After a sadly mediocre and disappointing first half of the season 5, Teen Wolf has rebounded in season 5B. A lot of problems from 5A have already been fixed in the first two episodes of 5B. Theo is more interesting, the Dread Doctors are less present and Stiles is getting along with Scott. After a boring mess of half season things are looking up on Teen Wolf. There’s just one problem left on Teen Wolf and her name is Hayden.
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Hayden and Liam: Worst Couple Ever
While this opinion isn’t exactly universal, and may even be controversial, Hayden (so far) has been a terrible mistake on Teen Wolf. The problems with Hayden’s character were there from the very start and have only gotten worse. Hayden was introduced in the beginning of season 5 as a girl from Liam’s past. While Teen Wolf gave us a good idea of a shared history between Liam and Hayden, they never gave a reason to care. There were many references to a violent incident in sixth grade but that’s it. We were never given more context than a quick couple of lines from Mason about it. The incident in question was the entire crux and base for the relationship between Hayden and Liam and we never even saw it.
As a result Teen Wolf viewers were playing catch up the entire time to Hayden and Liam’s relationship. When the character’s interactions turned romantic, there was no real justification for it. It was just kind of accepted that these two were attractive, knew each other as children and had always been somewhat in love. It just didn’t feel authentic and stood in stark contrast to every other romantic relationship on MTV’s Teen Wolf.
Unless they are already dating when we meet them, relationships take a long time to build to romance on Teen Wolf. It took Allison and Scott almost an entire season to get together officially and stay together. The same goes for Kira and Scott. Meanwhile Lydia and Stiles have been sharing meaningful glances since season one. Liam and Hayden went from adversaries to passionate first loves in the span of about two episodes and it never really rang true.
This ends up being a huge problem because the whole justification to care about Hayden is her connection to Liam. Hayden’s only connection to the other characers, outside of Liam, is her sister. There is even less reason to care about Hayden’s sister, Valerie Clarke, than Hayden. Clarke is the newest in a long line of disposable Sheriff Deputies. Just because Clarke works with Stiles’ dad and Parrish is not a reason to care about her individually. Hayden has (seemingly) no friends of her own and never interacts with any other member of the wolf pack.
It would be one thing if her relationship with Liam led Hayden into mixing it up with other characters like Mason or Scott or even Malia. This hasn’t happened though Hayden and Liam have remained adrift in their own little romance story that is becoming increasingly irrelevant. It has only gotten worse now that the show has made Hayden under Theo’s thrall.
Hayden’s Confusing Connection to Theo
While Teen Wolf has greatly improved Theo by having him really stretch his villain legs, the same cannot be said for Theo’s minions. Most of them are meant to be tertiary, we aren’t supposed to care about them more than they look cool. Hayden is the exception though. Hayden is the character that we are supposed to care about on the inside of Theo’s evil pack. She’s supposed to be the voice of morality and sanity. This doesn’t work though because we don’t know anything about Hayden.
When Teen Wolf hooked up Hayden and Liam in rapid fashion, any semblance of Hayden having her own identity was lost. Hayden’s kind of feisty and brash but that’s not much of a personality. It’s more something that Hayden does, it doesn’t really tells us anything about Hayden. While the rest of Theo’s pack are rather one-note, they at least are clearly defined. We have a pretty good idea of what each of them want, so we understand how Theo is manipulating them. We don’t know anything about Hayden, other than she loves Liam, so all of the scenes with Theo and Hayden fall flat. There’s no hook to watching Theo manipulate and threaten Hayden. There’s no reason to care other than that this might end up effecting Liam sometime down the line.
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All hope is not lost, Hayden isn’t a lost cause but Teen Wolf has to rapidly change things. Teen Wolf doesn’t need to break up Hayden and Liam. It wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense given that they just reaffirmed their feelings for one another in “Damnatio Memoriae.” Hayden should start to branch out more and talk to other characters. We should start seeing Hayden on her own, outside of Theo or Liam’s influence.
The audience needs a reason to care about Hayden as a person. Hayden needs to stop being a glorified prop in other character’s stories. Teen Wolf should develop Hayden’s sassiness and rough edges. Teen Wolf needs to show us why Hayden is this way. We need to know why, really why, she cares about Liam. We need to learn more about Hayden’s relationship with her sister, other than the cliched big sister/little sister stuff we’ve already seen. What happened to the rest of Hayden’s family? Teen Wolf should give us more of the Hayden who was working at a terrible job to support herself and her sister. Once Teen Wolf gets us to care about Hayden on her own, then we can invest in her relationships with other characters.
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But what do you think? Do you agree? Have you enjoyed Hayden or found her problematic? Do you think she and Liam have an interesting relationship or could you care less? Would you like to see more of Hayden or should Theo have left her dead in the 5A finale?
Teen Wolf season 5 airs Tuesdays at 9pm on MTV.
(Images courtesy of MTV)