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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7 thoughts on “Teen Wolf 3 x 16 Review: Illuminated

  1. As another bisexual I am super happy to have not just one, but possibly two bisexual characters on this show. And one of them on the main cast. And a guy, which is even more rarely depicted as bisexual than women are. The only thing that upset me about that scene was that she was making out with someone so soon after her girlfriend died. But I guess it’s her way of coping, which okay, she can deal with her pain however she wants, and I’m kind of iffy on how much time has lapsed since then anyway so it may not have been as recent as I’m thinking it was. As soon as Catilin asked him if he liked guys and he DIDN’T say no I had to pause, squee a bit, run to Twitter and make a post, then hit play again. I just wish they would be more definitive about it instead of stringing people along.

    Also, I agree that this episode felt like Teen Wolf “got good again.” The past few episodes I’ve been concerned because the plot seemed a bit scattered. This episode I felt genuinely excited again and was like “oh, right, this is why I got hooked on this show in the first place.” I hope it keeps up this momentum.

    -Admin Angel

  2. Hmm why to be honest I never realized how little of bisexual characters there were on tv. Which is less than there are gay characters. So the idea of a show taking one of it’s main characters not too mention one of it’s fan favorite characters and having them like both sides of the fence is something. Especially considering the fact that bisexual characters are usually writing in a bad light. Such as a character who likes to play the field or who use it as a issue just to not settle down.

    I recently found out, because I myself am bisexual, that most people don’t even think bisexuality is a real think. Because who your going to want to eventually settle down and be spend the rest of your life with that ONE person. And your probably not want to get married to a man and a woman, just to complicated. Which is just stupid consider you can settle down with a person of one gender but still like the other.

    However putting that aside I do like the ideal of stiles playing antagonist this season. So far he is the only main character who hasn’t play for the big bad. It also interesting to see how his character will develop while he not playing sidekick to Scott’s hero. Seeing how majority of his storyline has been helping his werewolf best friend.
    I like to where they take his characters. It seems teen wolf been taking a thing or two from criminal minds.

  3. Nice episode…Fans have been waiting for Dark/possessed Stiles for a long time now and i’m excited to see how that develops…I stand by my theory about the Nematon playing a big role as it showed up in both Derek and Stiles ‘Dream or whatever you call it’ sequences, there has to be the reason for the Nematon grabbing Stiles’s wrist….and Derek better tell what he knows/asked his mother or else that scene was a waste

    So only the Golden Trio doesn’t have that number behind their ears, now…Danny seems to be suspicious about the going on’s and i hope he gets to play a bigger role in the story..he has so much potential as a character

    Apparently Derek was lying beside his car while the party was going on and no one noticed? no one? no one could even sense a poor hurt beta lying in the street?

    The shadow people looked Japanese to me (they just did) and you know Kira’s family didn’t just pack their bags and move to BH cos it has nice weather…there has to be a connection..now i’m certain

    As far as Stiles and Catilyn…the scene moved too fast..a casual viewer (like my bro and sis) didn’t see any bisexual Stiles hint at all…so i think to most viewers it’s just going to come across as an attempt to be funny (like back in S1 and S2: Gay guys attracted to me?…Jungle, I might be…scenes). For invested fans it was a good scene. I think Jeff really likes to move things at a snail’s pace and he doesn’t want to make any final decisions/reveals too soon (Might as well get more seasons and keep the fans hoping 😉

    But yes, having Catilyn back just for such a scene should hold some weight when it comes to Stiles’s sexuality and i think Jeff just gave a little nod of affirmation (though being a bit more obvious wouldn’t have hurt). Whether it continues, etc. we will have to see…who knows we might get a scene with Stiles and Deputy Parrish, who a lot of fans are labeling as his ‘secret LI’

  4. My only hope is that Derek just straight up killed Peter after whatever it was he found out from his mom. Peter is so annoying and smarmy and adds nothing to the story for me.

    I am LOVING Kira and Scott. She’s actually making me like Scott. I can’t believe how boring I found him with Allison (in fact, Allison has become super boring to me as a whole) and I love how cute and genuine he seems about her. It’s not that awkward OMG I’M SO IN LOVE first crush that teenagers have and we tend to romanticize but something a bit deeper. I am praying that she doesn’t die and/or become evil but I’m only holding my breath. We’ve seen how this show treats women and people of color. But like I said on Twitter last night, I would love seeing a romantic relationship between two people of color on mainstream TV.

    In terms of the bisexual moment, at first I took it as rampant queer-baiting. Again. It felt like Jeff was throwing the Sterek fans a bone while still washing his hands of the whole thing. As I think about it, Stiles’ lack of an answer (while problematic in that it represents the absence of bisexual visibility in pop culture) could’ve been actual genuine in that maybe this is the first time he ever truly considered his sexuality as something other than rigidly straight. There’s been jokes and him hanging out with drag queens and questioning Danny about his attractiveness to gay guys but this was the first time anyone ever threw the idea of a fluid sexuality in his face and maybe he was just like, Wow, I hadn’t really thought about it. I personally would love an openly bisexual male character but again, I doubt it will come to that.

  5. Comparing Teen Wolf to Buffy is not as far fetched as you might think, there are definable parallels between both shows and Stiles is definitely going Dark Willow.

  6. This episode was soo good!! I was really scared for some of the characters and like the scene with scotts father. I am super curious and can’t wait to know more. I personally don’t really want Stiles to be bi. It just doesn’t seem right. No offense to everyone else tho.

  7. I am ALWAYS comparing Teen Wolf to BTVS! And I am ALWAYS comparing Stiles to Willow. I do kind of like that in this case it’s not his choice to become dark. Willow became dark because of grief and Stiles is becoming dark because of possession, which began after his sacrifice. I could go on and on and on about my Teen Wolf/BTVS feels (don’t get me started on how I want to write a ton of crossovers, mainly one where Stiles is Buffy in the mental hospital episode and someone or something is trying to convince him that Beacon Hills is all in his imagination and his mom is alive in the delusions and … yeah, feelings).


    The thing that bothered me about the Caitlin and Stiles interactions had nothing to do with any declarations of bisexuality, it was actually about Caitlin throwing herself at some basically-random very shortly after her girlfriend died. I know that this is silly and romantic of me (they’re teenagers, she and the other girl weren’t together that long, Caitlin was presumably not in her right mind at the time) but still. It irked me.

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