This review contains spoilers.
4.11 A Promise To The Dead
Since his return as a quipping, sarcastic guy who never met an ulterior motive he couldn’t keep hidden somewhere beneath a too-tight v-neck shirt, Peter Hale has proven time and time again to be one of the most fun characters in the Teen Wolf universe. He’s clearly becoming the bad guy, and probably has been for a while, but he’s just so funny and charming that you can’t help but appreciate him and be thankful that he’s out there plotting to kill pretty much everyone not himself. He has a lot in common with Kate Argent in that way.
Kate brought a very interesting dynamic to Teen Wolf‘s first season that the show had trouble recapturing. She was both sexy and dangerous (remember Peter essentially seducing Lydia?), usually at the same time, and her interactions with Derek made it clear that she was nowhere near as wholesome as the rest of the gang, and might have revelled in her own weird sexual quirks in the process. Like Peter, she was dangerous and entertaining and definitely unique in her universe, and like Peter, she was gone far too soon. Presumably that’s why Jeff Davis brought Kate (and the brilliant Jill Wagner, who also does a fine job hosting Wolf Watch) back for the fourth season, and why Kate has been working so closely with Peter. They seem to have a rapport with one another, an understanding, and they also have differing goals.
But really, is anyone surprised when Peter sleazes up to Malia at the lacrosse game and lets her know she’ll get to meet her mother if she’ll kill Kate Argent? Or when Peter rams a piece of rebar through Chris Argent’s stomach and bends it to pin him to the wall in an attempt to kill him without directly killing him (which he promised Kate he wouldn’t do)? Peter is Rasputin in a v-neck, and Kate’s just not quite on his level when it comes to manipulation techniques, even if she does use some sort of weird magic to turn Derek into a teenager. However, to her credit, she does spoil Peter’s plan to kill Scott by kidnapping him and Kira and making Scott wear some berserker bones so his friends will kill him instead of Uncle Peter.
The episode seems strangely plotted this week. There are some moments, like Lydia showing up at Derek’s loft in the middle of the night to shriek at him, that warrant more exploration. Ditto Deaton’s trip into the depths of a weird dream world thanks to hanging out near the cell of a Hannibal Lecter-type genius madman with a trepanation hole in the middle of his skull to reveal his extra-creepy third eye. Even the Silence Of The Lambs interrogation between Deaton and Dr. Valack could have used a little fleshing out to focus on Deaton’s mental process, since we got to see Deaton’s combat prowess in the cold opening as he takes down a wendigo serial murderer. And Lydia saving Deaton from his own coma gets glossed over completely? All of these felt a little rushed, especially in comparison to the endless (and surprisingly intense) make-out scene between Scott and Kira in Derek’s loft on their first official date.
It’s almost as if Jeff Davis and Ian Stokes, who wrote the episode together, are planting seeds for the next two episodes. Perhaps I’ll get more of the stuff I want in short order. Still, the fact Scott has never seen Star Wars and Kira has to explain it to him is very funny, and Peter’s manipulation of Malia (and Malia’s favorite food being deer)
Still, what we do get of those limited scenes works very well, but the real stand-out moments involve Liam. He’s taken Scott’s fears from the first season and created a full-fledged internal panic about his new powers, his place in the world, and the fact that now he’s a part of a world he’s definitely not equipped for. Tim Andrew does great work with Liam’s scenes, really cranking up the fear and paranoia, and the berserkers that haunt Liam’s dreams only look that much more impressive when seen lurking over the teenager’s bed or stalking him on the lacrosse field during the big game. The little glimpses we get of Deaton’s world, and the Iglesia prison of Scott and Kira is not disappointing due to its amount of skeleton parts.
As usual, Teen Wolf looks great, and the episodes contains a lot of fun moments, but the rushed feeling pervades. Like they ran out of time, but still wanted to squeeze in some of the other stuff because the ideas were too good to cut. Hopefully the threads will pay off, if not in this season then in the next (like, say, what Parrish is).
Read Ron’s review of the previous episode, Monstrous, here.
US Correspondent Ron Hogan would love to know just how much water they have used to replicate rainy Atlanta weather while in California. Hopefully they can recycle that water for other things. Find more by Ron daily at Shaktronics and PopFi.
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