Teen Wolf episode 8 review: Lunatic

Outside of Game Of Thrones, Teen Wolf might just have become Ron's favourite new TV show of the year. And this is its best episode yet...

This review contains spoilers.

8. Lunatic

Well, after a couple days of closure, Beacon Hills High School is reopening for classes, which means Scott, Stiles, and the rest of the gang can get back to their normal routine. Except for the fact that, y’know, Scott’s world has been turned upside down, Allison feels she can’t trust anyone, Jackson’s finding himself cuckolded and usurped while simultaneously pursuing an emotionally wounded Allison, and, oh yeah, it’s the full moon. As if McCall didn’t have enough to worry about, he’s also entering that time in a young werewolf’s life when he’s crazed for blood and looking to kill anything not nailed down.

Reminds me of my teenage years, except I didn’t date any cute werewolf hunters or have awesome powers (I did have sideburns, but that’s a different story). Ahem, moving on.

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Stiles and Scott go out to the woods to get drunk, because that’s the best way to get over your ex-girlfriend and heartbreak, and as it turns out, Scott’s not entirely himself. In a recurring theme to this week’s episode, Scott very nearly freaks out and kills some random guys (the Alpha does it for him after he leaves).

During the test-taking sequence, when Scott’s hyper-sensitive wolf senses start to flare up and cause him to hear every little pen click and scuff of paper and scrape of eraser, he starts to hallucinate. The test answers become insults at his own expense, put there by his psyche. It’s a very subtle thing (expounded upon later, and further reflecting Scott’s personal issues), and it’s a great touch because it marries both Scott’s new werewolf abilities with his general teenage insecurity to show that being a werewolf isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be, especially when your girlfriend tells you that you should “take a break” after you saved her life.

I really like Stiles and Scott’s interplay in this episode. Their exchanges, both in the beginning of the episode when Stiles is trying to cheer his buddy up to in the locker room when Stiles explains to Scott the logistics of the panic attack Scott was having, were very good. Smart, because these are smart kids, but not too smart to be unnatural. Speaking of realistic, one of Jackson’s cronies finally tells him off regarding the jealousy with McCall situation. It’s nice to have some grounding, which is probably the craziest thing I could possibly say about a show with a teenage werewolf in it.

Weirdly, I also think I like this new Evil Scott. Perhaps brought out by the full moon, or perhaps just because he’s really mad at his semi-girlfriend, Scott is doing pretty much whatever he wants, from busting a beloved teammate in the nose during practice to, well, getting ‘thanked’ by Lydia for his bravery last episode. It’s a great touch, and it adds a little flavor to Scott and Stiles relationship.

Much like Abe Vigoda, the rumors of Derek Hale’s death have been greatly exaggerated. Derek, like Abe, has been thought dead for quite sometime (in Teen Wolf‘s case, about two episodes now), but like Abe, apparently Derek is still alive and kicking. (If Abe Vigoda dies between the time I write this and the time you read it, I am very, very sorry for accidentally cursing Abe Vigoda.)

Fortunately, Hale is around to smack some sense into Scott and tell him that, just maybe, there’s a cure for his particular ailment. However, since the show is greenlit for a second season, I doubt it’ll work (unless they have a new Teen Wolf next year, and they just might).

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Of all the Teen Wolf episodes so far, this has probably been my favorite. From top to bottom, everything worked. The script from Monica Macer (a staff writer for Lost and story editor for Prison Break) is very sharp, aside from the lame “you have something on your lips” cafeteria moment, and the direction from Tim Andrew (who also did last week’s Night School episode) is also very well done. He does some good things with the camera, and smoothly integrates the more expensive special effects set pieces so they don’t blatantly stick out.

I also like the fact that, while the cops are looking for Hale, the kids who were actually at the school during the attack aren’t buying it, and it looks as though Jackson is putting the pieces together.

Amazingly, this might be the best new TV show I’ve watched this year (that isn’t Game of Thrones). Believe me, no one is as surprised as I am by this sudden, shocking revelation. Let’s just hope they don’t screw it up.

Read our review of episode 7, Night School, here.

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