"So, being completely honest... this was kind of a perfect birthday."
"Good. I'd know if you were lying, anyway."
"Oh, really?"
"You have a tell. You touch your eyebrow right here."

The Tell is the fifth episode of Season 1 and the Teen Wolf series.

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

There's another animal attack, this time witnessed by Jackson and Lydia, raising more questions about wild animals. Meanwhile, Scott and Allison skip school and Derek must deal with the werewolf hunters on his own.

Plot[edit | edit source]

The episode begins in front of the Video 2*C, where Jackson Whittemore and Lydia Martin are sitting in Lydia's Volkswagon Beetle and trying to decide on a movie. Jackson begs her to watch Hoosiers, claiming its the best sports movie ever made, but when Lydia refuses, he insists that he's not watching The Notebook again.

The scene cuts to inside the store, where Jackson is reluctantly asking for an employee to show him where The Notebook is. However, when he doesn't seen any employees around, he scoffs, only to be unnerved by the lights flickering overhead. He starts to walk around, only to become even more worried when he sees a pair of dark boots on the ground sticking out from between two aisles of shelves. When he walks around to check it out, he finds the employee, Leveque, laying dead in a pool of blood, his throat viciously ripped out. Absolutely horrified, Jackson backs up, only to bump into a ladder where Leveque was apparently repairing the overhead lights, knocking it over and causing the fluorescent light to fall to the floor.

This knocks out all of the electricity in the store, which is visible from outside, though Lydia, who is still sitting in her car and happily taking selfies of herself on her phone, doesn't notice. Inside, a terrified Jackson has just turned around to see the Alpha at the other end of the building, who growls at him menacingly. Jackson ducks behind a shelf, and when he peeks around the corner, the Alpha leaps in his direction, causing him to hide again. Suddenly, the Alpha knocks over the far shelf, which causes the ones in front of it to fall like dominoes, forcing Jackson to jump aside to avoid getting hit. He's laying face-down on the floor until the Alpha comes and is about to attack him when he sees the claw marks on the back of his neck, which glow bluish-pink. The Alpha then flees, leaving Jackson unharmed. He bursts through the glass windows of the store, scaring Lydia so much that she screams in terror, not realizing that her phone is picking up video of the fleeing werewolf just before the title card plays.

Outside of a fast food restaurant, Stiles and Sheriff Stilinski are eating dinner while Stiles berates him for eating curly fries despite him not being allowed to do so. Stiles is startled when Sheriff gets a radio call from dispatch informing him of a 187, or a homicide.

The scene cuts back to Video 2*C, where Jackson and Lydia are being checked out by paramedics just as Stiles and Sheriff arrive, though Sheriff orders Stiles to stay put while he deals with it. Jackson and Lydia just want to go home, but Sheriff insists that Jackson needs to be checked out by a doctor since he thinks that Jackson sustained a concussion in the chaos. Jackson loses his temper and calls him a "minimum-wage rent-a-cop," just as the paramedics wheel out Leveque's dead body on a gurney, much to Stiles' horror and amazement.

Up on the roof of the video rental store, Scott McCall and Derek Hale are standing and watching the scene play out. Derek asks him if he's finally starting to understand what's really happening, and Scott replies that he doesn't understand why the Alpha is killing people before asking him if all werewolves go out in the middle of the night and kill everyone. However, Derek replies, "No. We're predators. We don't have to be killers," before assuring him that they're going to find out why the Alpha is killing people. As they walk away, a glowing red spiral appears in the gravel on the roof, indicating that the Alpha put it there.

After Scott and Derek return to the Hale House, Scott reminds him that he has a life, including homework and a parent-teacher conference because he's failing chemistry, and states that he doesn't care about what he says regarding the Alpha trying to make him his pet for his pack. Derek retorts that he has to choose between homework and not dying, since they have less than a week before the next full moon, and explains that he can't track the Alpha himself because his scent in human form could be totally different. According to Derek, werewolves are more powerful in packs, and they need numbers on their side to stop the Alpha. Scott's connection to him due to his bite makes him the only one who can find him, which means that Derek has to teach him to use his abilities to do so. His first lesson is that pain makes werewolves human, as evidenced when Scott was shot by Chris Argent in Wolf Moon, and that Scott has to learn to stay in werewolf form even when he's injured, which Derek tries to teach him by breaking his arm, with little success.

