Teen Wolf season 3 finale: The Divine Move

Review Ron Hogan 25 Mar 2014 - 07:09

Teen Wolf is in stronger shape than ever in its season three finale. Here's Ron's review...

This review contains spoilers.

3.24 The Divine Move

The game of Go is many things to many people. It's a game of strategy, it's a way to meditate, it's a way to pass the time, it's a way to keep a werewolf under control in an internment camp... but most of all, it's a metaphor. Stiles has been playing Go versus his bandage-wrapped metal-mouthed mummy mental invader repeatedly this season, and it doesn't seem like things are going Stiles' way. However, there's one option left, the so-called divine move. Not so much a strategy as a stroke of luck, the divine move is the move that tilts the balance of the Go board and completely changes the game.

Teen Wolf's third season may have been its version of the divine move. Stretched across 24 episodes, Teen Wolf took on a larger cast, more story lines at once, a new addition to the show's mythology, and a move from the friendly confines of summer to winter, where it competed directly against first-run television shows rather than repeats. It found and cemented its breakout star (Dylan O'Brien), it moved shooting locations from Atlanta to California without losing too much atmosphere in the process. The show has stuck with what works and experimented in other aspects, and with Season 3 fading into memory, I can honestly say that Teen Wolf, despite some missteps, is in better shape than ever thanks to its dedicated cast and crew.

Speaking of things that work in Teen Wolf's favor, there's just something about Russell Mulcahy and sword fighting that works really, really well. Maybe it's just the way he likes to stage scenes. Maybe all those years of working on the Highlander properties have given him a knack for shooting an awesome clash of swords. Whatever the reason, The Divine Move leans very heavily on Mulcahy's ability to shoot action scenes, and for that reason alone it's an intensely satisfying television experience. From top to bottom, this episode was nothing but fighting and conflict, in the best way possible. There were Oni rampaging through every setting in the show's usual locations. Even the one setting where the Oni didn't show up, Derek's loft, was also the scene of a pretty cool fight at the end of the episode that will set up the main premise of season four.

You'd think that, by now, Teen Wolf would have run out of ways to use sword-fighting Japanese demons, but they seem to have an infinite capacity to use said demons to terrorize the relatively innocent people of Beacon Hills, from stalking through the corridors of the hospital slashing and stabbing innocent doctors, nurses, and patients (to the strains of Mourning Ritual's cover of Bad Moon Rising and punctuated with lots of blood spray) to two more Oni deflecting and debilitating and otherwise mangling the poor put-upon police of Beacon Hills. The hospital scenes in particular are really effective, and it's nice to see Deputy Parrish get to do some heroism alongside Sheriff Stilinski (I'm not so crazy about the looming spectre of the returning Agent McCall scuttling my Mama McCall/Sheriff Stilinski ship).

Of course, the big set piece, within the school and also perhaps within Stiles' mind, is the fight between the Nogitsune and the Oni versus Scott and Kira, allowing our teenagers to do some damage and show off their fighting skills in a set that looks a whole lot like the House of Falling Leaves fight between The Bride and O-Ren in Kill Bill Volume 1 in the best way possible. Meanwhile, outside, Derek and the Twins do battle with Evil Stiles and the Oni (the Oni are everywhere at all times, apparently) in a more chaotic, traditional Teen Wolf-style fight involving lots of jumping around and slashing paws. It's an effective contrast to, say, the police firing off hundreds of rounds or Kira clashing steel.

Of course it wasn't all just fighting. This is Teen Wolf, and Teen Wolf has to hit you in the feels. Before the fighting, there was time to mourn Allison, albeit briefly, in a very effective scene featuring a great performance courtesy of JR Bourne and what looks like a budding relationship between Isaac and Chris that feels natural; Chris and Isaac have both lost their family, so why wouldn't they bond over the death of someone who meant a lot to both of them?

As if that wasn't enough, Jeff Davis uses the season finale to put every character in jeopardy. Not just the ones actively fighting the Oni, either. Every one of them is in some sort of jeopardy, and for a lot of the secondary characters, like Melissa, Deaton, Stilinski, Parrish, and the Twins, that jeopardy could very easily become a fatal character write-off moment thanks to the machinations of the nogitsune and due to the promises of Jeff Davis that the show's makeup would be changed for next season. As if Allison's death wasn't enough, there's more cast churn coming before the end of the episode, thought it's a pretty expected death and departure for Max and Charlie Carver.

However, we do get an awesomely exciting return to make up for the departures. That's right, kids, my favorite bad guy from season one and the most awesome member of the Argent family is back. Kate Argent has returned to Beacon Hills, and now she's apparently a werewolf or some other sort of shape-shifter with a shotgun and a love of killing that cannot be matched by any evil druid or Japanese fox demon. Look out Derek, look out Scott, and look out other hunter group!

Read Ron's review of the previous episode, Insatiable, here.

US Correspondent Ron Hogan is pretty excited for Teen Wolf's fourth season and the increased presence of Peter and the rest of the Hale family, alongside the return of a familiar antagonist with a whole new set of awesome powers. Find more by Ron daily at Shaktronics and PopFi.

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I have a feeling that Kates return will herald a darker turn for Chris Argent. Having just lost his daughter, he has a lot of anger and no justifiable place to put it, and that is pretty much where Kate lives. Malia reconnecting with Peter will be a bit like the Emperor taking on a new apprentice, could lead to dark things for her. I still have hope for Lydia and Stiles, assuming he doesn't try and turn his and Malia's one night in the nuthouse into a relationship. Which he probably will since A it is the gentlemanly thing to do and B he probably still doesn't think Lydia likes him like that. Hell I don't even know if Lydia knows she likes him like that.

Love your reviews. Read them every week!

That was a roller coaster of an episode. Only thing I can think of that's missing was a resolution of Stiles medical problem, which I assume was a Nogitsune trick. I was quite horrified by the hospital massacre..must have been the most bloody sequence in the show to date. Roll on next season..I hear tell its kicking off again in mid June as normal.

so Kate Argent will be the big bad for season 4, but i reckon they will again split it up, and for the second half Peter will take over as the big bad, only thing is Peter is one of my favourite characters and i dont wanna see him die, his character is so funny yet you know hes a dick.

From the chatter, it looks like Malia and Stiles are going to be in a relationship and Derek is getting a new love interest too. Let's hope those two - arguably the most beat upon of the entire cast - will finally find a little happiness before the inevitable death, betrayal, and loss of control.

You forgot to mention that Malia is returning and it seems Kira is here to stay (funny it takes TWO females to fill Allison's shoes in BH). I'm conflicted about Kate's return - I loved her as the Big Bad in S1 and feel they really haven't lived up to her evil since (though Fox Stiles is a close second (I almost wish they'd let him stay evil for a while longer)) and can only hope she won't become the new Peter. You know, de-fanged and pointless.

Since Jeff Davis mentioned he won't be doing 24 eps again, it should be interesting how they're going to fit Kate She-Wolf, Malia/Stiles, Malia's training, Peter & Malia time, Derek & his (alleged) love interest, Scott & his drama/family/new gf into 12 eps. I can only hope they'll find a way to incorporate Danny as well since he's in the know now - or has been for a while (either due to Stiles & Co. extremely unsubtle foray into the supernatural or Jackson let the cat out before high-tailing it to England).

It was already mentioned in an earlier episode that Stiles' brain scan was another trick of the Nogitsune; his scan results were exactly like his mother's, which was impossible according to the doctor the Sheriff spoke to after the hospital scene.

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