Last week we found out who the Benefactor is, which begs the question, what is the motive behind the murders?
Let’s bitch it out…
‘Monstrous’ continues the trend of recent Teen Wolf episodes that feature at least one storyline that seems completely irrelevant. I appreciate that many of these episodes need a hit of adrenaline juice to keep the MTV audience entertained, but the whole “Kira (Arden Cho) and Scott (Tyler Posey) protect all of the helpless supernatural creatures from the big bad hunters” story line just feels so bland and unnecessary. I mean, this is an action scene that sees Scott get shot not once, but twice and it has absolutely no bearing on the outcome of the episode. That sort of screams superfluous to me.
Oh sure, the semi-emotional climax of the episode turns on Scott’s near transformation into a monster (something he’s been battling with for the duration of the season). But even this significant development occurs fairly quickly and threatens a random stranger, so the stakes feel awfully low. In general the action in the warehouse, while visually striking with the trademark Teen Wolf green/blue hue intercut with red sniper dots, simply feels like a placeholder until we get to the twist at the end of the episode.
So let’s talk about that twist. Meredith (Maya Eshet) may “officially” be the Benefactor in that she used Bronski to set up the dead pool, but the real mastermind behind its inception was a comatose Peter Hale (Ian Bohen). It’s an interesting addition to the season four mythology, which initially seemed far less personal when its principal villain was a mentally unhinged guest star. By making Peter the secret villain, Teen Wolf reshapes the context for all of the death that we’ve seen this season. Suddenly this is a desperate power play by an emasculated werewolf against the young Alpha he feels threatened by. For some the realization that Peter is an evil villain may not truly resonate because he’s frequently been the comic relief, but in reality Peter’s villainry makes perfect sense. After all, Teen Wolf mined dramatic gold by making Stiles (Dylan O’Brien) the villain last season and if we reflect on Peter’s behaviour over the course of the series, he’s never been trustworthy unless he stands to personally benefit from his actions. Finally, this also explains why he’s allied himself with Jill Wagner’s Kate (and makes their union more malicious) – they’re trying to tear down the supernatural hierarchy in Beacon Hill’s to reposition themselves as king and queen, all while reaping revenge on those they feel slighted by (for Peter that’s Scott; for Kate that’s JR Bourne’s Argent).
With all of this background implicitly revealed only after the twist, most of ‘Monstrous’ suffers from poor pacing and frequently feels drawn-out. A lot of the scenes could have benefited from some judicious edits, particularly the overly dramatic – and slightly hammy – “crazy” monologue by Peter when he’s in the coma, as well as the Stiles and Malia (Shelley Hennig) scenes in the beach house*. That mostly leaves the interrogation scenes to carry the weight of the episode and in this regard, it only kinda succeeds because Lydia (Holland Roden), Sheriff Stilinski (Linden Ashby), Parrish (Ryan Kelley), Meredith and Peter are crucial for the reveal (It also doesn’t hurt that most of these people are talented actors…which can’t be said for all of the cast members).
*For the record, the resolution with the key inside the wine bottle made virtually no sense to me. I still don’t know how Lydia made the connection or why Malia didn’t hear the additional computers when she spent the day with Lydia trying to crack the dead pool cipher.
The final result is an episode that feels like it’s all twist and no real substance, but at least Peter’s reveal offers a glimpse of the conflict that will drive the remaining episodes by promising an epic showdown between Scott and Peter. I do wonder, however, what this will mean for the cast moving forward. After all, this is hardly a move from which Peter can return and should (still unsubstantiated, but very prevalent) rumours of Tyler Hoechlin’s desire to leave at the end of the season prove true, the remaining episodes could be the final hurrah for the Hale boys. Would this mean that snooze-inducing teen Liam (Dylan Sprayberry) would become a more significant player? Because if yes, then ugh.
- Sheriff Stilinski (confirming a psychologist was unable to crack Meredith): “Should have gone with the medium.”
- Peter (defending his role in the creation of the dead pool): “She was listening to the rantings and ravings of a lunatic. *A beat* A former lunatic. I’m much better now.”
Your turn: were you engaged with the battle against the hunters, or did that feel extraneous to you? Did the whole key/wine bottle thing with Stiles, Malia and Lydia make any sense to you? Were you surprised to learn that Peter is secretly the villain? And will you still be as interested in both Hale’s don’t survive the end of the season? Sound off below.
Teen Wolf airs Mondays at 10pm EST on MTV