Thursday, January 9, 2014

Returning Shows: Teen Wolf (Kill Me With Feels, Why Don't You)

So, today we were going to talk about The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman, a fine and literary book that would allow me to be all smart and educated and say intelligent logical things about life and the universe and literature and stuff like that.

But since anything I could say about the book is really just what you would gather from reading it yourself, I'll just say this: Go read the book. You'll like it. If you don't like it, you won't have lost out on much, because it's only about two hundred words. And maybe we'll talk more about it someday. For now, however, my evening has been completely hijacked by Teen Wolf and the ridiculous shenanigans of the season 3b premier, and I demand that we discuss that.

Actually, since this is my website, I don't really have to demand anything, but whatever. I demand it of me, let's go with that.

For those of you still not quite up to the curve on your pop culture, Teen Wolf is the surprisingly not crappy MTV remake of the 1980s movie classic. It stars Tyler Posey as Scott McCall, a normal if dweeby teenager who is bitten by a werewolf and suddenly has superpowers. Only, instead of being adored and getting a cool movie ending like in the film, getting bit by a werewolf pretty much just makes Scott's life hell, with hunters trying to make him into a werewolf pelt, insane Alphas constantly demanding that he join their packs, evil lizard monsters, and, oh yeah, that thing last season where he kind of sort of died a little.

Scott McCall is not having a good year. I mean, plus side, he's just proven that he can become a "true Alpha" by turning into an Alpha werewolf without having to kill anyone for the power (which is how it normally works). And he has finally gotten his grades up a little in school. But then there's the thing where he and his best friends, Stiles (Dylan O'Brien) and Allison - also his ex-girlfriend - (Crystal Reed) all were transported to a place in between life and death in order to remember the location of the Nematode, a giant weirdness beacon in Beacon Hills. They did that because all of their parents had been kidnapped and were being held at the Nematode by a psychotic druid who was moonlighting as their teacher and maybe I should stop explaining last season before I make you totally confused.

The facts are these: Scott, Stiles, and Allison all died so that they could find the Nematode. They knew there would be a price when they did it, and now, several weeks/days later, they're paying it. That price?

Mind-crippling hallucinations, dreams, and night terrors. Also, they might be kind of dying. Which is never good.

Each of them manifests in a different way, but all are equally horrifying. Scott, having just become an Alpha, now finds himself unable to control his shift. He nearly shifts during classes, he wolfs out in the halls, he nearly eats his father's face off. To be fair, his father is a jerk. Stiles gets a completely different issue. He can't tell when he's dreaming. At all. Even a little bit. So as nightmare layers onto nightmare and he screams himself awake every night and sometimes during classes and in the halls, Stiles has no way of telling if he's actually woken up or if he's still in a horrifying dream. Also problematic? He can't read anything, which is usually a sign that you're dreaming, but right now he can't really read anything ever, which does not bode well.

And then there's Allison, whose nightmares lead her to hallucinating her dead Aunt Kate (who was a homicidal maniac and one of the main villains in season one) everywhere she goes. She sees Kate haunting her, ripping into her dreams, always smirking and running at her like she's going to eat Allison for dinner. Except, scaring Allison, daughter of hunters and alarmingly well-trained and armed Allison, is not a good idea. Allison fights back against the hallucination, only to wake up and realize that she was just a werewolf's reflexes away from skewering her best friend in the eyeball. Not good.

Said best friend, the flawless Lydia Martin (Holland Roden), is hard at work with the guys to figure out what's wrong, as is Scott's beta (and kind of foster brother, I guess?) Isaac (Daniel Sharman). But Lydia and Isaac turn out to be outmatched in the knowledge having competition. It's new girl Kira (Arden Cho) who has an answer. Mostly because they're discussing it at lunch and she couldn't help but overhear. Which is the best lantern hang I've seen in a while. Anyway, they're stuck in a state between life and death, and they have to figure out how to close the door to their subconsciouses before their own minds eat them whole.


There's also a sideplot where Stiles' father, Sheriff Stilinski (Linden Ashby), is looking into his new casefiles, because now that he knows about the supernatural, it seems like it might be good to reread his old unsolved cases and see if there might be an explanation. This is made all the more urgent by the fact that Scott's dad (the giant bag of jerk) is trying to get the Sheriff fired for gross incompetence. It's not his fault the town is full of pubescent creatures of the night! 

The Sheriff might have found a case, too. One of a little girl, Malia, whose body was dragged by a "wild animal" away from the car wreck that killed her mother and sister when she was eight. That was eight years ago, making her (what a coincidence) the same age as the main characters, give or take. And then at the end of the episode, Scott and Stiles run into a wolf who may or may not be Malia. Hard to tell.

Oh, and Derek (Tyler Hoechlin) and Peter (Ian Bohen) have been kidnapped again and are being tortured again by someone we don't know (again). Honestly, the amount that Derek has been shirtless and tortured on this show is reaching ludicrous levels. And what happened to his baby sister Cora (Adelaide Kane)? I mean, I know that Kane is now starring on the CW's Reign, but they could have at least mentioned her.

All in all, it's a great episode and I'm super excited to be heading back in for another season or half season or whatever of Teen Wolf. Yes, the show is racist (they kill off all minority characters without fail - watch out Kira). And yes, it's pretty homophobic (where's Danny?) and sexist (kills off all female villains and most female side characters) to boot.

But it's fun. I know it's problematic. Hell, I have complained about how problematic it is myself. Several times. But I also know that I like it. 

So, yes, I'm going to keep watching Teen Wolf. I know that at some point I will get pissed off again, and I know that eventually the whole thing where they keep raping Derek (not metaphorically, literally), and the bit where Lydia has the worst character arc ever, and the part where they refuse to write in Scott's biracial-ness (his actor is biracial, but the character is ambiguous), and the thing with all the sexism ever, and the missing Danny, are going to boil over and I'll rant and rave and swear I'm done. But until then, I'm going to curl up with some MTV and rewatch every scene that has Mama McCall (Melissa Ponzio) in it. Because I can.

Oh, and if you want a much more hilarious recap than I can do, check out Heath's weekly recaps over on her tumblr here. They're awesome.


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