This week’s Teen Wolf managed to produce quite the impressive blend of solemnity and cheesiness. For the most part, it was a pretty good episode, relatively straightforward (which I liked) and without many plot twists and turns. It cut out a lot of big action-inspiring storylines like Liam, Kate and the Calaveras, and focused entirely on the more seasoned characters of the show.
Of course, the one character who I wish they really would get rid of entirely – the damn Benefactor – is still the central figure of this season, another one of his minions was introduced. Last week, Derek and Malia found Satomi’s pack all dead in the woods, and the assumption was that they’d been poisoned. However, after Melissa forced Braeden into consciousness, Braeden revealed that they’d actually been infected by a virus… one specifically designed to kill werewolves. The creator of this virus was a creepy-as-all-hell chemist, played by James Urbaniak, who just so happened to be the examiner of Scott, Kira, Stiles and Malia’s PSATs, and therefore naturally brought along his werewolf-murdering virus, which he put into the ink used for the students’ fingerprinting. Although it is the werewolves who are most fatally affected by the virus – and Kira, so apparently foxes as well – everyone who comes into contact with the virus feels its effects and falls sick. The symptoms in regular humans starts off as a rash and light-headedness, which was first noticed in one female student by Lydia’s mom, who was working as one of the invigilators of the exam. Although the coach was supposed to have been assisted by the coach, she found him completely passed out in his office, face down in his own sick. Initially, she’d just thought that he’d fallen off the wagon – after 15 years of sobriety – but when she later realised that he had the same symptoms as the student, only far more severe, she immediately suspects what is happening, and places a call to the Centre for Disease Control.
The entire episode, really, dealt with this sudden outbreak, and the quarantine which was placed on the school as a result. Since the virus affected the Scott, Kira and Malia so drastically, the three of them, together with Stiles, decided to hide out in the Hale’s family vault beneath the school. As their symptoms worsen, they all fear the worse, and it isn’t until the end of the episode that they find out from Deaton (through a call placed by Melissa to a very confused Scott’s dad) that the antidote is found in the vault with them. The only reason Deaton was able to figure this out was because – and this part made me roll my eyes something terrible – Satomi and Derek just so happened to casually mention a tea that Satomi used to bring when she visited his mother, Talia. He remembered, because it used to smell so terribly, and this instantly made Deaton figure out that this was the elusive antidote so conveniently needed in that moment. This part was just such a cliché example of bad and predictable writing that it just made the story, which so far had been super compelling, just fall apart. I mean, seriously… of all the topics of discussion in the world, they just happened to mention tea (??), which just happened to have a distinct odour, which just happened to be the cure that they needed in that moment? Of course, we all knew that the solution would present itself at the last moments of the episode; my argument is that it could have been handled so much better. The writers of Teen Wolf are phenomenal when it comes to witty and/or sarcastic discourse – Stiles and Malia are perfect examples of this. However, when it comes to profundity and complexity of plots, they often fall quite short.
Why has Lydia not been mentioned all this time? It’s because she was off dealing with her own banshee problems. Is it just me, or has Lydia seemed more isolated from the rest of the group than usual this season? Since pairing Scott with Kira, and Stiles with Malia, Lydia often appears at a slight disconnect. Either way, we found her back at her parents’ lake house in this episode, mourning the suicide of Meredith (which I can’t believe I forgot to mention last week!!), yet still beseeching the spirit of the only other banshee that she’d known for help. Lydia is really struggling with this banshee thing… when are the writers going to throw her a bone and give her a little more insight into it? Believe me, I can appreciate the juxtaposition of this situation: after all, in her human life, she has always excelled to the point of perfection (even this week, it was revealed that she wasn’t present for the PSATs with the others because she had already taken it in her freshman year!), while now in her supernatural life, she seems to be floundering to the point of failure. I get the contrast, truly, but come on! Even Liam is having more control of his powers and he’s been a part of the supernatural world for all of seven seconds! That being said, an interesting observation was made by Lydia when, while looking at an old photograph of Meredith, she notices that the instituted banshee had been, at some point and for some reason, in the exact same soundproof room that Lydia now frequents at her parents’ lake house. We’d already figured out that there was something about this particular room which was conducive to tapping into banshee abilities, but why would Meredith have been there… and when? The girl was, after all, housed in a mental health facility.
This week’s cliffhanger shocker wasn’t that much of a shocker… or a cliffhanger, really. We all knew it was coming, but it was still just as upsetting. After being kept in the dark for ages about Peter being her father, Malia finally found out that her real last name is Hale… through one of the dead pools, no less! It was obvious that the reveal would be in this episode, as she’d been hounding all of them all throughout that she knew they were keeping something from her. However, just when they thought that they’d need to confess, she would bring up a completely unrelated secret… i.e the money under Scott’s bed, or the fact that her name was on the third hit list. Well, now she knows the truth, and she is pissed off. You know, I hadn’t really realised how long they’d all been sitting on this secret, but now that I think about it, it’s been quite some time. After all, when they found out, Allison had still been part of their group!
Teen Wolf’s got a chance to go into some deeper character development with this Malia tangent, which is something that they has been lacking since Stiles’ possession by the nogitsune. But I’m all for it, so here’s hoping we aren’t disappointed.