This review contains spoilers.
Tim Andrew has proven himself to be a really good television director during his time on Teen Wolf. It’s easy to look at Russell Mulcahy and praise the look and feel of his episodes, but Andrew is definitely no slouch when it comes to generating tension and creating an overall feel for an episode. Set mostly at night, Andrew creates a great deal of tension during multiple scenes in the episode, but none more so than the very opening where the two adorable moppets are menaced by a rampaging, wolfed out Boyd. It’s one of the better uses of horror on the show, matched only by the later scene of the girl in the tent hallucinating/being attacked by a horde of creepy, crawly insects. (Excuse me while I involuntarily shudder; bugs are an easy way to get my skin crawling.)
It’s interesting the way Teen Wolf has come around to the horror elements of the programme. There are a lot of possible ways for any particular scene to go, from funny to tragic, and the show is careful not to be too predictable in how certain situations play out. I like that it is sparing with horror, making it more impactful when something tension-inducing happens. This week, a pair of rampaging werewolves are on the loose while people keep turning up dead left and right, and the show takes great pains to emphasize just how dangerous the situation is, even if the body count is a little low. The fact that three werewolves, all of whom are very powerful, and the most dangerous man in Beacon Hills are afraid of two people running through the woods in a rage shows how threatening Boyd and Cora are, and it provides a good use to get Chris Argent back and integrated into the plot – as well as showing off Scott’s new-found cleverness by manipulating Argent into siding with Derek Hale.
Bringing Argent back into the show’s fold adds an element of danger, and it helps focus Allison’s upcoming storyline as well. As Argent goes through his list of werewolf goodies, telling Derek, Scott, and Isaac how best to track werewolves, how to set them up with false scents, how their body heat signature is higher than normal and can be more easily detected when they’re on the prowl in wolf form, his comments are echoed by the actions of Allison. Truly, she is her father’s daughter, and Argent’s running commentary is very clever and very well written by Lucas Sussman. Ditto the intersecting between father and daughter Argent, a good idea rendered brilliantly by all involved.
I like the thing that Teen Wolf has been doing this season as it plays with ideas of perception versus reality. We’ve had multiple hallucination scenes. Bugs on a tent appear and disappear, shattered wine bottles drive one innocent into the arms of danger but disappear before the next person comes down the stairs. Provided the show doesn’t get lazy, I like not being able to trust my own eyes; so far, they’re good about making clear delineations between the character hallucinating and the non-hallucinating person.
Even Lydia, never one of the strongest characters on the show emotionally, is back to suffering fugues and finding herself entangled in terrible situations where she may or may not be seeing things. Holland Roden has something of a thankless character, akin to JR Borne’s Argent, except that she’s not the most likable of the bunch. Even with her more defensive moments, I still am feeling bad for the character because everything bad seems to happen to her (even Stiles is more capable of handling his situation, if only because he instantly detaches himself with a joke). However, you have to give it up to her for her impressive ability to scream. The close of last week’s episode, the middle of this week’s episode, and we have some Jamie Lee Curtis-level shrieking from Ms. Roden’s leather throat.
The more problems that Teen Wolf‘s protagonists solve, the more problems they seem to raise. There’s something at work here, no doubt due to Deucalion’s machinations. We’re going to see more of the sightless villain in future episodes, and if Lydia becomes his cat’s paw, I hope she gets something out if it other than post-traumatic stress disorder and horrifying nightmares.
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