Welcome back to my weekly review and recap of Teen Wolf. To catch up on previous coverage,click here .
I am so embarrassingly late on this review–apologies!
When “Strange Frequencies” is at its best moments, it’s an exciting episode which leans heavily on the horror side, one that has a stylish edge. At its worst, we are forced to sit through the worst moment the show has even done (to the point that I thought it was an error) in a highlight reel of Scott and Kira’s best moments.
I cannot express how silly I found this. If you’ve yet to be convinced that Teen Wolf relies way too heavily on telling its audience what to feel and think rather than showing us, this is a perfect example and a huge storytelling sin. I sat through the stumbling, cringe-inducing first episodes of the series and all of the bore that was season four, and this is still the worst moment Teen Wolf has ever had.
Yes, that includes Parish and dream Lydia/dream burned Lydia’s awkward make out session later in the episode.
The episode is essentially in two parts and, considering my middling contempt for the episode, that’s what the review will be broken up into as well.
Stiles and Theo
I kind of understand Stiles’s concern over losing Scott over what happened to Donovan, and I completely believe him when he tells Theo that right after Donovan was impaled by the scaffolding shaft that his one thought was “good.” He’s a survivor, and he’s smart enough to know that Donovan was attacking him. Does this mean that it was the best possible outcome? No. But he felt relief, and it makes sense with what we’ve learned from the character so far.
I do not believe that Stiles would believe a word that Theo says, even if his manipulative ways make sense when he tells him Scott wouldn’t be much of a True Alpha if he did abandon their friendship over Stiles’ act of self-defense. The episode begins with Stiles angrily shoving Theo against a wall and it ends with Stiles being pulled from his burning jeep. Up until about the halfway mark, Stiles was fully on the “do not trust” side, and I’m worried now that the writers are going to tug on some plot contrivances and make Stiles begin to believe the bullshit Theo has been spewing.
Ace reaction shot by Dylan O’Brien though when Theo tells Stiles that he reminds him of his sister. That small moment had be laughing hard enough I couldn’t hear the next thing he said.
The only reason they get stuck together is because they’re waiting to see who steals the bodies, and they find out in an alarming way, with Stiles’s jeep receiving the most abuse as it’s physically tipped over. This leads us to the promo happy shot of Stiles, unconscious and bloody, lying in rubble while flames go up around him.
The show ideally would have let this be a cliffhanger. Instead, we get a commercial break and lo and behold, he’s fine.
The Save Hayden Brigade
This storyline, as much as it irks to see Hayden and Liam’s would be romance getting so much screentime, had a major rewarding factor in that it let Scott be wrong for possibly the first time since the back half of season three. His plan to lock Hayden in the school to keep her safe is one thing; using her as bait is foolish, and Liam is able to see it even if Scott and Lydia don’t.
The rest of that portion of the show spends a lot of time waiting. In the locker room with Lydia, Scott, Liam, and Hayden or out in the parking lot with Parrish–there’s a lot of killing time before the Dread Doctors arrive. Things escalate from zero to 100 in rapid procession as the Doctors manipulate the heroes’ minds to make them think they’ve become incapacitated. Lydia has her tongue pulled out, Malia gets a bear trap to her leg, and Scott believes he’s been stabbed and strangled by foxy Kira.
Of course, none of this is actually happening, and by the time they all come to, Hayden and Liam are gone.
The rest of the episode spends its time trying to make skin-grafts seem exciting or with Kira, as Arden Cho finally gets something interesting to do. Her fight with her mom was playfully shot, and her panic and anger at the end at the risk she put her mom in was palpable. More of this and less of mopey hung up on Scott Kira, please and thank you.
Each episode so far this season has moments where it recaptures what makes the show so fun to watch, all before tossing that away for it’s “big ideas.” Its best moments are its character moments, and I’m waiting to see that version of Teen Wolf again.