At the Argent House, Kate walks into Allison's bedroom and once again apologizes for her "horrible behavior" during the family dinner with Scott, but Allison assures her that it's totally forgotten. Kate insists that she hasn't forgotten and tells Allison to call her a "horrid bitch" or something to make her feel better, but Allison argues that she was just being protective. Kate then gives Allison an early birthday present, despite the fact that she claims to not be sentimental, and when Allison opens it, she finds a silver pendant with a wolf and a fleur-de-lis on a silver chain. When Kate asks if she's forgiven, Allison jumps up and hugs her, promising her that she loves it. Kate explains that the necklace is a family heirloom, and that if she wants to learn more about their family, she should look up the symbol. Allison gives her a look and points out that she's making her work for it, but Kate assures her that some mysteries are worth the wait.

At school, Allison opens her locker to find a bunch of helium-filled party balloons inside, which pop out at her, and she looks panicked as she shoves them back in before anyone can see. Unfortunately, Scott saw it all go down and approaches her to ask if it's her birthday, which Allison reluctantly confirms before begging him not to tell anyone. When he asks why, she points out that she's seventeen, which surprises Scott, but he correctly assumes that she got held back because she had to move constantly, a reaction that shocks Allison. She tells him that he's the first person to make that correct assumption and states that people at her old schools though she was either mentally handicapped or had to repeat a year because she got pregnant or something. Scott then decides that the two of them are going to skip school to celebrate her birthday properly, and get ready to leave.

In the chemistry lab, Mr. Harris explains that parent-teacher conferences are that evening, and that anyone with a grade below a C is required to attend with their parents. He then asks if anyone has seen Scott before walking over to the anxious-looking Jackson and assuring him that he can leave class for any reason if he needs to due to his stressful experience the previous night. After he berates Stiles for his highlighting methods, Stiles turns to Danny Mahealani and asks him if Lydia was in homeroom, which Danny answers with "no." When he then asks if Danny or anyone else knows what happened to her and Jackson last night, Danny hesitantly admits that Jackson wouldn't tell him anything, which Stiles finds hard to believe. Finally, Stiles asks if Danny thinks he's attractive, and becomes so stressed about the answer that he falls out of his chair.

Allison and Scott have just gotten into Allison's car, where she starts to get second thoughts about skipping due to how angry her dad is going to be when he finds out. However, when Scott asks if she always follows her dad's rules, she smiles and says, "Not lately," which he proclaims to be good before instructing her to start the car. She still starts to worry about the consequences, but when they see the truancy officer patrolling the parking lot, the two ultimately drive away.

Jackson is getting dressed after gym class in the locker room when Derek suddenly appears behind him, causing Jackson to become so terrified that he instantly stammers that he has no idea where Scott is. Derek replies that he's actually here to see him and asks him what he saw the previous night at the video rental store. Jackson insists that he didn't see anything, but Derek doesn't believe him, asking him if it was an animal, like a mountain lion. Jackson swears that he didn't see anything and states that he's not lying, so Derek makes him repeat it slowly one more time so he can listen to his heartbeat. Derek menacingly pins Jackson face-first against the locker just to frighten him and tells him to get the claw marks on the back of his neck checked out before he leaves.

Scott and Allison decide to go to the Beacon Hills Preserve to hang out for the day, and Scott jokes that he'll blame Allison if they get caught for skipping school before the two begin flirting with each other seductively.

Meanwhile, at the Martin House, Natalie Martin walks into Lydia's room to inform her that Stiles is there to see her. Lydia mumbles, "What the hell is a 'Stiles'?", and when Stiles looks at Natalie in confusion, she admits that Lydia has taken anti-anxiety medication to ease her nerves after witnessing the attack on the video rental store the previous night. After she leaves, Lydia asks him why he came, and he insists that he just wanted to make sure she was okay before asking her what she saw. When she replies that she saw a mountain lion, Stiles realizes that she's just high on her medication and is just repeating what the police told her.

