Ten Things in Teen Wolf That Make Less Sense Than Malia Tate

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There’s something I need to say about Teen Wolf, it’s going to sound harsh but I promise you it comes from a place of love and respect. Teen Wolf doesn’t make sense. At all. If you are looking for a detail-oriented narrative with a well-structured plot and strong continuity then Teen Wolf is not the show for you. There’s a lot to love, don’t get me wrong, but if you’re expecting everything to make sense, you’re going to be disappointed.

Don’t shoot me just yet because I genuinely think Teen Wolf has a lot to offer. I love the fast-pace, I love the world they created, I love the characters. But one of the main arguments (I recognize it’s not the only argument) against Malia Tate (Shelley Hennig) seems to be that her character doesn’t make sense, which I find a little hypocritical because Teen Wolf never made much sense. It never really focused on specifics or dealt with significant issues. It just kind of throws stuff at you in an immensely enjoyable way.

Maybe Malia should have had serious developmental issues as a result of spending a signification portion of her life as a coyote. She probably shouldn’t be able to jump right into high school after eight years worth of missed education. But she also shouldn’t be able to turn into a coyote. So let’s just say that her shape-shifting ability waves a magic wand over her cognitive development allowing her to function as a relatively normal teenager (albeit one with a few social issues). Is that really so hard to comprehend considering we’re talking about a world where werewolves exist?

While I will never discourage criticism (it’s an important part of being an active consumer), I think if you’re going to criticize Malia’s storyline for it’s lack to realism then you should probably take a look at all the other things in Teen Wolf that wouldn’t make a lick of sense in the real world. There are a lot of them, and in the name of encouraging healthy discussion (while having a little fun along the way) here are ten things that I think make less sense than Malia Tate’s back-story.


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Sheriff Stilinski still has a job.

Sheriff Stilinski is an amazing character and I love him with all my heart but has that man ever solved a case? People are getting murdered left right and center in this town but no one has been officially charged. We can maybe assume that the world thinks Kate was responsible for the Season 1 murders but who do they think killed her? Or Matt? Or Jennifer? They may have been evil but last time I checked murder was still a crime. The show might make out like it’s a personal vendetta but Agent McCall might be onto something with the whole impeachment thing. If I were a resident of Beacon Hills I’d certainly want some answers.

Everyone in Beacon Hills drives a Toyota.

There must have been one hell of a sale at the local Toyota dealership because basically everyone in Beacon Hills drives one. I’m not judging their choice of vehicle (I don’t know anything about cars) I’m just saying it’s pretty unrealistic that EVERYONE in this town drives the same brand of car. My personal head canon is that they give out free Toyotas to entice people to live in a place that has a higher body count than Sunnydale. Really though, the blatant product placement on Teen Wolf is a thing a beauty and I wouldn’t have it any other way but you have to admit it’s pretty absurd.


The mystery of Cora Hale.

How does an eleven year old survive the fire that killed her entire family, including her super powerful Alpha mother? Where has she been for the last six years? Nobody knows and chances are nobody ever will. We know that Cora was a last minute replacement for Erica and the only reason her last name is Hale is so the characters and the audience would have an instant connection. But come on, some answers would have been nice. I guess now that Adelaide Kane has left to rule the Scots it doesn’t really matter that her character made no sense.

That time the Argents replaced the high school principal for a little while.

The Argents were upset because Hills high school was letting teen wolves roam the hallways so they grabbed the principal, tortured him and put Gerard Argent in his place. Yeah, I don’t think you can do that. I know the education system is not perfect but I don’t think you can just replace key members of staff with a random member of the community without someone noticing.  But then it’s wonder they can get anyone to work at that place considering half the staff have been murdered so maybe they take what they can get. Anyway the principal came back so it’s okay.

Deucalion’s sudden change of heart – he’s a good guy now.

All throughout Season 3B Deucalion was built up as the baddest bad around. He was the DEMON WOLF! Sure we don’t know exactly what he was up to in his time away from Beacon Hills but considering his reputation I don’t think he was winning friends with kindness. His pack was filled with killers and they were all terrified of him. Yet after a healing hand from Jennifer and a stern talking to from Scott and Derek, Deucalion was deemed fit for society and sent on his way. I’m supposed to believe that the guy that scary murderers were afraid of just had a sudden change of heart because he saw the light… literally. Not likely.

