Demons, nightmares and hallucinations: part two of season three of Teen Wolf is off to a strong start as the show allows for psychological drama to take the center stage.
The first part of season three was a bit of a letdown for fans due to the Alpha Pack storyline that took up more time than it ever needed to, making it so that character development was forgone and relationships were heard about rather than seen (remember the whole debacle with fans never getting to see Derek and Cora’s reconciliation after his family’s death has been a big chunk of his narrative for the show’s entirety).
Part two starts with a bang and makes sure to try and rectify the disservice they did to their main three in the following hour of television.
But let’s talk about that beginning because it may easily be one the best moments the show has had due to the way it was shot, the way it was scored, edited and acted. After sacrificing themselves for their parents’ lives and temporarily dying, Scott, Allison and Stiles are all facing the repercussions of letting that type of dark spirit into their minds and Stiles is the first casualty we bear witness to.
We watch as he fitfully sleeps before seeing into his dream where he finds himself in a locker at the school. He wakes up to a consoling Lydia sitting in his bed but it’s not long before Stiles realizes that something is wrong here, even after confessing to Lydia that he feels as if he’s in a nightmare within a nightmare, a terrifying prospect. He notices his door is ajar and gets up to close it despite Lydia’s protests and finds himself in the middle of the woods, screaming at himself in a panic to wake up.
And for a moment we think he does and he wakes up in bed, with his dad hustling him to get to school.
Once there he confesses to Scott about the sleep paralysis that he endured and tells him the scariest part is that he’s not even really sure he’s awake.
And here’s the best bit: he wasn’t.
Stiles wakes up yet again, screaming and in a petrified frenzy as his dad runs in to console him and it’s a powerful scene, one that greatly aided by Dylan O’Brien doing some wonderful work as we completely buy his terror. If this season is going to be Stiles oriented at least we know the storyline is in capable hands.
The other two are also facing off with their minds after the sacrifices. Allison is hallucinating about her dead Aunt Kate from season one, seeing her in a morgue. She runs and quickly realizes she’s walked to school with no recollection of how she got there. Her hands are shaky, unsteady with a bow and the hallucinations causing possible danger to those around her like Lydia who brought her out for some target practice to try and help.
Scott is having trouble controlling his inner wolf, seeing hulking shadows of his wolf body following him and then at school having trouble keeping his claws and glowing eyes at bay, needing Stiles assistance to get out of the crowded hallway and then having to inflict pain onto himself in order to stop the transformation.
It’s the psychological drama that makes this episode so much stronger than the previous 12 because it allows for expansion on characters that we believed would carry the same characteristics until the shows end. To see the trio so shaken, so unsettled and vulnerable is a nice way to introduce new challenges to face.
In other parts of town, Isaac is trying to put the moves on Allison despite Scott’s aggression towards him because of it, the Sheriff is trying to close a case from years ago about a missing girl Malia Tate just before Scott’s dad tries to remove him from the Sheriff position, Derek and Peter have managed to get themselves captured and tortured and Scott’s mom remains one the shows dark horses as she tells him after he nearly wolfs out at his father that he needs to be his own anchor.
Who knew Teen Wolf would try and teach a lesson about self-reliance?
There are slips and some unnecessary gags (such as Isaac being thrown against the wall) but otherwise it nearly seems like a return to form for the show with more than a few scenes taking place in the woods, giving it that autumn and eerie atmosphere that made season one and two such joys, it has the group working together with no side characters hogging space, there’s a new character Kira (Arden Cho) that promises some fun as well as romance for Scott, and the new mythology isn’t all dumped on us.
We’re left with some questions-such as if Scott really saw Malia in the woods- but the most important thing about the episode is the apparent improvement from the first 12 episodes of the season and the promising way in which they’ve begun the second half.
What did you think of the first episode back and do you think it will be able to carry itself throughout the rest of the season?