It’s Halloween proper on Teen Wolf and like its symbolic cousin, The Vampire Diaries, that calls for a crazy convoluted party! For some reason here it’s a blacklight party, but since the name of the episode is ‘Illuminated’, it’s probably best just to go with it.
Let’s bitch it out…Ah yes – this episode reminds me of last season’s ‘Raving’ (2×08). Admittedly it is a tad lighter on the gay quotient, which obviously decreases its awesomeness, but Lydia’s (Holland Roden) scathing critique about how the blacklight party looks like a 90s rave is enough to satisfy my inner desire for metatextual references. At least Teen Wolf knows that a loft full of people in phosphorous paint and techno music is ridiculous (unlike, say, Bitten). Somehow this show just manages to make it work, especially when the dance ends up showcasing a series of creepy Kabuki-mask attacks to contend with.
I’ve got to say that I really like the atmosphere the new bad guys are bringing to the series. The FX (wispy smoke, glowing eyes and even the normally dreaded slo-mo action) really helps to make them unsettling. The ninja outfits and masks also make them mysterious, so unlike the Alpha Pack from the first half of the season, there’s an uncertainty about these attackers (compare to this that long toenailed Alpha…clearly we’re better off with these new guys).
The presentation of a mysterious villain who stalks and attacks our heroes is vaguely reminiscent of Jackson’s (Colton Haynes) tenure as Kanima in season two: each episode was a collection of creepy moments with a few scattered clues about what was really going on. ‘Illuminated’ doesn’t offer up a great deal of answers for what’s happening, but some pieces are coming together, including the suggestion that Argent (JR Bourne) may be the real target (though my money is on Arden Cho’s Kira). Then there’s the mysterious symbol – an image of the number ‘5’ – imprinted behind the left ear of each victim, which I thought might hint at a countdown, but now seems more like a brand (perhaps a tattoo?).
Mixed into this madness is Stiles (Dylan O’Brien) who discovers a mysterious key in his locker. Eventually he learns that the key has its own phosphorous mark (thank goodness for that blacklight party!), which leads him back to the classroom from last week and the realization that he directed Barrows to Kira. (Side Note: no one used the blackboard between episodes? A whole day of classes took place!) We’re still early in the second half of season three so a preponderance of questions rather than answers is to be expected. I’m cool with that so long as future episodes are as interesting, funny and moody as the last two. After questioning my enjoyment of the show in 3A, I suddenly find myself fully re-invested in the series. What a difference a few months makes!
- For those of you keeping track of the romance stuff: Scott (Tyler Posey) holds hands with Kira at the party…much to the chagrin of Allison (Crystal Reed) who then flirts/seduces Isaac (Daniel Sharman). I must say that both couples have a ton of chemistry, so I don’t understand why we’re still waiting for the snogging and heavy breathing. Bring on the damn sexytime, kids!
- Ethan (Charlie Carver) and Aiden (Max Carver) have figured out that they need to prioritize people in order to get on Scott’s good side and hopefully join the pack. I’m still not sure that these two have long-term potential on the series, but for now they’re bringing something interesting to the table. Plus Danny (Keahu Kahuanui) deserves some lovin’ as much as the breeders do, which means that Ethan at least has to stay.
- If Lydia is a genius, why does she open her Physics textbook during her Biology class? That seems like a pretty obvious technical gaffe by the production staff. Unless the writers think that Biology and Physics are the same thing?
- Also, I realize that Lydia is desperate to get away from the Kabuki guys, but why the hell would you abandon a crowded dance floor for an empty balcony? Sometimes I just don’t understand this girl.
- In order to buy Scott and Kira more time to delete incriminating fiery photos from her phone, Stiles stalls Scott’s dad (Matthew Del Negro) by confronting him with a vague threat: both he and the Sheriff know something about Scott’s dad that he doesn’t want them to know. Gosh Stiles, can you vague that up for us? I’ll admit, however, that I’m still intrigued. Could the dirt be about why Scott’s dad left him and mom Melissa in Beacon Hills?
- Speaking of Stiles, how awesome is his random hook-up with Caitlin (Zelda Williams) – the girl from 3×03 ‘Fireflies’? Oh sure, the fluid sexuality bit is a little questionable (good of Caitlin to confirm where she sits on the Kinsey scale for us), but altogether bringing her back is a nice display of continuity.
- Side Note: Stiles’ hesitation when Caitlin asks if he likes guys is clearing fan-baiting those who wait with bated breath for him and Derek to hook up. Clearly this will never happen, and yet there’s something commendable about Teen Wolf‘s homo-positive approach (see previous mention of ‘Raving’). So kudos to you, Teen Wolf.
- Finally, Derek (Tyler Hoechlin) scaring trick-or-treating children may be one of the most adorable moments this show has ever done. That is all.
- Scott and Kira (after contradicting each other several times during police questioning): “Eating sushi and pizza”
- Kira (when Scott confesses Stiles thinks he’s helping to delete naked pics off her phone): “Oh…good idea”
- Lydia (to Aidan): “If I wanted to go a rave, I would get in a time machine and go back to the 90s”
- Isaac (when Allison states she’s frustrated): “Sexually?” Like we weren’t all thinking it!
Your turn: how are you feeling about these new villains? Is there a connection among the victims so far (the twins, Lydia, Isaac and Derek)? Are you happy with the forward momentum of Scott/Kira and Isaac/Allison? What is Scott’s dad hiding? And what possessed Stiles to make him write Kira’s name on the board? Spin your hypothesis below in the comments.
Teen Wolf airs Mondays at 10pm EST on MTV