MTV’s Teen Wolf might be dead and gone, but the fans have kept alive one thing that was shielded and saved from the show’s otherwise fiery wreckage— Sterek! Here are 15 of the slash-ship’s most iconic moments from the show’s run!
Sterek howled its way into slash-ship royalty back in 2011 when MTV’s Teen Wolf began airing. It didn’t take long for fans to see the remarkable and undeniable chemistry between the show’s wise-cracking human character, Stiles Stilinski, and the handsome grumpy werewolf, Derek Hale.
The ship was a match made in heaven, though it went through Hell thanks to how the show’s writers treated it. As the show tried its best to queerbait and erase Sterek out of the spotlight of popularity, fans fought back and took hold, keeping Sterek safe and sound.
Now, 2 years after Teen Wolf has ended, Sterek remains popular and beloved. Just this year, Sterek was revealed to be the 3rd most popular slash-pairing on Archive of Our Own, with more than 56,000 fanfics to its name (as of July 24, 2019).
Not to mention the fact that in Tumblr’s 2018 “Year in Review“, Sterek was placed 36 out of 100 of the top ships—and that’s after Sterek was kept apart from interacting on the show, followed by Tyler Hoechlin’s exit from the show in 2014 and Dylan O’Brien’s exit in 2016.
So let’s celebrate Sterek outliving the show that created it with 15 of the ship’s most iconic moments!
1. Dude! That was Derek Hale:
In the pilot episode of Teen Wolf, Stiles Stilinski and his friend, Scott, are rummaging through the woodlands to find Scott’s lost inhaler. Much to their surprise, a dark and shadowy figure emerges from the treeline and gives Scott back his inhaler, telling both Stiles and Scott to get lost because they’re “on private property”.
Canonically, this is technically the first moment that Stiles and Derek meet. Although, just as Derek disappears back into the woods, Stiles turns to Scott and says: “Dude! That was Derek Hale!”, relaying some information to Scott about who Derek is.
Why is it iconic?: Because it’s the ship’s first meeting and Stiles already knows about Derek!
2. You faint at the sight of blood?:
When Derek gets shot in the arm with a killer bullet, poison starts coursing through his veins. And while Scott is off trying to find out what kind of bullet Derek was shot with, Stiles watches over Derek to make sure that he doesn’t die.
Eventually, it gets to the point where Derek needs the cure and he needs it now, or else he’ll die. If the poison spreads from his arm to his heart, not even his werewolf healing will save him.
So what does Derek do? Well, he tasks Stiles with a mechanical amputation saw and tells him that he’ll have to be the one to cut off Derek’s poisoned arm before it’s too late. When Stiles grows woozy and initially refuses, Derek frustratedly questions him as to whether or not he’ll “faint at the sight of blood”.
Stiles replies that blood won’t be the problem…the sight of a chopped off arm will be.
Luckily, Scott arrives with the bullet so Derek can cure himself.
Why is it iconic?: This is the first of many times in the series that Stiles watches out for Derek, protects him, and saves him. Stiles and Derek have a back-and-forth kind of deal when it comes to saving one another…you’ll see later in the list!
3. Don’t be such a ‘Sourwolf’:
Stiles, Derek, and Scott arrive at the school with a semi-baked plan to lure the real villain of the season out of hiding. Scott plans to howl through the school’s intercom system.
Derek is less than happy to go along with the plan, thinking that it won’t work. However, Stiles quickly shuts down Derek’s pouty pessimism, telling him to not be such a “sour wolf”.
Why is it iconic?: Sterek is known for banter. Beautiful, funny, entertaining couple-y banter. If you’ve ever read a Sterek fanfic or seen a piece of fanart that includes the term “sourwolf”, this is the scene where it came from!
4. My house, my rules:
No, this isn’t a photoshopped image. Yes, it’s real. Yes, it’s canon. In episode 1×09 “Wolfs Bane” Derek is on the run from the Beacon Hills police department on account of being a fugitive, thanks to Scott for blaming a murder on him.
So what does Derek decide to do? Hide out….at the sheriff’s son’s house. Smart….but thank god, because it’s perfect inspiration for fanfic goodness!
When Stiles comes home and sees that Derek is in his room, Derek shoves him up against the door and tries to threaten him into keeping quiet instead of having his dad arrest him. Stiles isn’t one to take threats from anybody, though. He cockily points out that if Derek wants sanctuary and protection from the on-going manhunt in the city, then he’s going to play by Stiles’ rules.
