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Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Teen Wolf: "Unleashed".

Previously on Teen Wolf: "Fireflies".

This was a great episode for Teen Realism. First, we open with a 27-year-old high school senior wandering down a dark alley --  always a good idea in Beacon Hills. The positive outcome of his brutal murder is that we now know the druidic serial killer is small enough to hide under a dumpster. I'm thinking were-puppy? Later, we move on to a truly beautiful combination of actual Teen Realism (ie, the sense of complete impotence one feels when teachers and adults have complete control over your life), and high school scenes written from the perspective of someone who may not have ever been in an actual real-life high school.
Yes, Murder Suspect Derek Hale was wandering around on school property again. Yes, someone was able to drive a motorcycle through the hallway during school hours without anyone noticing. Yes, two guys ripped off their shirts and turned into a 7-foot-tall Alpha Twin Megazord at like 5pm on a school day -- leaving their shirts and schoolbags behind when they left. No, nobody bothered to keep the crowd of kids away from the corpse on the running track until the Sheriff showed up, an absolute minimum of fifteen minutes later. Shhhhh. As always: Just go with it.
At the beginning of this episode, I was all aboard the Derek Hale/Jennifer Blake express. Could they get any cuter?? Also, Derek Hale is made for the role of Tall Dark Handsome Stranger. However, by the end I was ready to go round to Ms Blake's house, offer her some ladylike brunch food, and carefully explain to her that she should definitely never date Derek Hale. EVER.
Oddly enough, everything I said about Derek and Ms Blake last week still holds true. Derek clearly cares about her wellbeing, and she is the only "good thing" that's happened to him in recent memory. Also, their interactions are very reminiscent of classic supernatural romance tropes -- ie, a mysterious sexy stranger rescues the girl from attack, and introduces her to a world of weirdness and danger. Buffy/Angel, Edward/Bella... you get the picture. The difference is that this time, we're seeing it from the guy's perspective, so everything seems wayyyy more creepy. When you only ever see this type of romance from the girl's perspective, it seems romantic because the guy is nice and mysterious and heroic (hello, Angel), and his ~dark and scary background~ is just that: background. But in Teen Wolf, we get to see all the scary, terrible bullshit Derek Hale does during the 99% of the time when he isn't with Ms Blake.
Derek Hale is the most fucked-up character in a show full of massively fucked-up characters. He's a killer, he lost his virginity to a woman who murdered his entire family, and until recently he lived in a burned-out subway car. Ms Blake is the only person who reacts to him in a remotely positive manner, so it's totally understandable that he wants to spend more time with her. Too bad he's the living definition of a Bad News Boyfriend.

If their relationship progresses, I expect there'll be a scene where he says something like, "You should stay away from me. I'm dangerous". This is a classic of the supernatural/Mysterious Bad Boy trope, and the girl almost always sticks by him and ends up in a troubled but exciting ~romance. From Ms Blake's perspective, Derek is the hot guy who saved her life and then flirted with her over English Literature. But we know that Derek is a dangerous basket case who has no friends and no job, and just spent the afternoon being turned into a werewolf kebab by an evil gang of roided-up mass murderers. STAY AWAY, MS BLAKE. JUST STAY AWAY.
I appreciate the way Teen Wolf is completely explicit about the cycle of violence between the main characters. It's very obvious that Derek has had a tragic, terrible life, but that rather than being the romantic saviour he wants to be (with Ms Blake in particular), he's a total disaster zone. And he totally spreads it around. He acts like an asshole towards Isaac, who in turn acts like an asshole towards pretty much everyone -- not that you can blame him. Although if anything, Derek's interactions with Cora are the worst -- not to mention the most nonsensical aspect of this week's episode. Teen Wolf is usually excellent at introducing new characters, so why was Cora's introduction such a mess??

There's no explanation as to how Cora got from being a wild animal to hanging out in Derek's house, and both characters' emotional reactions make no sense at all. Yeah, I'd understand if Cora was angry with Derek, but they've been separated for years! There should be WAY more emotional depth to their interactions than Cora doing angry push-ups while Derek acts as if they've just had a minor argument. I can't even tell if she wants to be doing push-ups or if Derek is making her do them because that's how he deals with his own man-pain. Cora doesn't need to do push-ups, Derek! She needs therapy! You both need therapy! I'm split 50/50 between thinking this was just a really poorly-written scene, and thinking that it's another example of Derek being deeply terrible at human interaction.
This week on Isaac Lahey Personality Roulette: crazy murderer Isaac is back! Yes, let's go kill those two new highschool juniors, Isaac. What a good plan. Just kill everyone! On the bright side, his erratic behaviour made a lot more sense in this episode, because his history as an abuse survivor got a lot more screentime. Plus, we got to see the whole grim cycle-of-violence thing with Derek throwing a glass at him at the end -- even if Derek may have been doing it on purpose, to "protect him". What the hell, Derek! You make terrible choices.
So far, the druidic serial killer plotline is edging up to medium levels of ridiculousness. On the one hand, it is so very, very real for Stiles to question a murder victim's girlfriend about her boyfriend's virginity status. On the other hand, Beacon Hills' body count is fast approaching Sunnydale levels of death and destruction. Usually, when a school student dies then everyone at least has to go to a school  assembly or visit the guidance counsellor or something. But in Beacon Hills, kids (and teachers) are dropping like flies and everyone is just like, "Welp, I guess these things just happen sometimes." Remember last year, when every single person in the Sheriff's Office was brutally murdered? No, nobody in Beacon Hills does either.