Scott and Allison walk around the woods, where Allison sends Lydia a quick text to thank her for the birthday stuff before she shuts her phone off.

Back at the Martin House, Lydia, dazed and groggy from the medication, coos that Stiles should stay, which seems to interest him immensely when she leans forward as though she's going to kiss him. However, when Lydia calls him "Jackson," Stiles becomes frustrated, just as Lydia literally passes out in her bed. He hears her phone ring and asks her if she wants him to get it for her, but since she's asleep, she can't answer. Stiles picks up her phone to check the text and finds that she got a brief video of the Alpha running out of the video store the previous night while she was taking selfies of herself.

Out in the woods near the Hale House ruins, Kate Argent and several other hunters are walking toward the house when one of the hunters reminds Kate that Chris told them to wait, which only makes Kate more exasperated. When he points out that they're not allowed to kill "him" (ie: Derek), Kate retorts that they can say hello. Another hunter makes a joke about how Derek's probably burying a bone in the backyard, Kate berates him for his lack of imagination, retorting, "If you want to provoke him, say something, like, 'Too bad your sister bit it before she had her first litter!' 'Too bad she howled like a bitch when we cut her in half!'"

Inside the house, Derek is doing pull-ups by hanging on the lintel on the doorway of what used to be the living room. He drops down to the floor afterward and begins to do push-ups when he suddenly hears a noise approaching and freezes, just as heavy gunfire is shot through the walls. He manages to knock down two of the other hunters, but when he's about to leave, Kate hits him in the abdomen with a taser stick that is at such a high voltage that he falls and writhes on the floor. Kate smirks at him and remarks that he's grown in all the right places, and makes a comment to the other hunters that she doesn't know whether to "kill it or lick it."

Stiles has returned to the Stilinski House, where he's frantically trying to get a hold of Scott, who turned his phone off. He's concerned about the video he found on Lydia's phone and threatens to kill Scott if he doesn't turn his phone on and call him back. After he hangs up, Sheriff comes in and begs him to tell him that he's only going to be hearing good news at the parent-teacher conference that night. Stiles shrugs and says it depends on how he defines "good news." Sheriff's definition is straight-A's and no behavioral issues, but Stiles thinks that is a little too optimistic, which Sheriff seemed to be expecting. When he leaves, Stiles begs Scott to call him back.

Back at the Hale House, Kate has shocked Derek with another 900,000 volts from her cattle-prod taser and remarks that he was never good with electricity or fire before making her pitch-- "I'm gonna let you in on a little secret. And, well, maybe we can help each other out. Yes, your sister was severed into pieces and used as bait to try to catch you. Unpleasant, and frankly, a little too Texas Chainsaw Massacre for my taste, but quite true. Now, he's the part that might really kick you in your new balls-- we didn't kill her." Derek initially believes she's lying, but Kate makes him listen to her heartbeat to prove she's telling the truth. She goes on to say that the bite marks on her body indicate that the Alpha killed Laura, and explains that the Argents would be happy to kill the Alpha for him if Derek will tell them who he is. When Kate realizes that Derek has no idea, she proclaims him to be useless to her cause and pulls a gun on him, and Derek only barely avoids getting hit by running at super speed into the woods without another word.

At the Beacon Hills Animal Clinic, Alan Deaton has just called Scott to see if he's okay. He leaves him a voicemail reminding him that he's an hour late for his shift and expresses worry about this uncharacteristic behavior before asking him to call him back and let him know that everything is all right. When he hangs up, Sheriff Stilinski walks into the exam and requests his help in dealing with his video rental store case. Deaton looks nervous and says that while he's flattered, he's no expert in these things, but when Sheriff points out he was certain the other day that the attacker was a mountain lion, he pulls out still photos from nearby surveillance cameras around the video store of the Alpha and shows them to him, which has the Alpha going from running on all fours to walking on two legs. Deaton begs off and and says he has a sick dog to examine to get Sheriff to leave.

