Last week I claimed that “Frayed” was the best Teen Wolf episode ever it seems I spoke too soon because this episode might have been even better, it was certainly more traumatizing. Not that I’m complaining, I want Teen Wolf to keep getting better and for a dramatic television show causing your audience emotional trauma is basically the goal.
After the meet is postponed the cross-country team, as well as Allison and Lydia, are forced to spend the night in a motel that looks at though it belongs in a CSI cold-open. It turns out about as well as you might expect. The werewolves, Scott, Isaac, Boyd and Ethan all suffer from hallucinations that drive them to attempt suicide. It’s left up to Lydia, Allison and Stiles to save the day. Meanwhile Derek gets a little sexual healing from Beacon Hills High’s new English teacher, Jennifer Blake.
There were two seemingly unconnected storylines in this episode. The first was The Shinning-esque horror plot at the suicide hotel and the second was Derek’s recovery process and romantic interlude. I say seemingly unconnected because there is more than likely a very significant reason that these storylines were placed side-by-side but as it stands, with the information we have now, the shift in tone was jarring at times. That said it was nice to see a softer, not to mention sexier, side to everyone’s favourite brooding alpha Derek Hale.
While there were a number of exceptional performances in this episode, it was Tyler Posey (who plays the teen wolf himself, Scott McCall) that stole the show for me. His emotional breakdown, and the beautiful broment between Scott and Stiles, had me in a puddle of tears for far longer than I should probably admit. The powerful moment is also a perfect example of the jarring cuts between the murder motel and Derek’s loft. As a said above, I’m sure there is greater purpose for this but sometimes it’s better to stay in the moment and leave the significant edits for another time.
The other fantastic thing about this episode is that the female characters were in charge of driving the plot forward. Lydia, Allison and even Jennifer were all in the position of power throughout the story. The men had things happen to them, the women actually did things, which is a fabulous reversal of gendered expectations of narrative agency. I also have to give them kudos for a make-out scene between two male characters. I complain about the soap opera dramatics and excessive slow motion but Teen Wolf actually does some seriously cool stuff.
I think it’s pretty safe to say that I enjoyed this episode, if you can call crippling emotional distress enjoying, which I do. Anyway if things are heading the way I think they are this season is going to be amazing and I can’t wait to watch it happen.
Review by Yvonne Popplewell
More of Yvonne’s work can be found at her blog.