This review contains spoilers.
5.9 Lies Of Omission
Splitting a season into two parts is kind of a bold move for a television show. When The Walking Dead does it, it works out because they’re only taking a short break to bypass the holiday season and the Super Bowl, which would eat all of its viewers much like the titular walking dead want to eat all of its cast members. Teen Wolf tried a split season in the third series, but rather than doing one plot stretched out over two different time periods, the show was divided into two ten-episode 3A and 3B seasons, which ended up being very entertaining (particularly 3B). The fourth season was a standard run, but the fifth season is going to be something different—a 20-episode season stretched over two parts, with a cliffhanger (presumably) in the middle to keep viewers waiting until the show’s return in January.
It’s a bold challenge for a show like this, but I think that there’s something about Teen Wolf that’s going to help it carry forward. 71 episodes into its run, it’s a show that knows its strengths, and those strengths are the interplay between the cast members, significantly improved acting from the show’s main regulars, and a continued willingness to being messier, both emotionally and biologically, than any other show on television. I mean, this is a show that’s shattering apart childhood friends, separating couples, and spraying mercury out of the various orifices of dead teenagers, and there’s a certain amount of fearlessness there that’s to be admired.
The building tension between everyone in the cast is starting to come to a head, as explained by Scott in an early voiceover. The inseparable gang is barely speaking to one another at school, as everyone’s keeping secrets from everyone else or for everyone else, with Theo as the cruel cog around which the wheel moves. Eric Wallace’s script does a masterful job of building to the moment without neglecting any of the crew; everyone gets something to do, and it’s well balanced despite the Theo-centric nature of the schemes. One of those schemes takes off in dramatic fashion this week, as the seeds of dissent Theo sowed between Scott and Stiles begin to grow and drive the pair apart.
The moment comes at the end of the episode, as Liam and Hayden wait inside and Scott and Stiles have a confrontation in the rain after Theo takes Stiles’ accidental killing of Donovan and turns it into a wrench-bashing freakout (couched in only the slightest possibility of self-defense thanks to some clever phrasing). Theo has told the story just well enough that Stiles is able to try to defend himself and Scott is just mislead enough to see Stiles’ anger as evidence of an anger problem, rather than just distress that his best friend doesn’t believe him when he’s telling the truth. Tyler Posey has really grown as an actor, and this is a scene that he would have had trouble with earlier on, but he’s able to convincingly sell the doubt and betrayal without cracking Scott’s Alpha shell too much. Dylan O’Brien is still the best actor on the show, and it’s not a surprise that he’s able to tap into Stiles’ insecurity and lingering paranoia without it being over-the-top. It was a great scene for the both of them (and Cody Christian really nails Theo’s manipulation of Sheriff Stilinski with that little over-the-shoulder evil glare into the camera, for that matter).
Tim Andrew is a great director, particularly for this programme, and while the emotional content hits harder than the visuals this week, any time you have Scott, Stiles, and Sheriff Stilinski in emotional situations, feels are going to follow. Andrew’s work shines in the middle of the episode, as Theo, Scott, and Liam try to protect Hayden from the Dread Doctors during a fight at Sinema. It’s a cool location, and Andrew makes great use of the fixtures—the movie countdown counting down to the appearance of the Dread Doctors, Scott and the Doctor fight in front of the screen in shadow theatre style—without muddying up the stunt choreography too much.
It’s a good balance, and I think that as the group separates even more, it’s going to create more of that tension. No one wants to see Scott and Stiles fighting, we want to see them staying the best of friends and uniting in the face of their enemies. If that split stays intact, that will be enough to keep viewers interested in what’s to come, with things like Kira’s disappearance, Deaton and the Desert Wolf, and Theo’s continued machinations as side-dishes to be taken on after the main Scott/Stiles course.
Read Ron’s review of the previous episode, Ouroboros, here.
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