I traffic in a blogger gray area because I choose to stay on the periphery of advance press on shows I really like due to a supreme, extreme aversion to spoilers. So, while I like to cover shows, I may not be 110% well-informed. Case in point #1: this season of Teen Wolf is going to have 20 episodes. I did not know that, or I’d forgotten it. Case in point #2: Roughly the first ten episodes will all be a flashback to the events of the second half (if showrunner Jeff Davis was being honest).
I DID NOT KNOW THAT AND I DO NOT LIKE. I don’t want to know that the end is already a foregone conclusion. The flash forward / flashback plot device is probably my least favorite in TV and film, second only to love geometry. If I like where a show is, I really don’t want a preview of it all going to shit. But that’s exactly what we get at the end of the first hour of “Creatures of the Night.”
We begin with Lydia confined to Eichen House and then wind back to Scott and Stiles desperately trying to gather the group to get to the school for some kind of super-secret senior ritual. It’s not immediately clear that the opener is not in the same timeline. Scott and Stiles are out in the woods, looking at maps for potential college cities while still trying to rein in Liam, who is chained to a tree behind them, from randomly wolfing out. Malia has reconciled with her notPeter dad while waiting for word that she passed summer school, and Kira is stuck with her parents in a traffic jam as a mysterious storm gathers.
Parrish is sent into the field when he hissy fits about desk duty and gets way more than he bargained for when some sort of wolf hybrid breaks out of a wall and tries to drain his life force — and he’s also looking for Scott. Scott is excited about senior year, but Stiles is wound up about keeping the band together to an infinity degree because he’s worried about all of them going their separate ways.
When the creature who attacked Parrish finds Scott and Kira (who have has a swoony rain-soaked reunion in the middle of a traffic jam), Liam leaps in to help, and so does a second wolf, Theo, who says he knew Scott and Stiles back in 4th grade, but Stiles is immediately mistrusting of him. Scott is attacked, and drained, and then he sort of reboots and tells the creature to get away. It does, and then retreats to a lair with some Raiders of the Lost Ark / Captain America looking helmeted scientists who kill him.
At the school, Lydia ushers them all into the library for the Senior Scribe, during which they sign the shelves in the library with their initials. Everybody takes their turn and then Scott goes up, and he signs SM and then immediately below it, AA. And I got very teary. Who knew? They agree Allison would have been there with them and Lydia says she is.
Then we’re back to the opener and Lydia essentially has flash forwards of everyone’s demise, or precarious predicament which would indicate immediate demise.
In “Parasomnia,” we meet Tracy, a senior with night terrors, and Lydia and Parrish investigate but miss that she is actually her own terror — as the latest subject of the scientists.
Scott decides on a real world goal and buckles down to study AP science so he can be a veterinarian, which sort of alarms Kira and Lydia, and later on Kira isn’t wholly reassuring when he admits he worries he isn’t smart enough.
Scott and Stiles quiz Theo and he passes, but Stiles is still piqued because his dad’s signatures don’t match, and at the end of the hour we see Theo break the hand of the man whom I’m guessing is a stand in for his dad? Also, Liam finds a silver necklace in a trap when they’re tailing Theo, but he doesn’t realize he saw it even though we did. And he finally comes clean to his BFF that he’s a werewolf after Theo wolf chases them into the school and Liam turns and roars at him.
And that’s where we find ourselves. Like I said, I’m not at all psyched that all of our players are being set up for some sort of doom, because it shades the whole season. I wish I hadn’t been told that, but I’d have also been trying to figure out why Lydia was back in Eichen, so it’s a compromise, I guess.
I don’t want to know ahead of time that everything we’re going through with this characters is all for naught because they’re essentially doomed anyway. That’s a gamble that assumes your audience is interested enough to find out the why without turning off the show entirely because it looks like they’re all going to die anyway. I doubt that is actually what is going to happen, but it feels like being toyed with. I’m in the middle area of that gamble because I’m watching for the cast.
Speaking of the cast, there were some saving grace moments. Lydia confides in Parrish, while they’re staking out Tracy’s house at midnight, that she could have graduated last year and she only came back for one class (and her friends, obviously, and maybe Parrish, too?). While it’s lovely of her to stay, I think her mom would have tried really hard to shoot that down.
Melissa comes home to change for her shift and is having a one-sided conversation with Scott that tells us money is still tight until she hilariously realizes she’s talking to an empty house.
Stiles thinks something is up with his dad and then finally figures out that he took off his wedding ring (to date Melissa?). It’s a sweet moment about moving on, and it also reminds his dad to trust him when he says something isn’t right with Theo. His dad tells him to wait Theo out because if he is up to something, he’ll make a mistake.
When Stiles is frustrated that nobody believes him, he rails at Scott, who throws Derek at him as a time he was wrong, and Stiles comes right back with the fact he was right about Peter. He slams his hand on the Jeep, and Scott tells him he could have broken it. Stiles is defiant he didn’t, and Scott takes his hand in his own anyway and pulls the pain out, and some of the anger, too, and they’re quiet. I love them.
There’s also a cute scene in the opener where Stiles is running through possible schools and when one of the choices involves steep hills, he says that won’t work for the Jeep and Scott’s response is, “You’re bringing her?” Stiles defiantly reminds him that nobody will be left behind.
As for the big bad again after Scott in some way because he’s a special Alpha, it again means he’s endangering his friends. Deaton had sort of warned Scott that things are rarely all good or all bad, they have to swing back to balance, and Kira’s mom tells her a tale of storms that conceal a dangerous arrival when they’re stuck in the storm and traffic in the opener.
It’s an interesting dynamic that whatever it is that makes Scott so special also makes him a magnet for things that will try to kill his friends. There’s no ensemble show without all these folks, but I wonder if whatever the end game is, whenever it is, if Scott will have to go it alone for a while to protect the people he loves. They make him who he is, absolutely, but at what point is he too toxic to stay them?
We’re a goodly while away from that, but it’s crossed my mind with the flash forward (dammit). Here’s an extended sneak peek of the new season. Teen Wolf airs at 10/9c on MTV in the US and 10/7p on MTV Canada.
Photo and Video Courtesy of MTV