This review contains spoilers.
There are times when I watch Teen Wolf that it makes me feel incredibly self-conscious about my actually viewing the programme. There are a lot of elements I like about the show, but every so often it lingers a little too long on a shirtless male actor in his early twenties and I’m instantly reminded that this isn’t the kind of show a guy over thirty is generally tuning into. That’s kind of a shame, because I feel like if it was a show on The CW, it would be getting much more of the attention that it deserves for actually being a good action series.
The opening is cold, with a mysterious girl picking up a gravely wounded Isaac (Daniel Sharman) and going on a CGI-heavy motorcycle race through the world’s longest alley while being pursued by not one, but two alpha werewolves from the pack we saw last season. The CGI is not great at some points, but at other points when the more practical driving happens, it looks good. That’s the mixed bag that is Teen Wolf. For every good bit of practical special effect, there’s a cheaper special effect standing in for an expensive idea (at least in this episode; the deer crashing into the car versus the aftermath is a good example of it).
However, there are some very clever ideas, and most importantly, some very good fight scenes. One of the things the show does well, aside from sneak in eye candy for its female viewers, is create violence. There’s a really good fight in an elevator and then a group fight that takes place in the locker room, and both of these are very well shot and well-executed by director Russell Mulcahy. It makes sense that the guy who directed Highlander could shoot a good fight, and that continues into the third season. He knows how to use lights and shadows very well, and the locker room fight between the nameless motorcycle girl and the various members of what appear to be the dreaded alpha pack has some of that Highlander excitement, no doubt aided by nameless motorcycle girl’s ability to wield a broom handle like one of the Unsullied.
The first episode back from a long break is always a tough one, and Teen Wolf guiding hand Jeff Davis made a good decision to move the show forward by a few months, skipping the summer. It works better than picking up immediately after the end of last season. That gives the show a chance to advance the story offscreen, separate the main characters for a while, create a little extra relationship drama, and to give Scott a chance to actually make an effort to improve himself (in a pretty funny scene). After the events of last season, all involved seem to be striving for a normal life, except for perhaps Stiles who seems to relish being a male Nancy Drew.
Like any extended break from school, there’s always some sort of change. The new additions have yet to be sorted out, but I’m liking the general feel I get from the presumptive new big-bad Deucalion (Gideon Emery), who is hopefully some sort of werewolf Zatoichi. As for the regulars, they seem to have settled back into their roles nicely. At least as far as the first episode goes, it looks like the third season in Beacon Hills will be as entertaining and eventful as the first two.
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