I know I’ve touched on this before in some of my meta, but let’s discuss it a little bit more. Because being canon can mean a whole lot of things for a little ship like ours.
Way back just before episode 2.04 aired and Jeff teased both Sterek fans liking the ep and Derek kissing someone, we had come to a moment of revelation. Sterek fans had put it out there: yes, we want to see this as a developing romance on the show, and I think that was the first moment when Jeff upgraded us from non-canon to canon shippers in his head. From people who just like to play around with the chemistry of a couple, who read and write against the narrative and make what if scenarios, to people who are reading within the narrative and are waiting for the narrative to explore this story for them.
He was the one who started it, who said that it was a possibility. We could have been, if not happy, then certainly content, with the status quo. TV shows have a history of picking up on fan favorite chemistry and following through on it, but almost never if that chemistry is two people of the same gender, unless at least one of them is already conceptualized as gay/bi. They may play around with it, but always with plausible deniability. Torchwood and Glee may have been the first where same-gender relationships developed quite a time after the introduction of the characters involved (unless we’re talking about soap operas, of which I know too little to actually discuss).
I think what many people who are both queer and ship Sterek have a problem with is that any straight ship is automatically more legitimate in the eyes of not just the audience, but apparently show runners, than any queer ship could ever be. There are people shipping Derek/Mrs. Morrell, on the basis, I suppose, that they’re both really hot and look good in leather. But because this is a straight ship, even though they have never been in the same room together, there is an automatic legitimacy to it. How many times do Derek and Stiles have to save each other, look at each other’s mouths and lick their lips, how many times do they have to share personal space and stare longingly into each other’s eyes before their chemistry is as legitimate as any random boy/girl pairing people can come up with?
Earlier today I was talking about Stiles/Lydia with Generek. He’s afraid that even with all this support, all this tenacity we Sterek shippers show, in the end this show, like almost every other show, is going to default to straightness in its narrative, if not its characters. Danny can be gay and maybe even Stiles will be allowed to have some bisexual moments, but the romances will all be straight - Stydia as endgame is a fear I have also occasionally let into my heart and destroy all hope. See, there is a lot I dislike about Stydia beyond shipping reasons, but I shouldn’t even have to name those. Shipping reasons should be enough. But Stydia is already far more canon than Sterek, because the world of genre entertainment fucking sucks for us queers.
Do I think Jeff Davis is going to make Sterek canon?
Yes. I believe in season three he’s going to make it at least as canon as Stydia. There will be a solid and undeniable moment where either Stiles or Derek acknowledge in the script that they are attracted to the other. It might be a dream revelation or a slip of the tongue to a third party, but it will happen.
Because Jeff is a tease and a troll. He’ll make us work for it all the way. Sterek will be canon, but they won’t be together for a very long time. Maybe they will get a real love story out of it. I certainly hope with all my heart that they will. Maybe Jeff will pit Stydia, Jydia and Sterek against each other all the way, until we all hate ourselves, hate Teen Wolf and Jeff Davis, until we all give up in disgust and go down in the flames of the ugliest ship war of all time, with Danny/Stiles shaking its head and rolling its eyes because it could have been so good if it wasn’t so boring.
I don’t think Stydia is endgame. I want Sterek to be endgame, but I’ll take them both being single and friendly at the end of the show if I have to. I want Jeff to give them the same chance and respect they give Scott/Allison and Lydia/Jackson, two relationships that I now ship more than I ever thought I would, because there is a lot of work to be done before they can be happy. Putting Stydia in there as a foil just seems cheap. There is no need for it. All three couples are already full of conflict just from within.
And ultimately, no one deserves anyone’s love, but if we all want Stiles to be happy, his chances are as good with Derek as they are with anyone else - that’s the magic of telling stories. But the way to that happiness, for Sterek, is full of awkwardness, hilarity, deep dark secrets and shared issues. I don’t know Jeff Davis enough to say this with conviction, but what writer can resist the challenge to make this work? They’d be funny. They’d be heart-breaking as well as heart-warming. They’d be hot and cute. They’d be explosive and frustrating and meant for each other.
I can’t say for sure that they’ll be together, because that is the story waiting to be told. I mean, I’m shipping Scott/Allison hardcore right now, but who knows where Jeff is going to take them? But I do absolutely believe that we’ll get canon acknowledgement for Sterek. Solid, undeniable acknowledgement. Because that, at the very least, is not influencing the direction of the story. I hope for a love story because it would be so amazing to watch. I’d cry if he went there all the way, if Jeff gave them a real chance at happiness in the end. That would be so fucking glorious.
Without any thought to decades of media dismissal, without looking at the real world around us, Stiles and Derek are at least as, if not more, legitimate a love story as Stiles and Lydia. And if the only reason not to explore Stiles and Derek is that they’re two dudes then that’s no reason at all. Not on MTV. Not in a story told by Jeff Davis.
Jeff once said that the entertainment industry lacks courage. Here’s his chance to prove that this doesn’t have to be true. That a little show on MTV can blow them all out of the water. If, after all this teasing, they’re too scared to do it, they are not the network and show runner I thought they were.