TV Reviewer Katie Young wolfs down episode seven of Teen Wolf’s fourth season ‘Weaponized’…
Oscar Wilde once posited that life imitates art and, with the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone making headlines recently, it seems that life also imitates supernatural teen dramas, as Beacon Hills was gripped by a weaponised virus this week.
We open in the lab of a mad scientist, where yet another previously unknown werewolf is coughing up black goo and generally expiring messily in a quarantined hospital bed. Impervious to his suffering, our villain du jour sits listening to an instructional cassette from The Benefactor, just like the one Scott and Stiles got from Violet and Garrett. The wolf gasps his last and the assassin is revealed to be none other than James Urbaniak, aka Rusty Venture from The Venture Brothers, and he’s enjoying a cup of tea…a detail which will be important later on.
Scott and Stiles are agonising about whether to tell Derek about the half a million dollars currently sitting under Scott’s bed, because some of the money is Peter’s. And everyone knows stealing is okay as long as the rightful owner of the swag is a dick. Malia bursts in and tells them she and Derek found Satomi’s pack in the woods and that they are all dead.
Meanwhile Derek rushes the injured Braeden to hospital, and I can almost smell the angry, rough, mistrustful sex they are bound to have at some point this season though my screen. Smells like wet dog. Luckily for them, Mama McCall is on duty and standing by to help all the non-human residents of Beacon Hills, including the guy who spends an inappropriate amount of time around her teenage son in the school locker room.
Over at the animal clinic, Satomi attacks Deaton with a deadly blade, but she’s not trying to kill him. She’s just getting her werewolf jollies. Satomi has brought Deaton a diseased wolf from her pack, but because Deaton has woefully little faith in his own expertise, even though he’s actually the most expert expert that ever experted, he suggests they take the victim to Mama McCall. Who hurt you, Deaton? WHO HURT YOU?
The next morning, Scott, Stiles, Kira and Malia are taking a PSAT exam and because I am so old, I don’t know what that is. For some reason, Rusty Venture is an invigilator. Seriously, why has no one in this town heard of routine background checks? Coach Finstock is late and Mrs. Martin finds him slumped over his desk. She assumes he has fallen off the wagon after fifteen years of sobriety and gone on a massive bender on school grounds. That’s what friends are for. But when another pupil faints in the exam with a fever and blistered skin, she locks down the school and calls the Centre for Disease Control.
Scott overhears the call with his wolf ears, and I have to feel bad for the guy and his hopes for graduation. These kids have zero chance of going to college. Stiles wonders if there is Smallpox in the school, and Rusty Venture tells him that it was eradicated. This is where I remember that they have just found some Smallpox kicking around a fridge in Maryland, so the CDC actually has one of only two known samples in its possession (Russia has the other), and weaponised Smallpox is actually a genuine possibility right now. And because I have had very little sleep this week, I decide that JEFF DAVIS IS A BANSHEE FOR REAL! I’m serious, you guys. We’re all screwed.
Melissa & Derek wake up Braeden and she tells them that the virus, not poison, killed Satomi’s pack, and sure enough back at the school, Scott, Kira and Malia are infected and having trouble controlling their preternatural powers.
Over at the school, Kira, her dad, and Stiles try to hide Scott and Malia in the Hale vault. They realise there must be a secret entrance concealed within the school, and sure enough, they find Derek’s back passage. What? Oh stop. At least now we know how Derek keeps popping up in the locker rooms unchecked. Scott asks Malia to open the vault with her claws and she agrees on the condition that they tell her what they’ve been hiding from her. Malia says she already knows she’s on the list and asks how much she’s worth. The boys tell her she’s worth $4m, but neglect to mention she is also Peter Hale’s daughter, a fact I had forgotten too until they reminded me about it in the pre-credit sequence. Malia is fine with the price on her head as Scott and Kira are both worth more so will be killed first. I have to admit, I love Malia’s gleeful misanthropy.Lydia is also having issues with control. She has Meredith’s possessions at the lake house and is trying to contact her, initially for help, but then it seems simply to apologise for not being able to save her and her terrible barnet. Holland Roden gets a special shout out this week for her lovely performance here. It brought a lump to my throat (at least I hope it was the scene and not early symptoms of Smallpox). She fails to make contact, but finds a spooky photograph of Meredith standing inside the lake house.
Now, call me a sour wolf, but it’s this over-reliance on coincidence and dumb luck to drive plot which undermines the finer moments of Teen Wolf. While Stiles plays detective again at the school, realising that Coach Finstock is the only infected adult, and that the virus is in the ink used to fingerprint their test papers, his brilliance is lost in the contrived and super-convenient solution of the tea. Although Dylan O’Brien turns in excellent performances week after week, we are not invested in what should be a heart-breaking scene between Scott and Stiles, trapped on either side of the vault door, while Scott, Malia, and Kira fade away, because we already know the antidote is in the room with them. It’s all just a bit too easy.Deaton and his inadequacy issues autopsy Satomi’s dead wolf, and Deaton tells Melissa it’s a form of weaponised canine distemper and that Scott will die if they don’t find an antidote. Satomi, however, seems to be immune. Derek and Satomi decide that now, in the midst of a time-sensitive crisis, is a good time to reminisce about the terrible smelling tea that Satomi used to bring Derek’s mother. Tea, it transpires, that can cure weaponised canine distemper, and which Derek just happens to be storing in the vault where Scott and co. are trapped.
Kudos for Papa McCall shooting Dr. Venture in the head to save Stiles though, and I enjoyed Satomi’s Matrix-style bullet dodging when she is ambushed in the hospital. Malia too is on the warpath, having discovered that she is actually a Hale, and that Stiles has been lying to her. Will she succumb to the dubious charms of Peter Hale? Can we stomach the levels of creepiness that will entail, given that Uncle Peter makes sweet, sweet eye-sex to anything with a pulse, and we’ve no reason to suspect his own daughter will be an exception? Same time next week, kids!