In Lydia news, Holland Roden is really good at making me freak out over her character's safety. Why can't people pay more attention to her? Why is she constantly surrounded by corpses? EVERYTHING IS TERRIBLE. Although I'm rather enjoying the way this show deals with the huge cast and ridiculously overactive web of subplots. In Gossip Girl they used to solve this problem by retconning everything at the end of each episode (Chuck tried to rape Jenny when she was like 14? Pffft, forgotten.) but in Teen Wolf they are at least trying. Rather than actively witholding information from Lydia, Scott and Stiles literally just forgot to tell her that there were two psychotic Alpha werewolves in their school. And Boyd is careful to remind us that he and Stiles are not friends, no matter how much fanfic you've read where all the werewolves are one big happy family.

Also, is Lydia trapped in some kind of time vortex? Hear me out, here. As far as I can tell, most of this week's episode took place during a single school day. Scott and Isaac had at least two showdowns with the Alpha Twins, one of which was after school hours because Isaac and Allison were in detention together. But while they were in detention, Lydia was in music class? And then Isaac and Scott took a shower (??) and subsequently had another showdown in the hallway, at which point the Alpha Twins ripped off their shirts and skedaddled with Deucalian? Which may or may not have happened at the same time as Deaton showing up on school grounds to look at the music room with Stiles and Lydia? I just don't know any more. But the school was definitely deserted enough for Professor Snape Mr Harris to be kidnapped from his desk. And for no one to walk in on a random blind guy slashing the faces of two shirtless teenage boys right in front of a bunch of classrooms.

[Edited to add: apparently it's lunchtime detention? PROBLEM SOLVED. One of the problems, anyway.] 

  • STILES/DANNY, YESSSSSS. Perfect scene.
  • This week on Teen Wolf Knows What It's Doing: "Scott McCall holding a puppy." (Last week it was "Scott McCall saves two little kids from scary doom in a forest". Teen Wolf Knows What It's Doing.)
  • SNOODWATCH 2013: Isaac has discarded his stylish scarf for a comfy knit sweater. What a cutie patootie. Except when he's threatening to murder someone.
  • I loved that Ms Blake was realistically nervous over the fact that Derek Hale is so stunningly handsome your eyeballs have to attune to a different frequency in order to look him directly in the eye. Yes, he's kind of scary and you were right to pick up some kind of weapon when he, you know, followed you into your workplace with no prior warning. But also, he's so beautiful it's like ~~staring into the sun.
  • Glad to see (or hear) the return of Teen Wolf's dubstep action sequences. That cross-country running scene has got to be the most dramatic high school gym class in human history.
  • Does Beacon Hills High School recruit teachers from beauty pageants? Ms Blake looks like a model from a yogurt ad, Ms Morrell is such a babe that a girl in her class swivelled her head around like an owl to stare at her beauty, and even Professor Snape Mr Harris seems to have got cuter over summer break.
  • Deucalian's accent makes it sound like Kali's name is Kylie. For some reason I find this hilarious.
  • Cora = Dawn Summers.
  • Druids, LOL. "Gaelic" = Irish, by the way, so I assume that you're talking about Irish druids. Although really, we have no reliable historical evidence about druids at all, because all the sources from the period are heavily influenced by Roman propoganda. 
  • If Chris Argent is Ser Jorah, then Deucalion is Jaime Lannister.
  • Yes, there was an actual moment in this weeks episode when a character roared "I!! AM!! THE DEMON WOLF!!" so dramatically that his sunglasses smashed, revealing the glowing red eyes beneath. While thunder and lightning crashed in the background. That happened.
  • When Jeff Davis does his weekly Q&A on the Teen Wolf Tumblr next Sunday, can someone please ask him what happens to the twins' pants when they morph together into the superwolf megabeast??
Previous Teen Wolf posts.

