than Mountain Ash. They also use electromagnetic energy. Eichen is built on a convergence of Telluric currents or ley lines (See: Currents) and that power allows them to keep certain supernaturals in and others out.

Valack says they knew Kira was coming and the short circuit of the electromagnetic defenses allows the Dread Doctors to walk right in to Eichen House.

Theo makes fun of Malia for driving the speed limit and for the way she holds her hands on the steering wheel (Location: Woodley Park in Van Nuys, California). She begins to flash back to the night her mother and sister were killed in a wreck. Her foot presses further down on the gas pedal and the truck accelerates. Theo freaks and tries to get the wheel. He manages to get her to stop and Malia stumbles out of the truck. She kneels on the pavement and remembers that there had been another car in the road the night her family died. She remembers a female figure with two guns firing at their car and causing it to wreck. She believes this figure was her birthmother, The Desert Wolf.

At Eichen, more lights explode and Kira collapses still bathed in electricity. Scott rushes to her side but as he reaches out to her a bolt of lightning knocks him across the room.

Valack urges Lydia to record her scream. Stiles wants to bargain. Lydia demands to know what the book does. Valack explains that it clears the memory centers of the brain and allows the reader to remember the Dread Doctors. He says if you’ve seen them, if they’ve done something to you then the book will help you remember. Anyone taken by the doctors would be able to remember after reading the book. He wrote the book in hopes of finding others like himself who had seen them before.

Lydia begins to remember her experience from Condition Terminal in which the Beacon Hills Hospital staff turned into the Dread Doctors.

Lydia takes the digital recorder from Stiles and hits record.

Doctor Fenris tells Scott they need to get Kira out of the building but Scott can’t touch her with the lightning sill firing off her. The Dread Doctors kill an orderly at the end of the hall and then trigger the electronic door open.

Fenris runs away through a door marked stairs. Scott refuses to leave Kira and with the lightning scorching the skin of his face and arms he lifts her and carries her through the same door.

Lydia slips the recorder back into Valack’s cell as alarms sound throughout Eichen House. Lydia asks what the doctors want and Valack again tells her to read the book. Stiles and Lydia manage to hide as the Dread Doctors pass down the hall past them.

The doctors reach Valack’s cell and use a device to pluck out his third eye. He screams in pain and drops to the floor. The doctors leave.

Scott gets Kira outside and the lightning subsides. He is badly burned and obviously exhausted. They lay together on the pavement. He says he remembers what he said at the club and that he meant it. He loves her.

Lydia says she thinks they’re okay, meaning the doctors are gone. Stiles says they’re not okay. He believes they are to blame for everything the Dread Doctors have done or will do. Lydia says it’s their responsibility.

In his cell, Valack crawls to the glass, takes the digital recorder and places it in a cup and the cup against the glass of his enclosure. Lydia’s scream plays out of the recorder. The glass begins to crack.  

Soundtrack Edit

  • Summer Heart - “Thinkin’ of U”
Scene: Lydia and Malia discuss the novel.
  • Oscar and the Wolf - “Strange Entity”
Scene: Theo offers Malia a ride.
  • Hermitude - “Eyes Closed”
Scene: Malia drives Theo’s truck.
  • Ruelle - “Until We Go Down”
Scene: Scott carries Kira out of Eichen House.

Episodes List Edit

Season 5 Season 5 Season 6
#01 Creatures of the Night #06 Required Reading #11 The Last Chimera #16 Lie Ability
#02 Parasomnia #07 Strange Frequencies #12 Damnatio Memoriae #17 A Credible Threat
#03 Dreamcatchers #08 Ouroboros #13 Codominance #18 Maid of Gevaudan
#04 Condition Terminal #09 Lies of Omission #14 The Sword and the Spirit #19 The Beast of Beacon Hills
#05 A Novel Approach #10 Status Asthmaticus #15 Amplification #20 Apotheosis


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