Teen Wolf 4×3 Review: Muted

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When they said Teen Wolf would be going back to its season one roots I should have guessed they meant literally. It’s not like this show has ever been particularly subtle, bless its heart. Seriously though, it’s Season 1: take two. Scott and Stiles suck at lacrosse, Derek and Peter are searching for Kate Argent and Scott is trying to figure out how to ask out the girl he likes. A few things have changed though, such as Stiles is no longer following Lydia around like a bad smell; he didn’t even notice she skipped out of school to hang out with dead bodies and cute deputies. All in all, it was a pretty entertaining episode, even if it was mostly filler until the last five minutes.

The return of lacrosse was a welcome sight. I don’t think I quite realised how much I missed it until I saw those familiar sticks on the screen. It might seem silly but I am more invested in Scott’s status on the lacrosse team than all the supernatural nonsense. It’s a fantastic way to ground the human side of this show and remind the audience that despite everything that else that happens, these characters are still just kids. There are suburban families using Hannibal’s cook book but getting kicked of the lacrosse team is still the worst thing that could happen.

tw1Speaking of the suburban family from hell, as a monster of the week narrative, their storyline was actually fairly cool. Back in the first couple of seasons, one of the things that made me fall in love with this show was the way they would take established horror conventions and subvert them in some way – like Kate first appearing as what appeared to be a cold open victim only to have her pull out a shot gun and turn into the villain. This storyline felt a little like that. This episode opened like a trashy slasher, only instead of doing the stupid thing, the victim high tails it out of danger. Then later on it turns out he was actually not as innocent as everyone assumed.

Okay, it’s not incredibly groundbreaking, but it was that mix of both meeting expectations and defying them that made Teen Wolf so endearing in the first place. Most of the time it’s a loveably predictable cheese-fest but every so often it smacks you over the head with something completely unexpected like Kira joining the lacrosse team. It was kind of a relief really because they severely underused Kira in the first couple of episodes and I was worried her entire season arc would revolve around her romance with Scott. That’s not to say that Kira and Scott weren’t completely adorable in this episode, because they made me smile so hard my mouth started aching. When Scott pecks Kira on the lips as he’s leaving for class and they both freak out about it, it was so sweet that I could actually feel my heart exploding with rainbows.

While we’re on the topic of romance, this was the first time I actually kind of understood Stiles and Malia’s relationship. I’m still not completely sold on it and I definitely think they shot themselves in the foot with the way they introduced it but it made a lot more sense this week. The scenes with them studying and Malia sticking up for Stiles at the lacrosse trials were actually pretty sweet. Malia definitely came into her own this week. She has had likeable moments before but it wasn’t until this episode that I genuinely started to adore her. I particularly loved when she was picking up her social cues from watching Kira at the lacrosse trails (I really need more interaction between those two, they are my favorite new friendship) and I think most of us can relate her reaction to math, except Lydia of course,

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Poor Lydia, her powers are the worst. She just has to accept that this is her lot in life. She seems more annoyed than upset at this stage, probably just pissed she’s missing class but hey at least she gets to hang out with a total hottie. Deputy Pretty Eyes continued his streak of flirting with teenagers this week (that guy would have chemistry with a lamp). Put that together with Holland Roden (who has also been known to have chemistry with inanimate objects) and there were some creepy underage romance vibes happening. I don’t think they’re going to go there, but it’s Teen Wolf so you never know.

Derek has once again been separated from the rest of the characters, which is disappointing. I hoped that after the pack went all the way to cardboard Mexico to rescue him, he would be integrated more into the main narrative but I guess that was expecting too much. There is no doubt that the Kate Argent/robbery storyline will eventually merge with everything else, and it’s not like Derek can just enroll in high school, but I really do wish he was more involved in the other characters’ lives. And honestly at this stage I don’t know why they haven’t got someone babysitting him at all times because it’s not like he can be trusted on his own. He ends up getting kidnapped and tortured or falling in love with a dangerous woman or worse: trusting Peter. It’s just really not a good idea to leave him to his own devices.

Apparently when he’s left on his own Derek forgets that he has the worst taste in women ever and decides to fall in love with the first strong sexy morally ambiguous woman that looks his way. I love Braeden, I really do, but we have been conditioned not to trust anyone that Derek’s attracted to so this is very confusing. It’s a good bet that they’re not going to make Derek’s girlfriend the villain again but I just don’t trust TPTB not to use this is an another excuse to emotionally torture Derek again. I worry about Derek’s emotional health an unreasonable amount, okay (Also I have no idea what’s going on with his eyes, but the whole eye-color mythology is kind of all over the place so I’m just going to ignore it until we get a little more information)?

Anyway, as I said earlier, this episode was most filler – fun filler with some great character moments but filler nonetheless. Nothing really happened until the final act when it was revealed that the cutie with the abs from the beginning was actually a supernatural creature. He came from a family of wendigos that kept a freezer full of people meat to much on whenever they got hungry. Lovely. It seems the mouthless axe-murderer, who may or may not be connected to The Matrix, might be killing supernatural creatures, which is not great for Scott or his new bitten beta Liam.

tw4I knew Liam was supposed to be Scott’s beta but I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how they were going to get Scott to give someone the bite. He’s so against the bite; that’s basically his main thing. I didn’t think they could do it without it being at least somewhat out of character but they did it pretty well. I’ll admit the whole ‘stop him from falling by biting him’ didn’t make a whole lot of sense. The mouthless axe guy certainly has exceptional timing. He was probably just hanging out around the corner waiting to see what happened before he axed the ab-licious wendigo. But it doesn’t really matter because Liam is a pretty intriguing character and Dylan Sprayberry has a great rapport with Tyler Posey and Dylan O’Brien so I am super excited to see how this storyline plays out because it’s got a lot of potential.

So what did you think? Were you as excited as I was for the return of lacrosse? Are you warming up to Malia? What about Lydia and Parrish, do you ship it? 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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