This review contains spoilers.
5. The Tell
Poor Scott. All he wants is to be a normal, boring teenager. Despite all the perks being a werewolf has given him (sports skills, popularity, the ability to smell/hear lies, cuddliness), he still complains, day in and day out, that he wants to just be normal. To Derek, to Stiles, to whomever will listen. So, Scott decides to take a day off from avoiding Derek Hale’s creepy stalker urges to ‘train’ him and heads out into the woods with his girlfriend, Allison.
For this week’s episode, Teen Wolf splits into two radically different sections. Scott and Allison go off for a romp in the forest and get to spend some quality time together, while the rest of the characters in the show either deal with the fallout from the more aggressive actions of the alpha werewolf. And believe me, the alpha wolf is getting into scraps left and right.
When Jackson and Lydia are headed to the local video store to pick up The Notebook, the guy in the blue polo shirt who should be handing out romances is splattered along the floor. Poor Jackson gets mashed beneath some racks of back catalog DVDs and possibly molested by a wolfy claw. Poor Lydia gets a close-up view of the rampaging beast. Even Derek is feeling the heat of the alpha wolf’s presence, but Scotty boy gets off, ahem, scot-free and gets to romp around in the trees without a care in the world, blowing off school, work, and parent-teacher conferences.
This was an interesting episode in a lot of ways. For one, we got our first good looks at the werewolf in action, thanks to some surveillance camera footage, the close encounter in the Blockbuster-style video store, and the cell phone video on Lydia’s phone (that Stiles steals from her while she’s loopy on drugs).
I have to say, while the werewolf’s glowing red evil eyes is cheesy, the rest of the werewolf (by TV standards) doesn’t look awful. I think the nice blend of practical effects for the half wolfing favored by Derek and Scott mixed with CGI for the full wolfing might be the best solution, given the inability of the show to just have Rick Baker hanging around, waiting to werewolf somebody every episode.
Another interesting aspect of the show is the way Kate Argent (Jill Wagner) came on screen and basically became the best character on the program (aside from Stiles, whom I still like a lot, if only due to his surprising physical comedy skills and appropriately teenage awkwardness). Yes, she’s a little overbearing at times, but I enjoy her straight-faced delivery of such cheesy lines, and I also like the way she seems to objectify everyone she sees, even if it’s a werewolf twenty-something she just blasted with a telescoping cattle prod.
As it turns out, everyone’s in town looking for the same beast, from the Argents to Derek and Scott. The hard part just might turn out to be finding it, assuming the various groups can get out of one another’s way long enough to focus attention on the true enemy. Then again, Derek knows where the Argents live, and vice versa, yet they’re not actively trying to kill one another with any seriousness. The alpha wolf, however, doesn’t seem to be playing this game of chase as casually as everyone else.
The division of the episode between action segments and Scott and Allison cavorting worked pretty well. We find out more about Allison’s life and personality, and everything pulls together nicely for the climax. Most of the attention is paid to the action segments, rather than Scott, and the show is strong enough that Scott can retreat into the background and let the other characters have a little glory. It may even be stronger this way than when it pays too much attention to Scott.
Still, for better or worse, Scott’s the star of the show. There are characters enough to bypass Scott for an episode or two, but he should still be a big deal in terms of the show (his absence, this week, is his big deal).
They can’t yet get too far away from his core journey, nor can they keep delaying the growth of his character. And time is running out if he wants to learn how to control his powers before the alpha wolf makes him kill to prove his wolfishness.
Read our review of episode 4, Magic Bullet, here.