Back in the preserve, Allison and Scott are still walking around the woods, where Allison tells him that it has been a "kind of perfect birthday," and Scott jokingly responds that he would be able to tell if she was lying anyway, though he claims it's because she has a tell-- touching her eyebrow-- when she's not being honest. When she wishes aloud that her parents weren't coming home from the parent-teacher conference so they could spend the rest of the night together, too, Scott realizes that he totally forgot about the conference and admits that he's supposed to be there because he has below a C-average in practically every class. Allison, looking concerned, points out that they're literally going on as they speak.

At the high school, all of the main characters' parents have arrived to talk to Mr. Harris, Ms. Ramsey and Coach Finstock about their children's current school status.

First up is Mr. Harris talking to Mr. Whittemore about Jackson and how he believes that he is unusually driven. Mr. Whittemore admits that they're aware and that they hoped he would cut himself a break, since he's always been hard on himself and they believe it's a result of being adopted. Harris correctly assumes that Jackson has never met his biological parents, which Mr. Whittemore confirms before adding that Jackson seems to be striving to make the parents he's never met proud.

Meanwhile, Natalie Martin and her ex-husband are meeting with Ms. Ramsey, who watches as the two bicker about Lydia; Mr. Martin assumes Lydia has poor grades, concentration issues, or erratic behavior, and Natalie points out that it was his idea to have Lydia choose who to live with, which would warp any child. However, Ms. Ramsey insists that there's no problem whatsoever with Lydia-- she's one of the most gifted students she's ever had, her AP classes have pushed her GPA above a 5.0, and not only does she want Lydia's IQ tested, but she also believes Lydia has great leadership potential.

Next is Sheriff Stilinski meeting with Coach Finstock, who is initially distracted by the fact that "Stiles" isn't actually his first or last name, but is instead a nickname because his real first name (which was also Claudia Stilinski's father's name) is too hard to pronounce. Coach then informs Sheriff that Stiles is a great kid who is very smart but who has no ability to focus and who isn't taking full advantage of his potential. When Sheriff asks for clarification, Coach explains that though he teaches Economics, Stiles' final question on his midterm exam detailed the entire history of male circumcision, which mortifies Sheriff immensely. Melissa McCall has just left Scott an angry voicemail ordering him to get to the school ASAP before Mr. Harris suggests they get started anyway. Harris admits that both Scott's mind and his body have been elsewhere recently (indicating both his distraction and his new tendency to skip school) before suggesting that it could have to do with Scott's lack of a male authority figure. Melissa insists that Scott and herself are much better off without Scott's father in the picture, but when Harris asks if Scott feels the same way, Melissa is unsure.

Finally, Chris and Victoria Argent are meeting with Ms. Ramsey, who starts off the conference by saying that Allison is a sweet girl and very quick to adjust despite the constant moving around, which Chris refers to as a necessary evil. Ms. Ramsey suggests that it could lead to rebelliousness on her part, but Victoria insists this isn't the case because they have a very open and honest relationship with Allison. When the teacher tells the Argents to tell Allison that she hopes she feels better, Chris is stunned to hear that she missed class, and Ms. Ramsey informs them that Allison missed the entire day.

Allison is driving herself and Scott back to the high school when Melissa, who is walking outside of the school following Scott's disastrous parent-teacher conference, is leaving him a voicemail ordering him to call her immediately. When Scott sees it, he groans and informs Allison that his mother is going to kill him.

Likewise, Chris and Victoria are each walking out of the school as well, where Chris is leaving Allison a message telling her to call him back "before your punishment reaches Biblical proportions." Victoria gets off her own phone and tells him that Kate hasn't heard from Allison either, and Chris seems concerned about her uncharacteristic behavior. Melissa, having overheard their conversation, hesitantly approaches them and asks them if they're Allison's parents, because she's Scott's mother and cannot get a hold of him, either.

