Wolf Pack 1×01 Review: From a Spark to a Flame
Wolf Pack season 1 episode 1, titled ‘From a Spark to a Flame’, offered a debut that struggled to lay the required groundwork in an interesting manner during the allotted time.
I don’t know why TPTB decided to release Teen Wolf The Movie and the first episode of Wolf Pack on the same day. From what I can tell, the chatter surrounding the poorly-written Teen Wolf The Movie has drowned interest in Wolf Pack, especially in the online circles that I’m part of. Also, the not-so-great critic reviews for Jeff Davis’ newest werewolf show aren’t helping.
Adapted from author Edo van Belkon‘s work, Wolf Pack tells the story of four teenagers coming together due to lycanthropy reasons to hopefully form a… you guessed it… functional wolf pack to fight whatever deadly creature seems to be targeting them.
The premiere episode opened up with a forest fire, which led to a bunch of kids on a school bus getting stuck in traffic. In the first few minutes, we got introduced to anxiety-ridden Everett Lang (Armani Jackson) and the lone wolf Blake Navarro (Bella Shepard). Blake’s so lone wolf vibes that she doesn’t even have a cell phone on her. Anyway, the forest fire caused a bunch of badly CG-d animals to run from the forest and trample numerous people along the way. Not only that but there’s a werewolf-like beast attacking people while hiding in all the smoke and chaos. Both Everett and Blake got bit, but they don’t have much time to make sense of what happened because they have to run away from the expanding fire.
Most of ‘From a Spark to a Flame’ dealt with Everett and Blake getting to experience strange visions and the perks of becoming a werewolf. The mystery element was provided with a strange voice warning Everett about the beast wanting to kill him and Kristin Ramsey (Sarah Michelle Gellar) investigating who was likely responsible for the fire in the first place. It’s not the most exciting hook for a mystery, but I guess, it’s something.
With Everett and Blake going through changes, we are also introduced to the older co-leads, siblings named Luna Briggs (Chloe Rose Robertson) and Harlan Briggs (Tyler Lawrence Gray). The current fire seemed to be connected to the fire from years ago when they were found by their adoptive father Garrett Briggs (Rodrigo Santoro). Luna and Harlan have always felt out of place and longed to find their pack. However, they also had concerns about their real “werewolf” father or whatever being revealed to be a murderous monster.
Due to Jeff Davis being called out for the lack of well-written queer representation in his long-running Teen Wolf series, Wolf Pack made it clear out the gate that Harlan was queer. His introductory scene had him eyeing a male DJ at a club, flirting, and then proceeding to make out with said DJ. So, yeah, let’s see how Davis continues to treat a queer character in an ensemble cast.
As for the character-specific layers are concerned, we get to learn that Harlan and Garrett didn’t get along well. Luna seemed to be the more sensible of the two siblings. Everett had parents that worried about him too much. And Blake’s been looking after her autistic younger brother while dealing with a drunk father and a mother who left them. She’s also got acne scars. But don’t worry about that, though, because clear camera-ready skin came with being a werewolf. And so did abs, as Everett found out.
Vampires being good-looking and having the power to make other people fall for them made sense lore-wise because they need to feed on the blood of humans to survive. In contrast, I could never understand the sense of certain creatives making werewolves look hot in their human forms. Like, what does turning into a werewolf have to do with your physical appearance as a human?
Having said that, I did like the take on how each member of the pack seemed to have unique abilities. Harlan had incredible hearing while Luna could pick up scents. Blake seemed to be the fastest while Everett was moving toward being the strongest of the group. Having each member be good at a different thing will help with coming up with various situations where they will need to rely on each other’s unique abilities to handle issues… as a wolf pack should.
I’m interested in learning the werewolf-centric lore Wolf Pack will be using. While I liked the creative take, I do want to learn more about why each member of the pack had unique abilities and if having such abilities meant they were, in turn, weakening the Alpha werewolf that bit them and that’s why it wanted to kill the young co-leads.
As for the romance element, I couldn’t make myself feel invested in Everett and Blake’s budding relationship. There’s just not much there yet, in my opinion. At least with Scott McCall and Allison Argent from Teen Wolf, there was the baggage of the two lovers belonging to groups that wanted to kill each other. Frankly, I’m more interested in the adopted father/kid dynamic between Garrett, Luna, and Harlan. The scene where Garrett decided against recording a farewell message for his kids while trapped in a forest fire and found the strength to keep fighting for their sake… I have to say, it made me a bit emotional.
For those wondering why I haven’t mentioned Sarah Michelle Gellar yet, well, it’s because she didn’t have much to do in the premiere episode. I think she didn’t get five minutes of screen time even though she’s the biggest name in the cast and Wolf Pack is her “return” to genre TV. As an arson investigator, I’m not sure what to think of Gellar’s Kristin Ramsey. I think she might know more about what’s going on than she’s letting on, including the supernatural stuff. The way she called Everett to let him know that a classmate of his might be behind the fire felt very weird to me. I don’t think any professional arson investigator would talk to a kid like that.
Here’s hoping Kristin has a larger role to play in the upcoming episodes and Gellar’s name wasn’t simply used for promo purposes with her actual role being a glorified guest appearance.
All in all, I won’t say that Wolf Pack had a poorly-written debut episode (I have seen worse). Yes, it’s got some clichéd storytelling involving teens and bad CG. And I can understand why it might not be able to attract a larger young audience due to the use of curse words and wanting to be “edgy” coming across as a bit too forced. But, for now, I’m interested in seeing what will happen in the second episode.
What did you think of ‘From a Spark to a Flame’?
Let us know.
Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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