Teen Wolf season 2 episode 12 review: Master Plan

Review Ron Hogan 14 Aug 2012 - 07:26

The season two finale sends Teen Wolf off on a high note and makes next year's extended run a must-watch. Here's Ron's review...

This review contains spoilers.

2.12 Master Plan

If you thought Jackson was dead at the end of last week's episode of Teen Wolf, you're... well, probably alone. I didn't know he was dead until he was taken off the field in the opening of this week's episode, but as we've seen in Teen Wolf, just because someone looks dead, that doesn't mean they actually are. Hence, when Melissa McCall unzips the body to check out the corpse and finds Jackson's body making a cocoon of kanima venom, it's obvious there's something else going on.

The missing Stiles, as expected, turns up in the Argent's basement. After picking a fight with the “90-year-old” Gerard - and getting beaten up for his troubles - Stiles is returned home after serving his purpose: distracting Scott and Isaac. Stiles' pungent stench was used as bait for Scott, a distraction if you will, to keep them off the trail of Gerard's real plan. And boy, if you thought it was conniving before when he was manipulating his daughter, just wait to see what he's got in store for Scott and company this week.

This is the season two finale of Teen Wolf, and like the first, it seemed to wrap the second run of the show up without writing its next 24-episode season into a corner. Some plot threads are neatly tied up, and others are allowed to dangle tantalizing to add fuel to the fire for next year. Even some threads that seem to be tied up may not be quite taken care of, depending on how things work out. Despite leaving some stuff on the table, I like how things ended up this season. Characters changed, relationships changed, and just when you thought you might have taken care of the bad guy, he may have been given a reprieve. And, as it turns out, there are more threats out there than the humans have ever been aware of.

The kanima may end up being the least of Derek's problems.

I have to give a lot of credit to the cast for their acting in this episode. For whatever reason, Jeff Davis turned the emotional intensity up to 11 this week, and it really worked out well. From the absolutely heartbreaking scenes with Stiles and Lydia (and Jackson) to Coach actually showing some humanity this week in his honest appeal to Scott to get his grades up - and confessing he actually likes the kids on the team despite his yelling - were very effective. It was a bit blindsiding, to be honest, in a very good way.

Jeff Davis, who penned the episode, really played up the human, emotional reactions to the supernatural craziness, rather than simply just ratcheting up the supernatural craziness, and it really goes to show that Teen Wolf is a significantly better show than its placement on MTV might suggest.

I think what makes the dramatic turns characters took this season work so well is that they were consistent with the characters internally. Stiles is funny, but there's some vulnerable part of him he's protecting with that comedy. Coach actually cares, but he hides it behind the yelling and crazy antics. Maybe it's the sarcastic high school nerd I used to be, but Stiles really resonated with me this season (aside from the moment of glory he had last episode; that never happened to me until after college when I got front-page linked on Fark twice in one day).

Tim Andrew (and cinematographer Jonathan Hall) did some interesting things in this week's episode when it comes to how shots were framed. There was some playfulness to the camera this week, a little extra life and movement that hasn't always been there in his work. The fight scene between Scott, Derek, Isaac, and Jackson was particularly well done, but what impressed me most was the way he used the camera to emphasize the beats in Jeff Davis's comic moments.

Unlike a lot of television shows, there wasn't a lot of stuff that didn't work this week, and the show leaves the air temporarily on a high note. All the elements worked in harmony, from the romance to the heartbreak and the action to the suspense to the horror. The special effects looked good, the performances were brilliant, and the show was its typical well-shot, good-looking self. They seem to have saved the best for last, and I hope this momentum continues on into the next season.

So what's next for Teen Wolf? Well, season 3 promises a new wolf pack - an alpha pack. How does a pack of alphas work? I don't know, but I guess we'll all find out. They have 24 episodes to fill next year, so here's hoping they have a lot of great ideas left to fill all that time.

 Read Ron's review of last week's episode, Battlefield, here.

US Correspondent Ron Hogan is glad to see that Teen Wolf ended on a high note for season 2, and he looks forward to season 3. It can't get here soon enough. Find more by Ron daily at Shaktronics and PopFi.

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Strange... We seem to have watched a different episode... I hated this stuff. All of it. I thought it was a really really amateurish ending to a great season.

I was quite disappointed. Too many shots of Scott, Derek and the kanima standing around glowering, trying to look menacing while doing nothing, followed by ending after ending. Very talky, what with the need to explain the villain's excessively convoluted plot. Surely there were simpler means to accomplish his goals? Last season built to a big payoff, but this finale fell apart for me -- they really struggled to bring everything together.

I expected the cancer reveal, but I did not expect just how Scott double-crossed him. While I knew a lot of it was happening, I found it to be really effective anyway. When they surprised me, it caught me flush.

I liked the multiple endings. You need some finality in a season, especially since they've left stuff dangling. For me, all the glowering made the actual fight more satisfying, short as it was, and I liked the multiple switching allegiances during the proceedings. If you want a talky and convoluted explanation, think back on Matt's villain speech a few episodes ago.

Simpler as in perhaps.... him saying to the Hale family, hey guys I know we've had our differences in the past and I may or may not have killed members of your family but let's let bygones be bygones. While you're at it though, could you see your way into letting whichever one of you is the Alpha to, you know, nibble on my arm a bit. I've been thinking about it a lot lately and being a werewolf wouldn't be the worse thing that could happen to me...

To which the Hales reply... No problem Gerry, just come on over whenever. <munch munch="">

All through the season since his arrival, Gerard has been building his leverage on everyone just so, whether Derek liked to or not (obviously not, because of the implications of Gerard being even more maniacal than Peter ever was), could give him the bite. The ultimate leverage was being able to control Jackson/The Kanima.</munch>

bah ... stupid html and angle brackets.

Please elaborate. I'm getting very sick of the recent comment trend of saying something is rubbish or a mess and adding nothing to support that view.

But Jackson's almost irrelevant. The ending came down to forcing Scott to make Derek bite Gerard. Why didn't Gerard just kidnap Scott's mom? Or Stiles? There are far simpler ways to get both Scott and Derek in the same room than creating a convoluted plot that somehow involved both remote controlling a lizard monster and becoming the high school principal.

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