Another Moonday has come and gone, and that means we have a new episode of Teen Wolf to review. Some freaky stuff happened this episode, but I am so relieved that the utter grimdarkness from the end of 3B has been dialed back that I’m not even bothered. We’re mostly back to the wacky adventures of the McCall Pack and I couldn’t be happier.
Spoilers below the jump.
Our episode opens on a scene that’s basically straight out of The Shining: a kid is about to go to sleep in his huge dark house when an axe-murdering mouthless creepazoid who speaks with a demonic speak-n-spell kills his parents and tries to attack him, but he escapes out the window and makes a run for the hospital.
Meanwhile at school, it’s time for lacrosse tryouts. We’re beaten over the head with the fact that this one new freshman Liam is so frickin’ good at lacrosse. Seriously, Scott can’t even beat him, and Stiles suspects he’s some breed of paranormal. After a ton of posturing (he’s worried he’ll lose his captaincy to Liam) Scott finally gets the drop on the kid… and hurts him badly enough that Stiles and Scott have to escort him to the hospital. Apparently BHHS doesn’t have a school nurse. As they head off the field, Kira wows Coach by being accidentally awesome at lacrosse. I suspect she’ll be on the team next episode, and I can’t wait.
Kira actually had some significant screentime this episode, as it turns out that her parents want to move back to New York. Having finally adjusted to both the new town and her new paranormal paradigm, she’s very against this, but can’t quite work up the courage to tell Scott the news. Scott, on the other hand, is struggling with his awkward crush on her, but they finally reconcile this episode in a dramatic cinematic makeout.
Malia is still struggling to adjust to the human world, but is being helped along by a doting Stiles. It’s really refreshing to see him in a sweet and happy and requited relationship after so long wishin’ and hopin’ and dreamin’. They don’t get a lot of play this episode, though. I suspect after seeing the preview that that’s because they’ll be front and center during next week’s full moon.
Throughout the episode we touch base with Peter and Derek, who have enlisted Braeden’s help in retrieving their millions. After all, without those bonds, Peter might have to get a job. God forbid. Braeden is reluctant to take the job as it means double-crossing her contract with the Calaveras, but Derek offers her enough of a payout that it’s worth her while.
Deputy Parrish catches Lydia sneaking around the crime scene where the episode-opening murders took place and calls her out on always being around crime scenes, but for some reason allows her to stick around. Together they find a secret panel in the giant house that leads down into a giant meat locker full of bagged, dessicated human corpses. I’d make a Hannibal joke here, but Dr. Lecter would never let his meat get that spoiled, and he certainly wouldn’t leave that level of mess just lying around. Anyway, it seems like Sean, the kid from the opening, isn’t as innocent as we’d believe.
Jump to the hospital, where Mama McCall is treating both Sean and Liam, who’s just arrived with Scott and Stiles. Scott gets a call from Lydia that Sean is probably trouble, and runs to his room just in time to find Mama McCall being menaced by a clearly inhuman Sean. He’s got a mouthful of sharky fangs and glowing eyes, and having just finished noshing on the insides of the deputy who was protecting his room, has turned his sights on Melissa.
Clearly, though, one does not fuck with Mama: Scott arrives on the scene to kick some ass. Some not-particularly-fun shenanigans ensue, and a whole team of people ends up on the roof: a wolfed-out Scott, who’s fighting a wendigo-ed out Sean (because yep, turns out he’s a wendigo. Cannibalistic monster myths ftw), while also trying to help Liam, who’s somehow managed to fall off the edge of the hospital roof and is dangling by one sweaty hand. In a snap decision, Scott bites Liam and then manages to get the upper hand on Sean. However, the creepyface dude from the opening reappears and throws one last axe, catching Sean in the back and leaving Scott on the roof with a terrified and freshly bitten freshman.
This was overall a fun episode. Despite the horror-movie tone set by the beginning, it never got too dark and there was lots of plot movement and character development. The lacrosse scenes were troves of comedic gold thanks to the presence of the sainted Coach Finstock, bless his cynical heart, and the romantic scenes were touching and not hackneyed or shoehorned in. And although they’ve been planting a lot of different seeds as far as subplots are concerned, there’s not an overwhelming number so far and I’m interested to see what will come of everything.
Obviously turning Liam is a big deal and I’m interested to see what will come of it. This is the first beta Scott will have that he actually turned himself, for one thing. Furthermore, the show never did let on whether Liam was already some sort of paranormal thing or not. Possibly not, given that he didn’t have an accelerated healing rate post-lacrosse dustup, but it would be really interesting to see what happens when you cross-contaminate were-species. Next week’s episode, as I mentioned, will involve the full moon, so it will literally be do or die for Liam.
The axe-wielding villain, whom Wolf Watch referred to as the Mute, is creepy as fuck, although I’m not sure post-wendigo reveal if he’s a hundred percent evil. Maybe he’s some form of hunter who was tracking the wendigo family? My biggest issue with him is that he is yet another supernaturally disabled villain. Teen Wolf has had far too many of those already and it would have been great if they could have come up with a different villain idea just this once. I hope that he at least gets a name eventually and isn’t referred to as the Mute for the whole season, as that’s really reductivist.
My other big complaint about the episode: where the fuck was Danny? He was in like two episodes last season and he wasn’t even in this episode despite it being sixty percent devoted to the lacrosse tryouts. Danny is supposed to be on the team and this would have been a great episode to push him further into the spotlight, but instead he was not even present. As much as I fucking love wendigos (and I really fucking love wendigos don’t even look at me), it’s just plain sad that there have been more wendigos in this season so far than queer people.
Actually, now that I’ve shoehorned the conversation around to wendigos, they are a Native American myth, so having a random white kid be how they introduce them into the show is kind of shitty and racist. Given that they did at least give a Japanese character the Japanese mythological powers, it would have been nice if they’d given a Native actor the same privilege. It’s also kind of annoying that they eschewed one of my favorite things about wendigos, which is their creepy-ass appearance, in favor of going the man-candy with teeth route. As one Native scholar describes the standard myth:
The Wendigo was gaunt to the point of emaciation, its desiccated skin pulled tautly over its bones. With its bones pushing out against its skin, its complexion the ash gray of death, and its eyes pushed back deep into their sockets, the Wendigo looked like a gaunt skeleton recently disinterred from the grave. What lips it had were tattered and bloody [….] Unclean and suffering from suppurations of the flesh, the Wendigo gave off a strange and eerie odor of decay and decomposition, of death and corruption. (x)
Clearly that wasn’t sexy enough for Teen Wolf. And of course, a kid who looked like he was part-skeleton would not be fresh-faced enough to be a bait-and-switch villain at the end of the episode—although he could have had a proper transformation instead of just looking like Sharkboy, I suppose. They turned Jackson into a damn lizard after all—they could have turned this kid into a grey deathbeast.
In general, though, outside of the ongoing complaints our review team continues to expound upon, this was an enjoyable episode. I’m looking forward to seeing where the show goes from here.
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