This week on the mid-season premiere of Teen Wolf
, all the characters are going bonkers in new and interesting ways. Allison is communing with the dead spirit of her homicidal aunt, Stiles is living in a dreamworld and Scott is finding it harder and harder to control his wolfy instincts.
If the first part of season 3 suffered from anything, it was trying to pack in too much action and complicated mythology at the expense of character development. We saw Scott become a true alpha and Derek take his place as the worst alpha of all time, but mostly the season saw the characters desperately running from one crisis to the next.
This mid-season premiere has slowed down the pace considerably, instead delving into the damaged psyches of our three leads.
The useless ice baths Scott, Allison and Stiles took at the end of last season might not have actually been responsible for saving their parents (that was Isaac's sense of smell and Stiles' aluminum bat), but it is responsible for driving them all crazy. You see they opened a door into their minds that is still ajar, and it's letting all the creepy crawlies in.
For a show on MTV called Teen Wolf, the series has always had a particularly deft touch with horror. You don't expect to flip on Teen Wolf and get freaked out by haunting images, yet this episode is full of horror movie-worthy scares.
You know it's going to be a scary half-season when the opening 10 minutes of the show are a moody, atmospheric horror version of Inception. Although, in my opinion, Allison's hallucinations are the most terrifying, with the image of Kate crawling through the morgue drawer like something out of a Japanese horror movie.
Already there are some interesting storylines being set up for the rest of the season. Following a half-season where all the threats were external, from the Darach to the alpha pack and sneaky Pete Hale, now the major threat is internal. If Allison, Scott and Stiles don't get control over their minds again, who knows what the repercussions might be?
When is a Door Not a Door?
Things start out bad when Stiles has a lengthy dream-within-a-dream-within-a-dream that involves the nemeton, Lydia, and briefly even showing up at school. Why is it that all nightmares somehow eventually involve a classroom? Later, the whole class speaks to him in sign language while he desperately scribbles notes to himself to wake up.
Scott and Stiles go to Deaton, who it should be noted is the exact reason they're in this mess to begin with. Deaton is totally the one who told them to take the useless ice baths of brain damage in the first place. You'd think they would have learned to maybe not take any advice from him.
He translates the sign language as a riddle about a door in their head being ajar, letting in thought monsters and demons and stuff. "Awesome! Thanks for all your help, Deaton! So glad we died of hypothermia and opened our brains to the bogeyman for no reason whatsoever!"
Meanwhile, Allison's inner demon has both a face and a name: Kate Argent. She's being haunted by her favorite homicidal aunt and having dreams about weird murder-based threesomes. Understandably, this has Allison shaken up. This shakiness even impacts her archery skills, although she shoots pretty well when she nearly murders Lydia.
While Stiles and Allison are being haunted, Scott's ajar door is merely making it harder for him to control his changes into his wolf form. He nearly changes after seeing a cute girl or after getting into a fight with his father.
It's not an ideal situation when you're trying to hide the fact that you're a Teen Wolf. The wonderful Mama McCall, trying her best to keep hormonal teen wolves from destroying her house, begs Scott to focus.
While Allison used to be Scott's anchor, he needs to be his own anchor now. She tells him he might not believe it now, but he'll love someone again someday. But until then, he's got to be his own anchor. It's a sweet scene that would have only been improved if they had ended with a dance party to the Destiny's Child song "Independent Woman."
Of course, what is Teen Wolf without some romantic drama? Scott and Isaac might be living together under Melissa McCall's increasingly unstable roof, but that doesn't mean they're square when it comes to Allison.
Isaac feels like Scott probably hates him because of his big giant crush on Allison. Scott says that he doesn't, but any mention of wanting to kiss Allison or stalking her in the woods eventually results in being thrown into the wall. "Good talk, bro! Believe it or not, but this is still the best place I've ever lived!"
However, it looks like Scott might be getting over Allison sooner than we might think. He's certainly got eyes for Kira, the new girl in town. When her father, the new teacher, humiliates her in class by pointing out that she has no friends, Scott is immediately intrigued.
I'm starting to think that Scott just immediately falls in love with anyone new to the school. Scott has a very, very specific type apparently.
Later, the gang is talking about their near-death experiences and how they're losing it as a result. Kira walks up and manages to be the only person in Beacon Hills to actually overhear Scott and friends when they're having a secret conversation loudly in public. Everyone at the table looks shocked, like they weren't just loudly talking about werewolves within earshot of everyone.
I'd love it if before the gang graduates we find out everyone in the school already knew Scott was a werewolf and was just humoring them by pretending not to hear their loud conversations about alpha packs and druid monsters.
Kira mentions that their crazy spells sound like the states of Bardo from Buddhism. When they ask what the final state is, Kira says it's death. Wow, Kira must be awesome at parties. "You're going to die! Also, did I mention I love your earrings?"
While the kids slowly but surely lose their minds, Sheriff Stilinski is spending a lot of time at the office Beautiful Mind-ing with his old case files. He's using his new knowledge of the supernatural to look back through all his unsolved cases. Now every coyote mauling seems like it's more likely to be a werewolf attack.
By the end of the episode, we find out the Sheriff's newfound obsession with closing a supernatural case is because Scott's FBI father is trying to get him fired. Way to be the worst at everything, Papa McCall!
He gets obsessed with an old case where a car fell into a ravine on a full moon and a young girl named Malia was dragged away and never found. Everyone assumed it was coyotes who killed the girl, but now the Sheriff thinks it might have been a werewolf.
He conscripts Stiles and Scott to help him look for the long-missing girl, which leads to a lot of fun comedy moments. Particularly funny is Scott's dog whisperer moment, as well as the call-back to the pilot when Scott wakes Stiles up to find a dead body.
By the overturned car no one ever towed away because Beacon Hills is seriously the worst town ever, Scott and Stiles get freaked out by a baby doll. Moments later, a wolf makes an appearance and Scott chases the blue-eyed wolf through the woods.
Could this new werewolf actually be the missing girl Malia? Confused and in need of help, Scott calls his good buddy Derek Hale.
What's Derek been up to since he went on vacation with his sister Cora? Is he sipping Mai Tais on a beach somewhere? Is he reading a steamy romance novel in a hammock? Is he at least treating himself to a giant bowl of never-ending pasta?
Nope -- as usual, Derek Hale is being tortured. If you call Derek and he doesn't pick up, there's about a 95% chance it's because he's being electrocuted.
The Shirtlessness Count
As we welcome back Teen Wolf to the airwaves, we also welcome back the unending stream of hotties and beefcakes popping off their shirts. If there's one thing that's always consistent about Teen Wolf, it's that at least one hot guy will lose a shirt per episode.
The Count: Isaac pops that shirt off during Allison's sexy dream moments before getting group-murdered, while both Derek and Peter Hale are shirtless in order to be tortured.
Best Pecks of the Episode: A tough call, but it has to go to Isaac this time around, if only because he was dream-murdered right after showing off his abs.
What did you think of the mid-season premiere? Is Malia a werewolf? Will Allison shoot someone in the face? How will they close their mental doors? Share in the comments.
Teen Wolf airs Mondays at 10pm on MTV.
(Image courtesy of MTV)