Teen Wolf season 2 episode 5 review: Venomous

The Teen Wolf folk are still keeping us guessing as to the identity of the shape-shifting lizard, and Ron has a few guesses in his review of this week's episode

This review contains spoilers.

2.5 Venomous

Jackson seems to be struggling with his new senses and powers. He lifted the truck and has super hearing one minute, but struggles with weightlifting the next. There’s obviously something going on here, and Jackson’s confusion about it all seems to have given Derek and his werewolves a reason to worry about it. After all, the whole point of the kanima is that it doesn’t know it’s a powerful monster when it’s not in monster form. Turns out, like a snake, it’s also not allergic to its own venom. Hence, when Derek and his gang kidnap Jackson from the gym at school and force-feed him poison, they’re nonplussed to discover it paralyzes him.

Although, just because one subject is down, that doesn’t mean the second subject is free to go. There’s always Lydia. The very same Lydia who spent a few days wandering naked through the woods, who is in intensive therapy during school hours, and who has been behaving, ahem, a little oddly ever since her traumatic experiences. That makes her suspect number one on the kanima list, and that’s good enough for Derek, who sends his gang out to take care of the strawberry blonde lizard girl (or at least suspected lizard).

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I really like the set pieces that director Tim Andrew and writers Nick Antosca and Ned Vizzini came up with this week, particularly the scene in chemistry class with the rotating partners. It was one of the more interesting set-ups in the series. Very tense, very wisely blocked, and well shot by all involved, there was a strong layer of tension throughout the scenes as Erica and Isaac got to menage Stiles, Allison, and Scott in turn. It was great to see the interplay, and how the wolf tactics changed from person to person. I also like the subtle tension between Scott and Allison; she’s capable and smart thanks to her training, but she’s hardly a match for a werewolf who can snatch crossbow bolts out of thin air.

The developments with Jackson, Lydia, and the company are pretty fascinating, especially when Scott echoes my suspicions from earlier in the season that she might have passed some kind of immunity on to Jackson. Then again, they’re both possibly the lizard. Or they’re both the lizard. Either way. I like how the characters have kind of banded into two distinct groups with different goals. Scott is the protector and alpha of Team Wolf, a motley assortment of humans, hunters, and possibly other things. Derek is the puppet master of Derek and the Dominos, a neat pack of werewolves determined to stop the lizard by any means necessary. As we saw earlier in the episode, it creates a fun dynamic and adds to group tension when the two partnerships are at cross purposes.

Holland Roden, speaking of Lydia, does some great work this episode, and has been quietly doing good work all season. Her confrontation with Jackson is brilliantly handled, and she’s been handling Lydia’s mental instability in a subtle, but smart way. It’s there, but Lydia being Lydia, she is able to hide it beneath a layer of false bravado and sarcastic intelligence. Still, it’s there, and Roden does a great job of underplaying it when appropriate and exploding when appropriate.

I also like the way the show is handling the Kanima. There are a lot of possibilities for who it may be, and while I’m satisfied that a shape shifter was revealed, I’m curious as to whether or not there is more than one of them on the loose. After all, it is looking for a friend, and what better friend than another of its kind? There’s an obvious potential lizard, but I can’t help but think Teen Wolf‘s creative crew will go in an entirely unexpected direction just to confound me.

Read our review of last week’s episode, Abomination, here.

US Correspondent Ron Hogan likes the idea of personality reflecting what someone shape shifts into; unfortunately, that means he would probably be some sort of cuddly weasel. Find more by Ron daily at Shaktronics and PopFi.

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