Chris sneers, "You're his mother," which causes Melissa to glare at him and remark that he makes it sound like an accusation. Chris retorts that he wouldn't claim her status as Scott's mother to be a source of pride and accuses him of "basically kidnapping" his daughter, but when Melissa points out that it could have just as easily been Allison's idea to skip school, Chris sees Allison and Scott pulling into the parking lot and exiting the car, and Chris and Melissa end their conversation in favor of confronting their children instead.

Melissa gets to Scott first and demands to know exactly where he's been all day, and when Scott, who looks terrified, replies, "Nowhere, Mom," Melissa correctly takes that to mean that "nowhere" means "not at school," which Scott reluctantly confirms. Allison immediately insists that it isn't Scott's fault and tries to explain that it was her birthday celebration, but Chris interrupts them and orders her to get into the car.

Suddenly, screams are heard as many of the people exiting the conferences run away, and Scott, whose werewolf senses seem to know something is happening, turns to investigate. Scott follows the scent, and Allison looks concerned as the people around them run to their cars as though they're being chased by something dangerous. Chris senses trouble as well and gets into his SUV to retrieve one of his guns while Allison looks around the parking lot for the source of the commotion.

Scott allows his eyes to glow to enhance his vision to better figure out what is going on, just as Allison hears an animalistic growl and sees something on all fours run quickly between several parked cars. A white car honks as it speeds down the aisle, and Scott calls out to her as he rushes toward her and pushes her out of the way so she's not run over.

Once he's determined that she's okay, Scott looks over and sees Sheriff Stilinski, who, like Chris, seems to be looking for the animal causing the chaos, and when he hears the animal growl, he yells at everyone to move out of the way as he chases it down. The same white car backs up and hits Sheriff hard enough that he's knocked to the ground, though not hard enough to hurt him. He assures onlookers that he's okay as he pulls his sidearm out of his ankle holster while the animal runs throughout the parking lot. Suddenly, two loud gunshots are heard, scaring everyone in the vicinity enough that they duck onto the ground to avoid being hit.

Sheriff looks up to see Chris holding his .50 AE Desert Eagle handgun, and everyone looks horrified as they walk toward the animal and find that it is just a mundane mountain lion, and not a supernatural shapeshifter like Chris seemingly expected. Allison looks both embarrassed and upset to see the mountain lion die before her eyes, and Chris, too, seems to look a little embarrassed by his overreaction as well as everyone in the parking lot gathers around to get a look for themselves. Scott gulps nervously, realizing that this could be his fate if Chris ever figured out that he's a werewolf.

Cast[edit | edit source]

Main Cast[edit | edit source]

Supporting Cast[edit | edit source]

Guest Cast[edit | edit source]

  • Michael Dane as Leveque
  • JayR Kalis as Ulrich
  • Sharon Conley as Ms. Ramsey
  • Robert S. Anthony as Onlooker (uncredited)

Continuity[edit | edit source]

