I don’t know how I feel about the season finale. I’ve got mixed feelings not only about the resolution in general, but also about the last ten minutes of the episode that set up next season. Welp, let’s get on with this. In this episode, Stiles is possessed by a spirit who just wants to play Go and teaches Stiles how to play, which inevitably gets them into all kinds of shenanigans. Wait, wait, sorry, no, I’m thinking of Hikaru no Go. Wrong show.
Spoilers below the cut.
Okay, I am going to try and review this episode quickly so that I can review the season. When I review the season I will occasionally mention how the season as a whole (both 3A and 3B combined) turned out, but since we already reviewed Season 3A don’t look for me to address it too much here.
So it’s the final episode and our teen heroes know they have to stop the nogitsune, and soon. Stiles and Kira learn, however, that at this point in the game they would need a Divine Move, which in Go is when it appears like the player who is losing has no more moves, but then has one move that wins them the game. The gang realizes that, to trap the nogitsune like Kira’s mother did years ago, they would need a container made from the nemeton’s wood. Thankfully, the container Derek had to keep his mother’s claws in was made from the nemeton.
Meanwhile, the nogitsune is moving in, capturing both the police station and the hospital, poisoning Mama McCall and Sheriff Stilinski, and killing a whole bunch a people. Derek gives a rousing speech to the twins about how they have to fight and help Scott in order to be in the Scott McCall fan club and they head off to confront the nogitsune at the school. Away from all the action, Chris and Isaac are mourning Allison’s death and have the helpful realization that her silver arrowhead is what killed the Oni.
Scott, Lydia, Kira, and Stiles also head to the high school, only to end up in a weird Japanese garden covered in snow. The nogitsune (back to looking like Gollum) tells the gang that they are in Bardo, the Tibetan land of the dead, because they are dying and he’s about to win. He explains that anyone who was cut by a Oni’s sword will die unless Stiles kills himself and Scott helps him do it. Stiles asks him why and the nogitsune just responds, “To win the game.” …Okay, I guess.
Back in the real world, Derek’s cute butt is about to lose the fight (like always) with the Stiles-looking nogitsune and the Oni, when Papa Argent and Isaac appear to save the day with their silver arrowheads. Derek and Chris work well together and quickly take out the Oni (earning them the title of my new favorite pairing), but Aiden is stabbed before they can kill them all. Back in the cliché Japanese garden, Scott and the gang are losing badly, so Stiles attempts to kill himself while the nogitsune eggs him on. At the last second, though, Stiles realizes that everything around them is an illusion and they end up back in the school, where Kira and Scott are able to kill the nogitsune’s host. Scott bites him, turning him into a wolf, Kira stabs him, and Isaac traps its weirdly buglike true form in the container made from the nemeton.
While there are some great emotional moments in this episode, I could have really summed it up in a few quick sentences, which made the resolution kind of… meh. It wasn’t bad, but for such a badass troublesome villain, it seemed like all our main characters needed were a few special tools to beat him. What really made this episode, though, were the last ten minutes, which tied up loose ends and set up for next season.
After Aiden’s death, Ethan tells Danny that he has to leave, but Danny reveals that he was going to break up with him anyway. When Ethan asks why, Danny says he just doesn’t think he can date a werewolf, revealing that Danny knows about everything! This confirms about three seasons’ worth of fan theories that Danny had to have overheard Scott, Stiles, and Jackson loudly talking about werewolf things right next to him.
Meanwhile, Malia is shown joining Beacon Hills High School as the new student and practicing transforming with Scott, indicating that she will probably be a big character next season. But the real kick in the teeth is when Derek tells Stiles of a dream he had about being attacked by hunters when something else appeared and attacked the hunters. It’s quickly revealed, however, that their conversation is a dream and this dream of being attacked is actually happening! Who is attacking him? None other than Kate fucking Argent, who is now transformed into a badass werewolf! Wow!
So while the episode itself felt anti-climatic, those last ten minutes setting up for next season were excellent!
Now, let’s talk about Season 3B overall.
While I enjoyed the fuck out of Dylan’s acting this season, I am still miffed about how much Scott was pushed aside. At the beginning of Season 3B I thought there was a good balance—Stiles had the main story arc, but Scott was still the main character—but the second half of 3B didn’t do as well, and there were certain episodes where Scott was really pushed to the side.
I am happy, though, that Scott’s family issues are being developed more. I am surprisingly really enjoying how Scott’s dad and their relationship is being portrayed, and I hope to see more of Agent McCall next season. I am also extremely pleased that Scott’s ethnicity was finally acknowledged in the show. That was a big win. However, other race issues were not handled as well this season.
The use of Japanese mythology was definitely problematic. I wanted to wait and see how the season ended before voicing my opinion on this, but now I feel I can safely say that the kitsunes, and the Japanese mythology in general, was not done well and came off as very stereotypical. Kitsune are pretty cool magical creatures and you would think that, like the werewolves, they would have certain superpowers to rely on. The nogitsune certainly seemed to have a whole host of powers and tricks, and when Kira first appeared she was able to use electricity—but they only show her doing it when it’s plot convenient rather than all the time. Maybe a katana is cheaper than special effects, because so far Kira just seems to be really naturally adept at using a katana. You know, like all Asian people. Kira’s mother also mentions that Kira’s a lightning kitsune, but that she isn’t one herself, yet we never see her do anything either. Kitsune should have had equally cool powers rather than being forced into a stereotype.
