Teen Wolf season 4 episode 9 review: Perishable
Jennifer Lynch directs another impressive episode of Teen Wolf this week. Here's Ron's review of Perishable...
This review contains spoilers.
With a show like Teen Wolf, you can never be sure who is dead and who isn't dead. Gerard took werewolf claws to the belly, crawled off, and somehow reappeared for a few episodes in season 3A when Allison needed a spiritual adviser. Kate Argent died and returned as a were-jaguar. Scott, Stiles, and Allison all returned from the dead once upon a time, though Allison returned to re-death in season 3B. Is it all that surprising that Parrish gets burned alive by Lou Ferrigno Jr.'s Deputy Haigh in the opening moments of Perishable before returning, covered in ashes but otherwise unharmed? Not so much.
However, what was surprising was the return of Meredith Walker, everyone's favorite creepy Banshee, as a crucial character in the Teen Wolf universe. Granted, death comes fast and loose in the Teen Wolf world, and is easily discarded if Jeff Davis likes the actor enough (which is why Aaron Hendry gets to play both the bandage-faced Nogitsune and the creepy orderly Brunski), but seeing Meredith return was completely unexpected. Even though I'm sure she's not the benefactor, it makes sense that she works closely with the Benefactor, if only because she has a legitimate grudge against the Martin family and Beacon Hills' supernatural critters.
As the show has established with Lydia, the powers of a banshee aren't easy ones to deal with. It's not like learning to tune out super-hearing or super-smells, and it's not the awesome power that comes with being something like a kanima or an electricity-proof kitsune. Being a banshee means you're a death magnet with a really potent scream who hears voices, and scripter Eric Wallace does a good job of establishing that this week with both Lorraine Martin's back story and Lydia's own guilt over what she did to Meredith.
Wallace also does a good job of intertwining the two plot lines, with Scott and company on one side and Lydia and Styles off on a completely separate adventure, albeit with some parallels. Lydia and Styles are, power-wise, the two weakest characters on the show, while Scott and company are generally the strongest, but not the most clever. (As for Parrish, who knows how he fits in on the power rankings?) with every printer in Beacon Hills printing out copies of the dead pool, it's clear that the benefactor is getting desperate and willing to do anything, so it makes sense for more creepy-crawlies (like the evil DJ with his music of death and the security guards of doom) to come out of the woodwork and for someone like Brunski—already kinda evil and sadistic—to give into his innate urges in the quest for more money.
Money is a really weird thing to build a teenage-centric show around. Television at its core is all about money, advertisers spending money, shows needing money, celebrities making money, and so on, but to centre a show around what are essentially family financial problems, and to make them a discussion point time and time again while also putting prices on the heads of characters? It seems like everyone in Beacon Hills is having money problems, and most of that stems from the actions of its supernatural population. The wolves are wrecking the place, hunters are wrecking the place, and it's hard to have a town when the school gets blown up every other week and the hospital has bodies stacked like piles of cord wood. The construction industry and the funeral industry may be the only businesses in Beacon Hills turning a serious profit (especially after the last video store in town got its only clerk mauled in the Romance section in the first season).
Teen Wolf proves to be an interesting blend of ideas and impressive visuals this week, courtesy of director Jennifer Lynch, who brings one of the strongest eyes to the show aside from Russell Mulcahy. The big Beacon Hills High bonfire looks like a drug-crazed bacchanalia thanks to the combination of lighting, music, and camera angles. Leave it to Teen Wolf to make a party look ominous, and to make the records room of a mental hospital look almost as ominous. Even knowing Teen Wolf generally doesn't deal in cliffhangers, I was still nervously waiting for someone to rush in and save Scott, Malia, and Liam from their captors (and got a pleasant thrill from watching non-werewolf Derek still beating the crap out of dudes like he still had his claws and fangs).
Everything's all right in the end (except for maybe Lydia, Stiles, and Parrish), but still the mystery of the Benefactor builds. Given that everyone knows there's a price on several teenage heads, is it any wonder that things will get much worse for the Teen Wolves before this season is in the books? This is a town desperate for some kind of financial windfall, and millions of untaxed bearer bond dollars would go a really long way.
US Correspondent Ron Hogan is glad to see that Meredith is still around, if only because the actress is the creepiest girl on television with her crazy facial expressions. Find more by Ron daily at Shaktronics and PopFi.
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