Teen Wolf is back! Along with Kate Argent… so of course the gang has some problems right away. After the events of Season 3B, things seems to have both calmed down and gotten worse. Though the whole atmosphere, thankfully, feels less dark and depressing than it did last season, drama starts right away when the gang heads to Mexico to rescue Derek.
Spoilers below the cut.
Our episode starts with Lydia and Stiles heading down to a very stereotypical looking Mexican club (complete with shabby looking stucco architecture everywhere and mariachi sounding music in the background) in order to bargain with hunter Nadia to get Derek back. Scott, Kira, and Malia are also hidden throughout the club–that is, the hunters’ base of operations—as reinforcements. Sadly, things don’t go as planned and after a very homoerotic dance between Kira and Malia (which made me ship them almost instantly), the gang is kidnapped. Scott is tortured by Nadia to find Derek, except that she already knows that Kate Argent has Derek and is just torturing Scott for the lolz or because she thinks pain is an awesome motivator. Whatever the case, Nadia and her band of hunters take the code far more seriously than the Argents (with the exception of Chris of course) and she releases Scott and his pack so that he can find Derek and hopefully kill Kate. If Nadia wants Kate dead, why doesn’t she go with Scott? I don’t know. She probably knew it would make the plot more interesting if she stayed behind. Whatever the case, Nadia does give Scott some help in the form of my favorite character and awesome lady of color, Braeden!
Braeden leads Scott and the pack to an abandoned church built over an Aztec temple. However, Stiles’s jeep breaks down before they can get there and Scott goes ahead with Braeden to the church. Both groups get attacked by big monstrous looking things that we don’t get a good look at yet. But they all manage to escape, or scare off the monster, and they finally find where Derek is being kept prisoner. Except Derek, well… he’s been de-aged to his sixteen year old form, prompting all the viewers to ask exactly how much Teen Wolf fanfic Jeff Davis read in the off season.
Despite my sarcasm, the episode was actually really good. There were certain things I didn’t like, but they were all minor. The stereotypical “Mexico” set was one big one. Another was that there was no mention of where Isaac was. Now, if you are obsessed with the show like I am, then you already knew that Daniel Sharman, Isaac’s actor, left the show, and so Isaac is moving to France, much like Cora and Jackson, who were also spirited away to other countries. But I think most casual viewers would be confused by the lack of Isaac since he was a main character last season, and while there wasn’t really a lot of time to bring Isaac up, a casual mention might have been good. Having just one of the characters say, “I wish Isaac were here” or “This would be easier with Isaac around” would be enough without going into full details about what happened to Isaac yet.
I also find it odd that no adults accompanied our teens on the dangerous “Go to Mexico and Rescue Derek” mission. Chris Argent apparently went to France with Isaac, I guess, to give them both a break after Allison’s death. Mama McCall, while awesome, is human, so it makes sense she wouldn’t go to Mexico with Scott. But you would think Deaton, Kira’s mother, or Sheriff Stilinski would go with Scott and the other minors to the foreign country where dangerous people could kill them. I work with teenagers; you don’t let them do anything without an adult. That’s just the rule. I assume it’s more exciting to have the teenagers go on their own, but that doesn’t really fly. Both the Sheriff and Melissa were heavily involved last season and it was no less exciting. While it makes sense that they weren’t involved in Season 1 and 2, now that both parents know about the supernatural, it only makes sense that they wouldn’t let their kids handle it alone. The only thing I can think is that the Pack snuck off without telling the adults where they were going, which means everyone is going to be in so much trouble when they get home.
But those are all very minor storytelling issues. What did I like? Well almost everything else, but I have to say that Malia really stole the show this episode. There has been a lot of Malia hate going around the fandom from Sterek shippers, Sciles shippers, Stydia shippers—hell, really just the whole fandom in general seems to be hating on Malia for a variety of reasons. Some don’t like her because she is hooking up with Stiles. Some resent her for replacing Allison. Others claim she is a poor character who is taking over the storylines originally met for Erica, Cora, and even Jackson. There are some legitimate complaints, though, about how her character is handled. For instance, she should have trouble talking, since she spent eight of her formative years as a coyote, among other things. That should be a huge disability for her right now. She should also lack the education required for high school. I suppose Davis thought those would be too difficult or uninteresting to write. Whatever the case, it was well established last season that Malia doesn’t have any of these issues, even though she really should. Yet despite some of her poor handling at the beginning, as she stands now, she really is shaping up to be an interesting character.
While I’m still annoyed that Malia follows conventional beauty standards despite being a coyote most of her life, the writers have otherwise remembered that Malia didn’t grow up human. She makes mention of easily leaving the rest of the Pack behind to protect herself. She even states that as a coyote she even would have eaten one of them if hunting had been bad. But at the same time, Malia does seem to have some loyalty to Scott and is devoted to Stiles, whom she admits she would never leave behind. The fandom has been giving Stalia shippers a lot of shit, and despite their dubious beginnings I think the two play off each other really well and would make a really interesting and entertaining couple for the show. They actually remind me a lot of Xander and Anya from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Hopefully they’ll get a happier ending, though. Either way, Malia is awesome and I hope the haters are eating their words.
I’m also pleased with the return of Braeden. There are rumors she’ll play a bigger role this season and maybe even date Derek. Which would be awesome, because Derek really needs a badass girlfriend who isn’t a mass murderer. That’d be nice. Scott’s growing more into his role as an alpha, and Lydia seems to be set up to explore more of her powers this season as well, so it looks like we have a season brimming with drama and interesting plotlines. Let’s hope it lasts.
Until next time, Teen Wolf fans!