This review contains spoilers.
It’s been a long time since Teen Wolf has been on the air, but the show seems pretty certain that its viewers remember the first season well. There was a recap episode a few weeks ago, but when the show resumed with its episodes proper, they jump right back into the action. After the attack from the late Peter Hale, Lydia is in the hospital, Stiles is sleeping on the chairs outside her recovery room, and Allison and Scott are secretly sneaking around to make out with one another after having been forbidden from fornicating by Mr. Argent in a cool semi-catching-up montage.
Like that will put and end to their Very Hairy Romeo and Juliet relationship.
In the aftermath of last season’s stellar finale, poor Lydia finds herself recovering from a werewolf mauling, not that anyone knows that’s what it is, and while she’s showering in the hospital, she starts oozing black stuff from various orifices and wounds while her hair falls out in clumps. Turns out it’s not The Blob paying her a visit via shower drain, it’s something else entirely. No matter what you call it, leaking black inky stuff from your person is probably bad.
This badness is confirmed when Jackson also has a similar leakage while taking a pop quiz at school. It starts out as a nosebleed, then becomes much worse as he flees to the bathroom to handle his black goopy business. A quick Derek visit and the reasoning behind the black bleeding is explained. For reasons unknown, Derek’s body is rejecting the lycanthrophy. Apparently, that can happen, which might explain as to why everyone who gets attacked by a werewolf and lives doesn’t become a werewolf.
Lydia disappears from the hospital, naked and still in a bad way from her injuries. Where she goes, nobody knows, but everyone in town seems to be out looking for her. The lacrosse team goes looking because Coach Finstock (the always funny Orny Adams) promises them automatic A grades in his class. Scott, Allison, and Stiles go out looking for her because she’s their friend. The Argents and their clan of hunters go out looking for her because, well… yeah, that part is probably obvious. Those that get attacked by a werewolf tend to become one.
I didn’t watch the catch-up show, and as such when Teen Wolf hit the screen, I found myself a little bit lost when it came to remembering just who was who. The show has also introduced some new faces to fill out the cast after last season’s thinning of the herd. However, it wasn’t too tough to get myself up to speed, as I recognized the main players from season one and the major introductions—the guy near Allison’s locker with the camera is named Matt (Stephen Lunsford), the kid from the cemetery who Derek Hale provides assistance to is Isaac (Daniel Sharman), Gerard “Saul Tigh” Argent (Michael Hogan)–were all pointed out pretty strongly by director Russell Mulcahy and writer Jeff Davis.
We don’t really get why they’re important yet, but it’s pretty obvious that they will be. The one new character the show establishes almost immediately is Gerald Argent, whose motivations are made plain by the show at the end of the episode when he cleaves a weakling omega drifter in twain with a two-handed broadsword in what might be the goriest moment in MTV history. It’s almost Game of Thrones-level bloodshed, and it represents a pretty interesting new wrinkle for the show. It remains to be seen how much blood MTV will allow, but just allowing a hemicorporectomy and not shying away from showing it is gutsy (forgive me).
While the show ended with an epic moment, it was a bit rough in the early stages. The opening comedy bits with Stiles were a bit too much for me, though after that mugging nap across a stack of chairs, the show found its footing as Stiles accidentally knocked over a candy machine (nice product placement, too; I like seeing a real-world vending machine in my werewolf show, it kind of grounds things). Once it got that goofiness out of the way, the show returned to form and quickly became interesting again.
I’m glad to see Teen Wolf back and picking up right where it left off. I like a show that presumes some intelligence and memory among its viewers, though I’m glad they very quickly caught those of us with poorer memories up to speed. Despite the pedigree of its network, Teen Wolf was one of the best surprises on TV last year and it turned out to be a great show. I’m looking forward to where they’re heading this season. If the montage of upcoming events at the end of the episode means anything, the show is going to be a fun ride once again.
US Correspondent Ron Hogan is glad to see a guilty pleasure return. If you’ve not sampled Teen Wolf yet, give it a taste. You never know what you’ll like until you like it! Find more by Ron daily at Shaktronics and PopFi.
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