[This is a review of Teen Wolf season 3, episode 17. It contains SPOILERS.]
There are plenty of reasons to be scared of the dark, not the least of which is the bruised shin that you get from walking into a small coffee table when the lights are out. In Beacon Hills, home of the
Hellmouth Nemeton, there are even more sinister things than coffee tables lying in wait. Namely, Oni demons who have arrived in town with the singular purpose of rooting out a dark spirit that is wearing one of the residents like a winter coat.
'Silverfinger' does a great job of building up the Oni demons as unstoppable warriors in favor of a major dramatic pay-off at the end of the episode. Compared to the blacklight party of 'Illuminated,' the focus of the show is solidly returned to the supernatural mythos underlying the story arc of this half of the season, though the romantic relationships between Isaac/Allison and Scott/Kira continue to develop, particularly the latter.
Thanks to the revelations of the past couple of episodes, Scott and Kira have both laid their supernatural natures out on the table and seem to be closer because of it. Kira fears that the Oni's pursuit of her is an indication that the kitsune spirit inside her is evil and could end up hurting her new friends. Scott, however, has a little more faith in her.
The mission in 'Silverfinger' is a simple one that has worked well in many horror plots of the past: all the gang has to do is survive until sunrise, when the Oni will be forced to retreat from the McCall property. Aiding in this effort - somewhat to Scott's chagrin - are Aiden and Ethan, who have decided that the next step in their mission to join Scott's pack is to dog his footsteps as closely as possible. Derek also puts in a token appearance and admits to following Scott around, possibly because he's hoping for a ticket into the True Alpha's clubhouse as well.
In the other branch of this week's plot, the Argents and Isaac are chasing up a lead who might be able to tell them what the demonic ninjas are and why they've shown up in Beacon Hills. The eponymous Silverfinger is a member of the yakuza that Chris first encountered more than two decades ago, when the Oni showed up and gave a very unfriendly three-way handshake to his nogitsune boss.
Whereas 'Illuminated' was largely dedicated to leaving the audience with questions, 'Silverfinger' is all about imparting the answers and has to handle a lot of exposition about the kitsune and the Oni in a pretty short space of time. What remains unclear is whether or not these demons - which seem to be specific to Japanese myth and culture - only hunt dark kitsune or whether they're after all manner of dark spirits. One thing's for sure: there's definitely a very dark spirit in town.
The final scene of 'Silverfinger' represents a pretty bold move on the part of Teen Wolf's writers, since Stiles has sort of been the token human of the show up until this point. There's nothing wrong with bold moves however; without them a show can quickly grow stagnant, and Stiles has been steadily growing too big for the "comic relief character" box anyway.
The only potential risk is that of retreading the Jackson/Kanima arc from season 2 by once again having one of the main teen characters become the season Big Bad, but already season 3 seems to be going down a slightly different path by making the audience privy to the knowledge of Stiles' possession before the rest of the characters find out.
Hopefully this season won't end the same way it began; we don't want Stiles being quietly shipped off to London as well.
Teen Wolf returns next Monday with ‘Riddled’ @10pm on MTV. Check out the promo below.