[This is a review of Teen Wolf season 3, episode 16. It contains SPOILERS.]
Between having “Teen” in the title and airing on MTV (look up the origins of the acronym, kids), Teen Wolf is often naturally inclined towards party scenes. Season 2 had a rave episode, appropriately named ‘Raving,’ and now season 3 climbs aboard the party train once more in ‘Illuminated.’
Of course, as there was with ‘Raving’ there is a supernatural undercurrent to all the frivolity in ‘Illuminated.’ Following on from last week’s revelation that there’s more to new student Kira than meets the eye – specifically, a strange aura visible only to cameras and transformed werewolves – Scott offers to help her wipe the incriminating evidence from her phone, which is locked away in the police station. If only they knew someone who was related to the Sheriff…
The end result of this is an effective and tense sequence in which Scott and Kira sneak into the evidence room and are faced with the greatest horror of the series so far: a Windows Phone. In all seriousness, much of the suspense in this scene derives from the question of whether or not the phone will charge in time, but the actual removal of the photos is really just an excuse for a few interesting snippets of character development.
There’s Scott’s troubled relationship with his absentee FBI father, which gets its clear waters of bitterness muddied when Scott finds a photo of himself as a child being used as his father’s laptop wallpaper. Then there’s Scott’s relationship with Kira as the pair of them continue to be adorable and paranormal together in the early days of their teen courtship. Finally, there’s Agent McCall’s relationship with the Stilinskis and the suggestion that his vendetta against the Sheriff might be driven by more than just professional obligation.
Aiden and Ethan’s continued attempts to impress Scott so he’ll let them into his werewolf treehouse lead to a wild blacklight party being thrown at Derek’s lair – without his knowledge or permission. This provides an easy way to keep the season throwing up cool visuals as the teenage population of Beacon Hills gets dolled up in luminescent paint and sets about grinding and twerking all over each other. The party then gets some rather unwelcome gate-crashers in the form of the masked smokey creatures that attacked Isaac at the end of the last episode.
The demons (we’ll call them demons for now, until a better name comes along) do look a little like they’ve accidentally wandered in off the set of Doctor Who, but their semi-corporeal existence allows for the showcasing of some impressive effects and a too-brief fight scene in which they demonstrate a few of their powers.
Gladly, amidst all the other pitfalls of the dreaded hormonal years, Teen Wolf manages to avoid the temptation of instant gratification, and as such ‘Illuminated’ ends without giving the viewers any clear idea as to what these sinister new creatures are. In fact, ‘Illuminated’ has a serious case of Lost syndrome; for every small query it answers, a dozen more major questions are opened up.
What’s Chris Argent’s connection to the demons, and what did he get up to that left him in such a bad state? Did Stiles really send a murderer in Kira’s direction and – if so – why? What’s with the numbers that the demons are burning behind people’s ears? Is Derek going to have to clean that whole apartment by himself? Does Stiles like boys?
It looks like we’ll have to wait until next week for answers and hope that things become clearer. Based on the direction the season has been going so far, however, they might just as easily get even more foggy.
Teen Wolf returns next Monday with ‘Silverfinger’ @10pm on MTV. Check out the promo below.