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Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Teen Wolf: "Currents".

Previously on Teen Wolf: "Motel California".

Ordinarily I'd be giving this episode a very positive review. It was full of the kind of Teen Wolf nonsense that usually warms the cockles of my heart: boner jokes, half-assed plans plans like "flood your apartment and electrify the water", Isaac wearing cute knitwear, werewolves jumping 10 feet in the air like Spring-Heeled Jack, Lydia being awesome. However, Boyd's character arc has been so poorly handled that it ended up overshadowing my enjoyment of the rest of the episode.

I heard a rumour recently that Isaac would be killed off in this episode, and my immediate reaction was "NO!!!" because a) Isaac has endured constant torment for two solid seasons now, and b) why kill him? It would be cold hard proof that Jeff Davis is indeed Voldemort. However, I wouldn't necessarily have been annoyed with it as a writing decision, because it would've been in keeping with Teen Wolf's overall tone as a show where bad things happen to good people, and everything is tragic and dismal all the time. However, killing off Boyd struck me as total bullshit.
Since the introduction of the three new betas, Boyd has always been the one with the smallest amount of useful screentime. Until last week he had almost no backstory, and overall he's been given fewer lines and less agency than almost anyone else in the cast. This season he's had maybe three good moments, including this episode's electrocution plan and last week's revelation about his sister. And in the light of his death, this now makes it seem as if he was written to be a disposable character. Which surprises me, because Teen Wolf's M.O. is to torture its audience by torturing its characters, and it's kind of difficult for the audience to get attached to a character when he's rarely given anything to say.
Why did Boyd die? From an emotional standpoint, he's yet another addition to Derek's Manpain Roster of tragic deaths... but then again, Isaac would've been a far more effective choice if they wanted to torture Derek some more. It may have been necessary for Derek to "kill" one of the betas in order for the Alpha Pack plotline to progress, so Boyd's death presumably makes sense in the long run... but to me, it felt cheapened by his utter lack of character development. Even his method of death was poorly handled, as he apparently died from being forcibly impaled on Derek's fingernails?? This looked like a really difficult way to die, even if he was powerless from being electrocuted. I mean, fingers are bendy. How on earth could the twins have dropped 200lbs of Boyd onto Derek's hands and not had Derek's hands just... bend away, instead of going all the way through Boyd's ribcage and puncturing his lungs to the extent that he was dead within a minute? I realise this is a nitpick, but logistically speaking, Boyd's death was impossible.
Who was Boyd? Do we even have a solid idea of his personality and life goals? Why on earth did he tell Derek that the bite was "worth it" when a couple of weeks ago, he was telling Stiles that he'd just lost his only friend? All of these issues are exacerbated by the fact that out of all the Teen Wolves in Teen Wolf, the two fatalities so far have been the sexy blonde girl and the black guy who never got much dialogue: two crappy old horror movie tropes that Teen Wolf should really be trying to subvert rather than copy. Of the three betas, the girl got to be sexy and then dead, the black guy got to be silent (and occasionally threatening) and then dead, and the white guy got a ton of screentime and a tragic backstory. Don't get me wrong, I love Isaac. But I feel like I never got the chance to love Boyd because he was always given so little to say or do.
Out of the main cast this season (including tertiary characters such as family members and the Alpha Pack), nine characters are white men, and nine are women and/or people of colour. Among the new characters, everyone except Kali has received more character development and useful screentime than Boyd, who has been around longer than any of them. The Twins both got romantic subplots and multiple interactions with the main cast, Jennifer Blake is Derek's love-interest, and Deucalion is the primary villain of the series. Meanwhile, even after two seasons we know very little about Boyd, either in terms of his personality or basic details such as his sexuality or day-to-day life. During school scenes, Allison, Lydia, Stiles, Scott, Danny and the Twins are regularly in the same classes together, but Boyd is rarely there. Is he meant to be a year older than the rest of the cast...? I honestly do not know. And I know setting it out like this makes it sound like a coldly mathematical issue of ~demographics~ and screentime, but seriously. When you think about it, the whole Boyd situation does not look good.
Anyhow, if there's anyone still reading this: time to talk about the rest of the episode. First of all, the opening scenes were 10000% NIGHTMARE for me, because I have a phobia of moths. Being trapped in a car full of attack-moths is pretty much my idea of hell. And didn't they say last week that someone from the FBI was gonna show up and start solving this whole serial-killer druid problem? You know, so as to avoid a whole bunch of people dying while the local Sheriff and a bunch of traumatised teenagers simultaneously fumble around, trying not to tell each other what's going on? The only "good" outcome of this is my continuing belief that Sheriff Stilinski thinks Stiles is the killer. Like, seriously. STILES HAS A SECRET. HE'S OUT ALL THE TIME, AND WON'T TELL ANYONE WHERE HE WAS. HE'S OBSESSED WITH THE MURDERS. HE'S ALWAYS AT EVERY CRIME SCENE. Sheriff Stilinski is having a nervous breakdown right now because he thinks his son is a psychotic druid murderer. This is just a gold hard fact (that I believe in my head with little to no evidence to support it).
Derek's apartment is a real mystery in this episode. First of all, how does his submarine-style klaxon alert system work? And how did one of the Alpha Pack manage to draw that werewolf swastika on the window in the 2 seconds it took for Derek to look around and check the alarm? ALSO, how did they flood his apartment?? Is it completely watertight?? He's on like the eleventh floor of the building -- how does that even work without leaking onto the floor below?? I can only assume that he owns the entire building, because it's totally unlivable (GIANT HOLES IN THE WALLS!!) but has power, so he's probably not squatting in a derelict building. And no landlord would be OK with all the shit he pulls, like having constant murderfights with werewolves in the middle of the night, and flooding an entire floor.
I think I've given up on Cora. Even if we eventually find out what she's been doing for the past 6 years, the complete absense of any Cora/Derek relationship scenes have ruined her character development in this show. As a viewer, I have no understanding of what she's feeling, or why she acts the way she does. I theorise that she and Derek care about each other but are too fucked up to express it, but honestly, I see no actual evidence of that onscreen. Cora comes across as a tough, angry character, but with no emotional depth or complexity. When she cried over Boyd's body I just felt confused, because we'd barely seen any development of a Boyd/Cora relationship, so it felt like she was just crying because someone had to cry. I suspect she's working with the Alpha Pack, but surely that'd give her more reason to get closer to Derek, not less. I'M BAFFLED.
Finally: what, exactly, was the plan with regards to Ms Blake? The Twins are her students so they couldn't have let her live, because she'd obviously be able to identify them to the police. So Ethan and Aiden must have been 100% OK with the idea of kidnapping and then murdering their innocent, human teacher as part of a werewolf power-play. This doesn't exactly help the show's case as it attempts to ~humanise~ the twins as individual characters with functioning emotions and the potential to be redeemed.

