Season 4 finale! We got a super-sized episode (a whole extra 10 minutes) packed full of action, emotion, and surprisingly few major character deaths. Without further ado, on to the super-sized review, with some super-sized spoilers. Continue reading
Well, Monday has come and gone again, and with it another episode of Teen Wolf. This week, Kate is a creep, Peter gets robbed, Derek is de-aged, and Papa Stilinski is worried about time machines. Hit the jump to find out my thoughts.
Teen Wolf is back, and this week we’re continuing all the mystery from the last episode. Scott, Stiles, and Allison are all still struggling with the consequences of dying in the first half of the season, Stiles’s father is about to lose his job, Malia is still a werecoyote, and we left Derek and Peter off being tortured by an unknown assailant.
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.
Last week, Lady Saika wrote a post about what was then an upcoming Teen Wolf episode that would feature a sex scene between Danny and Ethan. Despite all the cheesiness of Teen Wolf, it has been a rather progressive show, and establishing a homosexual relationship and also showing it on screen is a big step up in terms of queer representation.
However, in a fit of immaturity, some Stiles/Derek shippers decided to boycott the episode because Derek was also going to have a sexual scene with Jennifer Blake, a new character this season. Rumors of the boycott seem to have been greatly exaggerated, and they don’t seem to have hurt the episode’s views. However, I would like to talk about the variety of negative reactions some Sterek shippers had to this episode.
Immediately, misogynistic insults began flooding the internet. Jennifer Blake must be taking advantage of Derek. She’s an evil witch. She’s the darach—which is possible, but it seems like some shippers may be jumping to conclusions, because she’s “taking advantage of him”. How can Derek, who has trust issues, come to trust someone unless he’s being manipulated? It’ll be so awesome when Derek discovers how evil she is. He should rip her uterus out and strangle her with it. Oh, and this isn’t actually misogyny, by the way. These Sterek shippers just don’t like poorly defined relationships (never mind that Derek and Stiles have barely shared any scenes together). But seriously, Jennifer Blake is an evil whore. She should die, and we should rejoice.
Oh, and apparently at some point during Derek’s and Jennifer’s completely consensual coupling, she raped him.
What’s sad is that these are all actual arguments Lady Geek Girl, Lady Saika, and I have found in the Dennifer and Sterek tags on Tumblr. I’m not going to delve into why these accusations against Jennifer are misogynistic. I hope that would be obvious. The rape one, though, bothers me quite a bit, especially because the people arguing it and simultaneously championing Sterek fail to realize how hypocritical they are being. At this point, they don’t want Sterek because of representation—the boycott proved that. However, the Sterek ship as a whole has never stuck well with me, and there’s one word that’s the cause of that: statutory.
So Teen Wolf is finally back and the first episode didn’t wait at all before jumping right into the middle of everything. Literally. The episode starts in the middle of a conflict. It opens with Isaac horrifically injured and being helped out by a previously unseen female character. The two are being chased by twin Alpha werewolves, and through some very dangerous maneuvers on a motorbike and some high voltage weaponry, the girl helps Isaac manages to take down both Alphas. The twins have a weird ability to merge into one super-powered werewolf, kind of like a chimera hybrid abomination. It was the strangest part of the episode—not including all the abnormal animal behavior, such as bad CGI deer running straight into Lydia’s car, crows suicide-bombing the school, and cats mutilating themselves to death.
Oh, and did I mention that the girl helping Isaac escape the Alpha twins is badass. And PoC. I think she might be called Cora, who Wikipedia describes as: “a 17-year-old girl with ties to the Beacon Hills werewolves”. But I can’t find a picture of the actress for comparison. I hope she’s Cora, meaning that she’ll be sticking around for a while—but unfortunately, she seems to have had a very definitive death at the end of this episode, so maybe not.
Oh, yeah, spoiler alert.
MadameAce: If there was one thing to praise Teen Wolf for, it would be its treatment of rape culture, and this can be shown through the actions of Matt, Kate, and Peter. The show doesn’t condone their actions, though it doesn’t try to draw a large amount of attention to them either. Teen Wolf doesn’t do those annoying specials that other shows do, where they present a serious topic and devote the entire episode to giving a lecture on it. Teen Wolf instead presents rape culture as something that not only exists but often happens that people have to deal with.
Lady Geek Girl: Well, we’re back to talk some more about feminism in Teen Wolf. This time we will discuss Allison and Lydia as strong female characters.
The series Teen Wolf—based very loosely on a comedy movie from the eighties by the same name—has had two fairly successful seasons thus far. Between the rise of stories like Twilight and The Vampire Diaries, it seems to be riding on the success of its predecessors. At the very least it started out that way, before moving on to become its own story. And one of its goals was clearly to be as far away from Twilight as humanly possible. Of course there’s still the shitty romance, but unlike Bella and Edward, Scott and Allison—our new star-crossed lovers—are surprisingly well-thought out characters. When they’re not together.
It is still based around the forbidden-romance trope, though, which I find annoying. Oftentimes, the forbidden romance presents itself but does little to justify the relationship. It can—and often does—involve stalking and emotional abuse and then calling that love, but usually all this trope does is show why the relationship should be forbidden in the first place before asking the audience to agree with it. Twilight, being one of the more prominent examples, is my case in point. And all the newer shows, movies, and books riding on its success like to copy that formula, mistaking the difference between stakes and an unhealthy relationship.
Fortunately, we can thank Teen Wolf for not doing that. As annoying as the love story can be, it is one of the healthier relationships I’ve seen in the forbidden-romance trope. And even though Teen Wolf is marketed toward a female audience and that’s probably the main reason the romance between Scott and Allison is played out the way it is, it is not handled the way I would expect it to be in a love story. While a relationship with Allison may be Scott’s driving motivation, it is not what’s driving the plot.
We can give Teen Wolf credit in that it doesn’t forget to tell a story in light of the romance.