It’s party time as wolf newbies learn to manage their full moon impulses. Meanwhile, the plans of an unknown baddie are revealed.
Let’s bitch it out…
There are essentially two plots at work in ‘The Benefactor’ – one that deepens the season four arc and another that builds on Scott’s (Tyler Posey) impulsive decision to save Liam (Dylan Sprayberry) last week. There’s an interesting story to be told in the latter instance about how Scott learns to assume his responsibilities as an Alpha and better prepare a young boy not unlike himself to survive as a werewolf…but this feels like the lite version of that story. Too much time is spent on Liam growling and yelling, which are all things that we’ve already seen when Scott was negotiating this process back in the first season. I’m not suggesting that Teen Wolf has to reinvent itself each time a new werewolf is introduced, but watching not one but two characters (the other is Dylan O’Brien’s Stiles) try to prevent a shifting werewolf newbie from breaking their chains gets old pretty fast.
It’s a shame because nearly everyone that doesn’t involves kids in chains is actually a lot of fun. The opening when Scott and Stiles try to explain themselves after kidnapping Liam is classic Teen Wolf. There’s even some silly physical comedy thrown in when the trio falls down the stairs. The girls also get to get in on the action. Kira (Arden Cho), after being nominated to lure Liam out to Lydia’s (Holland Roden) beach house, has an epic slow motion descent down the stairs that – in an inspired send-up of teen movie conventions – finds her fall flat on her face. Later, when it is revealed that Liam has (unsurprisingly) texted the details of the party, Lydia faces a crowd of eager freshmen with the resigned smile reserved for unlucky teens who know that their house is about to get destroyed. (Side Note: I firmly believe that Roden is one of the most skilled comedic actors on the series, although she often underplays it compared to O’Brien and Posey).
The second storyline is the most successful of the two, primarily because it advances the looming threat of the season. Building on last week’s attack on the Wendigoes, the Muted (Joseph Gatt) returns to try his hand at eliminating the Hale brothers. It’s later revealed, courtesy of a technology competent Deputy Parrish (Ryan Kelley), that the Muted is being paid by the titular benefactor to eliminate supernatural targets. This ties into Lydia’s discovery at the end of the episode of a “deadpool” (complete with financial values) and the random murder of the keg delivery man by Liam’s friend, Violet (Samantha Logan). Now we not only know that someone in Beacon Hills is paying to eliminate the town’s supernatural population; they have contracts out to multiple assassins. Considering what Dr. Deaton said last season about the town essentially becoming a Hellmouth following the activation of the Nemeton, it seems as though someone has decided that they want these beasties gone for good.
- The resolution of the Muted’s storyline is frustrating. I appreciate that Peter (Ian Bohen) doesn’t handle being attacked well, but for him to just arbitrarily kill the assassin before Derek (Tyler Hoechlin) and Sheriff Stilinski (Linden Ashby) can question him feels more like a writer’s decision to eliminate a character for plot purposes rather than a legitimate character beat.
- Does the fact that Lydia discovers the aural cue/key to unlocking the cipher in her parents’ beach house mean that her parents are the benefactors?
- My sound went wonky during the scene Lydia initially realizes the strange soundproofing of the room and plays the record to reveal faces in the wall. Did I miss anything significant?
- JR Bourne’s Argent returns at a significant moment to help Scott control Liam. Did anyone else think that the exploding arrows marked the return of dearly departed Allison for a moment? Also, couldn’t the writers have come up with a better line than “I got your text”? That was truly groan-worthy.
- Finally, I really enjoyed suspending my disbelief at five feet nothing Violet having the power to subdue and decapitate a large man. Despite her heated garrote, this is just a little too silly for me.
- Stiles (after he sees Liam bound and gagged): “As a reminder, this is why I come up with the plans. Your plans suck.”
- Peter (as Derek shows him his “little fire”): “Oh hell”
Your turn: did you enjoy watching Scott and Stiles assume the mentor roles for Liam and Malia? Was the humour classic Teen Wolf? Were you annoyed that Peter just killed the Muted? And who is the mysterious benefactor? Sound off below.
Teen Wolf airs Mondays at 10pm EST on MTV