Miscellaneous
  • SCISAAC were quadruple hilarious in this episode. Sleeping in Melissa's room! Completely incapable of lying to her when she asks what the hell they're doing there! SCISAAC ARE BEYOND ADORABLE. 
  • WHY IS LYDIA STILL BANGING AIDEN?? HE IS AN EVIL WEREWOLF. STILES TOLD HER LIKE TWO WEEKS AGO. And he just helped murder Boyd. If she is still making out with him next week, I am gonna be so annoyed, because it just makes no sense whatsoever as a character choice.
  • ISAAC LAHEY PERSONALITY ROULETTE: Despite moving in with Scott after Derek acted like a complete asshole last week, he agreed to help Boyd protect Derek's apartment! Without even seeming reluctant, afraid, or pissed off! Whyyyyy. 
  • Oddly enough, this episode was fully of genuinely excellent scenes: Stiles and Danny in the hospital (HILARIOUS), the ouija board scene, and Scott giving Stiles sensible and emotionally intelligent advice about his dad. 
  • What the hell was Allison wearing? Was it the special tunic that Night Vale citizens wear on Date Night? (This reference will only make sense if you listen to Welcome To Night Vale. In other news, everyone should definitely listen to Welcome To Night Vale, because it is awesome.)
  • IRL LOL as Deaton persists in being unnecessarily cryptic, even when asking for someone to save his life. "Find me!" he says mysteriously, before hanging up the phone. PLEASE ELABORATE!!!!!
  • Also, that one time when a character sent a text message that read: "I found something." WHAT A TERRIBLE MESSAGE. I hate it when people on TV do this. "I've got something really dramatic to tell you, but it can't happen until we're both onscreen in the same geographical location!" DUDE, YOU MIGHT BE DEAD BY THEN. Terrible. Stop. The only legitimate reason to do this is if you think someone might be wiretapping your phone, and I'm pretty sure that isn't a concern in Beacon Hills. 
  • Scott/Allison boner jokes = A++, would watch again.
  • So... Beacon Hills really is a Hellmouth, then?
  • This week on Derek Is The Worst: did he really use the "I'm going to rip your throat out... with my teeth." line AGAIN? Derek, it was a terrible threat the first time, and it's even worse when you used it again. Derek, you're the worst.
  • Lydia got some GREAT stuff in this episode. Love her. I just wish she wasn't INEXPLICABLY hooking up with an evil werewolf for no discernible reason.
  • Scott was super cute in this episode, particularly when fanboying his mum, and bringing her lunch at work. :)))) Please don't die, Melissa McCall!!
  • Connected to that previous point: I'm pretty sure that Scott McCall is the only person who could get away with going up to an injured woman in a hospital waiting room and being all, "I've heard human contact can help with pain." If someone did that to me I would be soooo creeped out. 
  • (P.S. If anyone's wondering why there's only one picture of Boyd in this predominantly Boyd-centric post, it's because only one of this week's official promo pics featured Boyd. Make of that what you will.)
Previous Teen Wolf posts.