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Throat slashed? Don’t worry, you’ll get better.

You might think that a good old throat slashing is a pretty good way to get rid of someone for good. Not on Teen Wolf. Kate Argent got her throat slashed… she got better. Peter Hale got his throat slashed… he got better. Even if you explain those away as random supernatural occurrences, there’s also Braeden who is assumedly human and she only needed a couple of months to recover from her throat slashing. The three-fold death might appear excessive but at least Jennifer’s victims stayed dead. The Oni’s swords seem pretty effective as well (too soon?).

None of the pack are in jail.

These kids have been around more crime scenes than could ever be explained away as coincidence. Considering the number of unsolved crimes it doesn’t make sense that they haven’t been arrested for something. Half of their social group is dead. Not to mention the fact that Stiles walked into a hospital and stabbed a bunch of people, there were witnesses. What’s his defense? “It wasn’t me it was my evil Japanese fox-demon doppelganger.” And Derek has been arrested for murder like three times and most of those cases are still unsolved. How is he still walking free? It’s not that I want him to go to jail; it’s just that if the police were doing their job that’s probably where he’d be.

The timeline.

There are a few specific references to dates in the show – like the beginning of the school year and Halloween. But anyone that tries to sit down and work out the timeline for the events of Teen Wolf is going to end up giving themselves an aneurism. Is it 2011 or 2012? What season is it? I’m not sure what calendar their using but it’s certainly not the same one we use. Maybe it’s a special werewolf calendar, where time moves the same way that werewolves age… meaning they don’t really have an answer but it’s not really important to the plot so who cares if it makes sense.

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Jackson came back from the dead and no one cared.

You might not remember this because it’s been a while since Season 2 aired, but Jackson died. On the lacrosse field. In front of literally hundreds of witnesses. He was taken to THE MORGUE! Presumably a doctor pronounced him dead. What did that doctor say when he turned up the next day? Whoops, my bad. Dead is a fairly significant misdiagnosis. Did they not do any further tests? Was there no investigation? Jackson should be in a lab getting dissected right now. Curing death is a pretty big scientific breakthrough, but I guess you can’t really bottle true love and sell it as a medical treatment (they would probably try though).


The werewolves of Teen Wolf are wonderful mainly because they don’t make any sense. They grow extra facial hair and get bumpy foreheads like the vampires from Buffy and no one knows why. These cosmetic changes offer no evolutionary advantage that I can think of but they look pretty cool. Their abilities differ randomly – some can turn into full wolves, some turn into horror movie monster wolves and some of them aren’t even wolves at all (even though they should be). Bitten or born you could be a werecoyote, a werejaguar or even a kanima. It’s like a were animal lottery and Beacon Hills has got to collect them all.


That’s just touching the surface of the ocean of stuff in Teen Wolf that makes no sense at all (Noshiko Yukimura is 900 years old but only just started ageing for some reason). So the fact that they waved a magic wand over Malia Tate’s cognitive development doesn’t really stand out for me. To be honest these kind of things bothered me I wouldn’t be watching Teen Wolf, because let’s face it they don’t really pay attention to detail. Teen Wolf  is a visually exciting, fantastic face-paced narrative with witty dialogue. They do what they do and they do it well. That’s why I love it.

Look I am not trying to invalidate anyone’s criticisms or force people to like a character that I am completely willing to admit has not earned that just yet. I’m just asking you to re-evaluate why realism and logic suddenly matter in a way they didn’t before. Plus sometimes it’s fun to point out Teen Wolf’s plot holes and remind ourselves that even though it’s better than we ever imagined it could be, Teen Wolf is still a silly MTV show about teenage werewolves. Honestly, I cannot wait to see what ridiculousness they have in store for us this season.

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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11 thoughts on “Ten Things in Teen Wolf That Make Less Sense Than Malia Tate

  1. Yes, none of that in fact does make sense. But it’s not like it hasn’t been pointed out by people in fandom before. None of this is new news? And just because all this doesn’t make sense makes Malia any better so.

