I'm going to try and discuss this episode in general first before I start rambling about two certain characters and their relationship development, considering I've been waiting for them to finally breach their romantic frontier for over 3 years (I started watching Teen Wolf in 2013, just for reference).
It genuinely feels like I've been waiting forever for Season 6, because filming for it began so long ago and obviously extenuating circumstances meant that it probably began airing a lot later than production or the audience expected, not that I think that's a bad thing. I'm not that young anymore, and I can wait for things to reach their intended conclusion rather than be rushed and unfinished. That being said, I was literally shaking and buzzing with excitement in the hour leading up to this episode and while I really loved it, it made me a little sad deep down that I already knew or had seen about 90% of the episode through promotional material. The fact that the first 8 minutes had already been released a month prior did help me sufficiently calm down for the start of the episode and regain my focus though, because the show was back but I didn't have to pay attention to something I'd already watched a couple of times.
I don't think starting the season off with Liam and Hayden was necessarily the best idea, because I doubt there are many fans of the show that truly favour their storylines above the older generation of the pack, but I get why they did it. I just think that in an episode we knew was going to be so fast paced that there was some unnecessary dialogue. We didn't need a rehash of their dating history to know that time had passed, and while they're fine together, they don't capture the Allison and Scott vibe that I know the creators want them to.
I did enjoy Stiles and Scott having humour in their own opening, because god knows the humorous moments in Teen Wolf are few and far between in the last couple of seasons and it was a nice reminder that it's not always dark and dismal story-wise. Of course, as per usual with Teen Wolf it doesn't last that long because we have to kick off the overall arc of the season: The Ghost Riders.
The flashes we got of Lydia and Malia's closer friendship was lovely and I look forward to seeing more of them together over the course of the season. I absolutely loved Malia's sassy hair-toss when she and Lydia left Scott and Stiles in the car park because we've never seen that side to her and I love that Lydia's sassiness is making an impact on her. I also really liked that the pack were completely casual to Malia's nakedness after her coyote transformation. It just came across so natural and comfortable that no one commented on it and Lydia was there ready to hand clothes to her. I know a lot of people are going to miss Kira and her being with the pack, and while I thought she was an adorable character, I'm not necessarily going to miss her too much, this episode made me really like the older generation as a foursome, it felt balanced. Although I do think I'd prefer her presence over a character like Corey, who honestly is annoying and a bit worthless to me as a character (and I think Mason, who is clearly the best character of the 2.0 kids, deserves a better love interest).
I've been really interested in The Ghost Riders and the Wild Hunt as the major villains for this season since it was announced (or figured out by fandom as soon as the teaser for the season appeared? Memory Loss was picked up immediately by the fans), and it's been one of the reasons I was so excited for this season to finally begin airing. They don't come across as these horrifying monsters, it's what they do that's so scary, erasing somebody completely from existence. It affects these characters in a way they've never been affected by a villain before, it fundamentally changes their history and, in the case of Stiles being the chosen person to erase, takes away the character known for discovering, solving and creating plans against the villains over the course of the show, and someone that has such strong bonds with so many of the other characters.
Despite knowing the Sheriff was going to forget Stiles, watching the scene in the episode was like a punch in the gut. The promos didn't convey Stiles's relief at thinking his dad knew who he was when he called him 'son', and the complete devastation when he realised his own dad had forgotten who he was broke my heart. I'm actually glad we didn't have to see Scott's face regarding forgetting Stiles, it would've been too much to see both the Sheriff and Scott forgetting him to his face, having it be over the phone just makes you gasp and want to cry. This is his best friend since forever, they have a bond like no other, and Scott has no clue who he is, it's heartbreaking. I actually like that the show was already showing us flashbacks to show moments when Stiles was being forgotten, like his writing disappearing and another kid wearing his jersey. I feel like flashbacks and memories are going to be incredibly important this season and that makes me excited, it also works really well considering this is the last season and it allows the audience to reflect on the history of the show.
Now, here's where I start talking about my favourite part of the episode. Stiles and Lydia. I really like that they covered so many aspects of their relationship in this one episode. There was banter and bickering, detective work, caring, and the strong emotional 'can't live without each other' part that I love so much. Obviously I've known since the end of season 5 that they were finally going in this direction because of what Jeff was saying in interviews and I've been eagerly anticipating it. I don't mind how angsty a relationship gets as long as I know there's a light at the end of the tunnel and that it's heading somewhere good (*cough* endgame *cough*). I may have had to hold back a scream when Stiles popped up from the back of the car when Lydia was in the front seat, I've just missed these kids so much! And I loved the quip about how he gets her up several times a week to investigate potential supernatural activity, I love anything that gives me insight into their relationship besides what we see on the show.
There were little moments that I didn't know about before the episode aired that I really appreciated not having been spoiled for me because they're the parts that really stick out to me as special. Lydia's 'You don't have to figure it all out right this second.' was said so soothingly that it screamed 'This is what they'll be like when they're married.' to me. The absolute adorableness of the kiss on the cheek and how much their relationship has changed and grown from what it was in the beginning of the series was lovely, and I'm glad we got some sweetness between them before it all came crashing down.
When it comes to the end of the episode, I thought the parallel of Lydia's 'I'm not leaving you.' to Stiles's 'I'm not leaving you here.' last season in Eichen house was perfect. In that one line, both the audience and Stiles could see that Lydia's feelings have most definitely shifted into more than friends (although I'd say that's been slowly developing since the first half of season 3). The serious danger confronting them was similar to that of the Nogitsune in the 3b finale, and Stiles and Lydia are automatically drawn to one another when they need to protect each other. Despite Stiles being the one in danger and about to be taken, his entire purpose during the closing scene before they get to the jeep is to make sure Lydia doesn't get taken as well. He's clearly terrified about everyone in his life forgetting him and the fact that he's being taken and erased and yet still the most important thing to him is keeping Lydia safe. I almost wish the 'Remember I love you' hadn't been spoiled in the promo for the season because no matter how much it made me scream in the trailer, it would've impacted me more if I'd been able to experience the scene in it's entirety after the build up of the episode and Stiles's speech. I also loved the reference to her being the first girl he danced with, the one who saved his life and the reminder that he's always had feelings for her. In my opinion that shut down his and Malia's future as being strictly platonic, at least from Stiles's side. And I know that even though the episode did end with Lydia unable to remember Stiles, it's clear she's already noticing his presence missing in her life and I look forward to seeing Lydia's journey in discovering her feelings and rediscovering Stiles and how much he means to her. I'm truly excited for the rest of the season, and I feel like this might be the best one since season 3!