Find me on Twitter @hello_tailor, and Tumblr at hellotailor

21 comments:

  1. Actually this post gave me a lot of hope for Erica and Boyd! Because Teen Wolf writers may be incapable of keeping their canon straight and confusing-to-incoherent on issues of logic and character motivation, but if nothing else they are genre savvy. Impressively so, and clearly interested in playing with horror tropes. So the fact that the only main non-villain characters they've permanently killed are the sexy blonde girl and the silent black dude? That can't be an accident. Clearly they're going somewhere with it. And CLEARLY (as I veer off into rampant speculation), where they're going is that Erica and Boyd had a plan to stop the Alpha Pack and are going to save everyone in the end.

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  2. WHY IS LYDIA STILL BANGING AIDEN?? HE IS AN EVIL WEREWOLF. STILES TOLD HER LIKE TWO WEEKS AGO. And he just helped murder Boyd. If she is still making out with him next week, I am gonna be so annoyed, because it just makes no sense whatsoever as a character choice.
    It's super obvious that she's gonna black widow him. She's trying to get in with him so she can manipulate and/or take him down when the chance arises.

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  3. I have my theory about Cora and Derek. THEY DON'T TRUST EACH OTHER. So they don't bond, because they are secretly afraid of becoming close and then being stabbed in the back. And I also think Cora might be secretly working with the alpha pack, and maybe she doesn't need to be close to Derek to get useful information. She can watch and listen. And if she is not with the alpha pack, then she hasn't been with Derek in years, and she said it herself, her expectations about Derek were not met by her brother's personality, so she is disappointed. She has found a stranger (I bet Derek is different now from what he was before the fire), and he doesn't stand up to the rumors she had heard. Derek, on the other hand, has been betrayed by people he loved before. And he thought his sister was dead, for a LONG time. So he is not sure if he can trust her. And as much as he wants to be a caring and loving big brother he doesn't even know how to (I mean, throwing things to a kid that was treated brutally by his father, throwing him to the street, in order to "protect" him? We know Derek doesn't have a clue about how to care for others).



    So yeah, they don't interact much. They are all suspicious of each other (all the Hales. Peter too).

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  4. I spent the whole Kali/Derek fight scene hoping Derek was going to bite it (not because I dislike him, just because HOW BALLSY would that be? Way ballsier than killing poor neglected Boyd) and then they killed Boyd and I went, "Hell No" and stormed off in a tiff. I can't believe they killed Boyd. I can't believe that I couldn't understand a damn thing he was saying as he was dying, either. I would have preferred anyone else. Ms. Blake. Cora. Isaac. Any of them. That said, I was confused by Cora's emotional response to Boyd biting it until I remembered that they had been, apparently, stuck in that bank vault together for a while. She probably knew him better than any of the rest of the characters (or the audience). I also feel more and more like they're just writing Cora as though she was Erica, and that's why we aren't getting any backstory or anything for her. She serves the same exact purpose/acts close enough/the actresses resemble each other.

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  5. If Beacon Hills is a Hell Mouth then Cora must be Dawn.
    I totally agree with your assessment of her character. Why have they not done anything with her character? Why should I care about her at all? And why should we care about Ms. Blake either? Just because she and Derek are in love after three days or something? I don't think so. It's so conflicting because I love what's happening with some of the characters and hate, so much, what's going on with the others. :(

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  6. I'm really glad I wasn't the only one who couldn't understand what Boyd was saying.

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  7. YOU HAD BETTER BE RIGHT. if you are not right I am holding you personally responsible for my anguish when it turns out they are perma-dead, random internet person.

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  8. Haha well at least it will give Jeff Davis a break from all the people holding him responsible. Tell you what, if it turns out somehow, inconceivably, that I'm wrong and they're perma-dead and everything is illogical and awful, I will personally write you, random internet person, a fix-it fic where Erica and Boyd conceived together a magnificent Xanatos Gambit and swept in at the 11th hour to save everyone and give no fucks.

