[This review of Teen Wolf season 4, episode 10 contains SPOILERS.]
The approach to making MTV’s Teen Wolf has long been one of style over substance. What the show lacks in coherent plotting it has made up for in striking imagery, decent banter between the characters and an abundance of cheesy slow-mo action scenes. With that in mind, season 4 has so far been pretty lackluster not because it has any less substance than previous seasons, but simply because the lack of style has made it something of a drag to watch.
The second half of season 3 was buoyed to greater heights by Dylan O’Brien’s twin performances as Stiles and the season’s big bad, the nogitsune. Equally, ‘Monstrous’ becomes one of the more entertaining episodes of season 4 so far thanks in large part due to Ian Bohen’s moments in the spotlight as Peter Hale, Derek’s lovably psychotic uncle.
After being brought back from the dead (in proper Teen Wolf tradition, this particular piece of magic was never actually explained), Peter has spent a lot of time flitting around in the background, with his most prominent storyline being the reveal of his very close relationship with Malia. In ‘Monstrous’, Peter is called in for an interrogation with the Benefactor, Meredith, and Bohen’s performance is easily the highlight of the episode.
It’s unfortunate, then, that the plot machinations behind the confrontation are so nonsensical. It’s revealed through a flashback that Peter and Meredith were coma buddies back in the day, and that while she was in a coma Meredith could hear Peter’s thoughts because, apparently, that’s yet another thing that banshees can do. According to the show’s supernatural mythos, banshees basically have a miscellany of abilities that disappear and reappear based on plot convenience. In addition to being able to yell loudly and predict deaths, they also now seemingly have generic telepathic abilities. But not all the time. Just sometimes.
If you can get past that, things only get more confusing. Peter, in his enraged coma state, formulated a surprisingly coherent plan to kill off all of the supernatural creatures in Beacon Hills, despite having no particular motive to dislike them. It’s quite amazing that he would spent the immediate aftermath of his family’s massacre plotting to murder a bunch of people that he doesn’t know and has no grudge against, as opposed to plotting revenge against the person who actually killed his family.
Got that? Then Meredith decided that it would be a good idea to carry out Peter’s plan using one of the orderlies at Eichen House as a proxy and orchestrating the entire affair using 1970s computer technology that was walled up in Lydia’s lake house. It isn’t explained why exactly Meredith decided to do this. In a confusing conversation with Lydia she implies that she did it because after Allison (whom she had never met and had no reason to avenge) was killed she decided that all supernatural creatures are dangerous, but that doesn’t fit with the idea of her being brainwashed by Peter, since Peter wanted to create the deadpool for his own selfish reasons.
Suspension of disbelief is nowhere near enough to dismiss all the ways in which this plot does not make sense. The entire deadpool was being orchestrated by an AI within the 1970s computer servers in Lydia’s lake house, which were behind a wall and therefore completely inaccessible. How could Meredith or Brunsky have generated the release of the deadpool without breaking down Lydia’s wall? How did decades-old technology manage to hack into every printer in Beacon Hills and print out a revised copy of the deadpool? For that matter, how was Meredith even able to revise the deadpool to remove Derek from the list without directly accessing the servers?
In the future, it might be best if Teen Wolf stuck to plots involving plain old magic – which at least has an excuse for being a bit wobbly and not making a lot of sense – rather than trying to incorporate technology into its plots. That would just leave the non-technology related plot holes, such as why Peter was completely unable to remember making plans for the deadpool, and why ancient Aztecs built a magical tomb that de-ages and de-fangs any werewolf left inside it, and why…
Then again, perhaps it’s based to stop trying to dig into Teen Wolf‘s substance, and just be glad for the odd bits of style that come along.
Teen Wolf returns next Monday with ‘A Promise to the Dead′ @10PM on MTV. Watch the promo below.