Red moves where the danger goes. Black is bad but Derek’s going gray… and so is Stiles. 2x08 is where it turns.
A picturesque mini-series in which I commit amateur fashion
crimes analysis for character journeys throughout S2, focusing on colors and layers. The themes include:
(Warning: I don’t often talk about clothing for good reason - I barely know anything about it! So some terms I’m using are probably wrong, however there are plenty of screenshots so hopefully that explains things better.)
so this great meta of the end scene just reminded me:
In which I over analyze the scene at the Hale House with Derek, Isaac, and Peter.
…doesn’t Isaac usually wear solid, monochrome, low-saturation colors?
I went back and looked at Isaac through S2 and realized that he went from hiding himself under gray baggy hoodies, to adopting Derek’s style of thin solid-color henleys, to beginning to layer again after turning to Scott. What kind of layering? Blue as the inner layer under a dark overshirt… then blue as the over-layer as the finale begins….then only blue at the finale’s end. And that last shot is the most revealing shirt Isaac wears to date, because he never bares his arms outside lacrosse.
So let’s go through the evidence. We meet Isaac as a kid wearing at least three layers beside his father in 2x01, then a baggie hoodie in that kitchen scene in 2x02:
Isaac, unsurprisingly, has been hiding himself under thick layers of clothing - both literally (to hide the bruising) and metaphorically, to hide from the world, praying that nobody sees him.
As with Erica and Boyd, this changes almost instantly with the bite from Derek. As a werewolf Isaac is now confident, arrogant, sassier; crueler, because that’s what the cool kids are like. Derek is his new authority figure, and even though he’s harsh he’s not Isaac’s dad either; so combined with his kickass new superpowers, Isaac seems to be doing pretty good with life right now.
And so Isaac starts wrapping himself in Derek, mimicking his alpha’s style - single layers, solid colors, desaturated pullovers - as if trying to align himself with this pack, this new family. As if trying to make up for that hole inside him with the coolness, the arrogance, the sense of protection that Derek can provide.
(Note that this sombre gray pullover in 2x03, the first non-lacrosse shirt we see Isaac in post-Derek, has undertones of blue.)
Isaac and Erica go full-blown Derek by 2x03 as they take up the all-black sassy leather combo, revealing they’ve affirmed their identity as Derek’s pack.
In 2x04 and 2x05, Isaac’s wearing “casual” Derek - a solid red pullover and a gray pullover, departing further and further from blue.
The problem is, it goes both ways. Derek’s not an asshole like Isaac’s father, but he’s not Isaac’s father either.
He can give him protection, but he can’t give him a home.
Isaac being “cool” in 2x07, which means being sullen and very Derek in shirt choice:
Why always solid colors? Besides Isaac’s somberness, I think it suggests a kind of “cloaking”… Isaac shields himself in simple emotions, whether it’s fear, or arrogance, or sullenness. He shields himself in people - first his father defines him, then he lets Derek define him. He hides himself, whether it’s his bruises, or the longing inside him. It’s not until later, as he begins to respond to Scott’s kindness, that we realize there are other undercurrents beneath.
Look at how this begins to happen in 2x08. Isaac’s being his usual sullen and bratty self at the episode’s beginning, but he’s wearing stripes. Yeah they’re insanely thin dark stripes, but still - it’s the first time we’ve ever seen him with something non-solid. Why?
…because this is the same episode that we see his pivotal scene with Scott, where Scott tells him - him, not Jackson - to be safe; and Isaac just stares and stares after him, an unreadable emotion in his eyes. Look at this:
The stripes have become “bigger” than before. Isaac’s wearing two tones! And now the bigger tone is light.
In the next episode, as they get back to werewolf business with the full moon approaching, Isaac is back to Derek’s dark, solid colors. But look - he’s starting to layer, and it’s pure blue that’s peeking out beneath the darkness.
Look closely at his collar here in 2x09:
Isaac is still shielding himself with his identity as Derek’s beta, but Isaac’s color is starting to well out beneath the edges.
Then the next time we see him (2x11), the blue underneath is now much more obvious - it’s leaking out from his heart, down to his sleeves:
Yes it’s very dark, a “tainted” kind of blue, but as his sleeve it’s the color he uses to touch the dying dog and take away some of its pain. In the same way he’s taking out the black from the dog, something will take out the darkness from Isaac’s blue.
And that’s exactly what happens: because Isaac chooses to stay. Chooses Scott’s compassion, over Derek’s protection.
Chooses to think for himself, and in doing so finally become himself.
That’s why at the beginning of the finale, Isaac is now finally showing his color on the outside:
No more leather jackets, Henleys, glimpses of blue hidden beneath other layers. This is all blue on the outside.
… but it’s not pure blue either. This blue is a “transition” blue, a blue that’s still kinda dark, though much lighter than in the last episode; a blue that’s still paired with something else.
…but by the very end of the finale, it’s a genuine blue. And it’s everywhere:
No more sleeves or tones or edges poking out under the collar: Isaac is almost all blue here, save the new color that’s he’s wearing beneath - a pure white. It’s the first time we see him in this shade of white - the color of purity, the color of peace - and it’s on the inside.
It’s also the first time we see him baring most of his arms outside the lacrosse uniform, by wearing a tee:
Isaac’s… himself now. He can bare his arms. He can finally show his real color on the outside, and even though it’s not exactly bright and super-saturated - because this kid is actually pretty serious, and pretty mellow - it’s not Derek either; not washed out, deprived of color.
Isaac started out as this fearful kid who was trying to withdraw into himself and hide from the world, to a sulky kid who tried to wrap himself in his new persona, his new male authority figure for an identity, a sense of invincibility; a sense of home. But in the end, this is who Isaac is: a kid who leaves these men altogether. A kid who makes his own choices.
And his choice is Scott. His choice is kindness.
A gentle color, a color of peace.