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  9. I just want to say I've been adoringly reading your reviews since the beginning of the season, and I check this blog every week, but seriously, you've hit the all of the marks today. I was genuinely pissed when I finished watching even though I always watch Teen Wolf with a general "oh well it started off pretty bad but the characters are so lovable", but this episode just... sigh.
    Anyway, thank you for writing these wonderful reviews and for saying everything that was going through my mind all day, only far more eloquently.

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  10. I harbor the same belief as you! or at least a collateral belief, that neither Erica nor Boyd are perma-dead, and that this whole thing has to do in part with the alpha's abilities to steal and induce memories. THERE IS HOPE.

    I'm still not happy about Jeff writing this sad-sack racist tripe of a scene where a dying black man absolves a white dude of the violence that was done to him and tells him it was all "worth it". Because what the FUCK.

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  11. I suspect that Boy'ds actor quit the show along with Erica's actor which is why she was killed off (i looked it up). so please dont blame the head writer he's got to deal with his actors quiting on him all the time so he needs to change the story alot.

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  12. this is the most awesome thing ever. I am totally gonna track you down and hold you to this. well, hopefully I won't have to because it will just be canon, but still.

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  13. Seriously. It also felt so out of character for Boyd? I realize that this is a silly thing to fixate on because "in character" is kind of a mythical state for most Teen Wolf writing this season, but Boyd's thing has always been that he holds people accountable when they fuck up. He doesn't say "it's okay" when it's NOT ACTUALLY OKAY. So that scene was just so...bad.

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  14. Do we even know why Boyd wanted to be a werewolf in the first place? Erica had her epilepsy, Isaac had his abusive father, and it was sort of implied that Boyd had some reasoning too, but what?


    I still have hope for Cora... and I'm pretty sure she's going to make a break as Stiles' new love interest in the next couple of weeks. But her crying over Boyd made sense to me, as the one thing we DO know about her is she spent weeks locked in that vault with him. I hope she isn't working with the Alpha Pack, cause that would just be too easy, but there's clearly more to her story than she's sharing... cause she isn't sharing any of it.

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  15. You nailed it. It's disappointing to see Boyd wasted like this, and it's blindingly obvious now that Cora is basically just a substitute for Erica. Ugh.


    However, Allison's groovy dress and the fact that Melissa has essentially just adopted Isaac, because she's the coolest, are some bright spots.

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  16. I totally agree with you on Boyd's lame death. Was anyone else wondering how he ended up dying when Derek survived having Peter's claws shoved through his chest in the first season? Or was anyone else wondering why the hell Derek didn't just sheath his claws? Yeah, they were holding him with his arms out, but how did they keep him from shifting back to human? The electricity wasn't flowing through the water anymore, therefore Derek should have been able to retract his claws. (Remember the torture scene with Kate? You can see him shifting back and forth between when she's electrocuting him.)
    I'm also a little peeved on the whole, 'Scott is a natural alpha through force of will' thing. I mean, I like Scott this season, he's been a cutie. But Deaton was saying he expected this since Scott was first turned. Um... how? I mean, let's be honest, Scott can be as bad at making plans as Derek is, and that's saying something! If he didn't have Stiles and Allison saving his ass all the time he would've been a wolfy corpse a long time ago!

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  17. Totally agree with the fact that it is a little unnerving to see promo pics of the smiling cast of werewolves (including Isaac) with Boyd nowhere in sight. The fact that he was the only black werewolf peppered in for TW's image living a lame life and dying an even lamer death doesn't look good at all to anyone. It's cheap, PREDICTABLE, and well...kinda rings some racist tones.

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  18. I know! That was the one thing that I made out from Boyd's pathetic, dying ramblings. "It was all worth it"?! what the fucking hell?! Since being a werewolf his whole existence had been miserable ending up with him being killed in cold blood, and that's what he says??! That whole scene was the most pathetic, highly stereotypical and shocking predictable shit I've ever seen in my life. I expected more from this show. Teen Wolf just downgraded to a fucking C- in my book for that one.

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  19. True. He was all angry in the last episode, hell-bent on getting justice for Erica and defending that useless twat of an alpha Derek, and now he suddenly finds inner peace with being killed and shit? It's almost like that was written in so people wouldnt feel too bad about Boyd dying because, duh, he was okay with it and hey! He's going to be with Erica! Happy ending! Honestly, it was so pathetic i didnt know whether to laugh or cry.

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  20. Even if that was the case, Boyd's character has been the most unknown and disposable of the werewolves since he was first introduced. We dont even know his back story but Erica, Isaac and some other "minors" have one? That IS the writer's fault and I would quit too if I had spent a whole season making occasional useless cameos that add little substance to the overall storyline or my character's development.

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