Teen Wolf 4×4 Review: The Benefactor

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It’s finally happening.

The things that annoy me about Teen Wolf are starting to outweigh the things I like about it. Right now, the only things keeping me tuning in week after week is Kira’s adorable awesomeness, the kickass dads and Mama McCall, and Tyler Hoechlin’s face. I’m not proud of this but it’s the truth.

Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 11“The Benefactor” started immediately after the events of “Muted,” in which Scott rather abruptly bit and changed new pretty boy freshman, Liam. The entire storyline of Liam’s trauma of being turned into a werewolf against his consent was honestly disturbing to me. I found Stiles and Scott’s dealing with the repercussions very problematic and not a little bit creepy. First he’s changed against his will, then he’s kidnapped, twice, taken out to a mysterious house under false pretenses only to be chained up against his will (again) among strangers.

It’s somewhat interesting and hopefully character building to see Scott deal with the aftermath of actually turning someone and going through what he went through from the perspective of an Alpha. Ultimately, however, the entire Liam plot just doesn’t sit well with me and brings me back to the issues of consent with Kate, Paige, Malia, and even Allison. Teen Wolf has a very messy track record with this issue and the addition of Liam is not helping.

The Malia and Stiles relationship is now becoming stale, rather than simply creepy. Every episode is the same thing: Malia says something that demonstrates her lack of social growth and understanding, the pack is shocked, Stiles defends her by insisting, “She’s learning!” We get it. Ha ha.

The writers have yet to give Malia a moment to shine as her own character. She exists solely through her relationship with Stiles and not only is this gross and offensive, it just doesn’t seem right. There’s something very OC about a Stiles who is so entirely wrapped up in teaching the ways of humanity to a young teenaged girl. Stiles likes to research, prove that he’s always right and support his best friend but season 4 Stiles is entirely focused on Malia. It’s almost as if he his prior existence has disappeared and in its place has come this Nice Guy determined to educate Malia on the error of her werecoyote ways. Ugh.

Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 11.51.18 PM

In terms of the rest of the plot, the mysterious, mouthless Benefactor was sufficiently creepy. His apparent connection to incoming high school freshmen with access to a LOT of money and the supernatural population of Beacon Hills was revealed somewhat about half-way through the episode in an effort to be a plot twist but was just confusing. Once again, an episode of Teen Wolf raises more questions than answers. Who is creating this dead pool of the Beacon Hills supernatural residents? Why do they want them all dead? What’s the connection to Allison? Who was that Benefactor and what was up with the mouth thing? Also, I doubt he’s dead. Beacon Hills is like a comic book: if I don’t see a body, there’s no death. And even if I see a body, there’s still probably no death.

Also, what happened to the Berserkers? And Kate? And the $117 million? Does this show ever believe in continuity or does everyone in Beacon Hills just have short term memory loss?

The scenes featuring Lydia were definitely a highlight in this episode. Anytime Lydia’s banshee powers come to the forefront, the actual horror elements of Teen Wolf become apparent. As a huge horror fan, I always enjoy it when this show about supernatural creatures actually scares us. It happens so rarely but “The Benefactor” gave us a pretty decent moment with Lydia in an eerie soundproof room filled with whispering voices.

The highlight of the episode, however, was definitely Derek working with Sheriff Stilinski and Deputy Parrish. There was something equally adorable, heart-warming, and badass about the Sheriff calling Derek to help him out on a mystery. I also loved Derek’s sarcasm in these scenes. It’s about time the writers actually gave Derek some emotion and personality. “The Benefactor” did ruin me because now if Derek and the Sheriff don’t work together in every episode, I’m going to be horribly disappointed. I am still, however, annoyed that Derek does not seem to interact with the pack at all anymore. Is he even officially a member of Scott’s pack or is he rogue? I doubt he even remembers anymore.

Another final high point was the return of a crossbow-yielding Chris Argent. I honestly feel sorry for this character and, like Derek, I wish the writers actually gave him a chance to mourn and move on from the tragedies in his life in a healthy way. I’m so tired of Teen Wolf characters shaking off one horrific event after another and not even mentioning them again.

So what did you all think of the latest episode of Teen Wolf? Is this season still holding you? What do you want to see next?

Author: Kerry


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  1. Aw dude, it might be time for your to let go of TW. It’s clearly not doing anything for you anymore because I completely LOVED that episode. It was so much fun, very Season 1. I’ll admit, if these newbies take up too much time as the season progresses I’ll be super annoyed but right now they’re okay because they’re basically supporting the main cast’s development. Liam was all about Scott embracing his inner Alpha and I loved that.

