After Derek and Peter Hale showed up tortured and tied to an electric fence at the end of last night’s “Teen Wolf” premiere, it was pretty clear that Beacon Hills needs a new Alpha in town. Derek’s days of being the top dog officially expired when he sacrificed himself to save his sister, Cora, and his eyes morphed back to Beta blue, but just in the nick of time, Scott realized his True Alpha destiny.
Derek’s Alpha tenure may be over, but his legacy will live on, and Scott could learn a thing or two from all of his frenemy’s triumphs and missteps. Let’s take a look at Derek’s moves — both good and bad — and break down how Scott can use them to claim total pack dominance.
Lesson: Never abandon a newly turned creature.
When Derek gave Jackson “the bite,” Jackson was reluctant to join Derek’s pack, even though Derek tried to explain the importance of sticking by his side. However, the second Jackson’s body rejected the bite and began to ooze black goo out of every orifice, Derek was at a loss, and left Jackson to figure it out all on his own. If Derek had bucked up and tried to help Jackson understand this shocking change, we have a feeling that whole Kanima thing would have gone a biiiit differently.
Lesson: Know how to keep your Betas in check.
A key part of being an Alpha is knowing the balance between freedom and discipline. Derek mastered this early on, and proved that all it took to rein in his Betas was one sinister sounding growl. When Isaac went after Stiles during his first full moon, Derek had no problem roaring his pup into a corner, and Scott shouldn’t be afraid to exert the same sort of power over any of his future pack members.
Lesson: Training is everything.
Sure, Derek’s teaching methods may border on torture, but considering how dangerous the pack’s adversaries are, it’s the only way they’ll learn to survive. When whipping Betas into shape, don’t go easy on them. It could mean the difference between life and death.
Lesson: Never underestimate your opponent.
Derek might have thought Isaac and Erica were tough enough to take on Scott’s band of Goonies who were protecting Lydia, but the two were easily outwitted by the makeshift wolf pack, much to Derek’s chagrin. If you want to get the job done, you can’t let ego get in the way. You need to size up your competition properly, no matter how weak they might seem.
Lesson: Teach your Betas to help one another, even if it’s costly.
You’re only as good as your whole pack, so if a few go missing, it’s in your best interest to track ‘em down come hell or high water. In this case, Derek had no choice but to subject Isaac to a painful practice at Peter’s claw, in an effort to find Boyd and Erica. Hey, we never said keeping your pack together would be easy.
Lesson: Personal sacrifice is sometimes necessary.
When Boyd and Cora managed to escape the bank vault and finally came face-to-face with the moon, the months of pent-up wolf-gression were too much to bear, and the two began to wreak havoc on Beacon Hills. Derek realized that the only way to stop them was to let them go to town and claw their little hearts out, so he sacrificed himself and became their personal cutting board. Way to take one for the team, D.
Lesson: Don’t push pack members away.
When Deucalion’s pack demanded that Derek kill one of his Betas, rather than let his fellow lycanthropes in on the drama so they could tackle the threat as a whole, he pushed Isaac away without any explanation in an effort to protect him. While his heart may have been in the right place, his delivery needed some work. As an Alpha, you should always motivate your pack to fight threats together.
Lesson: Be prepared for casualties.
Suffice it to say, keeping pack members alive is probably the most important Alpha task (unless you’re Deucalion…sorry, Ennis!), but when you’re waging a war against an endless supply of bad guys, you’re going to lose a few soldiers. After Duke’s pack rolled into town, Derek knew he’d have a hard road ahead of him when it came to save his pack, and he fell short, losing both Erica and Boyd. Scott’s been fortunate so far, but it’s not beyond reason that one of his close friends or family members could bite the dust, and as soon as he swallows this bitter pill, the better.
+ What other things can Scott learn from Derek’s tenure as an Alpha? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!