No more than any other genre but the teen drama are secrets used as a dramatic obstacle. So-and-so withholds information to their SO or where they were last night to Mom and Dad. Yawn. Secrets are currency on teen dramas and keep shows on for years past their prime (ask Pretty Little Liars), but they are sort of uncharted territory for everyone’s favorite show about teenage wolves and other supernatural creatures.
With the exception of maybe season 2, I can’t remember a time when so many characters were lying to one another all at once on the show (minus the conceit of season 1). The secrets everyone keeps is infusing new life into Teen Wolf, mainly by giving the characters their own struggles and storylines, but this “new” device falls flat when it comes to everyone’s not-so-favorite Theo.
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God, is Theo boring. The decision to reveal Theo as the bad guy to us is a poor use of dramatic irony as it strips away anything interesting the character could be. We all know that new people on teen dramas are just here to stir trouble and Theo is no exception. Theo is literally here to do the Doctors’ bidding, but we don’t know why. If he had been a new member of the pack who showed his value, at least we could still suspect him. Instead, he’s just eye candy (thank the Teen Wolf shirtless gods!) and a piss poor villain.
Speaking of which, what exactly do the Doctors want? If they literally just want to experiment on teenagers and cause trouble, that’s fine — just come out with already. The nogitsune wanted chaos, but its motivations were pretty clear. The Dreaded Doctors lack one of the fundamental rules of being a scary villain: humanity. It’s of my opinion that the more human our big bads are, the scarier they’ll be. Aliens and robots represent our collective fears as a society, but what do the Doctors represent? Our fear over rising health care costs?
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What Teen Wolf does best are horror sequences; what they do second best are dream sequences. There’s always been a Lynchian vibe to the series (and it’s even been directed a bunch by David Lynch’s daughter, Jennifer Lynch!) and in this episode, “Required Reading,” we’re treated to weird, half-sensical dreams/hallucinations in widescreen. Which is a cool stylistic choice by the way.
The reason for these dreams is sort of irrelevant on Teen Wolf, but let’s just say it’s because the kiddies read the book. I swear to some higher power that Teen Wolf sends the oddest messages to its young audience. On one hand, reading and studying is good. On the other, reading causes nightmarish hallucinations. Where do you stand, Teen Wolf? Let the kiddies read!
Let’s break down who’s hallucinating what:
- Scott remembers a time when he literally ran into the street to save his dog from being killed and wound up in the hospital. Of course, his asthma acted up and his mom’s by his side, so he’s in actual peril. I think it would have been more interesting to see that time his dad accidentally beat him while drunk, but I guess Agent McCall was busy on Scandal.
- Lydia remembers a time when her grandmother put a screwdriver to her head in Eichen House. Even then, Eichen House had crappy enough security to let an 8-year-old go through.
- Stiles, of course, has the most tragic memory of a time with his sick, delusional and demented mother, who escapes to the roof after believing her 10-year-old son is trying to kill her. Dammit, O’Brien, why are you such a good actor? These aren’t tears; I just have a twig in my eye.
Meanwhile, Malia is off book duty (probably because she doesn’t have the right reading level yet to read that kind of book — never getting over Malia’s education), so she’s tasked with saving everyone as they hit various problems. But as she’s saving Scott (in her usual badassery), it’s up to Theo to save Stiles from the chimeras that have popped up on the lacrosse field.
Of course, Theo, being a bad guy and literally a bad guy (read that how you will), kills an innocent chimera to save Stiles. And he blackmails Stiles to keep his secret, otherwise he won’t keep Stiles’ secret about Donovan. Again, how much more interesting would that be if Theo wasn’t a bad, bad guy? Whatever.
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Liam’s still off doing the whole “next generation” thing, filled with a light and blossoming romance with Hayden (I literally had to look up her name), who looks like a cross between Lydia and Allison (RIP, never getting over it). Hayden is rather boring, and come to think of it, she also looks like Derek’s lifetime-ago-love Paige, but whatever. She works at a club to pay for her hospital bills, as she had a kidney transplant years before and she has a wholly unnecessary scene showing off soccer kills.
Liam (who is very, very tiny) and Hayden clearly have #crushes, but that development might be on pause since Hayden is a victim of the Dreaded Doctors. Does this mean that the Doctors are choosing formerly sick teenagers? Does Beacon Hills really have that many of them?
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— Lydia and Parrish have a flirtatious training session, because is there any other kind?
— I left out Kira because the show is leaving out Kira. We know that she has “language issues” from Mason since she’s a kitsune and she feels weak lately, but we don’t know much else. Is this Arden Cho’s swan song? I hope not. Kira deserves more and so does Arden Cho.
— Speaking of Mason, I’m glad someone is finally researching supernatural creatures. These kids could be a little more proactive with their heritage.
— Is anyone watching Scream? The TV show, I mean. It looks awful.
— Still, I always give Teen Wolf a full season watch before harshing on it or praising it appropriately. I almost always look forward to watching an episode.
Teen Wolf airs Mondays at 10pm on MTV.
(Image courtesy of MTV)