Teen Wolf Episode Review: 4×01 “The Dark Moon” and 4×02 “117”


The good news: Teen Wolf is back to deliver us from the summer slump with another fun-filled season. The bad news: It still doesn’t make any sense.

That’s right, Teen Wolf is back, and it’s brought with it a hefty dose of classic Beacon Hills wackiness. “The Dark Moon” began in Mexico, with Scott and his pack attempting to buy Derek’s freedom back from those Mexican hunters who spent some of last season torturing folks for unexplained reasons. After revealing that Crazy Were-Something Kate Argent is the one who actually has him, the hunters engaged in more needless torture, forcing sadistic choices from Kira and Lydia, and pumping Scott full of electricity until he recalled memories he wouldn’t even have. And then they just let Scott and his gang go. Uh, lesson learned I guess?

Suck it up, Scott! It builds character!

Suck it up, Scott! It builds character!

With help from Braeden, the tough-as-nails bounty hunter, the kids managed to rescue Derek from the tomb where Kate had stashed him. Except that Derek, through some mystical moon magic or something, had turned into a Teen Wolf©. Creepy, Kate. Just creepy.

This development launched “117”, where the pack learned that Derek was not only a gawky adolescent in body, but in mind. With no recollection of the Hale fire, and no apparent concern for the changes in the world around him, Derek showed us a glimpse of the painfully earnest youngster he used to be.  While Stiles spent the episode playing babysitter to Derek in a hilarious reminder of their Season 1-2 dynamic (Cousin Miguel!), Scott and Malia tracked down their token evil teammate, Peter, to find out how to help their friend.

Teen angst! The worst kind of angst!

Teen angst! The worst kind of angst!

Meanwhile, Kate fetched Derek and convinced him to take her to his family’s vault so she could have access to an artifact that supposedly grants self-control. Of course, when the gang went after her, they found opposition in the form of the Berserkers, vicious monstrosities with a really grody sense of fashion. While Peter ran off to stop Kate’s nefarious plan, Scott and Malia fought the Berserkers. It was a battle of the curb stomp variety, with not even Suddenly Swordswoman!Kira able to quell the Berserker’s reign of terror. Only Derek, who transformed back into his old self mid-battle, was able to hold his own against them. When the dust settled, Derek and Peter learned that Kate had disappeared, and they’d been robbed of their secret money stash by a shadowy figure. Turned into a teen, creeped on by his murderous ex, and robbed all in a span of 24 hours? Is Derek ever going to have a good day?

Hateful, tbh.

Hateful, tbh.

Teen Wolf has always stood out with its use of uncommon mythology, and the Berserkers look like they’ll be a mysterious and formidable foe, horror reject appearance notwithstanding. It’s unclear on whose side they’re on, but I imagine it’ll have something to do with the mystery robber.

It was good to see the return of some of last season’s characters, like Scott’s dad, and Deputy Parrish, who justifies his existence on this show just by being devastatingly handsome. Sheriff Stilinski delighted with his continued attempts to understand the supernatural world. Noticeably absent was Danny, who dropped a bombshell last season when he casually revealed he knew all about werewolves. Come back soon, Danny. We miss you.

The usual plot holes and quirks apply, with the location of the Hale vault being – where else – under the high school, and Malia inexplicably being in the gang’s grade level despite her developmental issues.

I like Malia, even with her instant recovery and weak character building. Her offhand comments about eating the others or leaving them to die are strangely charming, and I love that she’s forming a badass lady trifecta with Kira and Lydia. She and Kira (who continues to be the cutest person ever) aren’t replacements for Allison, but they help ease the pain.

I’m not, however, particularly thrilled with Malia and Stiles being a thing. It started creepy, and it’s still kind of creepy. Neither of them are (or should be, based on the events of last season) in a state of mental health where a romantic relationship is optimal, and Malia’s attachment to him is kind of animalistic.

For all my complaints about Teen Wolf, I love it fiercely. I’m totally on board for the new season and all of the silliness that comes with it. It’s got new plots and new characters, and I’m excited to see where they get taken.

Did you love the first two episodes? Hate them? What did you think about the Berserkers? Malia? Sound off in the comments.

All images and properties are copyright of MTV.

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