What went wrong in the first half of Teen Wolf season 5? Plenty, and we’ve been over this — terrible villains, not enough Stiles, a lack of sizable plot, Kira’s absence — and then there’s the fact that Teen Wolf isn’t used to plotting 20 episode seasons. (They usually opt for 12.) Underneath the mess of season 5, however, is a sense of purpose that wasn’t there for the disastrous season 4, for instance. The pack had to break up this year as a necessary evil, but doing so almost cost Teen Wolf its soul.

I’ve lamented before about the loss of the club music fight sequences, the dense mythology, the satisfying character arcs. Teen Wolf is incredibly formulaic, if you think about it, but its formula really works in a popcorn entertainment kind of way. It’s campy as hell, often equally as cheesy, but there’s real heart and real stakes. Yet the show had to have this season. If season 4 was to introduce the “new generation” and say goodbye to the Argents and Hales, then season 5 had to deal with the pains of a show with few remaining original cast members. It’s the logical progression of the narrative.

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Even more than that, the characters had to have this season. Scott McCall, a ray of sunshine and goodness, is too good at being a hero thus far. Sure, he’s had struggles, like that time his best friend was possessed by a dark kitsune and that other time a bunch of Alphas were trying to kill him. But for the most part, Scott’s easily overcome them. He’s had his friends by his side. When his friends aren’t there (because they have their own crap to deal with, or maybe because he’s just not as good as a leader without them), he can’t be a good leader. Scott needed to be pushed to his lowest point this season, but we could have done without the show dipping to its lowest point in quality. 

Likewise, I can see the logic behind every decision for Teen Wolf this season (minus whatever’s going on with Kira; bring back Kira). If Scott and Stiles were to separate, it would have to be something as serious as murder and manipulation. If Liam were to turn against Scott, it would be because of an irrational anger over fear of losing a loved one. If Malia were to go head to head with the mother who tried to kill her, she would need to become more compassionate to raise the stakes. If Lydia were to go insane, she’d need to have a storyline worth remembering. Wait…

Anyway, I see the logic to these choices; I really do. That doesn’t excuse the sloppy, stupid execution of them.

The Banshee and the Hellhound

Let’s ignore the previous episode’s cliffhanger to talk about everyone’s favorite mildly inappropriate romance, especially since Pretty Little Liars did that big time jump: Lydia and Parrish. Lydia’s a banshee with a genius IQ; Parrish is a Sheriff’s Deputy and a something. Finally, we learn what that something is thanks to Lydia. Parrish is a hellhound, a Guardian of the Supernatural, a black dog of hell that keeps order. 

The Bite is Not a Gift

When we last left off, Liam was pleading with Scott to give Hayden the bite to save her. Scott, in a moment that reminded me of iZombie (go watch it now), simply said no. Liam, of course, is furious that Scott would break a promise to save Hayden’s life, but no one has told dear Liam the story about his great werewolf uncle Derek Hale and giving the bite of his young love. Also, as Scott points out, the bite is so unsafe and Hayden’s condition is so unknown that who knows what will happen.

Scott, meanwhile, calls Mama McCall to the scene to get Hayden some proper medical attention while they figure out their next move. Liam, in his best impression of Scrappy Doo in this episode, titled “Status Asthmaticus,” takes it too far by laying a hand on Melissa. Oh no he did not! I’m deadly serious when I say that he should be executed on the spot for such behavior. But in case it wasn’t clear, Liam’s anger issues (you know, the ones that were ignored for most of the season) are rising with the full moon.

That’s right: what would a Teen Wolf cliffhanger be without adding some weird super moon into the mix?

Theo orchestrates a whole chain of events to split up the pack (more on that later) and manages to get Scott all alone in that overly-used library set in a pile of mountain ash. Theo reveals he’s evil (gasp! Oh wait…) and a chimera, part werewolf and part coyote. This explains why he can walk through mountain ash. It doesn’t explain what the Dread Doctors want, but at least it explains why Malia — a were-coyote — would have the hots for someone as soulless as Theo.

With Scott trapped in the school via mountain ash and a cell phone blocker/scrambler, he’s at the mercy of whoever will find him. And wouldn’t you know that just happens to be Scrappy Doo himself. Liam is a very tiny teenager, so to see him go up against Scott is laughable, quite honestly. While I laugh on that, let’s check in with everyone else.

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Did You Know Stiles and Malia are Still in a Relationship?