    But I was jumping up and down with excitement while watching this episode. Scott quoting Derek! Derek and the Sheriff solving crime together. A wild teen party! Lydia learning about her powers. Scott having game! Kira trying to be sexy. All the parallels to Season 1 (super over the top/obvious but that’s TW).

    The mute is clearly not The Benefactor (the obvious choice right now is Gerard but I think it could be Peter or maybe Deputy Pretty Eyes). Loved the stuff with Lydia and Kira was fab this week. Malia and Stiles are actually growing on me a lot. I was not here for them in the first couple of episodes but their interactions last week and this week might have sold me. I especially liked that they didn’t kiss this week and Stiles’s speech about the nogistune was tre heartbreaking.

    I mean this episode was super cheesy but so damn entertaining. I kept forgetting to livetweet because I was enjoying it so much. TW’s got it’s issues (continuity/lack of queer representation/baiting Stiles bisexuality) but I still enjoy the hell out of it. And other than queer representation they seem to be doing a lot this season to fix the issues with gender and race (two new WOC/ every episode passes the Blechdel test). It’s not perfect by any means but it’s a start.

    Maybe it’s because I gave up on TW ever making any sense (because this show is obviously plotted by a toddler) but I am TOTALLY LOVING this season.

  2. I enjoyed the episode tonight. It was a lot of fun and very campy. I do admit that there are a ton of unanswered questions and continuity issues. I say every week that I want to like Malia and I hope that she will start growing on me but she hasn’t. And I agree about her relationship with Stiles, even though his helping her control the change was sweet, their relationship just doesn’t sit right with me.

    I’m in love with Kira. She’s one of the reasons that I keep watching. Her development is nice and her interactions with the pack work well.

    I really just hope that we learn more about these freshmen in a way that doesn’t take away from the “main plot”.

  3. Well, to start with the high notes: Yay for Derek and the Sheriff working together! Yay for Derek, the Sheriff and Parrish working together with the electronic gadget inexplicably left behind by the guy without a mouth! Yay for Derek and Peter! And yay for the return of Chris Argent!

    As for the rest of it, I was really underwhelmed. I usually love Scott and Stiles’ scenes together, but in this episode something wasn’t clicking. The whole set-up with Scott having a duct-taped Liam in his bathtub wasn’t funny. The three of them falling down the stairs wasn’t funny. None of the things they played for laughs was funny. There’s real potential in the idea of Scott having bitten someone, but I’m wondering now if the show will be able to do a good job with that idea.

    Kira falling down the stairs, also not funny. But I did love the way she recovered and asked Liam to the party. I’m finding that this season I like Kira best when she’s away from Scott.

    Stiles and Malia continue to have zero chemistry, and the whole bit with Stiles talking about what it was like to feel in control and his comparison of his Nogitsune experience to her were-coyote issue was cringe-worthy. I could almost hear the writers patting their own backs with what they thought was cleverness at that nonsense. It’s rare for Stiles to be uninteresting to me, since he’s played by one of the strongest actors in the cast, but he was boring tonight. And Malia wasn’t selling me at all on her struggle with fighting the full moon effects. It was just weak.

    Lydia. Oh, I usually love Lydia. But even she was weak tonight. Why was she putting up with a bunch of freshmen in the lake house, anyway? Why was she seeing those cliche faces stretching out from the wall while she listened to an old LP that contained the key to her code? And yeah, I can’t wait to see how all of that is explained and tied to someone who would use Allison’s name as a key. Should I hold my breath?

    And then there were the random teens who I guess will be important this season, and the killing of a were-deliveryman who apparently won’t be. Not feeling especially interested in them so far.

    Oh, show, why do you torment me by finally giving me some great scenes with Derek for more than two minutes in an episode, and then make the rest of the episode so bad? I’ll rewatch this for the scenes with Derek and the Sheriff, but on re-watch I’ll FF everyone else.

  4. I had to stop watching Teen Wolf once it became clear that they were trying to frame Stiles and Malia’s relationship as romantic.

    I am a rape survivor. I am very sensitive to consent issues being twisted or glossed over by the media/. I am okay watching things with dub and non consensual relationships, as long as that fact is in some way acknowledged. I kept watching TW because I enjoyed the potential of the characters, with such a solid cast. The Eichen House episode resulted in me having a panic attack, and I had to stop watching.

