We’ve made it no secret on this site that we love Teen Wolf. However, while there were many parts of this past season that we liked, there were also quite a few things wrong with it. Unfortunately, some of those things were also rather offensive—Boyd’s death by fingernails comes to mind—but for me, a really big issue came about from Deucalion’s blindness. Lady Saika already talked about this briefly before:
[The] ugly trope of magically healing the disabled is something that we are very against. It neatly removes any representation for people with disabilities and sends the message that people with disabilities are not whole people and need to be healed to live a full life. It also seems to apply a moral standard to disability: if you are a good enough person—if Our Hero believes you deserve it—you can be healed. If you’re still disabled, then you must have done something wrong.
While that is true, that’s not the full scope of how hard Teen Wolf failed in this regard.
The whole “curing disabled people as a reward” appears more often than it should—Eragon, Bobby Singer, Barbara Gordon, etc.—but Teen Wolf took it a step further with Deucalion. Within the confines of the show, it could be argued that Deucalion’s blindness actually turns him evil. He starts off as a genuinely good person, trying to do the right thing by his pack. During what was meant to be a peace talk, Gerard tricks Deucalion and literally stabs out his eyes with explosive arrows. Following that, when it turns out that Deucalion’s eyesight cannot be restored, a member of his pack attempts to murder him in order to take over. Deucalion kills this beta in an act of self-defense and discovers that by doing so he can become more powerful. He then kills the rest of his pack and convinces Kali and Ennis to do the same. Essentially, he tried to do the right thing, was punished for it by blindness, and became evil.
I would probably be willing to forgive all that if the process of healing him after he’s mass-murdered a number of people hadn’t made him a good person in return. At the midseason finale, Jennifer heals Deucalion’s eyes so he could see her mangled face and understand to what extent his quest for power hurt her. After she heals him, she’s too weak to go through with her plan to kill him, due to the amount of energy she put into curing his eyes. He kills her instead. Scott and Derek then tell Deucalion that they hope he can be a good person again and that if he’s not “[his] eyesight won’t matter, because [he’ll] never see [them] coming.”
As they tell him this, Deucalion looks appropriately repentant for all the horrible things he’s done, because… I don’t know why. Getting his eyesight back seems to be the reason. That, or Teen Wolf accidentally left out a rather important scene that explained his change of heart, since nothing here makes sense. Scott and Derek spent the entire season fighting Deucalion, only to walk away and let him off the hook.
As I said earlier, when Deucalion lost his eyesight originally, he was trying to do the right thing, only to be punished with a disability that led one of his pack members to try to kill him. This in turn leads to Deucalion getting a high on power. Deucalion then spends the entirety of this season doing nothing but evil. He coerces Derek into becoming a murderer, attempts to do the same to Scott, and is the reason Jennifer’s on a killing spree, because he also turned Kali and his other pack members into murderers as well. He has few to no redeeming moments, and yet, after all these terrible things, he gets his eyesight back—is magically healed—and becomes good again.
While we aren’t fans of magically healing disabilities for the reasons Saika’s already stated, we’re also not fans of disabilities being demonized. Because the onset and offset of Deucalion’s blindness coincide with whether or not he’s evil, the show not only uses the magical healing trope, it also uses Deucalion’s character to tell us that having a disability is evil and wrong. Both these things may seem to contradict each other, however, as Deucalion certainly doesn’t “deserve” to be healed, as it were, since he’s done terrible things. Unfortunately, the show makes a point of Derek and Scott admitting that Deucalion used to be a good person before his disability, and the show also uses his blindness—his inability to see the results of, and therefore understand the extent of, his actions—as an excuse for what he’s done. Essentially, Deucalion is not responsible for his own actions; he’s a victim.
This is really offensive, because it assumes that disabled people are somehow incapable of understanding the world around them for some reason. I’m sorry, but Deucalion’s a grown man. He shouldn’t need his eyesight in order to know that murder is wrong.
While all that is bad enough on its own, within the Teen Wolf universe, it makes even less sense. I really wouldn’t have minded Deucalion being a blind villain, especially if his blindness hadn’t been connected to his villainy. Having a kickass blind guy would be sweet, but the show also takes that away from us. Deucalion, despite being called blind and acting blind and using a walking stick because his eyesight was burned out, is not actually blind. Because he is a werewolf, he still has the power to see through his wolf eyes, meaning that he’s not blind. I’m not sure how this works; there’s no reason his healing abilities couldn’t have healed his human eyesight when it restored his wolf eyesight. So as far as I’m concerned, he had the ability to see and understand his actions the entire time—and Jennifer shouldn’t have had to heal him for that to be the case—yet the show still puts up a façade and presents him as a victim because he couldn’t see.
All in all, I was very disappointed with Deucalion’s character, and with the way the show handled him. There was no reason for it to go this badly, and I can only hope that should the upcoming episodes feature any other disabled characters, they’ll be handled better.