I didn’t. Apparently, these two have been hanging together off-screen on Dylan O’Brien’s next movie set, presumably. We’re treated to two scenes of them in the car in this episode after Roscoe the Jeep dies yet again (a recurring theme in this episode). I not-so-secretly think that Malia is the show’s best character right now, and having her admit to Stiles that she knows him better than he thinks she does is just so good. Shelly Hennig is just a really good actress, friends, and she deserves all the parts, not even the ones where she plays a teenager. 

Malia flat-out tells Stiles she knows about his involvement with Donovan — and it not mattering to her is so in-character and so important. Stiles caring about it doesn’t make him more or less better than her; it just makes their relationship stronger, in my opinion. Too bad we won’t see anymore of it because they have their own stuff to contend with. 

Malia has an Alias plotline of her own as she readies herself to take out her mother the Desert Wolf. But she steers course from this as Theo directs her to take care of a chimera for the sake of the pack; this beautiful individualist putting her own baggage aside to help her friends. Someone who was literally only in it for herself for years. Her loyalty to Stiles makes me feel things, friends. As the chimera proves to maybe be too much for her, someone comes in to save the day. If you’re thinking that it must be Kira, you are wrong: it’s Braeden, there to warn Malia about the Desert Wolf. But we won’t be seeing anymore of that until season 5B.

Elsewhere, Stiles is ready to come clean to his father about his part in murdering Donovan, but the Sheriff is called away on another mission. While he’s there, Parrish is too, ready to break out of jail and fulfill his hellhound duties to collect Hayden’s body. Stiles, being a bit of an idiot, tries to follow him for some of it.

Even more idiotic is having Stiles enlist Theo to help him find Scott so they can sort this out. Theo, using his fine-tuned manipulation, finally admits his master plan: to be a part of a powerful pack. He came to Beacon Hills for the were-coyote, the beta with anger issues (lol), the dark kitsune, VoidStiles. And if he can get Liam to kill Scott, he can kill Liam and maybe become a true Alpha. Stiles isn’t having any of this, but he has to put up with it because Theo has hurt the Sheriff, who is laying somewhere dying. (Honestly, this is all unclear.)

Death Becomes Them for a Minute or Two

Back to the fight with Liam and Scott. Liam’s kicking the crap out of Scott until Scott decides to use his Alpha powers to fight back a bit. Mason arrives to point out, with convincing credulity, that while Liam’s busy trying to kill Scott, Hayden died. Oh. I don’t buy Liam’s anger or true love with Hayden very much — considering they only have been together about three days — but I like how tragedy repeats itself on this stupid, silly show. RIP Hayden, who just wanted to die with her sister by her side.

But the episode isn’t over yet! Finally, with no one left to manipulate, Theo heads back to the library to kill Scott for good, and he manages to — for 15 minutes. It isn’t until Melissa comes in, with a grief-stricken Mason, to bring Scott back from the dead that we can all breathe again.

Seriously, everyone can breathe again because everyone’s coming back from the dead; Theo invades Lydia’s memories to search for the Nemeton and the dead chimeras only to head over there and inject the chimeras with something that revives them from the dead. So the body count the Dread Doctors racked up this season? Kind of pointless when you have recently dead Hayden, Cory, Tracy and a few others rise from the grave. So un-RIP all of these guest stars and open a bottle of wine; we’ll need to get as drunk as possible to survive season 5B.

Again, I see why the writers’ made their choices this season — they are arguably even good choices! — but they were just executed so poorly. In essence, RIP the Teen Wolf of seasons past.

Other Thoughts

  • Will I watch season 5B? I want to say no, but there’s a strong possibility I will if a marathon of it is on one day. Hmmmphhhh
  • The crazy thing about this episode is that at times, I thought it was really well written/well done. Malia and Stiles’ scenes, for example. Scott’s accurate assessment of Theo, who’s barely human. Even Theo, as terrible as he is, finally clicks into place in this episode. 
  • Speaking of Theo, how does he even know about VoidStiles?
  • How weird is it for the writers to remember in this episode that Liam has an anger problem, but not the fact that Liam’s step-dad is a doctor who could maybe have saved Hayden? Selective memory strikes again! 
  • The true MVP of the season was Mason, who turned out to be a very useful human to be around. Kind of like when Stiles was useful.
  • I hope Lydia in Eichen House is where the next episode picks up and then we can forget all about that place forever and ever.
  • Cozy with Posey is the only part of Wolf Watch I tune into because puppies.

(Image courtesy of MTV)

Emily E. Steck

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV