I think I’ve already made the argument - although, not so much argument - that the whole Derek arc is a phoenix rising from the ashes arc, or I’ve made that argument in my head or something. The point is, I think, that the phoenix-Derek comparison is a legitimate one. Right? Right. I don’t really think anyone can dispute that - I mean, it’s basically in the intro to the show, what with the ashes and the rising and whatnot.
Let’s look at Stiles. I want to make the argument that Stiles is having a similar phoenix rising story arc. In the first season, he was relatively on top. He pretty much coaxed Scott through his new furry problem by himself. Maybe he wasn’t on top of the social ladder, but boy was on top of the new supernatural problems.
We see Stiles in the beginning of the second season and he’s still pretty much on top! He saves Derek in Abomination, even though he doesn’t have to, but I think we start to see cracks in his has-it-all-together facade, even though we’re really not sure what they mean.
By Raving, we actually get a taste of that failure that Stiles feels when his dad says he’s been fired, but I think it gets - not overshadowed, but - pushed to the side a bit with the mountain ash. The mountain ash is kind of a big moment for Stiles - little ol’ human him did what none of the werewolves would have been able to do, what no one human would have been able to do simply because Stiles is a force of will. I think this moment sort of proved that humans are still in this supernatural game, that humans still have a fighting chance.
Party Guessed is where, I think, everything definitively begins to crack and shudder and fall apart. I’ve seen meta where people say that everyone at the party talked back/interacted with their hallucinations except for Stiles. Stiles just stands there and takes it. He thinks he’s what killed his mom. He thinks he’s a burden on his dad. He thinks he ruins everything he touches, and he sits there and just takes it.
I think it can be argued in Fury that we see how helpless Stiles can be, both physically with the paralytic and what he thinks as mentally with unwittingly leading hid dad to the police station in the first place. I think it would be remiss to discount anything in Battlefield- that beautiful beginning scene where he tells us that he thinks he’s scraping the bottom of the barrel, with Ms. Morrell telling him to keep going, the lacrosse game. I mean, I think (and hope) that this episode is foreshadowing for season three.
And then we have the finale. Which, all things considered and with all the buildup from Battlefield - Stiles… didn’t play such a prominent role. We saw Peter’s plan and we saw Scott’s plan, but we never really saw Stiles’ plan. I mean, it took Lydia to get him out of his room, to get him to the warehouse, to get him to hit Jackson with his Jeep. Don’t mistake me, we saw Stiles veritably stand up to Gerard Argent, we saw him try to free the betas, we saw his mind whirring, but we also see him break - projecting onto Lydia et al.
But basically what I’m trying to say is that we’ve seen Stiles at the top and now we’ve seen him at the bottom. What I’m hoping this means for season three is that he is going to rise back up again. I hope he comes out as a force to be reckoned with. He may be human, but that’s no reason to discount him. Stiles knows what the top feels like and knows how the bottom scars, and there’s nowhere to go but up.