Teen Wolf‘s penultimate episode of the season brings the actual sinister plot front and center with Kate’s attempts to bring Scott down. But what should have been the focus of the entire season is crammed into this one episode, which results in a messy, disjointed experience.
“Promise to the Dead” ties up a few loose ends, like Scott’s bag of money, and completely ignores several others, like the Benefactor plot. It opens with the sudden and jarring introduction of the Arkham Asylum-esque wing of Eichen House, to which Deaton evidently returns various escaped supernatural patients. While he’s there, he attempts to figure out Kate and Peter’s evil plans by speaking to an affably evil British patient with a grody third eye. Deaton ends up in some kind of magical coma where he apparently learns some stuff and then disappears from the narrative until the end of the episode.
While Deaton is mentally occupied, Derek and Braeden are woken by a screaming Lydia at their door, a scene without further explanation. It’s clear that Derek is going to die or almost die, but it’s hard to care when that plot point hasn’t been given the gravity it’s due.
Scott’s mother discovers the bag of cash Scott has stashed under the bed and gently confronts him about it. I love that Scott and Mrs. McCall have a more honest communication now that she’s in the know, and their conversation about what to do with the assassin blood money leads to some decent parenting moments. Later, Scott takes the money back to Derek, who basically tells him to keep it since it’s technically Peter’s cash. We finally learn more about Derek’s financial situation, including that he owns his building and that he’s probably rolling in life insurance money.
Scott and Kira return to Derek’s apartment later for a romantic date, only to have it violently interrupted by Kate and her Berserkers. They stomp Kira and Scott into the ground and then spirit them away to Mexico, where Kate intends to turn Scott into a Berserker so he can be poetically killed by his own friends. It’d be a better plan if anyone could actually manage to take down a Berserker, but as of yet there still doesn’t seem to be an obvious way to do that. If Scott does become a Berserker (becoming the monster he fears he is, I guess), his friends better watch out.
While everyone else gets kidnapped or marked for death, Stiles and Liam prepare for the lacrosse game. Liam is still having hallucinations of the Berserkers, even seeing them as he tries to sleep. His increasing distress concerns his friend Mason, who is basically Danny but even less in-the-know. Mason, like Danny, is incredibly loyal though, so he tries to help his friend even if he doesn’t know why Liam is acting so weird. When Liam chokes on the lacrosse field, it’s not Mason, but Brett who comes to his aid with some tough love. Brett admires Scott after his life saving maneuver last week, and tells Liam he’s lucky to be part of his pack.
Stiles, meanwhile, attempts to find out what happened to Scott (who has since been kidnapped). Beyond that, he spends most of his time with his dad and Malia, who apparently lives at his house now. Or something. I like Malia, but at this point I wonder if I’m just supposed to stop noticing that she’s evidently homeless or that all of her teachers treat her like she’s an idiot instead of getting her the help she needs. Just a few scenes where she’s shown to be in tutoring (Lydia does’t count) or she mentions her adopted father would go a long way.
“Promise to the Dead” feels like a series of vignettes that don’t actually form a completed episode. There’s Lydia, who shows up to scream at people. There’s Chris Argent, who gets stabbed with a piece of rebar by Peter and left for dead. There’s Parrish, who shows up to supernaturally rip that rebar out of Chris (I guess we’re saving his supernatural identity for the finale). None of these scenes really mesh with the others, and some of them feel like complete afterthoughts. The Benefactor plotline is alluded to with only one line, which means the resolution is either going to be crammed into the finale or not addressed at all.
Ultimately, I’m disappointed. Everything seems very vague and confusing, with plotlines like Derek’s impending doom being treated like it’s nothing, and the plot that took up most of the season being put on the backburner for Kate’s convoluted plan to kill Scott. Season 4 started out pretty promising, but it’s more or less totally fallen apart by this point.
I will say that there are certain aspects of the season that I love. The new characters, while no replacement for Allison or Isaac, are pretty great. Liam is a cute kid, and I’m happy to see more from Satomi. My beloved Parrish’s identity has been a major driving force for my continued enjoyment of the show.
Still, Teen Wolf is going to need to pull itself together for the finale and beyond. You can do better Teen Wolf. I know you can.
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