It wouldn’t have been so bad if there hadn’t also been references to samurai, ninjas, Yakuza, and battles in Japanese gardens covered in snow. Seriously, was that a Kill Bill reference? What the fuck? Using these elements isn’t the Teen Wolf writers using Japanese mythology; they are using what Westerners think of Japanese mythology. Out of everything, the only necessary things to keep for this season would be the kitsune and the Oni; everything else is just superfluous. That being said, I am still excited about Kira and her family now being regular recurring characters on the show. She and her mother should have a whole host of interesting things to bring to the next season.
Speaking of our female characters, this season has some great moments for the ladies as well as some awful ones. I was excited that Braeden returned, but incredibly disappointed that she never showed up again after one episode and that it was never explained how she survived Deucalion killing her in Season 3A. Cora was thankfully written off by going to South America instead of dying, but the fact remains that her character was never explained, or given a background or purpose outside of Derek before her actress left. Malia was swiftly brought in to replace Cora. She seems to have more going on with her character, and I like that they are developing her outside of her relationship to Peter or Stiles, but Malia was also barely featured. Presumably she’ll have more of a part next year, but I have been burned before. Kira is all set to be a main character and other than the treatment of the Japanese mythology surrounding her, I have no complaints here. Kira is an awesome, well-written, well-developed female character of color. Let’s hope she sticks around.
But what of our main female characters, Lydia and Allison? Well, we all know what happened to Allison, but I’ll get to that. Lydia has been developing really well as a character and seeing her learn to use her powers has been great. However, I’m getting really annoyed with how often Lydia’s plotlines look like an analogy for sexual assault. I didn’t mind the first time because I thought the writers handled it well, but once is enough. The nogitsune kidnapped her, but then didn’t seem to use her for anything, just pressed her against the wall and whispered creepy things in her ear. I’m also sick of Peter and Lydia having a connection or whatever, which again just continues the “creepy rapey guys being obsessed with Lydia” trend. Even Lydia’s powers as a banshee seem to center around her being constantly psychologically fucked with. All of Season 2 I had to deal with watching Peter fuck with Lydia’s head, and now the writers seem to have said “Lydia getting psychologically fucked with is just her power now”. I really want to see her come into powers so that she can then use them to protect and defend herself, especially now that Allison is gone.
I am more pissed about Allison dying than anything else this season. I know Crystal Reed wanted to leave, and I certainly have my thoughts as to why, but from a pure storytelling perspective, it just sucks. Allison’s story was just starting: her friendship with Lydia was developed so much more this season, she finally became the leader of her family, she graduated from hunter school, and she moved on from Scott. Allison had really come into her own and I was ready to see where Allison went next. Now she’s dead and I hate my life. (I also just started shipping Allydia too! Goddamn it!) What I am especially worried about now is how to fill the Allison-shaped void from a storytelling perspective. Right now we have no human female characters (which ironically is the exact opposite problem we had before). Allison was the hunter, the warrior character, and a human who struggled and studied to be formidable in the face of all this magical chaos. Kira and Malia are not going to fill that void. I’m not suggesting an Allison duplicate, but the show needs a similar type of character. I vote Braeden joins as a serious regular to fill that hole. As a mercenary and an adult, she is different enough so that she isn’t Allison 2.0, but she’s still a similar sort of human warrior character that could fill this gap nicely.
You know what wasn’t a big part of the show this season, though? Gay characters. Do you know what should have been a big part of this season? Gay characters! I was promised more Danny, but I did not get more Danny. Danny was in a relationship with a werewolf, but Danny and Ethan were constantly passed over for Lydia and Aiden. Ethan had way less screen time than his brother, despite actually being the more interesting character. And then we have Caitlyn, who Jeff Davis wrote into the show as a bisexual character because the fans said we wanted more bisexual representation. She was in one episode. I used to say Jeff was doing pretty well at portraying gay characters, but this is hardly incorporating characters—this is pulling them out when you want to look progressive and then putting them away when you’re done. That’s bullshit. When fans said they wanted a bisexual character they meant Stiles. Or really, if not Stiles, any main character. We want a queer main character. I want Danny to be a regular. I want Caitlyn to be one too. I was happy to let Aiden and Ethan stay for that reason, but even Ethan was passed over. Give me bisexual Stiles, pansexual Scott, ace Derek, or lesbian Kira! I mean come on Jeff, represent your own people on your own show!
My only other real complaint was the storytelling. I have said a thousand times now but Teen Wolf writers need to slow the story down and develop their plot and characters more. They need to learn “show don’t tell”, as I think we are all getting sick of exposition dumps. But I’m hoping Deaton’s words to Scott at the end about how things won’t always be this bad is a sign that next season will be less dark, because this whole “American Horror Story: Lycanthrope” thing happening with this season was just awful. It was too dark. I know people who couldn’t watch the season because it was too triggering for them. That sucks. I like Teen Wolf because it’s exciting, but also lighthearted and funny. If I wanted to be depressed I’d watch Supernatural or Hannibal.
I can’t say I didn’t enjoy this season; I actually really did. It was suspenseful and entertaining, but there were just some really obvious problems with it that could have been easily improved. That’s probably the most frustrating part. I am extremely intrigued for next season. Hopefully now that we know Danny knows about everything he’ll become a bigger character and there’s a rumor that this next season will focus more on Lydia, which would be awesome. I’m worried about Derek’s epic manpain returning with Kate, but I’m just too excited to see her return. Maybe Kate will be redeemed; maybe she’ll just be a villain. Either way when she finds out Allison is dead heads will roll, and I think that’s what I’m most excited about.