Welcome back to my weekly review and recap of Teen Wolf. To catch up on previous coverage, click here.
I’m going to allow myself a disclaimer real quick here because all in all, I didn’t think this was a great season (half-season?) of Teen Wolf. I forgave many of its inconsistencies because it’s entertaining and I watch it mainly for it’s mindless fun factor and for some retained affection for its better seasons. However, frustration is a big part of my reaction to the finale, and it’s a big part of my reaction to the season as a whole. It may not seem like it with some of my reviews, but I do genuinely enjoy the show and will likely follow through with it until the leads leave (no, I will not be hanging around for any type of next-gen shenanigans. I stood by Glee–never again).
The problem with this season that has been mentioned here and elsewhere is that it obviously has a lot of BIG ideas but has so many issues executing any of them, and rather, ends up letting them dangle. The writing was sloppier than ever (even if it was better than season four as a whole), and pieces were introduced with no justification or resolution.
Did I enjoy the finale? I suppose. It was entertaining enough. But here’s my breakdown of what went wrong, what was laughable at best, and what moments were the few (few) saving graces.
Things being tied up too neatly:
Oh, look, everyone lives. I guess the guilt Malia and Lydia felt over Tracy, Liam mourning Hayden, and their regret over losing Cory all means nothing now that Theo was able to waltz on up to the bodies, shoot them up with some Dread Doctor concoction, and declare himself their Queen.
I mean, Alpha.
Theo has become wildly more interesting since he’s been able to let his freak flag fly, but even my growing investment in him as a character couldn’t stop me from rolling my eyes into the back of my head. It takes every consequence away and it takes away from the sense of failure from the pack, something that proved to be one of the strongest aspects of the season. When they lose internally it’s one thing, when they’re unable to protect those around them, the innocents who wanted nothing in the supernatural world, and it’s largely due to them opening up that beacon, that’s interesting. It could have been a way to show growth and a realistic maturation for the group.
Instead it’s all retconned in thirty seconds. Only you, Teen Wolf.
Things not being tied up at all:
So on the flip side, what the hell happened of consequence by the end of the episode where nothing, and I mean nothing, is resolved? With a wait until January 2016 for the back half of the season, you’d think we’d be given a little bit more than what we got. Instead, we learned any sort of interesting information not through the show but through a post-show interview with Jeff Davis over at EW.com. In it he says that Malia and Stiles have essentially broken up (which wasn’t at all clearly addressed), we learn that Lydia ends up in Eichen House because of how Theo entered her mind (again, we have to be told this) and that Stiles is worried about the darkness inside of him and how it doesn’t relate to just the Nogitsune experience (again, nice to be told this instead of, I don’t know, seeing the after-effects of this at the start of season four where IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN).
What else didn’t get resolved?
And then we get that obnoxious last shot of what looks like a Hellhound fighting a werewolf–it is literally the show SHOUTING at us while waving its hands excitedly about what is going to happen, and it’s done in a remarkably off-putting and half-assed manner.
Whoever thought up the #DadVsSon hashtag needs to either hop off the internet or make their self-effacing humor more obvious, because that little bit of writing in the corner of the screen subtracted majorly from any gravitas or consequence from the scene itself. Liam reverting back to his season four self is an interesting concept, particularly when it involves a supermoon and a rooftop fight and big, CGI clouds to boot. I’m not going to lament the days that Teen Wolf wrote with subtlety, because they never did and hey, the hokiness was always part of its charm, but they used to be able to create emotional payoff and build relationships that we cared about, whether they were friendships, romances, or parental concerns. Now we’re supposed to believe in Liam and Scott’s bond so much so that this fight means something to the viewer. Instead, it’s reduced to nothing more than an inappropriate moment of laughter.
Liam has been pushed aside into a corner of half-baked ideas and character traits this season, so to bring back his anger control issues in the last thirty minutes of the finale is a cheap shot at upping the emotional stakes, and it fails.
Stiles and Malia confrontation
I would say it’s fair to state that Dylan O’Brien and Shelley Hennig are the strongest younger actors on the show. This isn’t all that surprising, considering the two sold me on their relationship, despite such little build up. They have an easy, watchable chemistry, and their scene in the car played so well, so honestly, because of that. Here were their problems lay bare, as convoluted as it was getting to the point where they had to say them out loud. It was a nice moment and a rare one in an episode that went for larger spectacle over smaller, intimate moments.
Stiles vs. Theo
I liked this is theory. My problem is that if the show was going to show the after effects of the Nogitsune possession of Stiles, shouldn’t they have done this in at the start of season four? Theo addressing the fact that Stiles technically has more blood on his hands then the rest of his pack is an astute one, one that hits hard on the character but, again, seems a little late in the game. The idea intrigues me more than the execution itself.
For one second though I was really excited at the possibility of Nogitsune Stiles coming back, because that just would have been a blast.
For other good things? Melissa is always great and there was a lot of her?
The show needs to rein itself in and get back to what made it popular. Otherwise, at the end of each season, I’m just going to be feeling frustration, and for a show that’s become a staple hour of entertainment in my life, it would be a shame. We’ll have to see what part two brings.
At least it was better than four?
Let me know what you thought in the comments!
Episode Grade: 5/10
Season Grade: 7/10