    Now if she is something more in the end than what we’ve seen so far? Yay. But if she ends up just being what they’ve told us so far? Blah and *rolled eyes*. I want her to be something more, and I’m not sayin she needs to be evil or bad or something, just… something more. But who knows *shrugs*

  2. I think your list is quite thorough, but I think there is such a thing as stuff that are senseless any time, and things which are acceptable shades of strangeness for this genre.
    the acceptable incidents of senselessness:
    Law enforcement exists but seems to do so in a vacuum where the supernatural events doesn’t get explored in a significant way.
    Return from the dead: This includes all the incidents listed, I find the peter and jackson ones more acceptable than Kate’s ressurection, just because of the manner they were brought back, I mean Peter had a ritual and all, Jackson less impressively underwent some sort of half metamorphosis, but Kate literally just rose from the grave.
    Werewolves, again the genre kind of allows for all the mythical creatures, Kitsune are also mythical and there could be a valid and acceptable explanation for why she’s now looking older than before which fits into the mythos.
    The amount of time spent out of school, it’s weird and strange but they can’t fill up their limited time with scenes of them at school all the time…
    Unacceptable include: The principal thing, never made sense and I’m still disappointed about it.
    Cora Hale and her backstory, I’m perfectly content to say they may have revealed the backstory and all that had Adelaide stayed on, but if they don’t give a small clue now that she’s gone I’ll still feel it was sucky.
    Deucalion, yes that was such crap, but they had to do it this way because the “True Alpha” storyline called for Scott to be somehow different from Derek and so he couldn’t be made to kill Deucalion which would have made more sense, Basically the whole True Alpha storyline was kinda bad and did nothing much for the character.
    The timeline is the biggest annoyance, it’s very hard because it doesn’t follow any established tv series rules, it’s very hard to follow when time skips forward a few days or weeks, basically we know that we’re out of 2011 because new school year and Stiles was 17 according to Derek, do we know anything else? no
    Malia’s inexplicable entry into high school is also on the unacceptable side because while some things can be explained away by this is the genre of fantasy, this is not really one of them, I think we can all agree that there is no good mythical or magic explanation for why a girl who has been an animal for 8 years is capable of going to highschool, that is accepting that she could have matured mentally and socially and been a rational person while a a coyote, but there is no explanation for how she would learn the stuff needed to go to a public school.
    Maybe the story will explain some of the worse blunders with this character, which includes the fact that her relation to Peter Hale causes some very weird side effects for the pasts of other characters, I’m thinking specifically of the Hale pack and Talia allowing an 8 year-old-girl to roam around wild for 2 years before their murder… It’s all a little off, I so hope this is deliberate and her acting wild is a red-herring because she’s actually a antagonist or something equally delicious and evil.

  3. I have no problem with why the Sheriff is still Sheriff, or why none of the pack are in jail or the throat-slashing-healing, because that type of thing is part of a common “suspend your disbelief, please” package that comes with watching almost any show of this type. Likewise, if they all drive Toyotas, I have no problem because I shrug it off to budget issues, product placement and whatnot. I admit, I hadn’t noticed the car thing, since I’ve seen Stiles in his Jeep and Derek in his Corvette and standing near a truck, etc.

    The stuff that bugs me when it makes no sense are the character issues and/or things that are relevant to character. Everything about Deucalion’s storyline was a mess, but I didn’t feel I was being asked as a viewer to invest much in him anyway. He was a disposable character from the start. It bugged me that the Argent principalstuff wasn’t explained better. And I hated how much of Cora’s storyline wasn’t explained, because I WAS expected to feel invested in her character. But I attribute some of those problems with the fact that the actress was leaving the show before much was written about her.

    My issue with Malia not making sense has to do with the fact that the show DOES expect me to be invested in her character. She’s not supposed to be a throwaway. If I’m supposed to care about her, then I expect the writing to reflect that. I expect her story to make sense, and to not be thrown into the show as if she was a disposable character who was only meant to move the plot if she’s supposed to be something more than that.

