After weeks of touting a major character death, Teen Wolf delivers on its promise, though the person in question isn’t really all that shocking.
Let’s bitch it out…
Watching episodes that promise a character’s death is a strange phenomenon: it’s a bit like rubbernecking at a car accident, only it plays out over an hour because we’re mostly just waiting for the body to drop. In this case, it feels like ‘Insatiable’ is nothing but a lead-up to an inevitable death and it’s just a matter of who it will be. Could it be the twins (Max & Charlie Carver), both of whom are shot with wolfsbane by an unknown assailant? What about Isaac (Daniel Sharman) who is hacked up by Oni? Kira (Arden Cho) takes on several Oni at once, but as a guest star, is she significant enough to count? Lydia (Holland Roden) spends the episode in captivity with Evil Stiles (Dylan O’Brien), but after only just revealing her to be a Banshee, surely the show won’t kill her off?
For those paying attention, the answer is actually hidden in plain sight: the scene when Argent (JR Bourne) and Alison (Crystal Reed) bond over silver weapons and tell each other how much they love one another might as well come with a neon sign that reads “Dead Characters Walking”. Whenever characters talk about saying something juuuust in case something happens to them, it’s pretty much a verbal death sentence.
I initially hedged my bets that the walking meat sack would be Argent, because he’s older and because he’s not really one of the main cast. But if you look at the way that Alison has been used this season, she’s essentially been demoted to talking prop (remember how we started this half of the season with the core three all having nightmares and the show built upTyler Posey’s Scott and Stiles, but Alison just kinda puttered along?). So Alison hasn’t been up to much recently besides snogging Isaac and then she gets involved in a big fight scene with really bad odds and stabbo! She’s dead…
Initially I was underwhelmed (the less we say about the always egregious use of slow-motion the better. Feel this death, the editors seem to be saying. Feel it!) But then as it plays out, it actually works. Posey and Reed have always had an easy chemistry and the moment that she tells him she’s surrounded by love as she dies is really well done (maaaaybe even tear-inducing, though only a single). And then she dies, and Argent sees her and everyone is sad. Fade to black. RIP Alison Argent and your solid bow work.
It’s a solid, albeit not particularly flashy send-off for a character that wasn’t always used well. I can’t say that I’m particularly distraught as Alison wasn’t a personal favourite, but the show will likely suffer for a lack of strong female characters now. (Side Note: This development might be good news for Arden Cho and her “guest” status…)
As for the rest of the episode? It’s a lukewarm effort at best. I’ve never been a fan of Teen Wolf‘s propensity to pick up storylines in the middle because it does a really crap job of inserting us into the action. The worst offender of this is the twins’ race through the woods. There’s no context, no reason for us to invest and no resolution. Clearly the mystery shooter will be revealed next week (anyone want to bet Malia or her father is involved?); as a viewing experience, however, it’s really frustrating to watch.
‘Insatiable’ is, unfortunately, filled with these kinds of dodges and decoys. Why does Argent not explicitly tell Alison not to go to the asylum when he sees a bullet he clearly recognises? Did the scene of Dr. Deaton (Seth Gillam) digging flies out of the boys’ mouths really need to be included/so long? What purpose do the school scenes of Lydia-esque Meredith serve aside from stretching out the run time? Are we really meant to care about Coach and his expensive surgery? Tonally these scenes clash and create whiplash, particularly the musical cues, which can’t seem to settle on what we’re meant to feel (twee music as Stiles and Isaac question Meredith, ominous strains as the over-the-top caricature orderly searches the school, super melodramatic epic music for the fight in the rain with the Oni). The fast paced editing and music changes make it seem as though there is a lot happening in ‘Insatiable’, but when you stop and think about it, virtually nothing happens (everyone looks for Lydia, they go to the asylum, Evil Stiles takes control of Oni, Alison dies). At the end of the hour, Alison’s death will be what this episode is remembered for. As a full 42 minutes of television, it’s only really worth watching for that final scene.
- Scott’s dad (Matthew Del Negro) admits that he accidentally knocked Scott down the stairs in a drunken rage and that’s why he left home. I’m sorry, but why did this information or this scene need to be included in this episode? I appreciate having loose ends wrapped up, but has anyone really been waiting for this revelation? And it’s so poorly incorporated into the narrative! Hilariously Scott’s disinterest feels like he’s in agreement.
- Deputy Parrish (Ryan Kelley) claims that he was “drawn” to Beacon Hills – this despite the exceedingly high turn-over/death rate in law enforcement. I still think there’s more to this guy – you know, besides the fact that he likely reminds Jeff Davis of Colton Haynes (meow – yes I went there!)
- Finally, Scott and Isaac pose an interesting question most of us likely pondered since Stiles split in two at the end of last week: if one side of him is killed, does the other side die as well?
- Kira (when Coach asks who she is): “Um, I’m Kira. I’m new.”
- Isaac (to Stiles, abruptly): “Alright, I’m going to say it: you look like you’re dying”
Your turn: are you saddened by Alison’s death? Were you expecting someone else to bite it? Did the rest of the episode feel like filler? What will Evil Stiles do with the Oni? Comment away below.
Teen Wolf airs Mondays at 10pm EST on MTV