This review contains spoilers.
5.17 A Credible Threat
Teen Wolf has been good television this season. Good, but not great. There’s been a definitely sense of something missing this year, and I haven’t been quite sure what it is. There’s been a significant elevation of violence, and a significant elevation in stakes—it’s not just one werewolf looking to kill another werewolf or two and get some revenge anymore, it’s a Hellhound and a Beast battling over the fate of Beacon Hills, if not all of humanity. We’re not just dealing with four main cast members, we’re up to at least twelve main cast members, and probably another six to eight regularly recurring characters who have names, personalities, and relationships with each other.
However, the element that’s been missing, that reappears in A Credible Threat, is humour. Not just the occasional chuckle, either. I’m talking character-based comedy, from funny people saying and doing funny things. Stiles can lift some of that weight, as can Mason, but there’s not anyone as consistently funny, either as a character or an actor, as good old Coach Bobby Finstock, AKA Orny Adams. He’s a stand-up comedian by trade, so of course he’s going to know how to be funny, and it’s nice to have a character like Coach back on the show, if only for a brief reappearance. The return of lacrosse isn’t quite as welcome, but any excuse to bring Coach back—he’s been pretending to have a drinking problem to live for free in a rehab facility—is a welcome one, and Jeff Davis ties it nicely back into the main thrust of the episode’s plot.
One of the reasons for a lack of Coach, aside from what I can only assume is Orny Adams’ travel schedule as a working comedian, is the fact that the high school isn’t exactly important in the grand scheme of Teen Wolf anymore. Scott’s not hiding his power; he’s too busy actually trying to save lives to bother with chemistry, no matter how hard he’d been working in his classes previously. And as for the lacrosse team, well… even the characters discuss this week about how little time they’ve spent on the field, and just how low a priority the sport is for pretty much all of them (even Kira, whose talent for lacrosse seems kind of needless anyway, considering she has a sword and can absorb electricity like a sponge).
In that sense, it’s nice to see characters actually mention something relatively trivial, like high school games or springing Coach from a paid-for vacation courtesy of the Beacon Hills school system. After all, the main plot point of the episode is how Parrish, as a Hellhound, is there to fight off the Beast and save pretty much all of Beacon Hills from certain death. The Beast does kill a whole busful of people in the cold opening of the episode, and later on as the gang tries to track down the chimera by using his (or her) footprint, the Beast does show up and run rampant through a crowd of innocent people just trying to watch a lacrosse game, but it’s a nice change of pace for the episodes to not be all big news all the time. Even Theo has to graduate, as he mentions in the episode. There hasn’t been much Teen in Teen Wolf this season, and a whole lot of tunnels and chimeras.
The Argents and Lydia extract the true nature of the Hellhound out of Parrish, thanks to a little help from Mr. Freeze and some sort of ridiculous cryogenic contraption. Tim Andrew’s episode isn’t completely lighthearted (when the Beast is off screen), but there’s a good balance between lighter elements, romance, drama, and scares this week. It helps that Kira’s fight scene with the previously unknown Tori (another werewolf and Brett’s sister, Brett being the guy from Satomi’s pack from what feels like a million years ago), is a really good one.
Perhaps it’s my mindset, or just my love of the character of Coach, but I was glad to see him back this episode. Orny Adams is always a lot of fun, particularly in this universe, and he always interacts well with Dylan O’Brien and Tyler Posey. After the brilliant previous episode, which was scary and gory, it’s nice to have an episode where things are a bit more relaxed and held breath can be released in the form of chuckles. Not everything can be lighthearted, but every so often, it’s nice for someone like Coach to show up and bring a little life back into a show obsessed with and driven by death.
Read Alyce’s review of the previous episode, Lie Ability, here.