And what follows Stiles’ sentiment is a moment of silence between the two, where they just stand there….staring at each other’s lips…..
Why is it iconic?: Uh, there is no heterosexual explanation for this scene.
5. This…no fit:
In the same episode as the “pushed up against the wall” scene, Derek is hiding out in Stiles’ bedroom for the day. Stiles invites his friend, Danny, over to help trace a phone call. In an effort to get Derek out of his previously bloodied up t-shirt, Stiles tells Derek to change into something else from the dresser.
Unfortunately, Derek is…uh…very muscular…and not capable of fitting that well into Stiles’ available shirts. At one point Derek picks up a shirt and says, “Stiles, this [shirt]…no, fit!” and then throws it down to the ground.
Why is it iconic?: Blue and Orange are basically lauded as Sterek’s ship team colors, and it’s definitely because of this scene and that shirt!
6. I’m the alpha:
In the second season of Teen Wolf, Derek becomes the new alpha werewolf in town and loves flashing his new strength and status around.
In this episode, Stiles is about to get ripped apart by one of Derek’s out of control betas, so Derek swoops in to rescue him. Derek quickly subdues his beta by letting out a ferocious growl.
Stiles asks how Derek was able to do that. Derek dramatically turns to look over his shoulder at where Stiles is sitting on the ground and says, “I’m the alpha”.
Why is it iconic?: For starters, this is an instance of Derek swooping in to save Stiles’ life. Secondly, Derek sure does love flexing his alpha status to impress Stiles, the human. And as seen in this scene, Stiles is definitely impressed by it.
7. The Pool Scene:
At one point during Season Two, Derek is briefly paralyzed by the season’s reptilian villain. Like clockwork, Stiles tries his best to protect and save Derek from further harm, but accidentally drops Derek into the pool while trying to use his phone to call for help.
Cue Stiles jumping into the pool and proceeding to hold Derek up in 9 feet of water for hours until help arrives.
Why is it iconic?: Another rescue mission! But also, the “love you-hate you” relationship between Stiles and Derek is pushed further into the “love you” end of the spectrum on account of Stiles’ unyielding commitment to keep Derek alive and safe, despite being a human in a world of werewolves.
8. You two make a ‘pretty good pair’:
Later into the second season, both Stiles and Derek end up paralyzed by the season’s villainous mastermind. They’re both left helpless on the floor.
At first when Stiles is paralyzed, he falls on top of Derek’s body. When Derek demands that the villain get Stiles off of him, the villain responds with: “Oh, I don’t know, Derek. You two make a pretty good pair”.
Why is it iconic?: Stiles and Derek are a pretty good pair! I agree wholeheartedly.
9. Okay, big guy. Let’s see that fist:
As I said before, bantering was and is a big part of Sterek’s lovable appeal. In Season Three, the pack is trying to figure out a way to break into a bank vault, to which Derek announces that he’s just going to punch through the wall with his mighty werewolf strength.
Naturally, Stiles doubts that Derek will be able to build up enough momentum and strength to successfully do it, then proceeds to jokingly prod at Derek until he makes a fist: “Okay, big guy. Let’s see that fist. […] Get it out there. Don’t be scared, big bad wolf.”
Why is it iconic?: More banter, always enjoyed. Not to mention the fact that the dynamic between Stiles and Derek became increasingly lighter in the third season, with Derek jumping at the chance to entertain Stiles’ banter and jokes.
10. Stiles comforts Derek:
This was a big moment in the series, for more than just one reason.
After Derek was physically forced to kill one of his betas, he fell down to the ground and started crying. A few seconds later, Stiles and Derek’s little sister ran through the door to see what was happening. Stiles immediately ran over to Derek.
While Derek and Stiles usually bit and barked at one another with their little arguments and sassy eye-rolls, this was the big moment in the show where we saw Stiles offer up physical comfort to a heartbroken Derek. It highlighted the progression of their characters’ relationship development that had built up to this moment.
Why is it iconic?: I’m still in my feels about this one.
11. Derek believes Stiles:
In the first part of Season Three, the season’s villain (Jennifer) uses her powers to essentially cast a love spell on Derek and a glamour on herself so that she can look like a normal human being. Now, that part of the season and what happened during it was all kinds of gross, but episode 3×10 saw the end of that and one of the most iconic Sterek moments from the show.
At the beginning of the episode, Stiles enters Derek’s loft and accuses Jennifer of being the villain and the one who kidnapped his father. At first, it seems as though Derek won’t believe Stiles on account of still being under the effects of Jennifer’s powers.
