It’s season finale time on MTV’s Teen Wolf and the canine anthem “Who Let The Dogs Out” might be an appropriate anthem for the episode as we’re introduced to yet more lycanthropes and the episode in general is a bit of a dog.
Let’s bitch it out…It’s disappointing to come to the end of Teen Wolf‘s sophomore season and finish with this finale. After the elimination of teen menace Matt (Stephen Lunsford) and the reveal of Gerard (Michael Hogan), aka Grandpa Slayer, as the Big Bad in 2×10 ‘Fury’, I’d hoped that these last two episodes would bring our core characters into a position of moral conflict. Unlike Kate last year, whom no one save Argent (JR Bourne) was really attached to, this year everyone was hating on everyone. Derek (Tyler Hoechlin) is public enemy #1 for the Argent family for Kate and Victoria’s (Eaddy Mays) deaths while Grandpa Argent has been threatening Scott (Tyler Posey), Stiles (Dylan O’Brien) and the other Scoobies for weeks now. Throw Jackson’s (Colton Haynes) unpredictable Kanima and Ian Bohen’s revived Peter Hale into the mix and we had enough combustible characters to ignite a rather large fire.
So why does the final feel like it goes out with a whimper rather than a spectacular send-off? Principally because the show doesn’t have the courage to follow through on what it’s been building up to, namely the death of a main character. I’m referring here to Jackson and while it’s debatable whether others felt that this was the direction Teen Wolf was heading, as I saw it Jackson was effectively killed twice in two episodes: last week in 2×11 ‘Battlefield’ when he stabbed himself on the lacrosse field and again tonight after being impaled in a totally-not-homoerotic sandwich by Derek and Peter. So despite all of this, the show can’t bear to let go of Haynes or they don’t feel that they have enough werewolves because Jackson (in a hilarious naked-in-the-headlights rebirth scene) returns as a wolf. With this the show not only signals that it has deliberately mislead us for a minimum of two episodes (if not more), it also dramatically lowers the life or death stakes as if to say “don’t worry fans, we’ll never kill off an actual main character. Only guest stars need to be afraid!” From this moment, no matter how dire the situation, we’ll never again have the same concern because we’ll know the show pulls its dramatic punches and is unlikely to kill off a core cast member.
In addition to this the conclusion to the epic tale of vengeance perpetuated by Grandpa Argent is dealt with so casually and dismissively that it feels laughably underwhelming. So Scott switched his dumb pills and the effect of being bitten by Derek’s Alpha bite causes him to cough up black oil/blood just like Jackson did at the end of the second season premiere. I’m unsure if this is meant to be an awesome moment wherein we realize that the show tricked us and catches us back up via flashback, but it feels a) uninspired and b) like a cop-out. So the actually awesome dramatic potential the show was building towards – that someone was going to step up and the kill this crazy old man – is instead put-off onto a couple of poisoned pills. Wouldn’t it have been more meaningful to have Allison (Crystal Reed) realize that she must be the one to put him down? Or have Argent or Scott kill Gerard and widen the divide in their relationship with Allison? Anything but this cop-out would have been better. The fact that he slinks away into the darkness during Jackson’s return is even more groan-inducing. Not only is the show unwilling to kill its heroes, it won’t even kill its villains (see also: Peter Hale’s return in 2×09 ‘Party Guessed’).
- Despite my frustrations with the treatment of Jackson and Gerard, I feel very positive about the return of Peter. Not only has he brought a level of malice and duplicity to the proceedings since his return, he provided a lot of comedic relief in this final episode (I especially enjoyed his eye roll at Derek’s dramatic loping entrance)
- One reason I was dismayed that Jackson did return is because his “death” scene was so well handled. I really enjoyed the use of the key from 2×05 ‘Venomous’ as a metaphor for his relationship with Lydia (Holland Roden) – specifically the first time they got busay. The whole scene, including her crying and clutching his body as he falls forward, is appropriately emotional. And then they bring him back to life and it feels like all of it was for nothing
- Congratulations to Scott and Argent for sharing the worst lines of dialogue this season: Scott: “You’re alone.” Argent: “More than you know.” Oh, hi vomit – good to see you again
- Although I spent the majority of the episode wanting to punch Allison in the face for being such an idiot, her use of Isaac (Daniel Sharman) as a human pin-cushion with those wicked blades is pretty bad*ss.
- Less bad*ss are the contributions of Erica (Gage Golightly) and Boyd (Sinqua Walls) who spend half the episode tortured in the Argent’s basement and one of the episode’s Lord of The Rings-length endings surrounded by the new Alpha pack in town (Side note: The Secret Circle did this exact same ending, so perhaps these aren’t Alpha wolves, but witches escaping from a cancelled TV show?)
- While the cliffhanger about a pack of Alphas is enticing, I’m still more interested in the continuing misadventures of Dr. Vet and Mrs. Guidance Counselor. Who the heck are these two and what is their deal? Easily the most fascinating question to come out of S2
- Finally, from my notes on the episode: Jackson is in a body bag, dripping…let’s not read too much into that
- Peter (after Scott defends working with Gerard to protect Melissa Ponzio’s Melissa): “I’m with Scott on this one. Have you seen his mom?” Derek & Scott (simultaneously): “Shut up!”
- Peter (to Derek, incredulously, when he suggests Peter is removing a book from beneath the stairs): “No, it’s a laptop. What century are you from?”
- Peter (hearing the description of Jackson’s cocoon-like shell): “That sounds sufficiently terrifying”
What are your thoughts, Teen Wolf fans? Did the finale work for you, or were you – like me – disappointed by how rote it was? Do you have any theories about the Vet and the Guidance Counselor? Intrigued by the appearance of the Alpha wolf pack? Me, I want to know whether Erica, Boyd and Isaac join the cast full time (especially since Sinqua Walls already got another job). Finally, the biggest question of them all: will Scott get his grades back up so that he can rejoin the lacrosse team and experience more of Coach Finstock’s (Orny Adams) ridiculousness? Hit the comments below for the final time this year!
Teen Wolf has finished its second season run and will return for a supersized third season next summer on MTV