Teen Wolf is back for the second half of its third season and things are off to a surprisingly dark and enjoyable start. Considering Part A earned a spot on my Dishonourable Mention list last year, this is a step in the right direction.
Let’s bitch it out…
We knew that there would be repercussions for skirting the line between life and death in the first half of the season, but at the time the risks seemed necessary in order to beat Deucalion (Gideon Emery, unseen). I’m guessing that Scott (Tyler Posey), Allison (Crystal Reed) and Stiles (Dylan O’Brien) regret that decision now that the fall-out has begun, no?
Yes, Teen Wolf, TV’s most needlessly complicated teen supernatural drama, is back and for much of this mid-season premiere, the show is solidly awesome. The hallucinations suffered by our three protagonists are appropriately bizarre and atmospheric. In terms of camera movement and lighting there’s nothing much new here (dark and atmospheric is pretty much where the show lives), but Stiles’ opening dream within a dream within a dream is really well executed and sets the tone for the hour to follow. There’s a sense of dread that was absent from the introduction of the Alpha pack that reinforces that things are back on track (thankfully there is no ridiculous in medias res motorcycle chase to start things off this time around). Overall there’s a real sense that these kids, particularly Stiles and Allison, are falling apart (Posey has never been great at nailing the dramatic/emotional moments, and his wolf shadow hallucinations are arguably less interesting than both Stiles’ and Allison’s).
It’s a pity, then, that the writers introduce another storyline into ‘Anchors’: the potential unsolved murder of a little girl from eight years ago. I’m sure that there’s a long game to this mystery (the second to last scene reveals that Amelia is a wolf, suggesting that she was indeed attacked by a werewolf all those years ago). The truth of the matter is that this feels unnecessary. There’s enough creepy madness encompassed in the increasingly problematic waking nightmares without adding another element; it just feels like overkill. The fact that it follows a conversation with Dr. Deaton (Seth Gillam) that they need to shut the door to their minds asap or else they will die is particularly silly. If my judgment was rapidly deteriorating, I wouldn’t head into the woods to pursue a cold case. Scott and Stiles’ decision just doesn’t gel.
Still, as far as season reboots go, this reintroduction to Beacon Hills is a solid success because it immediately draws us back into the world and the characters populating it. After taking several months off, I’m glad that the show has returned with a darker and more adult format. Let’s just hope it can keep it up.
- Our new character for Part B is Kira (Arden Cho), a transfer student who clearly knows more than she’s letting on about all of this mystical stuff. Let’s not forget that Beacon Hills is now a magnet for supernatural creatures…so it seems likely that there’s more to Kira than meets the eye.
- Absent for the greater part of the episode are Tyler Hoechlin and Ian Bohen, who only appear in the final scene as torture victims of an unknown assailant. This is random purposefully designed to instigate questions, but there’s so little information included that I can’t even speculate what’s happening to them. At this point all I can say is that it manages to appease Hoechlin’s contractual quota of one shirtless scene per episode.
- In an episode filled with very little humour (aside from Holland Roden’s Lydia cracking wise about the hallucinations), the recurring bit about Scott punching Isaac (Daniel Sharman) for being interested in Allison is pretty memorable. Sharman has a surprising talent for physical comedy…or maybe he just looks good taking a punch? (Side Note: his make-out fake-out with Allison is pretty solid, too…until he loses his head courtesy of Jill Wagner’s crazy aunt Kate).
- Does anyone care if Linden Ashby’s Sheriff loses his job because of Scott’s dad (Matthew Del Negro)? It’s the adult drama that we never wanted or asked for!
- I know that the show’s target audience is teen males, but can we discuss the relative merits of not wearing short skirts in the woods when practicing archery? Let’s swap the gender roles for a moment: how often do we see Scott wearing short shorts when he’s running around in the woods?
- Finally, whose hallucinations is worse: Scott (inability to control his transformation); Stiles (illiteracy and Nemeton sacrifices) or Allison (being chased by her dead aunt)? I’m partial to Stiles because the sleep paralysis sounds excruciating, but Aunt Kate was a pretty big orca bitch back in S1 so that may have to take the cake.
- Melissa (when Scott punches Isaac): “This house does not have a supernatural ability to heal…so stop it”
What are your thoughts, Wolf fans? Is this a solid start to the second half of the season? Did you dislike the random missing child case like me? What’s Kira’s story? Hit the comments below
Teen Wolf airs Mondays at 10pm EST on MTV