But surprisingly, Derek believes Stiles and immediately interrogates Jennifer. When it’s revealed that she actually is the villain, Derek tries to kill her, but stops when Stiles announces that they still need her to find his missing father.
Why is it iconic?: True love always breaks the curse, let’s be real!
12. The Elevator Scene:
In the beginning of episode 11, Stiles finds Derek unconscious in the hospital elevator. With the police already on their way to the scene thanks to the events of episode 10, Stiles skips out on the chance to save himself and instead rushes to Derek’s aid.
He tries, tries, and tries again to shake Derek awake, finally motioning to slap Derek into consciousness. Luckily, Derek wakes up and grabs onto Stiles’ arm before any kind of slap can take place.
Why is it iconic?: More shippy saving!
13. Derek dreams of Stiles:
By the 2nd half of Teen Wolf’s third season, Sterek had been relegated to not sharing the screen.
In the 3B finale, Derek ends up getting shot by his past abuser and retreats into his mind to work through what’s happening in his reality. Inside of his head, Derek dreams up Stiles so that he can talk to him, air out his worries, and figure out whether or not he’s dreaming or actually living through more trauma.
Why is it iconic?: Back in Season 1, the concept of “anchors” were explained. Werewolves could choose something or someone to hold onto in times of great stress, anger, or panic, to keep them grounded.
And of course…when Derek’s abuser comes back from the dead and shoots him, who does Derek think of? Stiles, of course!
The fourth season of the show didn’t have any interaction between Dylan O’Brien and Tyler Hoechlin, which had become commonplace during Season 3B. However, the Season 4 finale episode decided to give the audience a fake-out death for the character of Derek Hale.
As Derek and Stiles are climbing out the back of a van, a berserker stabs Derek in the stomach and tosses him down to the ground. At this point in time, Derek had lost his werewolf powers, rendering him susceptible to injuries that would prove fatal to humans.
As Derek is on the ground, propped up against a rock and struggling to fight back through the pain, he tells the surrounding characters to go carry out the mission that they were supposed to do. Stiles, however, remains frozen in place—unable to look away from Derek.
Once more, Derek tells Stiles to go. This time, Stiles finally goes to run off, but stops in his tracks again and turns around to look at Derek one last time.
Why it is iconic?: In the year of 2014, Sterek fans grew used to anti-shippers telling them that Stiles and Derek didn’t care about one another and wouldn’t care if the other were to die. Well, this canon proved otherwise.
15. The Sterek Bridal-Carry:
By the time the show’s series finale rolled around, both Tyler Hoechlin and Dylan O’Brien had already exited the show to seek out better opportunities. Hoechlin had exited after season four and O’Brien left following the first half of season six.
However, the two reunited for the final episode of the show, giving us one last canon Sterek moment to cheer about for the rest of our happy shipper days!
In the episode, Derek and Stiles tell the rest of the pack how they actually met up and got back to Beacon Hills together. With Stiles working as an FBI intern, he received news that Derek was a fugitive and that there was a nationwide manhunt for him (Oh, a throwback to episode 1×09).
Naturally, Stiles throws away the rules and goes to save Derek. Who would Stiles be if he wasn’t jumping into action to save Derek?
Stiles recollects his memory of the event that brought them back together, telling the pack that he ushered a severely injured Derek out of crossfire and into safety. We get to see a “flashback” scene of the whole ordeal.
However, when Derek gets his turn to retell the sequence of events, we get his “flashback” of what happens, which includes Derek bridal-carrying an injured Stiles out of the crossfire.
Why is it iconic?: It’s technically the last big canon Sterek moment and it’s a bridal-carry. From Season 1 to Season 6, Derek and Stiles never stopped throwing themselves into danger to save one another.
Of course, there are lots more instances of iconic Sterek tidbits lurking around. Even though Teen Wolf got cancelled and tried to erase Sterek from existence, this ship managed to survive the death of its base show and remained popular, allowing for fans across the world to come together and share their favorite creations involving this ship.
What do you guys think? Did I miss your favorite iconic Sterek moment in this list?
Let us know in the comments below!
Rodney has a bachelor’s degree in English Literature. Aspiring to one day write television shows and novels, he’s an avid slash-shipper and enthusiast for all things gay. Rodney’s especially a lover of magic, mystery, and superheroes—holding Harry Potter, the X-Men, and Scooby-Doo close as his own personal favorites. But when he’s not fantasizing about how cool it would be to have magic, he’s busy writing fanfiction and re-watching old TV shows.
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