  • It is revealed to be Allison's birthday in this episode. Though the timeline in this series is difficult to follow, this revelation suggests that Allison's birthday is at some point in the last week of January, approximately the 31st.
    • It is also revealed that Allison got held back as a result of having moved around constantly, which is why she's 17 and a year older than the other sophomores. The Argent family's constant moving was first referenced in Wolf Moon.
  • The fact that electricity is a weakness to Werewolves is first revealed in this episode after Kate Argent use a cattle-prod taser against Derek Hale.
  • Rafael McCall was mentioned again in this episode by Melissa McCall, though not by name. He was first mentioned by Scott McCall in Pack Mentality, and was vaguely referenced again in Magic Bullet.
  • It is revealed that Stiles Stilinski is named after his maternal grandfather, whose name is apparently very difficult to pronounce, and that he prefers "Stiles" as a nickname as a result of this. The mystery of Stiles' true name remained unknown until Blitzkrieg, where it was revealed that his first name is Mieczysław.
  • This episode marks the first time that it is implied that Derek and Kate have a past history together, a topic that will be delved into deeper throughout the rest of Season 1.
  • Kate also reveals to Derek that while the Argents did find Laura Hale in the preserve and cut her body in half, they weren't actually the ones who killed her-- The Alpha was, which is how he got her power. This was first implied in Second Chance at First Line
  • Leveque's death marked the second victim in the Alpha's string of violent murders after Garrison Myers was attacked in Pack Mentality and ultimately died of his wounds in that episode.
  • For the first time, Werewolves are said to stronger in packs in this episode, a theme that will continue throughout the series.
  • This episode marks the first appearance of the spiral, a symbol that has a deep meaning for Werewolves and which will play a larger role throughout Season 1 and the rest of the series.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The title is a reference to a conversation between Scott McCall and Allison Argent while they were skipping school, when he remarked that he could tell when Allison was lying because she has a "tell," a term used in poker and other card games to describe a reaction that alerts the other players as to what cards they have or whether or not they are bluffing.
  • Each of the five main high school students are discussed by teachers at the Beacon Hills High School parent-teacher conferences-- Scott McCall, Stiles Stilinski, Lydia Martin, Jackson Whittemore and Allison Argent. This revealed quite a bit of information regarding the true characteristics and background of these characters.
    • Jackson was described as driven and ambitious due to feeling the need to prove himself to the biological parents he's never met, explaining how intent he is to be the best at everything he does, such as lacrosse.
    • Lydia's parents fought with each other during her conference and assume that something is wrong with her at school, only to be told by her teacher that Lydia's high grades in her AP classes have pushed her GPA over a 5.0, and that this in conjunction with her leadership skills have made the teacher want to have her IQ tested.
      • In Season 3, it will be revealed that Lydia's IQ was tested and that she scored a genius-level 170.
    • Stiles is described as being very smart but totally unable to focus on the tasks at hand, and Bobby Finstock revealed that Stiles wrote a paper on the history of male circumcision for Economics class.
    • Scott is described as a good kid who seems distracted by issues outside of class and who has had poor attendance through this semester. It is suggested by the teacher that he needs a strong male role model, i.e. his father, but Melissa insists that the family is better off without him.
    • Allison is described as a sweet girl who has the potential for rebellion due to the family constantly moving around, but when the teacher remarks that she hopes Allison is feeling better, Chris and Victoria realize that she skipped class.
  • In a strange turn of events, the wounds on the back of Jackson's neck from where Derek clawed him in Magic Bullet glowed pink when the Alpha approached him at the video rental store after it killed Leveque. Why this happened remains a mystery to this day.

Body Count[edit | edit source]

  • Leveque - mauled to death, killed by The Alpha
  • Mountain lion- shot, killed by Chris Argent

Locations[edit | edit source]

Soundtrack[edit | edit source]

  • "Jump In" by MNDR
    • Lydia takes selfies with her phone in front of the video rental store
  • "Do You Want It All?" by Two Door Cinema Club
    • Kate gives Allison an early birthday present, which is the Argent family pendant
  • "I Can Talk" by Two Door Cinema Club
    • Stiles harasses Danny with questions about whether he's attractive to gay guys in chemistry class
  • "Change of Scenery" by Val Emmich
    • Stiles calls Scott while he and Allison are driving to the nature preserve
  • "Mouth Full of Diamonds" by Phantogram
    • Scott and Allison arrive at the nature preserve and walk through the woods
  • "I Lay My Head" by Fallulah
    • Stiles visits Lydia at her home to find her drugged up on anti-anxiety medication due to the stress of witnessing the Alpha's attack
  • "I Can't Wait" by Little Red
    • Scott and Allison walk through the woods while Allison texts Lydia a thank you for the birthday balloons
  • "Illmerica (Extended Mix)" by Wolfgang Gartner
    • Derek is working out at the Hale House when Kate and her minions attack him
  • "White Doves (Single Mix)" by Young Empires
    • Stiles paces anxiously while leaving Scott angry voicemails regarding what he found at Lydia's house
  • "White Nights" by Oh Land
    • Allison and Scott continue to have their cute date in the woods
  • "This Man" by Graffiti6
    • Scott informs Allison that she has a "tell" when she lies
  • "Time" by Hans Zimmer
    • Kate confronts Derek and reveals that while the Argents did cut Laura in half, they didn't actually kill her, and that they're positive it was actually the Alpha

Gallery[edit | edit source]

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