It seems as if Teen Wolf is once again heading down into some very dark and creepy territory. In fact this episode seemed to be channeling Hannibal. The episode begins with a wendigo attacking and terrorizing a woman before he attempts to eat her (everything is people!), but Deaton appears to save the day. He stops the wendigo and returns him to Arkham Asylum—whoops, I mean Eichen House. He does this as a favor in order to be with another patient in the asylum, who goes by the name Dr. Valack. Valack is even in one of those clear cells and talks like he’s an uber-intellectual. Turns out that, unlike Hannibal Lecter, this guy has a third eye which he tells Deaton to stare into if he wants answers about Kate and what she did to Derek. This puts Deaton in a coma, because of reasons. Deaton does reveal in this scene that he thinks some of what is happening now is because of him and a woman he made a promise to and who he was apparently in love with.
Meanwhile Scott and Kira are trying to have a cute and sexy date when they are attacked by Kate and one of her berserkers. Kate manages to kidnap Scott and Kira and transports them down to Mexico to the same church where Derek was trapped at the beginning of the season. How Kate got them down there in the course of less than a day is beyond me. Also how does one sneak two kidnapped teens and two massive berserkers past the border? Anyway, Kate imprisons Kira and places Scott on an altar because she is turning him into a berserker. More on this later.
However, it is at this time that Stiles, Derek, and Braeden realize Scott and Kira have been kidnapped. Lydia uses her banshee powers to wake Deaton up and he reveals Scott is in Mexico. Road trip time, guys!
There was a lot I didn’t like about this episode and really, at the heart of it all it’s because I despise Peter and Kate, and miss when Teen Wolf was campy and ridiculous (it’s still ridiculous—just not campy anymore). Peter and Kate are admittedly entertaining villains, but I wish they would have stayed dead. Peter I hate, because while he is occasionally funny and entertaining, he is a really bland villain. He just hates everyone and is after power. That’s it. If his mustache was longer he could twirl it stereotypically. I get that we are supposed to feel bad for him because of the trauma he suffered, and during Season 1 I did, but the flashback episode in Season 3 changed that for me. In the flashback Peter is still just as much of a manipulative ass who doesn’t seem to care about anyone but himself.
Kate at least has some depth. It was nice in early episodes to see her wanting to protect her brother (I do really wish we had a scene where she was mourning Allison though), and I am glad that a lady villain finally got to come back, but Kate’s a fucking rapist and I can’t handle her for much longer. We already had to sit through watching her assault Derek again, but now we have to watch Kate control Scott! Kate turning Scott into a berserker is not the same as her physically assaulting Derek, but her controlling his mind and body is very much connected to the theme of mind rape, which we have discussed before. While Kate is not sexually assaulting Scott, she is literally taking away all of his mental and bodily autonomy, and on top of that she is also stealing his humanity. The berserkers are humans who have lost themselves and have become barely more than violent animals. So we have a person of color whose mental and bodily autonomy is being stolen from him by a white person in order to dehumanize him. While this could be an interesting way to explore oppression and how white people have denied people of color basic human rights, I don’t trust the Teen Wolf writers to be self-aware enough to explore this issue. This just makes the whole end of the episode ridiculously hard to watch and will probably make the next episode even worse.
Another issue with this episode—and, frankly, the whole show—is the lack of development for characters of color other than Scott (and heck even sometimes Scott gets less development than his white counterparts). Admittedly this season Braeden has had much more character development, but she still is not a part of the main cast so her character regrettably hasn’t gotten as much air time. Mason, being a Black gay character, is especially important for representation, but he still seems to have fallen into the same place that Danny did as nothing but a cool background character. I can only pray that Liam will tell Mason he is a werewolf, but since this never happened with Danny, I doubt Mason will be brought in as part of the main cast. Marin Morrell, despite apparently also working at Eichen House, has yet to be seen this whole season. And then we have Deaton, who has been a major recurring character since Season 1 and has never gotten any character development. Deaton sadly falls into the mystical Negro trope, but this could be avoid if is character was actually developed. This episode it seemed as if we almost got that. Deaton mentions that he thinks some of what is happening in Beacon Hills may be his fault because of a promise he made to a woman he loved who has since passed away (fingers crossed that it’s Talia). I think this is why the episode title is “A Promise to the Dead.” But Deaton barely features in this episode. This could have been a story arc for Deaton for the whole season, but instead we get some barely there development with the season finale next week. It sucks.
Long story short: if both Peter and Kate don’t die (and stay dead) this season I will almost feel as if this whole season wasn’t even worth it. I really really hope that Teen Wolf can deal with some of these issues in the season finale, but with just one episode left, it’s doubtful. Still, fingers crossed.