Teen Wolf season 2 episode 2 review: Shape Shifted

Episode 2 of the second season of Teen Wolf follows hot on the heels of the opener. Read Ron's review of Shape Shifted here...

This review contains spoilers.

2.2 Shape Shifted

One of the things that is tough for a show to do is balance comedy with horror. Most programmes aren’t capable of doing this, but one of the most consistently funny and consistently disturbing shows on television is MTV’s Teen Wolf. A major reason for this is due to the show’s brilliant cast of secondary characters. Between Orny Adams, Holland Roden, Keahu Kahuanui (who plays Danny the gay lacrosse player) and Dylan O’Brien, a teen-centric horror drama about werewolves and hunters has become one of the more amusing shows on television while not losing its proverbial—or literal—teeth.

Speaking of teeth, Teen Wolf this week is full of them. As it turns out, Derek Hale has found himself a new friend to join the pack in the wake of the increased strength of the Argent clan, and it’s Isaac the kid from the graveyard. There’s just one problem with Isaac becoming a member of the Teen Wolf clique, and that’s his father. Or rather, what used to be his father, before he was torn to pieces by something mysterious and creepy that may or may not be some new kind of lycanthrope monster haunting Beacon Hills.

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Oh yeah, did I mention the full moon? Yeah, because that’s happening, too. Perfect timing, right? While Jackson prepares himself for his hopefully furry future, Isaac finds himself in a jail cell (which is not the place you want to be when you wolf out, since werewolves are supposed to be kept secret). On the good side, Scott, Derek, and Stiles know he’s there and that he’s a newly-made werewolf to strengthen Derek’s pack. On the bad side, the Argents know he’s there and that he’s a newly-made werewolf to strengthen Derek’s pack. Given Gerard Argent’s love of swordplay, the cold war between the Argents and the pack is starting to turn hot, in spite of the more ominous presence looming in the shadows.

Russell Mulcahy seems to have become Teen Wolf‘s main director, and it’s actually a good thing because, as one of the first major music video directors, his kinetic style, camera movement, and use of light makes for great television. Stylistically, it’s a good cross between a standard drama shooting style and a music video; Mulcahy knows when to do camera tricks and when to refrain from said camera tricks, and it makes the show more effective. For example, the lacrosse practice scene is really well shot; there’s some slow motion on the stunt work, but not too much. The show isn’t afraid to embrace some of its campier elements, and I think that has a lot to do with Mulcahy and Jeff Davis’s willingness to just put it all out on the table.

One of the things Teen Wolf does really well is handle its music. They source some great music for the show, no doubt aided by MTV’s access to pretty much all music ever made. The show strings together pop songs like pearls on a necklace, matching the mood to the music perfectly. It works so seamlessly in the context of the show, and it enhances both the teen part (since pretty much all teenagers ever have made out to music) and the wolf part (such as The Prodigy song from the first episode of season 2 when Scott is running through the woods or when Lydia returns to school after two days of naked romping in the woods this week). The music producer, Laura Webb, does a great job blending sourced music around original soundtrack cues put together for the show.

I have to admit, I’m a bit concerned by this season’s possible big bad monster when it was revealed. I mean, it looks awesome, and those glowing eyes in the darkness are really intimidating, but at the same time, it’s concerning that the show might become just a long series of Monster of the Year story lines. I’m interested to see where they go with it, and where this new threat comes from, but at the same time I’m a little bit nervous about just how this is going to work in seasons down the road.

Maybe I’m looking too far ahead; this is season two, and it just started so nobody but Jeff Davis and company know where the show is going to go from here. So long as the show remains sharp, funny, creepy, and romantic in turns, I’ll stay on board even if season 6 has Scott and the gang fighting Frankenstein’s monster and a horde of reanimated dead monsters from the seasons previous. (In fact, if they end up doing that, I will no doubt become this show’s hugest fan because: zombie werewolves!)

 Read our review of episode one, Omega, here.

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US Correspondent Ron Hogan was not a teen wolf, more like a teen Brian Blessed. Find more by Ron daily at Shaktronics and PopFi.

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