Teen Wolf Season 4 Premiere Review: The Dark Moon

Teen Wolf kicks off Season 4 like a great party with the introduction of a new big bad for the year.

Salt your rims and get your passports in order, y’all. Let us fiesta and make merry! Pinatas in the shape of Allison Argent abound! Too soon? I regret nothing, worthy friends. Why exactly, I hear you asking, am I jamming with such Latin panache? Because the Teen Wolf Season 4 premiere has arrived, and it sent us packing way down south of the border. Be gone, Beacon Hills, smell you later! We’ve got more epic fish to fry (probably were-fish) this season.

Clearly someone has been reading my top secret Dylan O’Brien fantasy journal, because watching Stiles and Lydia attempt to do mafia-type business with Mama Calaveras, the fierce matriarch of this family of hunters, was borderline fantasy material. The moment Stiles laid down the fat stacks of cash to get word on the whereabouts of Derek (and his abs)? That was equal parts squee-worthy and like something out of Archer (now there’s a mash-up for you). It should have been ridiculous, but it wasn’t remotely. Every beat in their hunt for the missing Hale felt totally earned, earned, and earned.

What continues to be so impressive about the show is how it manages both to keep the stakes exceptionally high (I mean, life or death, it doesn’t get much higher) while not taking itself too seriously. I’m trying to think of a more recent example, but it’s challenging, because this is a rare quality in a television show. Whedon does it sometimes (Buffy, duh, and also Firefly – BUT NEVER DOLLHOUSE *pauses to spit on the ground in distaste*) but most television falls into the trap of treating itself like something sacred. Not in werewolf country.

To that end, it’s thrilling to watch Scott continue to come into his own as alpha, just as it’s mesmerizing watching Lydia continue to own her banshee powers. But in a way, these moments were as equally vital as the ones of Stiles trying, and yet again failing, to fix his jeep while Malia, foolhardy coyote that she is, sauntered out to battle a were-jaguar. Because those are thing now. Sidebar: Malia continues to be the best. She is the Bones of this show. Ladies and gentleman, we have a were-coyote who may very well be on the spectrum. God bless Stiles for earning her trust. It’s too cute, I say, too cute by half!

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Stay with me, folks, we can all go ship them on Tumblr when we’re done here—I am only half-kidding—because we’ve still got a couple of things to touch on that are definitely going to have a major impact on the arc of the season. The first up is the news that Kate Argent is not dead and is most likely some sort of monster (thanks a lot Calaveras). This is good; I dig Kate as a Big Bad. It’s doubly good because it means that I get to make a LOT of Wipe Out jokes, and they are going to be hilarious. I feel like Jill Wagner would approve of this wholeheartedly.

Scott’s journey to find Kate took him to an abandoned, desolate village. I had my fingers crossed for were-Mayans, but sadly that did not occur. Though we did get a glimpse at some sort of skeleton monster. Between the setting and the score, the whole feel was very Indiana Jones, and I would be a dirty liar if I didn’t say I loved it. The close of the episode’s big reveal—that Derek has turned into a pre-adolescent boy—felt even more like Lucas and Spielberg going nuts in a room together in the best way possible. I’m excited to see where this season takes us.

The episode managed to feel both epic and restrained. It’s like they know they are venturing into a new place, one that might be even better than last season. Here’s hoping it continues to fuse the darker elements of the show with the sweet goofiness and sense of play that they do so well. If they keep it up, they’ll be giving us something that we haven’t seen for a long time on the little screen: a well-written, tightly-directed, unapologetically supernatural ensemble dramedy. Viva La Teen Wolf!

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3 out of 5