Teen Wolf 4×1 Review: The Dark Moon
It’s here. After three months of speculation, promos, rumors, and lots of fanfiction (that’s not just me, right?), the fourth season of MTV’s Teen Wolf has finally arrived. And for a show that seemingly lost its way in the last season, the premiere actually did not disappoint.
To be perfectly honest, this may have been the best season premiere of Teen Wolf’s short existence. It was a taunt thriller of an episode and while it definitely had clear shortcomings, “The Dark Moon” was a fun ride and is hopefully an indication of the show’s maturing this season.
Let’s go over the weaknesses first. Jeff Davis, who is both the show’s executive producer and writer of this episode, just seems to love to confuse the hell out of viewers. There were so many unanswered questions and assumptions made that make absolutely no sense. While some questions remained unanswered for narrative’s sake (such as the full connection between Kate Argent and the Calaveras family), there were others that just illustrated the holes in the storyline. For example, how did Scott make the connection that Kate Argent was alive when being electrocuted? For all he knew, Kate has been dead for the last however many years have actually passed in Beacon Hills. That was an enormous leap for him to make and a little too convenient.
There’s also the mystery of Malia. Where is she living now? Is she totally socially acclimated to living among people? She obviously did not recognize Derek so does Derek even know of his cousin’s existence?
Basically, “The Dark Moon” continued the Teen Wolf tradition of trying to weave together as many storylines and mythologies as possible in one episode, making it a confusing mess. The best episodes, I’ve always felt, were the spared down one with simplistic plots. Let’s hope that the rest of the season, with its promised return to Beacon Hills High School, will go down that route rather than the convoluted one.
Now, onto another, more controversial weakness: the Malia/Stiles relationship. Let me start by saying that I’m not promoting one ship over another. If Malia and Stiles are mates, as actress Shelley Hennig claims, then that’s it. My only concern was the rushed feeling that was given to these two characters’ relationship. Malia and Stiles did make out in “Echo House” last season, but Stiles was suffering from the nogistune’s influence and not in his right mind. From what we’ve seen, these two haven’t had time to actually develop healthy feelings for one another and their awkward tip-toeing around each other was weakly written.
The highlight of the episode was definitely the sense of a motley group of heroes working together to save the day. Every character had a moment to shine in their trip to Mexico to rescue Derek as each had a special skill to bring to the table. While we don’t know just how these teenagers were able to cross the border, or where they got all that money to bargain for Derek’s life, it was fun to watch them all work together in a rather Ocean’s 11 sort of way. For the first time, they really felt like a pack.
Also, the decided increase in girl power was distinctly awesome. In “The Dark Moon,” the female strength outweighed the male, with Scott and Stiles often relying on the women in the pack to guide and help them. The fact that Lydia, Kira, and Malia all seem to like one another and work well together is also encouraging. Media often relies on pitting women against one another so I’m hoping Teen Wolf promotes female companionship in an uplifting way.
Adding to the female badassery was the mysterious mercenary, Braeden. Like Malia, she’s willing to do terrible things for her own safety and like Derek, she seems well-versed in various mythologies. And she looks awesome in a leather jacket. But besides that, she’s calm, cool, and collected. She clearly can read people well, as evidenced by her questioning Scott about his relationship for Kira, and she isn’t easily scared. Like Malia, she was kind of sprung upon us in season 3B, but hopefully she will become a truly fleshed out and dynamic character. Teen Wolf is still sorely lacking in women of color and Braeden could be a great addition to the pack.
Finally, there was the big twist at the end of the episode. It was hinted to us for the last couple of weeks that it would completely change Derek and was like something out of fanfiction. And you know what? It was. And I still didn’t see it coming.
For reasons still unexplained at the conclusion of “The Dark Moon,” Derek Hale has been de-aged to his teenaged self. Ian Nelson, the actor who played young Derek Hale in “Visionary,” returned as a beat-up and seemingly confused Derek, rescued by a suitably shocked Scott and Braeden. Now, a part of me is disappointed that we didn’t get to see more of Tyler Hoechlin. But to be honest, I am so excited about this turn of events. While it is rather outlandish and gimmicky, I am seriously looking forward to the return of Ian Nelson, who I think is a solid actor, and witnessing how the pack interacts with a young and probably more vulnerable Derek Hale. After all, he has been a guiding figure (and annoying, gruff big brother) for most of the series. Now that the playing field is levelled, so to speak, how will that change the dynamics of Teen Wolf?
Perhaps it’s just the high of being thoroughly surprised by a fun and exciting episode of Teen Wolf, but I genuinely felt this was one of its best episodes and I greatly look forward to this season. So, tell us what you think!
What was your favorite part of the season premiere?
Are you as excited as we are about the badass female characters?
Were you surprised by the de-aged Derek? How much fanfiction do you think is going to be written featuring a de-aged Derek now?
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