Teen Wolf season 2 episode 6 review: Frenemy

This week's Teen Wolf boasts the revelation we've been waiting for and some great fight scenes. Here's Ron's review...

This review contains spoilers.

2.6 Frenemy.

The secret has been revealed. The kanima, a mystery until last week, has been outed and with every moment of freedom, it seems as though Jackson has gone from annoyance to wannabe shifter to legitimate danger. With every moment Jackson runs free, more lives are put into danger and it seem as though no one can really stop the kanima menace. Derek can’t beat it in a one-on-one fight; Scott can only annoy it and delay it. Even Argent, with a massive handgun and several well-placed shots, can’t down the thing. Instead, it scampers off in search of its next victim.

That victim is Danny, Jackson’s best friend and the only person who may know Jackson’s secret outside of the core group of werewolves and hunters. Why would Jackson want to hurt his best friend? That’s a very good question, and one Danny better hope everyone else can answer before the pile of paralyzed gay men left in the wake of the kanima becomes a pile of dead gay men.

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Frenemy‘s cold opening this week is brilliant. We go straight into the fighting between lizard and werewolf, and it’s very impressive. Russell Mulcahy, the director of this week’s episode, knows how to shoot some great fight sequences, and if they’re shrouded in darkness or taking place in some creepy area under a bridge or freeway, so much the better. Hence, this week’s best fight takes place under a bridge, and there’s a similarly great scene that takes place in the local gay bar in which the Jackson kanima stalks poor Danny as he gets his groove on with the rest of Beacon Hills’ gay community.

Also, Lydia has a meeting with Matt (Stephen Lunsford) the creepy photographer boy who keeps randomly popping up in episodes, doing something creepy—in this case, finding and carrying Lydia’s dog back to her before giving her a flower and telling her he wants to kiss her—and disappearing again. If you know where they’re going with this character, please tell me in the comments, because they could go in any direction and I would not be surprised. Maybe he’s becoming an Argent associate; maybe he’s just a creeper. Either way, I think I like the ambiguity.

This week’s episode of Teen Wolf, penned by series creator Jeff Davis, zooms along at a breakneck pace, only slowing down to properly milk the tension of certain moments, like Gerard Argent using his lie-detecting thumbs on his granddaughter’s throat, or when Jackson uses his kanima hearing to listen in while Stiles, Allison, and Scott discuss just what to do with the lizard monster acquaintance they have chained up in a borrowed paddy wagon. Those moments, particularly the way Colton Haynes plays Jackson’s painful transformation from man to beast, are very effective. Ditto the digital effects and/or make-up to create the creature. There are still moments when it doesn’t look as good (like when it climbs walls), but when it’s prowling around on the ceiling or stalking, it’s a great-looking creation. Also very impressive was Jackson’s partial transformations at various points this week.

Teen Wolf, at its core, is a show that does a great job of hiding its seams. For example, product placement occurs in most shows, but Teen Wolf manages to do it fairly gracefully. Even this week’s Pandora mention was handled well, because you need mood music when you’re going to have sex in your car. The show does love its cheesy fun moments, and this is one of them, akin to when a show like 30 Rock does a straight reading of a commercial into the camera. It works because the show refuses to acknowledge that it’s a product placement and includes Pandora (or its musical tracks) as a simple fact of life. People who can get Pandora on their car radios would use it; that’s how I got hooked on satellite radio. People eat Reese’s Cups out of vending machines. People listen to music while driving or dancing or whatever.

I appreciate realistic touches in television, and if it pays the bills at the same time, so much the better. When you’re dealing with a show about werewolves and lizard monsters and the like, you need all the realism you can get.

Read Ron’s review of last week’s episode, Venomous, here.

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US Correspondent Ron Hogan thinks Russell Mulcahy should be given a chance to do movies again, when he’s not shooting Teen Wolf that is. Find more by Ron daily at Shaktronics and PopFi.

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