    IOW, the degree to which I care whether something makes sense is based on how important that something is within the show. Malia’s being placed in the core group – that makes her important enough that she ought to make sense.

  4. This list was brilliantly put together, you mentioned a lot of things that I either forgot about or didn’t notice. The main things that bothered me was the whole Deucalion storyline, Kate Argent coming back from the dead with very little explanation, and the whole Gerard taking over as principal for a while. But out of the three, Kate coming back as the “She-Wolf” that the other hunters have been looking for all these years is what bothers me the most. I hope that this season, they elaborate on that. I want to know what she did in order to be hunted and why she decided to come back now.

    As for Malia, I hope that they give some kind of background to her. Is Peter really her dad? Why would Talia just leave her with a human family with no one to look after her and help her control her powers?

    Anyway, I just really hope that we get more depth to Malia because I really want to like her.

  5. It’s kind of related to the timeline, but you forgot that absolutely no one on the show knows how old Derek is. Not even the showrunner. In the pilot script, he was 19 and then they realized he would have been a minor when Kate seduced him. So now, only the devil may care how old he is.
    Everyone has their limits when it comes to suspension of disbelief. A fantasy show has to have an internal logic and TW have always failed dramatically in that regard. So there’s a time when the inconsistencies pile on and it’s not compensated anymore with some kind of cleverness or by the things we used to love. For me, I used to watch for Derek, the most fascinating character on the show as far as I’m concerned, but he’s just being sidelined. And it really does look like Malia is a replacement for Cora who was a replacement for Erica; the 3rd version of the same wild female that was intended as a love interest for Stiles. And please, I’m not a shipper, no one would have any romance on a fantasy show if it was my decision. Some believe she’s a female Derek, I think the show is just being repetitive. It’s not even the only time they repeated scenes with different characters. So as I’m willing to suspend my disbelief, repetitiveness is an absolute no-go for me.

    1. I am SO happy other people focus on this issue too. I didn’t even know they had tried to age him up, I’ve believed Kate statutorily raped him since season 1. 19 may have been too young, he would’ve been seduced as a 13 year old. But my head canon was that he was about 21/22 when the show began. I figured his little affair with Kate happened when he was around 16 and the show was happening 6 years later. And then they threw that Paige storyline in and I just told myself that that was what made him cling to Kate, he was sad and vulnerable. That is what I told myself and I’m sticking with it until offered a logical replacement. (so never, presumably)

      1. The Paige storyline was possibly the oddest one ever, it was like his backstory wasn’t bad enough, and now to make you even more confused about it, we’re gonna make werewolves un-ageable, Derek is now anywhere between 22 and 26.
        I Actually think they could have made the he was 13 when she gained his trust, there wasn’t ever anything specific I don’t think that definitively said it was sexual. Also when she was saying he grew up in all the right places that makes me think he was younger than the late teens they’re suggesting.

        1. I think it’s possible he was younger (but I think we can probably eliminate that option with the preview for 4×02). But the “you grew up in all the right places comment” doesn’t eliminate teens, there’s a pretty distinct physical difference between 16 and 22. Also when she has him chained to the whatever it was in season 1 she says something along the lines of “don’t you want to talk about the good times” and when Derek responds “like when you killed my family” she said “mmm no I was thinking more about all the crazy sex we used to have”. So I’d say that is about as direct as it will ever get.

  6. I already love Malia and definitely already feel invested in her as a character (I think she brings a new personality, breath of fresh air, to the show and the pack), so I’m with you all here. I have no problem finding ways to rationalize how she is where she is now, based on the Teen Wolf universe. I can’t wait to see where she goes this season and hopefully beyond. Good read 🙂

  7. Malia, Cora and Erica are all the same, made to be with Stiles.
    However people like Erica with Boyd, Cora was a female Derek but the actress had to go before they could even start developing her and Malia is a replacement of Jackson as well(he was the son of Peter, but he being out Jeff did malia) and have many Stiles’ actions as well(she did lots of stuffs that are part of Stiles character alone = Jeff used Stiles,and others, to make her likable).

    So no, I prefer the originals than her in their place.

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