This review contains spoilers.
Just when you think you’re out, you’re back on the lacrosse team again. Lacrosse, being the quidditch of the Teen Wolf universe, hasn’t been thought about too much lately, serving mostly as background stuff or scenes for Jackson to smack around stuntmen. This week the sport returns, and thanks to Beacon Hills having a team full of supernatural beasts, their lacrosse team has made the state finals and seems to be heading for a win. Well, except for the fact that Isaac, Scott, and Jackson have been routinely ditching practice.
Still, that’s a big game, and when Jackson shows up for practice (at the behest of his new master Gerard), it’s a sign for Scott and Stiles to show back up, too, if only to keep an eye on Jackson. Turns out, Gerard’s got quite the potent weapon in Jackson the kanima, and if you thought Scott was in his pocket before, it’s even worse now that Gerard’s got real leverage. All he has to do is speak and the kanima will kill whoever: Scott’s mom, Stiles, Stiles’ dad, Lydia, Danny… you name it, Jackson Lizard can kill them. You see, the kanima is a creature of vengeance, and with Matt’s task incomplete, that leaves Gerard as the most vengeful person in Beacon Hills. Gerard wants Derek Hale dead, and if Scott won’t help voluntarily, Gerard will make him help.
Speaking of Derek, his first few months as alpha of his own pack have been, to put it mildly, a disaster. The kanima on the loose, his pack’s training neglected, is it any wonder that Boyd and Erica are looking for a new place to call home, or that Isaac is turning to Scott and Dr. Deaton for help. He’s totally failing at the leadership thing, but there’s an unlikely ally on his side: Peter Hale. That’s right, he’s back from the dead and suspiciously looking to help his nephew with his growing pains.
I really enjoy how meta Teen Wolf is getting in Jeff Davis’s hands. Between the Shakespeare and Greek mythology references last week to the meta moment of Boyd and Erica in the forest comparing hearing something in the woods to how they need to be running and Coach Finstock’s hilariously repurposed speech (and bomber jacket) from Independence Day, it’s fun to see that they exist in a world where people absorb just as much literature and pop culture as we do. Orny Adams absolutely delivered on reciting the speech, and the reaction shots from Stiles and Melissa McCall were comedy gold. I’m glad that there was another adult around to point out just how weird Coach is, because that somehow made it even funnier.
Honestly, it’s a great performance from Adams, and one of several great performances this week. Dylan O’Brien got to be serious this week, rather than being the goofy Stiles we all know and love. It’s surprising at first, because you keep waiting for a punchline that never comes, then it starts sinking in. He’s a helpless kid surrounded by monsters, his father has been distant, and his best friend has bigger problems. Stiles has nobody and, as he says, Lydia the poisoner is the most normal one of the bunch.
I also have to comment on the performances of Michael Hogan as Gerard and Ian Bohen as the returning Peter Hale. I’ve been really enjoying Michael Hogan’s work on the show, because he seems to have fully invested himself in playing the arch villain. He’s a leering, teasing, glinting-eyed maniac and he digs in on every great villain speech. There’s absolutely nothing subtle about what he’s going for, and that’s why I’m loving it. He’s the bad guy, and he’s relishing the chance to chew all the scenery he can in the process. Ian Bohen’s take on Peter Hale is the other sort of villain. If Gerard is Sauron, then Peter Hale is Grima Wormtongue, very subtly twisting his way back into nephew Derek’s good graces and manipulating him from behind the scenes. It’s a great contrast to Gerard and adds a bit of texture to the role.
After the bloodbath last week, this week’s episode provided more action in the form of lacrosse games and some people randomly being thrown across rooms, but no real knock-down, drag-out violence aside from a horrifying scene in which Allison stalks Boyd and Erica through the forest as part of the Argent clan’s plan to force Derek out of hiding and into direct confrontation. It’s a little stunning to see how cold-blooded she is; apparently whatever was in that note from her mother really turned her around on the whole ‘decency’ thing. Even Chris is shocked at his daughter’s violence (which is nicely married in match cuts to the lacrosse game; as Scott and Stiles fall, so do Boyd and Erica). It’s one of several clever little touches put forth by Tim Andrew, who is proving quite deft behind the camera.
We’ve only got one episode of Teen Wolf remaining for the season, and it promises to be crazy (and apparently full of the violence we didn’t get a ton of this week). I’m really looking forward to the blow-off, if only because I’m fairly sure Jeff Davis and company have promised us some more deaths of characters, as if Matt and (possibly) Victoria Argent weren’t enough. Judging from the ending previews for next week, there’s going to be some crazy stuff next week, and while it’s a shame to say goodbye to the best series of the summer, it’ll only lead to a bigger, better season 3.
Read Ron’s review of last week’s episode, Fury, here.
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