Teen Wolf 3 x 16 Review: Illuminated

1167278_10151895519532742_1656486554_oSometimes Teen Wolf is terrible; it has zero continuity, lots of problematic aspects, and all these angry white men yelling about things for reasons I will never fully understand. Yet despite it’s shortcomings (especially throughout Season 3A) there is a reason that so many people have connected with this show and “Illuminated” was a pretty decent example of Teen Wolf at its best.

Sure, there were parts that didn’t make a whole lot of sense and other parts that genuinely annoyed me, like the twins offering up Derek’s loft as a party venue or the fact that the twins are still around at all. I still care very little about Ethan (only because of his connection to Danny) and even less about Aiden (he is literally pointless). There were also parts that fans will be arguing over for the rest of time, specifically the scene between Stiles and Caitlin (guest star: Zelda Williams), which I will talk about in a bit. But over all, this episode was well paced, exciting and cemented a seriously intriguing season arc.

I don’t think I’m alone in wondering: when did Teen Wolf get good again?

1025280_10151895521462742_939156744_oIt’s easy to forget that Teen Wolf falls into the horror genre because it’s kind of cheesy sometimes. There was no forgetting the horror this week. There were parts of this episode that I am not even embarrassed to admit will keep me up at night. Particularly the scene when Lydia is on the balcony of Derek’s loft (did anyone else not realize that Derek’s loft had a balcony?). While I love it when Teen Wolf calls back to it’s comedy roots, it’s always nice to jump out of my seat on occasion. And I totally jumped during this episode.

Honesty, there were so many moments that stood out this week. It’s hard to figure out what to focus on but I think the best place to start is with Stiles because the last three episodes have been building to the big reveal and it played out brilliantly. Okay, so a fair few people speculated that Stiles would be taking a turn to the dark side in upcoming episodes but I have to admit that I honestly didn’t think Teen Wolf actually had the guts to do it.

There have been subtle hints since the beginning of 3B that Stiles was not completely in control of himself but it appeared as though the trouble had been tied up in a little bow at the end of 314. That is not the case because it looks as though fan favorite Stiles was the one controlling – or at the very least helping Barrow. This opens up a whole world of questions, and if none of them are answered then I will be the first to complain but as of right now I am so very excited to see how this played out.

1599700_10151895518052742_803419707_oThe way the episode built towards the climax was brilliant, especially the fact that Stiles was separated from the core group before they came together suggesting that there is or soon will be a rift between them. It firmly places Stiles on the outside and if he is being built up as the seasons big bad that is perfect. Is anyone else getting dark Willow vibes? I can’t believe I’m comparing Teen Wolf to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, that’s a pretty good indication of how much I loved this episode.

Before I move on from Stiles, I have to mention the scene between Stiles and Agent McCall because there is moment when Dylan O’Brien goes from funny side-kick Stiles to genuinely threatening that gave me chills. And then there’s the stuff that happened between Stiles and Caitlin (last seen in 303) where they discuss bisexuality.

There has been a lot said about this interaction, and I have no doubt there will be a lot more said. I can’t give anyone a definitive answer on the topic because I can’t really look at this scene impartially. On the one hand it is completely understandable for people to accuse the show of queer baiting. Bisexual Stiles is something fans have been advocating for a long time and it is disappointing that Teen Wolf was unable to take that final step and have Stiles come out as bisexual (it would have been the perfect moment).

Here’s the thing, bisexual representation is really important to me personally because I am bi. So when I saw Caitlin openly admit to liking both girls and guys like it was nothing I actually started to cry. Add to that the fact that whatever else, Stiles is quite clearly not insulted by being called bisexual and it’s almost too much for me to bare. Do I want more? Of course, I will always want more and I will keep fighting until we get it. But I’m not going to undermine the importance of what we did get. It honestly meant a lot to me.

Anyway, it looked as though Stiles was considering the idea of liking both girls and guys so if everyone keeps going on about how amazing that is then we have a good chance of seeing more in the future.

77994_10151895520342742_20711720_oOther than that the highlights were – Lydia’s continued determination to become a hero like Scott. Ethan ripping Danny’s shirt off. Allison and Isaac’s competitive flirtation. Derek giving candy to children before scaring them (he looked so pleased with himself it hurt my soul) – although the episode could have done with more Derek as a whole. Chris Argent being Chris Argent. And Scott and Kira’s budding romance, I am loving the way Scott consistently build’s up Kira’s self esteem but not in a way that hinges on his approval and I am looking forward to seeing how Kira reacts to the werewolf revelation.

So what did you guys think?

  • Are you ready for the twins to disappear?
  • What do the mysterious symbols mean?
  • Will Stiles ever get laid?

Let us know in the comments.

Author: Undie Girl

Undie Girl (aka Von) has a BA (Hons) Major in Cultural Studies. The title of her honours thesis was “It’s just gay and porn”: Power, Identity and the Fangirl’s Gaze. She’s currently pursuing a Masters of Media Practice at University of Sydney. Von’s a former contributor The Backlot’s column The Shipping News and a current co-host of The Geekiary’s monthly webcast FEELINGS… with The Geekiary.

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