Teen Wolf review – 2×12: ‘Master Plan’

Courtesy of MTV via IsaacLahey Tumblr

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.

Courtesy of MTV

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’).

Other Observations:

  • 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

Best Lines:

  • 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

About cinephilactic

cinephilactic is a university contract instructor in Film Studies. He is an avid TV watcher, particularly science-fiction, fantasy and drama series. His favourite shows currently airing on TV include The Good Wife, Breaking Bad, Justified, Hannibal, Game Of Thrones and a smattering of shows on The CW. He has a tendency to "hate-watch" particular shows and likes to think that his sarcastic voice comes through in his reviews, though sometimes he's just being bitchy

5 thoughts on “Teen Wolf review – 2×12: ‘Master Plan’

  1. I am very pleased with the season finale episode. It was intriguiging and I loved the cliff hanger. The thought of this mysterious alpha pack already in Beacon Hills is very scary and enticing. Nobody knows what the pack’s intentions are, whether they are good or evil. Boyd and Erica were thinking about joining another pack, well they got it. I have a feeling this alpha pack is going to be very dangerous. The safest one so far is Isaac whose left with Derek and Peter, now. Derek and the rest of them beter rescue Boyd and Erica from this pack.

    • I’ll agree it was pretty amusing that there really IS another wolf pack since we just thought that they were foolish and got suckered in by the Argents last week. That was well done

  2. Cons of Finale:

    My first thought after Scott revealed his plan was: yeah right. That sounds like something cooked up by Stiles, NOT Scott. He’s such a potato there’s NO reason he would ever plan something so devious, so it had to something Deaton told him to do because lets face it, this is the kid who thought Stiles meant “bestiality” instead of “bestiary.” It pained me more than a little this season how they backed off Stiles being such a BAMF. I understand he’s the lone human (well, Lydia is also merely human apparently but she’s was busy being crazy and Peter’s Puppet so she had her own issues) in the wolf packs, thereby the most fragile, but he handled himself fairly well all S1 and first half of S2. Suddenly he’s relegated to being just the comedic gold sidekick who just gets paralyzed A LOT for the last half of the season? And getting beaten up by an old man, even if he’s a hunter, who was clearly disease-ridden in some capacity? That’s salt in the wound. Hell, that’s even more ass-backwards than Allison’s sudden transformation from kickass damsel in distress to Katniss Everdeen before going back to the weepy “I’m so sorry” lovelorn girl in the last few minutes of the finale.

    I never thought Jackson was meant to die because Gerard obviously knew what the second stage of the Kanima was (notice how unsurprised he was that Jackson was still kicking – he always meant to use him to kill everyone). Him gutting himself on the Lacrosse field served two purposes: a) jump-started the cocooning phase for his winged butterfly form (which is weird since that’s not normally a reptilian trait, but whatever) and b) was sufficient distraction from the kidnapping of Stiles. It was obvious from the moment they mentioned the Kanima was a werewolf with issues, that the writers were setting up his transformation; hell, Jackson being a beta with near Alpha power (hence the blue eyes ala Derek in S1) isn’t surprising either, though I dislike him enough to wish he was the pack bitch instead. I actually thought they chose the wrong character with the power of “true love” for Jackson – Danny would’ve been a better choice to remind him of his humanity since he has since the beginning, but I guess they didn’t want him to in on the Beacon Hills secret just yet (gotta save something for S3 after all).

    Pros of Finale:

    Also, I think they did reveal a lot about Dr. Deaton – he was an advisor to the Hale Pack back in the day. Given his magical/supernatural knowledge, I wouldn’t be surprised if they turned out to be the “Teen Wolf” version of “Buffy” Watchers – maybe Druids (given the Celtic inspiration of Derek’s tattoo and the Englishness of his last name), or witches (I definitely hope there’s more of that kind of magic so we can see Stiles with literal powers – after all, we don’t know much about his mother’s background). It’s fantastic how they’ve set up this triumvirate of power – Wolves, Hunters, and Others (whatever Deaton and the counselor turn out to be) – to explore next season.

    I am conflicted about Peter’s resurrection because it kind of negates all the trouble they went through last season to get rid of him, but at the same time he’s what Stiles would be if he were an older insane werewolf. He’s delightfully witty and sarcastic who always has a plan within a plan (see his expression when he was watching the Kanima and Derek fight – you could tell he was seriously hoping to see smack-down-kill of his nephew). Hopefully Derek will learn from him how to be a better leader and negotiator for those encroaching Alphas, but also stay far enough away from Peter to not drink the Koolaid and forget Deaton’s advice. After all, Peter is only partially insane not psychotic now and can take on Derek’s badassness any day.

    • I would be totally on board with Jackson coming back the first time if the Kanima had looked ANY different, but there were no wings, so that frustrated me. I so agree that he and Danny should just hook up and be together. I know some people think that the show is already catering to its queer audience, but why is that a bad thing? It’s already one of the more gay friendly shows on TV!

      As for Peter, my hope is that they turn him into the “Spike” (from Buffy) character. He’s still a bit of a nemesis, but grudgingly works with the heroes because he has to protect his own a*s. If nothing else, these last few episodes proved how good Ian Bohen’s comedic timing is as an actor, so it’d suck to put him back in the ground now!

      Thanks for the insights :)

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