TV reviewer Katie Young howls about the fifth episode of Teen Wolf’s fourth season ‘I.E.D’…
This week in Beacon Hills we open with yet another new supernatural being, in the cute blonde form of werewolf Carrie, being chased around the school grounds by Violet the teen assassin. Carrie appears to have carelessly lost a hand and despite hiding on one of the school’s buses (which must be pretty steeped in various supernatural bodily fluids by now), she is found by Violet but manages to escape, only to be picked up by Violet’s equally deadly boyfriend, Garrett the Psycho Ken Doll. And so ends Carrie’s visit to Beacon Hills.
Cut to the cop shop, where Stiles is patiently recapping the events of the season so far to his dad (and us). He explains that there was an assassin with no mouth known as The Mute, who wiped out the wendigo family, and was himself killed by Peter Hale, and that they also have two dead werewolves – Carrie and party-goer Demarco, who got decapitated outside Lydia’s lake house last week by Violet and her glowing cheese-wire of doom.
Speaking of the lake house, Lydia is still there, under the watchful gaze of Malia and Kira, looking adorably tragic and trying to fathom the cypher keys which will unlock the remaining names on the supernatural hit-list. Considering the first one was ALLISON, I might have tried a few variations on the theme of ‘deceased pals’ rather than stare blankly at a turntable for countless hours, but then again I’m not a fledgling banshee.
Meanwhile, back at the sheriff’s office, Scott and Stiles have a theory. They believe that the number of names on Lydia’s list will add up to 117 – the exact number of millions stolen from the Hale family vault. That’s $1m per head, to be paid by the mysterious Benefactor. They also surmise that Demarco the deceased werewolf was only at the party to deliver a beer keg, and that someone at the party must have called him with the express intention of separating his hirsute swede from his shoulders. These kids are better than good. Why does Stilinski keep deputies on the payroll when he’s got a son with mad detective skillz?
The next morning, the high school is buzzing as it’s the day of the big lacrosse game. Kira’s dad collars her in the corridor and poor sweet Kira spills the beans about the murders and the wendigo, the stolen fortune and the list before she realises he is asking her about her new place on the lacrosse team. Doh. Good job she didn’t tell him she actually got to first base with Scott recently too. If the man is het up about her playing in a lacrosse game after his wife nearly wiped out the entire town with the spirit of an evil fox, he can’t be expected to maintain perspective on tonsil hockey.
Over at the gym Liam, Scott’s accidental protégé Beta with anger management issues, is pumping iron with his gay, black best friend Mason. Full marks for diversity. Not many marks for subtlety. Mason thinks Liam may be taking steroids, and because Liam can’t seem to catch a break, his post-workout shower is interrupted by Derek Hale who breaks his lacrosse stick and pins him up against the tiles by his throat apropos of nothing.
At this point I get nostalgic for the locker room rough-housing of seasons past. Remember Derek and Stiles? Scott and Jackson? All that macho posturing. Good times. There was so very much half-naked choking and wrestling in the first season and I, for one, applaud its return. But the burning question we must ask ourselves is why Derek Hale – a man in his twenties with no affiliation to the school – is allowed to keep popping up in locker rooms and manhandling the students? I know Stilinski’s got a lot on his plate, but he has deputies these days. Surely that sort of behaviour calls for a caution at the very least?
It’s okay though, because Derek doesn’t actually break Liam’s stick, it’s a spare, and he doesn’t choke him all that much. It’s a test to see if Liam will respond to commands from his Alpha when the red mist descends, and Scott does manage to talk him down before he goes full wolf. He’s rewarded with a blinding smile from Derek – rarer than rubies and twice as pretty – who tells him he will be a good Alpha. Still no one questions why Scott had to lift Liam off the hospital roof with his teeth.
Stiles is missing the retro shower violence because he’s sitting in Coach’s economic class looking at police pictures of a murder victim like it ain’t no thing. Coach Finstock is understandably perturbed by this but rather than, say, kicking him out of class, calling his father and the school psychiatrist and recommending some long term treatment, Coach simply tells him to put the photos away. Probably because this is the kind of school where adult wolf-men have unlimited access to the boys’ locker room. But while Coach Bobby is pointing a lacrosse stick in Stiles’ face to make his point, our boy wonder notices the tip is the same shape as the puncture wounds on Carrie’s chest and, therefore, the assassin is probably a lacrosse-playing student.