Find me on Twitter @hello_tailor, and Tumblr at hellotailor.


  1. OH MAN Every week I look forward to these posts as much as I do the episodes. A++

  2. These posts are BEAUTIFUL.

    Yes to everything about Jennifer and Derek. Jen, girl, he's dead inside. You can do better. CHRIS ARGENT IS SINGLE. (Too soon?)

    I was upset about Cora not getting a properly introduction as well; I want to like her! She seems cool and not dead inside! But this episode made me really feel that she's Erica's replacement, instead of a character unto herself. I want to believe that it is just the Hales being unable to talk about their emotions, but it's not and I know it.

    Also, you forgot to mention the part where Isaac stumbles into Scott's house in a wet t-shirt, because that's a really important scene.

  3. scream hysterically at you for >> Deucalion is Jaime Lannister <<

    sob sob sob so accurate

  4. yessssss everything. Although I'm not sure it all happened in a single day? I'll admit I wasn't paying that much attention to that tho. Need to rewatch.

    re: SNOODWATCH you forgot to mention that the knit cardigan Isaac's sporting this episode has an amazing cowl-neck. Mmm.

  5. "But in Beacon Hills, kids (and teachers) are dropping like flies and
    everyone is just like, "Welp, I guess these things just happen
    sometimes." Remember last year, when every single person in the
    Sheriff's Office was brutally murdered? No, nobody in Beacon Hills does

    ...apart from the FBI taskforce sent in to investigate the murders, as per this episode, and the fact that it was only the night shift at the sheriff's department, not the entire department. But hey, why let facts get in the way of a lollarious review?

  6. Isaac and Allison were in lunch detention, I believe, which is why it was still the middle of the school day while they had their failed 7 minutes in heaven. (Should have just included Scott from the start, guys.)

  7. WHAT DO YOU MEAN DAWN SUMMERS? Do we get a musical episode next? I'd love to see that!

  8. Two words - Alison's Mother! That was shocktastic. The first few scenes, Intro with Scott and the Stiles / Danny bits were just, like you say PERFECT. That was some beautiful acting and writing right there.

    I also loved Alison and the Guidance Counsellor's Triple "Maybeeeee" exchange.

    I was nodding along to all your criticisms though, which was a shame as I do want Teen Wolf to be flawless. There is something not quite working out overall though... I cant put my finger on it, but this expanded cast and vast number of sub-plots isn't blending well enough for me, which wasn't the case in season's 1 and 2.

  9. And what about Allison (for simply falling asleep in class) and Isaac (FOR BEATING A FELLOW STUDENT TO A PULP) getting the exact same detention punishment? Which also means the adults think it's a good idea to put a young girl in the same dark, closed, isolated space with a young man who they know is extremelly violent? And whatta you know, he does go into a rage, doesn't he?

  10. You know, I don't even think I need to watch the show anymore. Recaps are where it's at. This was awesome.

  11. I think the poster was referring to Cora being similar to Dawn.

    They are tossed in to wind up to be a major plot point or object in the season.

    If most people remember Buffy Dawn was well

    [Spoiler]Dawn was a key disguised and made out of the blood of Buffy by monks giving her life. She wanted to be like her sister and took a while to come to terms with what she was after the scooby gang and her found out the truth...hell Buffy even used herself to close the portal at the end of season 5 killing herself since yeah Dawnie would have been killed if she did and or the world could have been destroyed since Dawnie is essentially created from energy. [/Spoiler]

    My guess is Cora has to do with the alpha group somehow let's face it Derek always gets screwed in the end.

  12. lol, thank you. AND YES. CHRIS ARGENT. except he's also involved with Werewolf Peril. JUST MOVE TO ANOTHER TOWN, JENNIFER.

    i rly hope cora gets some decent development next week because otherwise: ugh

  13. p.s. sorry for forgetting about isaac's wet t-shirt, this was clearly a very important moment

  14. ALL IS EXPLAINED except for the reason why nobody noticed the showdown in the hallway and the random adults breaking into the school lol


  16. thanks! :))

  17. I mean, I could like a pint-sized lady Derek who gets angry instead of repressive, but I need some character development, c'mon, y'all.

  18. Beth Rasmussen19 July 2013 at 09:30

    I am loving your reviews -- working my way backward through them.
    In regards to Derek -> Issac & the glass. I just assumed he was trying to make him keep his distance -- like in the Lassie episode when Timmy threw rocks at her cause they thought she was rabid or something. :p
    Really loved your comment about this being the Dennifer thing being from his perspecitive. Insightful!

  19. Beth Rasmussen19 July 2013 at 09:31

    Totally agree -- the wet t-shirt scene was critical!


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