Teen Wolf appears uncertain over what tone it truly wants to tackle. Despite this week’s episode, “Monstrous,” being strong in almost all senses of the word, it ends up coming up short due to the haphazard tonality of the show. It’s the idea that I’m supposed to be able to take it seriously when they’re juxtaposing scenes of Scott and Satomi’s packs fighting the hunters with Malia and Stiles pulling a wire out of the wall. It simply doesn’t gel.
I’m also a little underwhelmed by the whole Benefactor storyline in general. I mean… it all seems a little anti-climactic, right? Scott and his pack, with Derek as a ring leader, decide that no longer can they just allow themselves to be killed, so they plan to wait it out in a warehouse until all of the hired killers come for them. If people want to kill them for money they better be ready for the consequences. While the prep work was nice and it was cool to see the two packs join forces by the end of the fight, when the dead pool gets terminated you can’t help but feel, “That’s it?”
It’s revealed that while hospitalized after the fire, Peter roomed with Meredith, who fed off of Peter’s thoughts of revenge. It is also revealed that everything was Peter’s idea to begin with. It’s a have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too scenario with the writers. They didn’t want it to be obvious so they didn’t have Peter be the Benefactor – with the big reveal and all – but they still needed Peter to be the ultimate baddie. So the writers get their way but still manage to say they surprised fans at the same time.
Despite the reveal of part two absurdity, there are some nice bits floating around the episode that manage to make it one of the season’s best, but most of them deal with up-close character moments rather than ones that have anything to do with the overarching plot.
All season Scott has been facing the inner demons of what being an Alpha means: is he more of a monster and a predator, or is he more of a leader and protector? Scott, despite being of the supernatural sort, has always been a gentler soul compared to those around him. Derek has his angst, Lydia is a shrew, Stiles is conniving – Scott out of all of them is easily the most kind-hearted and genuine, and yet here he is having to face the possibility that the power inside of him may be out of his control. This has been an idea that’s slowly built over the season but hits its peak when Scott, in an effort to protect his pack, slowly morphs into an image more terrifying than heroic.
This is significant when you match it with Lydia’s words to Meredith about how not all monsters do monstrous things, using Scott as her example. Lydia is slowly becoming my favorite part of this season as she’s finally being given the chance to be fleshed out, and actress Holland Roden has upped her game, toning down her usual shtick to play a deeply wounded Lydia who only wants to help her friends. Her moments with Meredith are touching and poignant and you realize just how lonely this character is.
I wish I could say the entirety of the episode is handled with the same amount of care, but alas. Stiles and Malia, while sweet, aren’t being given much to do other than look doe-eyed at one another, which is a waste of both Dylan O’Brien and Shelley Henning’s talents. Derek has a cool storyline going on and Braeden is a nice character for him to play off of, but they’re hardly getting enough time to themselves. Kira also has become more of an annoyance rather than a character, and her and Scott’s romance is becoming more and more forced as the season continues. Meanwhile, Ian Bohen continues to make the most out of the smallest of lines or moments and keeps reminding us why O’Brien was a welcome change as the villain last season, doing big, grandiose gestures without seeming like a giant ham.
I don’t think it was a bad episode; I think I could even say technically it was pretty good. However, it was underwhelming and sporadic, refusing to choose what kind of show it wanted to be and deciding instead to do whatever it pleased with little rhyme or reason.
With the end of the season closing on us, do you think there’s time to turn it all around?