This review contains spoilers.
3.2 Chaos Rising
Teen Wolf, despite the title, is actually a very smart show. Throughout the first season, it dropped all kinds of werewolf mythology knowledge both on the characters and on the viewing audience at home. We learned about mountain ash, how to contain werewolves in a circle of magical dirt, and now we learn about the properties of hecatolite, AKA moonstone. While it is not tied directly to werewolf mythology, the Ancient Romans believed that hecatolite was made from the actual light beams reflecting off the moon turned solid. They used it in jewellery and it was associated with lunar gods and goddesses. It also has light diffraction properties that give it its characteristic sheen and, in the Teen Wolf universe, keep werewolves from wolfing out during full moons.
I have no doubt that this new twist on werewolves, like most of the others in the show, springs from the mind of writer, executive producer, and creator Jeff Davis. The show isn’t offering a traditional take on werewolves, and that’s a good thing. It’s got a harder edge than, say, Twilight‘s take on werewolves, but it’s not going as far out as to the torment felt by, say, The Wolf Man. Being a werewolf in the Teen Wolf universe can either be awesome or terrible, depending on who you are, how good you are at controlling your lycanthropy, and the situation in which you wolf out.
It seems like every week Dylan O’Brien gets the best lines, though this week he’s got a little competition in the form of Peter Hale’s Ian Bohen. He’s become the Stiles of the furry set, in the sense that he shows up and throws around some sarcastic, dry one-liners when he’s not showing off his impressive array of alpha powers by probing Isaac’s mind. Given Derek’s seriousness, and the general seriousness of the idea of two people being trapped in a bank vault for months at a time, it’s nice to have some comic relief from an unexpected source.
Another unexpected source of mirth is Russell Mulcahy. Always one of the most stylish visual directors working on television today, Mulcahy really helps to add to the jokes of the episode with some clever camera tricks (a slow-motion game of no-beer beer pong in Coach Finstock’s class) and very clever transition to serve as a second punchline to an already solid joke. It’s a nice transition, and one of the things the show does well – regardless of who writes or directs – is it doesn’t step on its own punchlines. Most of the actors have good comic timing (especially Tyler Hoechlin, who is working himself into a pretty good straight man for Stiles and Peter) and the show goes out of its way to ensure the jokes land.
The show is clever and funny, at least when it’s not surprisingly violent. The key seems to establishing both elements at the same time, and it’s a thing that Mulcahy, Davis, and company have proven they can pull off. I had some reservations about the number of hanging threads at the end of the second season, but so far the show seems like it is doing a good job cutting those threads off (or at least revisiting them). It’s still very early yet, but it looks like it’s going to be another solid season ahead of us.
Read Ron’s review of the previous episode, Tattoo, here.
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