This review contains spoilers.
3.12 Lunar Ellipse
Last week, I opened my review by talking about how well Teen Wolf remembers its history; that goes double for this week. The fact that Russell Mulcahy is so involved in the show is a credit to Jeff Davis and the people at MTV. The M may no longer be Music, but there’s music history in the director’s chair. After all, Russell Mulcahy created some of the most iconic music videos in television history. His video for The Buggles’ song Video Killed The Radio Star was the first (and one millionth) video shown on MTV, and his videos for Duran Duran’s first four albums are classics. He’s also the guy who did genre classics like Razorback and Highlander.
Teen Wolf is the perfect combination of Duran Duran and Highlander; cute, non-threatening teenage boys getting shirtless then fighting to the death in an orgy of teeth and claws. There are fewer decapitations than Highlander, but that’s forgivable, because Teen Wolf is not short on excitement, action, or bloodshed. The visuals were spectacular this week, from the incredible opening credits sequence – also a reminder of Teen Wolf history as we see the role of the nematon in the events of Teen Wolf thus far. When Scott gets attacked by Peter, when Allison and her mother go tromping off into the woods after the boy Victoria nearly ran over… it’s a great combination of past and present footage as Allison, Scott, and Stiles relive their own past events to see the role of the nematon. It’s a fantastic set piece, a great cold opening, and it provides some incredible visuals.
That combination of look and substance continues into the episode’s many fight scenes. The square-offs between Derek and Deucalion and Jennifer all together really work well. There’s a strong sequence in which Deucalion walks towards Jennifer and wolfs out on the walk over, and it’s one of the smoothest and best-looking transformations on the show. Ditto the scene in which Jennifer really begins flexing her power and takes his revenge on Kali for scarring her face. Jennifer apparently has a lot of cool powers, from creating the storm and collapsing the earth onto the root cellar in an attempt to retroactively kill Stilinski Senior, Melissa McCall and Chris Argent, to the ability to psychically Akira a bunch of broken glass off the ground into the air to be used as an impaling weapon against everyone’s favorite toe-nailed werewolf Kali (as if she were Carrie’s mother).
The episode is full of people in peril and a great deal of activity. It’s fitting that there is also plenty of resolution to various story lines. Things feel a bit more final than last season’s season finale, and rather than getting a mediocre send-off (with Gerard crawling away while the wolves are distracted), we get a final ending that feels like the closing of a door and the opening of a new one. The two season-halves are going to have a great deal of bleed-over, but this half-season’s finale ended up being much more satisfying, even if it does have to cop out a bit and resort to a voice-over.
Jeff Davis, the episode’s writer, has crafted a pretty good episode. It’s short on discussions, but the few times when characters do talk, it’s usually something that turns out to be pretty interesting. Peter Hale gets some great dialogue this week, and the scene in which Allison meets and pulls one over on Scott’s FBI father turned out to be a highlight. Even the little moments with Stiles Senior and Melissa McCall flirting while fearing for their life really worked well. Some moments aren’t quite as good (there’s a pretty corny bit near the end), but even the corn kind of works for this show.
After all, Teen Wolf is the definition of guilty pleasure TV, and it’s the pleasure that keeps viewers coming back. When you’re taking a break in the middle of the season until January, you have to be pretty confident people are going to come back. Teen Wolf has gone through a lot of changes – Jackson is gone, the show moved filming locations to California, doubled both the season order and the cast, and it is leaving its traditional summer spot for a return in January. So far, all the gambles it has taken with its mythology, with characters coming in or going out or returning, and just the revival of the Teen Wolf name itself, have paid off. I don’t see that changing any time soon.
Read Ron’s review of the previous episode, Alpha Pact, here.
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