We cut to Violet and Garrett in the science lab, lacing his custom made lacrosse stick-cum-dagger with a rare form of wolfsbane. They are like a murderous, interracial Brangelina. Violet wants to go after Scott, because as an Alpha, he will be worth more money to them. This totally negates the boys’ theory that there will be 117 names on the list, surely? Maybe they really should spend less time sniffing around corpses and more time in maths class. Garrett insists they stick to the plan as Scott is a stone cold BAMF these days. Outside, the rival team from Liam’s old school arrive for the game. Brett, King Jock of the opposition, taunts Liam who starts to wolf out, but Scott and Stiles manage to get him into a nice cold shower for a spot of wrestling until he calms down. Is it my birthday? Liam explains he has IED or Intermittent Explosive Disorder which Wikipedia assures me is a thing that kids get diagnosed with these days, and not a butt thing. Liam also confirms that Garrett ordered the beer keg from Demarco. Uh-oh!
Back at the lacrosse game, Scott suggests Liam sit this one out, but Coach is having none of that. Kira also makes her field début, only to be sent to the bench again immediately for being a glory hunter. Poor over-enthusiastic Kira. It’s worth noting that Stiles, having been recently possessed by a supernatural entity, is probably feeling vulnerable and powerless during the match, as demonstrated by his “I’ll just try to play lacrosse” comment. He is now a mere human in a town of monsters. It seems a little strange that Scott is not more protective of him at this point. Maybe it’s because he knows he has the Alpha power to come to Stiles’ rescue, or perhaps he is distracted by the events happening around him. Maybe he assumes Stiles is safe from the assassin because he’s not technically a supernatural. However, it seems a little off colour to me that Scott wouldn’t try to keep Stiles away from the scene of battle.Meanwhile, Lydia is having no luck at the lake house, so she and Malia decide to enlist the help of Meredith, the banshee from Eichen House asylum (she of the spectacular Art Garfunkel hair). They send out some kind of special psychic banshee signal, and Deputy Parrish finds Meredith, escaped, on her way to find Lydia and brings her into the station. John Dillinger ain’t got shit on Meredith. Derek and Papa Argent check out the Hale vault, looking for clues to Kate’s whereabouts. Derek shows Papa A the Triskelion and asks what he intends to do with Kate when he finds her. Argent confirms he’ll put her somewhere safe, like werewolf prison, and it’s a nice reminder that both men loved her once upon a time. Derek explains that he needs to find her as since she de-aged him (dirty gurl), his sense of smell has diminished and his eyes have changed colour for the billionth time. He’s losing his wolfy powers.
At the sheriff’s station, Meredith and her amazing hair give Lydia a phone number to call for help which is only five digits long. Instead of trying to dial it, Lydia becomes irate and shouty (a call-back to the first season Mean Girl she was) but Meredith insists that’s the full number. Malia suggests it might be a code instead of a phone number and lo! The numbers correspond to letters which spell out ‘Aiden’. Remember folks, Lydia is a genius! To be fair though, as Lydia herself points out, while the were-creatures can turn their powers on and off, she is just plagued by voices she can’t control. Poor Lydia. At least her hair is always flawless. The next section of the ‘dead pool’ contains some surprising names, including Kira’s kitsune mother and Lydia’s latest potential boy toy, Deputy Parrish…
The lacrosse game comes to a head when Liam and rival twink, Brett, clash hard, breaking Liam’s arm. Scott heals him and Brett is taken off the field. Scott sees Garrett retract his blade and thinks Liam is the Benefactor’s next target. But Stiles receives a message from Lydia saying Liam isn’t on the list but Brett is. Sure enough, Scott runs to the locker room to find Brett on the floor, injured but alive. Violet attempts to bag her an Alpha, but Scott is impervious to her magical glowing cheese wire. He knocks her out and tells Stiles to call his dad.
And look who’s back! The Calaveras clan ventures out of Mexico to track down Chris Argent and tell him Braeden is missing, presumed kidnapped by Kate Argent. Mama C takes the time to remind Papa Argent of the hunters’ code, citing Allison’s death as reason enough to hunt down his sister. Will he stand with Derek and the pack and spare his wayward sibling, or will he revert to his zero-tolerance, monster-slicing ways?
This episode tied a lot of loose threads together, and while the recapping was a tad heavy-handed, it did serve to anchor the narrative. This series seems to be revisiting some of the themes and events from the first season, which I like. And it gets bonus points for shower-time horseplay. However, the plot still relies heavily on guess-work, coincidence, and glossing over things which pulls me out of the story and stops me truly investing in Teen Wolf. The storylines often feel a bit ad hoc and rushed, and new characters underdeveloped. The lack of Mama McCall so far this year is disappointing. I am intrigued to know how she will feel about the fact Scott has created a Beta of his own. And still no sign of Danny or mention of Isaac. It will be interesting to find out what manner of creature Parrish turns out to be, and whether the Benefactor is a familiar face, but the other new characters feel like inferior facsimiles of some we have lost previously. While the show should be commended for continuing to champion diversity, as we reach the middle of the season next week I hope to see a bit more flesh on those bones.