The season five premiere of Teen Wolf may be the show’s best premiere yet…if it weren’t for those silly opening minutes. You were so close, Teen Wolf, to nailing a season premiere. Close enough, I suppose. Welcome back, dedicated and, due to season four, long-suffering Teen Wolf fans, to yet another season of visually over-the-top villains, growing pains, and, hopefully, boundless silliness. This is a show about teen werewolves, after all.
Season five has hit the reset button rather hard, as we learn rather quickly that Derek (Tyler Hoechlin) is no longer in the picture and that the rest of the gang is readying themselves for their final year of high school. Scott (Tyler Posey) is worried about how good things have gotten, believing that there needs to be negatives to equalize the positives, while Stiles (Dylan O’Brien) is primarily concerned with keeping the group together. Malia (Shelley Hennig) is stuck in the awkward stages of not knowing whether or not she’s getting to move on to her senior year yet, while Liam (Dylan Sprayberry) is still trying to overcome his more animalistic tendencies.
Then there’s Lydia (Holland Roden).
Listen, it’s not like the show has ever really known what to do with Lydia, something that’s been evident since season two onwards, where they’ve introduced an interesting concept only to abandon it. Lydia being a banshee is cool in theory but has been executed so poorly that at this point I would have preferred her to stay strictly human along with Stiles. Now, they’re opening the season with her, and using her in the closing moments as well, to try and create anticipation as well as surprise for the audience. Lydia is in Eichen House, seemingly comatose until she wakens when her life is put into danger. Her screams now have some sort of sonic force, and she also manages to do full Black Widow stunts on her assailants. Which, again, is cool in theory, and there is some pleasure in seeing this character who’s always being pushed down get to fight her own battle, but then logic comes into play and I’m left scratching my head. I’m not curious by the “how” but the “why.” Why on earth is it necessary she suddenly know intricate self-defense moves other than the writers thinking “oh hey, know what would be badass?”
It doesn’t help that this all leads to an over-the-top standoff in the rain where, after being once again incapacitated, she mutters dramatically, “My friends…they’re all going to die.”
I mean, it’s as subtle as being hit by a brick.
It’s everything I don’t like about the show wrapped into a five minute package, which is such a shame considering that most of the episode is a welcome return to form with humor, ridiculous parkour-heavy action, and scenes between the group rather than a splintering into different storylines. Teen Wolf has the ability to be a delightful television show that mixes elements of comedy, drama and horror with ease–why it throws all of that away to try and prove that they’re Super Serious is beyond me.
What’s so nice about “Creatures of the Night” is being able to see all of our favorite characters interact once again. Stiles and Scott are always a winning pair, and focusing on them at the start is a nice way to bring us back in. As someone who had forgotten Liam existed for a moment, I can even say that his addition to the episode was used well, utilizing him as a younger brother type with Stiles and Scott both reacting appropriately. As for the romantic couples–Kira (Arden Cho) and Scott still don’t work 100% for me, in large part (unfairly in large part) due to how sold for so long I’d been on his relationship with Allison (Crystal Reed), and while Cho has fun every once in a while with Kira’s more awkward personality traits, she and Posey still don’t share enough chemistry to build the series’ main couple around.
Malia and Stiles work better, if only because Hennig and O’Brien share a sweet, innocent chemistry, and both have a knack for comedy. Her reaction to getting to be a senior with the group and his happiness for her is infectious.
There’s plenty about the closing moments (pre-Lydia flash forward) to love, including a small but moving nod to the characters no longer on the show. Even allowing recent newbies such as Parish (Ryan Kelly) moments of growth are well done.
I can’t say I’m sold completely on the villains yet, if only because the medically-enhanced, Frankenstein-like werewolves are cool aesthetically, but they seem tailor-made to end up once again servicing the shows need to be bigger than it is.
The ending promises a dire season ahead (Stiles fans, make sure to have your fingers crossed), with characters seemingly being maimed, hunted, or leaving town, so here’s hoping that what Lydia remembers can either be changed or wasn’t what actually came to be.
Either way, I’m excited by the fresh start the show seems to be taking with a reinvigorated energy.
Tune back in tomorrow, where I’ll have a review up for episode two, airing Tuesday, June 30th. The remainder of the season will air on Mondays as per usual.