I’m sure we’re meant to be aghast at the developments of the latest episode of Teen Wolf, but all I feel like is a broken record: what is with the terrible plotting this season?
Let’s bitch it out…Since I got hooked on the show (marathoning S1 in preparation for the start of S2 last summer), I’ve always bristled at the suggestion that Teen Wolf is a guilty pleasure. “There’s nothing wrong with liking this show,” I’d argue with friends. “It’s fun, moves quickly and has lots of comedy/horror/sexy parts mingled together.”
That argument may still hold true for the most part, but thus far S3 has been a lot more difficult to defend. I’d wager there’s still more fun, break-neck pacing and genre elements than other summer shows, but it’s clear that something is “off” about this season. I realized what my main issue is near the climax of ‘Currents’ when Derek (Tyler Hoechlin) is forced by the Alphas to stab and kill Boyd (Sinqua Walls): the show no longer knows how to deliver an emotional beat.
Consider 3×05 ‘Frayed’, the experimental episode with the non-linear narrative that purported that Derek had died. The truth about Derek’s miraculous sexy-resurrection was buried in a single throw-away line last week in 3×06 ‘Motel California’ and yet here everyone acts as though the last two episodes never happened. I’m all for narrative expediency (there are nearly always better ways to incorporate exposition), but in this case that means overlooking the effect that Derek’s death had on Scott (Tyler Posey). Last week Scott nearly killed himself out of grief (albeit under the influence of wolfsbane hallucinogens), but this week everything is totally hunky-dory and back to normal. The fact that the reconciliation between them not only goes unseen, but (mostly) unaddressed is supremely dissatisfying.
Compare this to the “big” death at the end of ‘Currents’ – a death that is so wrought with emotion it gets its own silent montage in the spirit of the best Grey’s Anatomy episodes. This is death as high melodrama and everyone is completely distraught. The problem is that the person who has died is Boyd.
Teen Wolf has never been interested in Boyd – we got very little backstory on him, he was absent for the majority of episodes and even when he was around, he was never given anything overly memorable to do. Killing him in such operatic fashion then, is not only a) a cop-out (kill the D-list character, not the A-lister!) but more important b) it is completely devoid of any emotion. The presentation, the music and the acting (people throwing themselves over the body, etc) all suggest that we are meant to be overwhelmed with grief, but I can’t even be bothered to care. Who was Boyd to us except an underdeveloped character who spent the majority of the time on the sidelines?*
*The inclusion of Gage Golightly’s Erica does not help this scene because it serves as yet another reminder of how poorly the show handled her abrupt departure. If we’re being perfectly honest this flashback contributes nothing to the story.
The only outcome I can even attempt to care about is seeing how Derek deals with his role in the death of his Beta moving forward. Of course, I said the same thing last week about Scott working through his issues and look at how that turned out. Guess I better not hold my breath that Derek will even address this moving forward.
The central focus of Boyd’s death and the threat to Derek are especially frustrating because everything else in the episode totally works. The episode’s opening scenes in the hospital are particularly strong, despite once again randomly dropping us into the action without any explanation (the writers really seem to like this practice this season, don’t they?). The 10 car pile-up at the hospital is an effective way to not only introduce the latest round of sacrifices (healers), but builds on the developing relationship between Danny (Keahu Kahuanui) and Ethan (Charlie Carver). Plus it’s always nice to see Scott’s mom, Melissa (Melissa Ponzio) incorporated into the show in an organic way – the whole point of having her in on Scott’s secret is that she’s more involved in his life. These kinds of in-the-know adventures are a welcome addition.
Now if only Scott and Stiles (Dylan O’Brien) would hurry up and act on their decision to tell Stiles’ father (Linden Ashby) the truth. He must honestly believe he’s the worst – or unluckiest – Sheriff ever!
- It’s not exactly clear, but are we meant to assume that Danny has been tricked into consuming mistletoe because he got too close to discovering the truth about the sacrifices?
- We still have no idea who is behind these attacks or how they pertain to the Alphas. This should be interesting to us, and yet I just find it frustrating that we’re nearly one third through the season and know as little as the first episode back
- While I do chide the show for its lack of follow-through, I’ll credit it for acknowledging that Mr. Harris is still missing. I had hoped that more would happen with Ms. Blake (Hayley Webb) being forced to take over his class, but perhaps that’s still to come?
- So I guess we’re just meant to assume that Ms. Blake now knows all about werewolves and is totally chill with this supernatural stuff now? Boinking a werewolf doesn’t exactly explain this logic gap
- The frank scene between Alison (Crystal Reed) and Scott in the closet is pretty dirty. This is MTV so it’s not exactly out of place, but I can’t recall a time that the show made such straightforward a reference to Scott getting bonerific
- The scenes of Michael Hogan’s Gerard spewing black blood in his retirement facility are frustratingly brief. They also serve to remind me how much more interesting he was as a villain last season. The Alpha pack, minus Deucalion (Gideon Emery), are sorely unmemorable
- Much of my dislike for the Alphas stems actually stems from my dislike for Kali (Felisha Terrell). I don’t believe for a second that she’s more skilled a fighter than Derek and Terrell’s performance lacks the charisma to make her a credible threat. And yet we’re meant to believe that she has beaten Derek in a fight…twice
- Cute points this week for Isaac (Daniel Sharman) and Scott. The scene of the two boys sleeping in Melissa’s bedroom to “protect” her and then bickering over who fell asleep on last watch is totally adorable
- Ms. Blake (explaining her presence in Chemistry): “We all know Mr. Harris is missing…er sick”
- Scott (when Alison turns her back into his erection): “Nope, that’s not better”
- Stiles (when Danny inquires why Stiles is in his dream): “I don’t know that Danny, it’s your dream. Take responsibility for it”
Your turn: did you feel anything about Boyd’s death? Were you annoyed that the reveal that Derek was still alive was completely glossed over? Do you find Kali a credible threat? Are you interested in more of the adults learning the truth? And are you secretly hoping that Gerard is behind the sacrifices so that we’ll have a memorable villain again? Comment away below
Teen Wolf airs Mondays at 10pm EST on MTV