    I am so glad that I did, based on what I have been reading about the show. I can tolerate a few plot holes, but at this point the plot is basically chicken wire. I feel like the combined potential of the characters and the ineptitude of the writers /show runner is why fanfiction is so popular in this fandom. There are so many blanks to fill, so much development and therapy that the characters need. I can’t handle the huge, climactic plot twists that are then forgotten for an episode or season or two. I want to watch Teen Wolf again. I miss it, and I continue to read recaps so I can get a sense of when it will be safe for me to watch again.

    The thought of Sheriff Stilinski, Deputy Parrish, and Derek working together makes me so happy!

    1. i understand where you are coming from. the ‘consent’ thing between Stiles and Malia isn’t sitting well with some fans because of how it’s being shown as romantic. Maybe it was cos i didn’t want to understand it, or couldn’t, but a female neighbor of mine, a 26 year old mother of two, talked to me how the episodes Malia/Stiles scene didn’t make her feel good. She was in an abusive marriage, divorced when she was 22, and according to her the whole: Malia wanting to tear at Stiles and wanting to hear his bones break triggered something…to her, Malia looked like the person whose ‘true’ nature surfaces when drunk, and then they act all sweet and kind when sober, something her husband used to do.

      She, like you was waiting for Jeff to talk about ‘consent’ issues. There’s a lot of meta on Tumblr where some fans are saying that ‘consent’ is a major theme in S4…Malia/Stiles, and Scott biting Scott, and Derek/Kate…it could be true, who knows, Jeff might be working on something with regards to relationships….but she is done with TW after this episode (she’s still in the fandom though), and also wishes that ‘consent’ does gets talked about on the show

      Regardless of what Jeff is trying or not trying to do or show on the show. The fact remains that some viewers do see themselves or people they know when watching something on TV, and this might trigger something,memories, etc. I’m not going to force anyone i know to watch something that makes them uncomfortable. Though i do wish the show does turn back into something that makes fans feel ‘safe’ to watch again.

    2. Im sorry that happened to you. Can’t believe one episode made you want to quite a show

      1. Hi, author here. Thank you for taking the time to read but please refrain from passing judgment on other readers for their reactions/desires to stop watching a show based on personal reasons. Thank you!

    3. I’m so, so sorry that happened to you. I am also a sexual assault survivor, and the Eichen House scene also did NOT sit well with me.

      Stiles is drugged up to his eyeballs. Malia has not fully interacted with another human since she was eight years old and has zero sense of human social interaction. Both of them are having unprotected sex in the dank basement of a mental institution.

      What. The. Hell. Show. Even Dylan O’Brien said he was massively uncomfortable with that scene, and I was right there with him.

      But no, Jeff apparently thought it was “romantic.”

      Also, sorry, it is NOT healthy for someone to rely on someone as their sole friend, mentor, teacher, and love/sexual interest. It’s a brutally bizarre power dynamic: on the one hand, Stiles has a lot of emotional power over Malia, but she’s so much physically stronger than him as well. She nearly ate her mother and sister (whom she clearly loved and cared about), so clearly there’s a significant physical risk for Stiles…yet she cares so much for Stiles (and only Stiles…) that she can control it for him? That’s not cute, it’s unhealthy obsession. But I digress.

      Either way – Mimi, I hope you’re doing aright. Hugs. <3

  5. I agree with your review 100 percent. There’s no plot continuity. So many plot holes. Stalia is something that i just dont understand. I watched the first episode and second ep and i was really dissapointed. All Teen wolf gives you is more questions than answers. And not in a good way either. It’s annoying. I sometimes wonder what age group wathces this show. Im embarrassed to tell my friends i used to watch TW.

    I will stick to fan fic

    STEREK ALL THE WAY!

  6. I completely agree again with your review. The highlights for me this week were, Derek and the Sheriff working together, that is something that needs to continue. Also the inclusion of Parrish, out of all the newer additions to the show, he is the only one I have warmed to, I hope we get to see more of him. It looks like the Sheriff is going to include him in the investigations and we might eventually find out a little more about him.

    Also Lydia, every scene with her showing her powers is a must for me. The white room, did anyone else get a Twin Peaks vibe coming across? if they can recreate the eeriness of that show then they are doing well. I hope we see more of Lydia exploring her Banshee side this season, for me we have only just seen the tip of her potential.

  7. Correct me if I’m mistaken, but did you think the mouthless guy was the Benefactor? It’s clearly not him. Also, that episode was very very interesting. It has confirmed a lot of foreshadowing we’ve been having about Scott going bad and Stiles taking some sort of “control” over Malia – even if he says the opposite, meaning his intentions with her are not what we see.
    I’m excited.

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