This review contains spoilers.
3.10 The Overlooked
There’s a real funny streak going though Teen Wolf. Every few moments, someone says or does something that’s worthy of a chuckle. For example, when discussing Jennifer Blake, Isaac casually mentions that she’s got dark hair and is kind of hot, earning a double-take from an entire table of werewolves, werewolf killers, and Stiles. It was practically accompanied by a record scratch, but it was the exact lightening that the episode needed at that moment, because “The Overlooked” turned out to be a very tense hour of television.
It’s a dark and stormy night in Beacon Hills, quite literally, as the town is faced with the storm of a century. The hospital is being evacuated, flood waters are rising, power is going out all over town, and if you think that’s a great time to be stranded in the hospital while you throw up black blood and bits of mistletoe, you’d be pretty wrong. Admittedly, there’s never a good time to be stuck in the hospital, but when you’re Cora Hale and your only company is your sassy uncle Peter and your coma, well… it’s bad times all around when the Alpha pack shows up in pursuit of Jennifer “Darach” Blake; Jennifer just happens to be the only person able to save the poisoned Cora – though not without a lesson on Norse mythology as to why mistletoe is poisonous thereby fulfilling Jeff Davis’s desire to entertain and educate at the same time – so we get a pretty fun little locked room episode with innocent people, the Sterek clan, the Alpha pack, and the Darach all working at cross-purposes with one another.
To the credit of the show, it doesn’t get confusing despite the lack of light. At this point, I’m convinced that Beacon Hills is a town where electricity is inconsistent and the only light comes from flickering fluorescent with a broken ballast or from outdoor floodlights that send camera-friendly beams of light through windows, but the show has such a strong sense of visual style that it’s pretty easy to tell who is who even in the dark. (Deucalion has his cane, Kali is barefoot, the Doublemint Alpha is gigantic, Scott wears a white shirt so you can see him better in the dark, etc.)
Russell Mulcahy also makes great use of the tight confines of the hospital’s warren of storage rooms and hallways to make for grittier, up-close fights that eliminate a lot of the werewolf hopping around in favor of slashing claws and being bashed with things. The effective division of the cast into separate groups also makes the show pretty easy to follow. Derek and Jennifer are together; Scott, Stiles, and Peter are together; Allison, Argent, and Isaac are together (and I really wish that Isaac and Allison would get together together, because they’re my newest Teen Wolf ship). It’s an episode with a lot of stuff happening concurrently, but it stays pretty easy to follow and the energy doesn’t really flag. Despite the darkness, or perhaps because of it, Teen Wolf is a very good-looking show, and the creature effects have improved since last season thanks to a renewed emphasis on latex work rather than CGI. Jennifer’s mangled Darach face is especially impressive.
I’d also like to give credit to Jeff Davis for the way they handled the issue of Derek’s dead teenage girlfriend Paige and her relationship to Jennifer. I was afraid that they would take the easy route and make Jennifer Blake the late Paige, somehow surviving her injuries to become an avenger of sorts against Derek and werewolf kind, or maybe she survives her injuries and comes running back to Derek. Giving Jennifer a back story with Kali as Kali’s pack adviser and someone she loved too much to kill, while tying Jennifer’s survival from her injuries to the moment when Derek killed Paige in the root cave, is a great way to make the character complicated without taking the easiest way out. It humanizes the least human of the Alpha pack and it’s not the solution I expected, so I approve wholeheartedly.
US Correspondent Ron Hogan was very amused by finding out Beacon Hills has a neighboring town called Hill Valley. Makes me hope that once upon the 80’s a time-traveling werewolf invented rock and roll. Find more by Ron daily at Shaktronics and PopFi.
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