Yes, I realize this is a week late and episode 1.4 actually aired last night, but give me a break! This is a teen urban fantasy and I’m a 33 year old mother of two. Not exactly the target demographic! In fact, I actually have to check myself when I start thinking how hot the actors are – then I rush to IMDB and make sure they’re over 18. Yes, I know that’s a little bit sad, but the guy playing Derek really is hot. I also realize I haven’t done recaps of the first two episodes. Well, get over it. When I finally start doing Sanctuary reviews, I’m not going to go back and review the first 3 seasons of it for you either! For now, you’ll just have to content yourself with episode three and on. You people can be so demanding, I swear.
What I have to admit is that now that I’ve finally watched episode 1.3 (I watched the first two a couple of weeks ago, but UGHed my way through them), Teen Wolf is a surprisingly good (but definitely not great) show. The writing is generally intelligent, most of the acting is bordering on good, and the story is moderately interesting. I’m still reeling over the fact that this is NOT my childhood Teen Wolf, but I might actually be able to get over that if they stay consistent. This week on Teen Wolf, we get to see why teens should DEFINITELY NEVER EVER make out with each other.
Teen Wolf Episode 1.3: Pack Mentality
This episode begins with young Scott, our Teen Wolf, having a dream that starts out so well: Scott (Tyler Posey) and Allison (Crystal Reed) make out in the back of a bus, but then Scott soon loses control and proceeds to attack her. He relates the story of this dream to his best friend Stiles (Dylan O’Brien), worrying about how real it seemed. But it couldn’t have been real, could it?
Unfortunately, the dream was very real, only the victim wasn’t his potential girlfriend, but a very unlucky former bus driver. This forces Scott to admit that his lack of control could lead, and may have already led, to someone getting hurt. He realizes that he has to learn how to gain control of his werewolf side, but his only source of information is the mysterious Derek (Tyler Hoechlin) – the very man who cursed/infected him with lycanthropy.
Scott’s relationship with Derek isn’t altogether positive. Not only does Scott believe that Derek is to blame for his condition, he also suspects that Derek is behind the murder of a girl in the first episode and is directly responsible for Derek getting arrested in episode 2 (he is later released). Derek seems to like standing around and looking imposing, threatening, and mysterious. He talks sometimes too. Though people who stand around looking like this are usually psychotic murderers, it probably isn’t wise to jump to conclusions, after all Derek did save Scott from Hunters and the murdered girl turns out to be Derek’s sister.
When Scott seeks out Derek’s advice, the only specific information that he is given is how to remember what happens when he loses control. Scott investigates the scene of the attack and figures out he didn’t do anything, but Derek must have (because Derek is the only other Werewolf in the whole wide world, obviously). And since this is a teen show that has to include dating, when Scott figures out he didn’t hurt anyone, he can safely go out with Allison. I was so worried about that too! I’ve always loved how characters in the midst of murder and mayhem can still take the time to go out on a nice, relaxing date.
What ensues is a fairly cute scene in which Scott and Allison “hang out” with the popular girl, Lydia (Holland Roden), and the popular boy, Jackson (Colton Haynes), at a bowling alley and engage in some not-so-friendly competition. Scott and Jackson don’t get along so well because Jackson was the star Lacrosse player until Scott was turned into a werewolf. Adults once again prove that they believe teenagers are the most fickle people on the planet when they show Scott quickly (and completely unintentionally) usurping Jackson’s popularity base. Unfortunately for Scott, Jackson knows that something weird is going on, because only something weird could explain how a dweeb could become awesome. It is annoying, on one level, that Scott puts up with Jackson’s bullying, but he’s desperately trying to maintain the illusion that his life is still normal. The fact that the illusion isn’t holding up that well will probably be the basis for a lot of coming story.
Meanwhile, Derek is being threatened by the Werewolf Hunters at a gas station. No teen drama is complete without a Romeo and Juliet storyline, which means that Allison’s father has to be the Werewolf Hunter. Otherwise their relationship would be perfect. I have a feeling Daddy Argent (JR Bourne) won’t be too happy when he finds out that his daughter is dating a werewolf. Derek then goes to visit the bus driver in the hospital to find out who his attacker was, but after a confusing exchange that sets up some future plot device, the scene cuts to the bus driver dying and we can only assume that Derek killed him.
As soon as Scott hears this news, he rushes to confront Derek. There’s a small scuffle in which we finally get to see Derek in his werewolf make-up which makes him look more than a little like an Angel throw-back. And now is time for the big reveal – the writers were just screwing with us! Derek isn’t guilty! The guilty one is an Alpha- a werewolf more powerful and more animal than either Derek or Scott. This alpha is who attacked Scott, killed Derek’s sister, and probably the bus driver. Derek hopes that Scott’s connection to the alpha, his creator, will be the key to finding and defeating him.
In this episode, we get a little bit more of the relationship between Scott and his mother, but less of the relationship between Stiles and his father, which was one of the highlights of the first episode. Stiles’ father is the local Sheriff (easily portrayed by Linden Ashby, whom I will always love for Mortal Kombat), which automatically gives the two friends a sneak peak at the local criminal happenings. Scott’s mother is a nurse, and her job proves convenient for this episode. I’m really hoping they explore both families further, as the bond between Scott and Stiles is built largely on the fact that they’re both being raised by single parents in careers that keep them away at odd hours. Hollywood finally likes to show how cool parents can actually be, even when they’re being strict. So far, the writing for and portrayal of Stiles is the best thing this show has going for it. The absolute highlight of this episode is when Stiles realizes he’s stuck being Robin to Scott’s Batman. He’s the curious and adventurous friend that pushes Scott to not accept the crap that the world throws at him. He’s also the closest thing to a geek that the show has, which I appreciate.
Another refreshing point is that our stereotypical popular girl, Lydia, might be hiding some depth behind the ditzy mean girl persona. She may well be a very capable shark who we should probably watch out for in coming episodes. Her boyfriend, Jackson, likewise shows us that he could be very dangerous to Scott when he threatens to expose Scott’s secret (not that he knows exactly what it is) to Allison.
Episode 1.3 is a huge improvement over the first two. The acting from Tyler Posey (Scott) and Tyler Hoechlin (Derek) still leaves a lot to be desired, but they’re not as wooden as they were initially. Though I’m sure most of these actors and actresses have been chosen specifically as eye candy, I’m genuinely hoping they can actually hold together a TV show. This episode ramps up the story line and the action, but there still isn’t a lot of either. Hopefully episode 1.4 will bring us a bit more background and fill a few more holes, and, of course, there’s the looming question of who the Alpha might be in his human form.