Previously on Teen Wolf: Scott makes a series of stupid decisions that turn out in his favor only out of sheer dumb luck; Stiles makes a series of stupid decisions that turn out in his favor only out of sheer dumb luck; Kira grows more comfortable with being both a BAMF and total rom-com ditz; Lydia continues to be awesome and woefully underutilized; Derek and Sheriff Stilinski play Batman and Commissioner Gordon; Peter loses the bank and gets his v-neck bloody; Kate is the worst; Argent needs a shave; the parental McCalls are now living together or something; and WHERE THE HELL IS DANNY?
S4 E2: 117
The Scott Pack are back in Beacon Hills with a de-aged Derek (aka Miguel) nipping at their heels. Turns out new were Kate took him back to when he still trusted her. Not cool, Kate. Even more not cool? Making out with him in order to get him to do her bidding. The kids team up with Braeden and Peter to track down Kate and Teen!Derek, but are beset by a pair of Berserkers who apparently followed them up from Mexico and who may not even be working for Kate. Kate’s main goal in manipulating Teen!Derek was to get into the Hale’s vault o’ goodies buried under the high school. Derek once told her about a magical object with the power to control were shifting, but nope. It was just a cheap souvenir that Mama Hale gave to Derek as a placebo. No matter, the end game was really to allow a mysterious figure rob the Hales of the $117 million in bonds they kept in a suitcase, as you do. Derek re-ages, but his eyes stay their original yellow rather than murderous blue.
S4 E3: Muted
Fans have a love-hate relationship with lacrosse storylines. Character-wise, I loves ‘em, but plot-wise, sweet zombie Jesus are they a slog. Off the field, Sean watches his entire family get tomahawk murdered. Lydia’s banshee powers lead her to his house, and she and Deputy Parrish go snooping and find a secret room full of snackage corpses. Lydia sends Scott —already at the hospital after he possibly-maybe wolfed out on Liam and broke the kid’s leg —after Sean. The victim-turned-wendigo goes after Mama McCall, then Liam. Scott saves Liam from tumbling off the rooftop by biting his arm, and just when all hope is lost, the same creepy mouthless dude who killed Sean’s family drives a tomahawk through the kid. Lydia’s cryptic math notes Malia was trying so hard to understand are the same code Mute was writing on his computer.
S4 E4: The Benefactor
Whoo boy. Alright, so most of the ep is Scott and Stiles playing capture the were with Liam. The kid has some serious anger issues, and the boys are worried he’ll do something terrible during his first change, so they kidnap and lose him, like, 50 times in 42 minutes. Stiles talks Malia into gaining control over her were coyote by, um, telling her control is overrated. (Side note: Stalia is my new favorite thing.) Lydia is coerced into throwing a party at her mother’s lakehouse even though Malia’s going shifty in the basement and Liam’s having a major wolf-y freakout in the boathouse. Mason, Liam’s BFF, sneaks upstairs (BECAUSE HE’S EVIL!) and triggers one of Lydia’s banshee episodes. In it, she hears the encryption key to the weird code she and Mute have been scribbling down. Liam breaks his chains and goes a-wailing in the woods and nearly kills Scott. Argent makes a miraculous appearance, and Scott and Liam come to an accord. Oh, and Liam’s new friends are murderous psychos with a dead pool on the Beacon Hills supes.
It’s been proposed on other reviews that season 4 is functioning as a minor series reboot, and I’m inclined to agree. Think of it like Buffy season 4, where our fearless leader ditched cheerleading practice and hanging out in the high school library for a college life full of evil dorm mates and disastrous frat parties. New characters turned up, old characters left, and the tone shifted from generally bright to generally dark. Same goes for Teen Wolf. We’ve lost a key part of trio (Allison), several awesome secondaries (Jackson, Isaac, Erica, Boyd, the twins), and burned through plots and Big Bads like there’s no tomorrow. But we’ve also gained a host of newcomers and promoted regulars (Malia, Kira, Rafael McCall, Peter, Braeden, Liam, Deputy Parrish). The writers are retreading old territory from new perspectives. We’ve seen these storylines before, but from young Scott’s POV. As Liam goes through Scott’s former struggles, we have the benefit of growth, experience, and maturity to leaven out the melodrama. Even Scott’s romance with Kira is more grown up than he had with Allison.
