This week on the season 3 premiere of Teen Wolf
, a new alpha pack in town causes all kinds of trouble for our Beacon Hills favorites. Mostly, this trouble involves suicidal animals, but occasionally it also means pulse-pounding fight sequences set to music which sounds like it was piped in straight from Beacon Hill's best gay clubs.
So glad Scott discovers how to use teen pretentiousness to deal with heartbreak. Obviously, all those vocab words are a very bad influence. Pretty soon he'll be smoking clove cigarettes, wearing all black and forcing Stiles to go see black and white subtitled films about despair. Couldn't he just get a cute new haircut like Allison?
Speaking of Allison, it seems all that murder and mayhem have finally turned the Argents into a relatively stable family unit. They make an agreement that if they were to stay in Beacon Hills, it would be as normal people instead of as hunters.
But these are the Argents we're talking about. Can they really be happy if they're not shooting arrows or chopping people in half? I doubt their commitment to a lifestyle that does not involve living above an armory.
Teen Wolf Returns Better Than Ever
It's been a long time since we've seen the gang from Teen Wolf, yet the premiere spends absolutely no time letting the audience get their bearings. The show instead drops in four months after Peter Hale got his groove back, Jackson took his shirt off one final time (now he's an American werewolf in London!) and Grandpa Gerard became a geyser of black goo.
The fact that Teen Wolf manages to perfectly stick the premiere, delivering a high-octane episode that somehow perfectly balances dark and creepy with teen heartbreak and goofy jokes, is a testament to how good this show has become over the last two seasons.
When it started out, Teen Wolf was an obvious ploy by MTV to tap into the burgeoning supernatural young adult craze. The formula was simple: take a known property, add in sexy people, remove shirts = success! It worked for Twilight, The Vampire Diaries and True Blood, and MTV obviously wanted in on the demographic gobbling up these supernatural properties. But like The Vampire Diaries, what started out as a cheesy, fun ride soon became a surprisingly well-made show.
The evolution seems to be continuing this season, as the show gets darker and more exciting without losing the fun and heart that attracted us all in the first place. The premiere easily juggles multiple storylines without anything feeling too rushed or out of place.
The fact that the show could give equal weight to Scott's desire for a new tattoo to symbolize his manpain over the Allison breakup with a fight to the death with a new alpha pack is pretty genius. It's the kind of thing that Buffy the Vampire Slayer used to do all the time, making the demons of young adulthood manifest in actual demons. I'm not saying Teen Wolf is Whedon-level, but it's working hard to be more than its name would imply.
Last year, the show became ever more confident in its ability to juggle horror movie tropes and genuinely scary moments with the real emotional highs and lows of being a teenager. Still, let's pray we always have Derek around to give Scott his signature "You're serious?" eyebrows of confusion when he goes on and on about his lost love.
The episode opens with a girl on a motorcycle saving an injured Isaac from twin alphas. The bike chase scene is pretty impressive, especially for a show that used to be shot about 80% in a locker room. (I actually cheer the first time the locker room shows up in the episode, like seeing an old friend.) Later, the twins combine to form one giant werewolf. They're just like the wonder twins! Form of: a giant wolfy beefcake!
My notes say, "Oh man, two minutes in and they've already used up their budget, haven't they?" Thankfully, the rest of the episode seems to prove me wrong, although the effect with the birds briefly looks a bit like an early '90s episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark?
So it's off to the hospital for poor Isaac and Motorcycle Girl, who is desperately seeking Scott McCall. Isaac mostly spends all episode being drugged and manhandled and unconscious.
After this episode and last season, how is Derek going to recruit anyone into his wolf pack ever again? "So you get health and dental, free ice cream Tuesdays, and also probably you will end up kidnapped or dead. Or both! The possibilities are endless! Why are you walking away? Don't pledge the alphas!"
Speaking of the alphas, let's meet our new wolfpack: there are the werewolf wonder twins, who are as nasty as their jaws are square and their pectorals are defined. There is another guy who Derek saves Scott from, whose wolf form sports some really unfortunate sideburns. There's a girl with black wolf nails, because I guess she is not only deadly but also alternative.
And there's the leader, a blind alpha named Deucalion with an English accent who knows Scott McCall will one day become a great werewolf and is here to have Derek take out the threat for him. He's really going to middle-manage this John Conner situation he's in.
Poor Motorcycle Girl seems to have met her demise by the episode's end, but she does manage to deliver a lot of useful exposition and get in some awesome fight sequences. You'll be missed, Motorcycle Girl. But just who is/was she and what was her connection to Isaac and Scott?
How Lydia Got Her Groove Back
Lydia is enjoying life post-Jackson, having no-strings-attached sex with hot dudes and eyeing the freshmen in a very "someone call Chris Hansen" kind of way. Meanwhile, Allison is mostly just trying not to think of Scott.
That's hard, especially after an awkward run-in on the road. "You know what will be less creepy than driving behind my ex? Just stopping randomly in the middle of the road so some poor motorist can drive right into me." Scott might have spent all summer learning vocab words and boning up on the classics, but apparently he never cracked open a driver's ed book.
While the two sit parked in the middle of the street, having a moment, a deer runs right into the car in one of the crazier moments in an episode already pretty packed with crazy stuff. They all wonder what would make a deer dive head-first through a car window, and Scott says it was terror.
Later, the new English teacher Gossip Girl-blasts their phone with English literature, which is probably how teenagers will eventually learn all subjects. "Two roads diverged in a wood and I, I took the one less traveled by, XOXO." Allison sits in front of Scott and it's the most glorious, terrible, wonderful thing that's happened to Scott in his whole life.
As Scott scampers off to go take care of Isaac-related business, thanks to his now in-the-know mom, the English teacher gets her first taste of life teaching at Beacon Hills High when a flock of birds come crashing into the classroom. "Cool way to get us interested in Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven. The bird flu is really going to help us connect to the material!"
Soon, we learn the animal suicides are all over the place, as the concerned vet shows Stiles' father all the dead animals. What do these suicides mean? I guess we're going to have to stick around to find out, but my guess is nothing good.
As the episode ends, we see the bruise-shaped marks left by Motorcycle Girl on Lydia and Allison's arms turn into the mark on the floor where Boyd and Erica are being kept. So they're still alive!
The Shirtlessness Count
Teen Wolf is a show about many things: werewolves. Homicidal families. Finding your identity as a teenager. Stiles. But mostly, it's a show about dudes taking off their shirts. God bless you, Teen Wolf.
So to celebrate the new season, I'm starting a recap section called "The Shirtlessness Count." Here, I will painstakingly (I do it all for you!) count all the instances of shirtlessness so you don't have to. (Why would you want to? I don't know. Go with it.) I will also award the coveted "Best Pecks of the Episode" to whoever shows incredible bravery in the line of shirtless duty.
Shirtlessness Count: Isaac at the beginning of the episode, both twins, the hot guy in Lydia's bed and Isaac again in the hospital. Grand total: five instances of shirtlessness.
Best Pecks of the Episode: The Twins. Because once combined, they make a super set of six-pack abs not even the guys from Magic Mike could compete with.
What happens now that Scott knows about the alpha pack? Will Scott and Allison ever get back together? I know Derek is really nice to look at, but seriously, why is anyone his friend? Will our favorites make it out of this season alive? Tell us what you thought of the premiere in the comments below!
(Image courtesy of MTV)