This review contains spoilers.
The promise all season long is that The Benefactor’s identity would be tied into Teen Wolf‘s first season. Somehow, someway, it was all going to go back to the beginning, and it seems that the circuitous journey from Peter Hale as secret hospital werewolf to Peter Hale snarky buddy and dad of Stiles’ girlfriend to Peter Hale super villain has finally drawn to a close. As it turns out, the man who wasn’t The Benefactor (because it was too obvious) actually was The Benefactor. Well, after a fashion.
But first, we have to get some violence out of the way. In the impressive cold opening, a couple of random kids are fleeing through the rain. Since they’re at school, they’re probably fleeing someone trying to kill them. It turns out they are; a team of crossbow-shooting folks are chasing them down, but they get a brief reprieve from being shot at by the intervention of master swordsman Kira. It seems the dead pool is still getting around, and not apparently everyone in Beacon Hills is looking for a little extra cash and if that means gunning down some high schoolers, so be it.
The big twist, that Peter is the man behind the Benefactor’s plot despite not actually being the person behind the Benefactor plot, is really clever stuff from Jeff Davis and Ian Stokes, who co-wrote the episode together. Given just what we’ve seen of werewolf comas (from Scott’s dreams and the way it turned Peter into a monster), it makes sense that the actual dreams that Meredith overhears while in the bed next to Peter in Beacon Hills’ hospital. Meredith, whose pain was caused by supernatural means, finds herself the victim of the master manipulator’s chaotic, trapped mind. Peter, all vengeance and rage, was plotting the deaths of every supernatural in Beacon Hills for his sister’s failings.
Poor Meredith, already a cracked vessel, taking in every bile-soaked word and bringing it all to life courtesy of what appears to be an entire SWAT team of guys with automatic weapons storming the Argent warehouse, where Satomi and her pack have taken refuge, courtesy of a well-meaning Scott McCall. It’s a pretty thrilling shoot-out, and director J.D. Taylor makes great use of light and flowing plastic, as well as spraying blood. The combat armour and special forces-style eye-wear look great in the dark, giving the otherwise human opponents an aura of menace highlighted by the chattering machine guns. Argent, Braeden, Derek, and Scott might be awesome, but they’re outnumbered and definitely outgunned.
It’s a chaotic, violent, messy affair, and it hints strongly at something the show has been playing at: Scott’s turn. Peter Hale was a true alpha, and he wants his job and power back, even if it means stealing it from his own nephew. Scott’s growing into something less than he is and something more like what Peter was in the first season, a true full-transformation monster, and I get the feeling that Peter doesn’t want that to happen, hence his episode-closing promise to kill Scott McCall (with Kate’s help).
It’s strange that Peter has allied himself with the very person that burned down his family home and put him into a season-long coma, but as he has said, he’s only a former lunatic, not a current lunatic. If he’s smart enough to worm his way into McCall’s good graces, albeit barely, he’s smart enough to pull an okedoke on Kate Argent, who is a great killer but not the best plotter in the world when she’s not putting Derek into some sort of youth-restoring time machine.
Still, it’s not all plots and murder, there are also some pretty cute relationship stuff between various Teen Wolves and their various paramours. Stiles and Malia have a very cute moment where they trade tales of how they almost died before kissing and making up after a characteristically Stiles-y story where he equates Melissa McCall’s “accidentally” locking them in the room together with his own mistakes where Malia’s parentage is concerned. Lydia’s stuff with Meredith and Sheriff Stilinski also worked really well for me, if only because Lydia works really well with the Stilinskis, both father and son, and Meredith is just fascinating when they really probe into her distressingly twisted mind.
With the turn of a key in a 1970s computer, the dead pool is called off and all the killers go home. Peter gets to keep some of his money, and he’s retained some of his power, but we all know some isn’t enough for a guy like Uncle Peter. He wants it all, and the fact that his self-declared arch enemy has a huge bag of his cash won’t sit well.
Read Ron’s review of the previous episode, Perishable, here.
US Correspondent Ron Hogan would love to find a wall of awesome 70s computers in his house, even if they were running a secret Usenet for professional murderers. Reel-to-reel tapes! Find more by Ron daily at Shaktronics and PopFi.
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