Heart of darkness / Darkness around your heart
In 3×01 ”Tattoo‘:
“The offing was barred by a black bank of clouds and the tranquil waterway leading to the uttermost ends of the earth flowed somber under an overcast sky seemed to lead into the heart of an immense darkness.”
This quote from Joseph Conrad’s book ‘Heart of Darkness’ was in the first episode of the season 3×01 ‘Tattoo’. It was Jennifer Blake’s – who we now know to be The Darach and one of the major antagonists – opening line. She also said “this is the last line of the first book we’re going to read.” It is fitting then perhaps that as 3A the first part of this season comes to an end that this quote is mirrored in Deaton’s word in 3×11 ‘Alpha Pact’.
“You won’t be able to see it but you’ll feel it, every day for the rest of your lives. It will be a kind of darkness around your heart and permanent like a scar.”
And just like that they’ve come a complete circle. Scott even added “like a tattoo” in reference to what Deaton said continuing the motif from the premiere. It is especially interesting considering the fact that we know in 3×12 ‘Lunar Ellipse‘ we are going to learn the real meaning behind the tattoo and why it is actually so significant to Scott.
Man: The Tahitian word tatau means ‘to leave a mark’. Like a rite of passage.
Scott: In Samoan it means ‘open wound’.
In Conrad’s book darkness is a theme that refers to the darker side of human nature and makes allusions to human tyranny, injustice, and brutality. Kind of like Deucalion and the Alpha pack. The final quote of the book with its reference to the broad scope of the land, sea and sky symbolizes just how pervasive the “darkness” of the human “heart” can be. That the “darkness” is not necessarily confined to only a few corrupt people but that there is a “dark” side to us all that can potentially be realized. 
An example of this other than the transformation of Deucalion from the man he was in 3×08 ‘Visionary’ to the man he is now is Allison in Season 2. Her dark-side took over and even though she’s turned her back on that side of herself now it is still a part of her.
On the other hand what makes Scott a true Alpha and generally a good guy is his virtue, how he shows forgiveness to people that don’t deserve it, mercy when others would not and always tries to do the right thing. You might even argue that darkness is not a part of his nature or is it? Remember his threat to Gerard in 3×08? And the fact that Deucalion keeps saying “Become the Alpha you were meant to be. Become a killer!”
A persons nature has been one of the reoccurring ideas this season specifically in 3×08 ‘Visionary’:
Deaton: All your faith in humanity may not matter if you underestimate Gerard’s nature.
Gerard: I know a werewolf’s nature.
In 3×08 both Deaton and Gerard also tell the Sanskrit parable of the Frog and the Scorpion to highlight the idea that supposedly a persons fundamental nature cannot change. However I don’t think this is necessarily true I think that extreme events, turmoil and environment can cause dramatic change that might never have happened otherwise. “A confluence of events” as Peter would say and I guess the taking of an innocent life and the physically changes that occur in a werewolf as a result i.e. blue eyes is evidence of this – how a person nature can change right down to their core.
Peter: Taking an innocent life takes something from you as well, a bit of your soul, darkening it.
The worry for me is that the darkness around their hearts might taint their nature or push them towards their darker predilections especially as it is supernatural induced. A “heart of darkness” is not just found in the chest of those that are wicked of nature but of anyone that condones their activities or good people that do nothing.
Allison and Stiles in my personal opinion have more of a predilection towards a darker attitude than Scott does. Just through simple things like the willingness to kill or believing that people deserve to die. The worry of course is that if Scott’s nature changes he would no longer be a true Alpha.
I am wondering if Scott’s tattoo offers protection of some kind against this darkness and not just the darkness around his heart but the darkness of the lunar eclipse. Maybe it will help him keep his power? Circle after all offer protection in Teen Wolf and Druid’s did make use of them. Perhaps other elements of this season like will power and also the power of the mind (psychosomatic stuff) to effect the body through simple belief/imagination will come into play?
Isaac: No I can’t see them it’s to dark. I can’t see.
If you remember it was in fact not dark at all in the bank at that time and in that scene there was this hidden frame – I wonder if it is a clue for the finale? Could that be Scott or Stiles in the moment that they die?
At the same time that they’ve emphasized darkness they’ve begun to play around with the use of light in the show cinematographically showing the contrast.
And lets not forget this:
It kind of harks back to Peter’s comment about shades of grey for me in 3×03 ‘Fireflies’.
Peter: Let Scott be the hero of his morally black and white world. The real survivors you and I – we live in shades of grey.
This is another theme of this season; finding the balance. We had Chris in 3×05 ‘Frayed‘:
Chris: One of the definitions of threading the needle, is to find a safe path between two opposing forces.
We have our two forces The Alpha pack and The Darach and in last episode 3×11 ‘Alpha Pact’ Morrell said:
Morrell: And I sent her to do what I’ve always done – maintain balance.
Is Scott the balance?
It is interesting that she also tells Scott that this isn’t him that he should go back to his friends but Deucalion says “he can decide what’s right for himself”. And I think that is true especially as choice is another theme and living with the consequences of those choices which obviously our main characters are going to have to do; the consequences of awakening the Nemeton. Plus Celtic ethics are virtue ethics as they believed in cultivating personal virtues and that we shape our own paths and ourselves i.e. our own fate. Scott has to make his own choices, choose his own path but I think we might be surprised by what is to come. He has the power to choose not to stare into the heart of darkness.