Teen Wolf episode 11 review: Formality

It’s the penultimate instalment of Teen Wolf, and it’s another corker. Here’s Ron’s review of episode 11, Formality…

This review contains spoilers.

11. Formality

When the world is falling down around you and you’re stuck dealing with the knowledge that, for example, your aunt keeps shirtless college-age boys chained up in the basement so she can torture them for fun, well… things are pretty weird, but there’s some good advice. Go out, be a normal teenager, and go to the winter formal. Scott gets the same advice from Stiles, who plays an important role in this episode (and an increasingly important one in the series).

So, you see where this is going.

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Meanwhile, while Scott and Allison are enjoying one last dance of normality, and Stiles has displayed surprising intelligence and drive in actually getting Lydia to go out to the dance with him (and has a heart-to-heart with her that actually seems to penetrate her icy facade), the Alpha’s plan is starting to slowly come together. Wherever Allison is, he is. Wherever he is, Scott is. If it’s possible for two wolves to play cat and mouse, these two are. For every move the Alpha makes, Scott has a counter, and vice-versa.

The Alpha, AKA Peter Hale (Ian Bohen), knows that Scott’s weakest point is his friends, and to that end he’s going to do everything he can to get to those friends, including stalk Allison through Macy’s (a nice product placement) and blatantly assault Lydia at the school dance on the lacrosse field. But, amazingly, Styles comes to Lydia’s rescue, and shows surprising toughness (even if he does have to tell the Alpha how to find Derek Hale, who is locked in Kate Argent’s sex dungeon).

Hunters on one hand, rampaging werewolves on the other. Poor Scott McCall has walked right into the middle of a war, and he has no idea what to do. Still, he’s bound and determined to keep the peace, and that’s where the season finale of Teen Wolf will resolve for us this time next week. However this ends, it won’t be neatly.

One of the things I like about this show, and this episode especially, is that they’ve apparently done research. For example, when Peter Hale aka the Alpha is having his face-off with the helpful werewolf vet. When Peter goes to attack the vet, he stops short and makes a comment about mountain ash. I was confused, so I hit Wikipedia.

As it turns out, mountain ash is a traditional werewolf repellent in Belgium, which is where the Argent family line seems to come from, given their connection to the Beast of Gevadaun from nearby France. I figure next they’ll repel a werewolf by invoking St. Hubert to complete the random historical knowledge-dropping trifecta.

I like a show that plays with werewolf mythology, but acknowledges the long and varied history of lycanthrope lore. The fact that they did their research and dug up something both obscure and historically relevant (rather than just leaning on silver or wolfsbane or whatever) is a sign of the show’s good writing.

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That good writing is reflected in the characters on said show, who are all really interesting, and who stay pretty consistent throughout the show’s run. Except for maybe Jackson, but I get the feeling that he’s more than a little obsessive regarding the werewolf thing, which fits in nicely with his overall personality.

Another thing about this show that separates it from its ilk is that the direction is consistently top notch. For example, tonight’s episode had some great scenes – it featured the best-looking (and most realistically-lit) prom I’ve ever seen. Another standout was the scene where Jackson, in the woods, is found by Argent and his flunky. The twin laser sights cutting through the fog? That’s some nice-looking TV. Once again, Russell Mulcahy does wonders with the look of the show, giving it a scope and a style beyond that of most basic cable television series.

With only one episode left, I remain curious as to how this is all going to play out. The teasers suggest there’s going to be some fundamental recasting vis-a-vis death and whatnot, and the way it looks it could be any number of characters, both major players, antagonists, and perhaps even protagonists. I have a good idea of who isn’t going to die, but I also thought I knew who the Alpha was, and I completely failed in that regard.

Read our review of episode 10, Co-Captain, here.

US Correspondent Ron Hogan didn’t like formal dances as a teenager. Then again, he wasn’t a werewolf. Find more by Ron daily at Shaktronics and PopFi.

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