Season 1 Stiles wouldn’t be as perpetually concerned about the debt his father incurred sending him off to Eichen House, but season 4 Stiles is having a minor freakout over it. Season 1 Scott would’ve never bitten Liam to save him...mostly because they wouldn’t have figured out the wendigo plot for a few more episodes. Basically, season 1 was all about discovery and growing up, while season 4 seems to be about the ramifications of youthful indiscretions and the impending hardships of adulthood. Teen wolf Scott could get away with using a bit of supe juice in lacrosse, but young adult wolf Scott sends a poor human teenager off to the ER. Actions have consequences, and the kids are old enough now to see the results themselves, rather than being shielded from them by adults. Take Kate. She and Derek were probably about Liam’s age when they had their affair and she killed his entire family. Back in season 1, Peter resolved the Kate situation, and now it’s up to Scott. It’s still a battle between adults, but the Scott wolfpack are now old enough to join in the fray.
Taking “The Dark Moon” as a pilot of the rebooted Teen Wolf makes the glaring and grating problems of the ep more understandable. Pilot eps are frequently ridiculously plotted, overly ambitious, and ploddingly acted, and suffer from a severe case of infodump-itis. Eps 2-4 have improved dramatically, but are still shaking off the junk from the premiere. Also, I take back everything I said about Shelley Hennig (Malia); she’s just damn great. Malia is strong competition to Lydia for best Teen Wolf female character. Her line about the highlighters in ep 3 was perfect and heartbreaking, and Shelley absolutely nailed the delivery. Arden Cho is still figuring out how to balance Kira’s kickass kitsune side with her shyly sweet human one, but now that Kira and Scott have FINALLY gotten together, things should improve.
“The Benefactor” is Teen Wolf at its best: darkly funny, frightening, ridiculous, and sprinkled with cinematic creativity. Lydia’s hallucination scene in the master bedroom was stunning and shocking, as was Peter’s bloody overkill of Mute. Bold moves for a campy YA fantasy show about teen werewolves on MTV. It’s moments like that that remind me why I love this show. The high inertia rarely sticks around for more than an episode or two, but it’s glorious to behold when it’s around.
And yeah, so much of the nitty gritty plot stuff makes absolutely no sense (How the hell can “Allison” be the top secret password? Does that mean Argent is the Benefactor? And how did Scott’s text from a week ago lead Argent to the woods around Lydia’s mom’s lakehouse? Why would Liam go to school if he’s trying to avoid Scott and Stiles? Why wouldn’t Lydia just tell everyone the party was cancelled and send them home? In what world is it a good idea to sexually taunt an alpha werewolf who, if he loses even a moment of concentration, could rip half the town apart?), but no one really watches Teen Wolf for the plots. The show is about Scott and Stiles being anchors for their betas, about Lydia and Kira becoming new besties, about sass master Peter butting heads with Derek and the Sheriff. When Teen Wolf stumbles, it falls hard, but when it scores it knocks it out of the damn park.
- Stiles: “Did you tell Argent?” Scott: “I texted him but he didn’t get back to me.” Stiles: “You told him his sister came back from the dead by a text?” Scott: “I didn’t have the money to call France.” <— This season’s “My mom does all the grocery shopping.”
- “You seriously need to find something better than a baseball bat.”
- “Not to underestimate my own cognitive faculties, but we’re not exactly a brain trust of geniuses here.”
- Scott: “What happened to you, what I did to you, which I had to do in order to save you, it’s gonna change you.” Stiles: “Unless it kills you. Shouldn’t have said that.”
- “But I’ve seen enough of this school to keep a gun in my hand while walking in after dark.”
- “I say if it keeps him from murdering someone we just chloroform the little bastard and throw him in the lake.”
- To take the Buffy analogy even further: Scott=Buffy, Stiles=Willow/Xander, Allison=Xander/Willow, Lydia=Cordy, Malia=Anya, Kira=Tara, Braeden=Faith, Derek=Angel, Deaton=Giles, Parrish=Riley, Liam=Dawn. Obviously it’s not a perfect parallel (although Scerek shippers might disagree), but trope-wise it’s pretty dead on.
- Speaking of Willow, I really hope we explore Stiles’ inclination toward magic eventually. We haven’t seen a drop since season 2, and Chekhov’s magic shouldn’t take this long to address.
- Pleasepleaseplease don’t hook up Lydia and Parrish. Make Parrish more of the pack? Yeppers. But any other dabbling should really wait until at least season 5 when they’re seniors and Lydia’s 18.
- Jackson’s supposed to make an appearance soon...
- What was Mute, anyway?
- The Carver twins have moved up in the network world, and are Prius-ing it up on The Leftovers.
- NO DANNY MAKES ALEX VERY NOT HAPPY.
- Here, have some Tumblr: x, x, x, x
Alex Brown is an archivist, research librarian, writer, geeknerdloserweirdo, and all-around pop culture obsessive who watches entirely too much TV. Keep up with her every move on Twitter, or get lost in the rabbit warren of ships and fandoms on her Tumblr.