June 4, 2013

Mistakes Were Made

To say I've been looking forward to Teen Wolf's return to my television is a massive understatement. I've counted down the days (well, I've followed the show's official Twitter account while they counted down the days but I probably would have done it myself if math weren't so hard); I've fiendishly devoured every spoiler, hint, and set photo; and I've read a lot (a LOT) of fanfic. The lead up to last night felt like the week before summer vacation.

Then, after interminable months of waiting it was here. The season three premiere. And it was...fine, I guess. I mean, I've spent considerable time trying to convince most people I know that Teen Wolf is not the stupid, cheeseball show they think it is and if any of those people decided to jump in and watch last night's episode they will never believe another thing I tell them ever again, but I guess having any sort of credibility is overrated anyway.

If you're wondering what my beef with the episode was, I can only assume you either didn't watch it, don't care much about continuity, or that you're a huge Scott McCall fan in which case you are going to hate me so you might want to see yourself out now because oh my God I do not have a single fuck to give about Scott McCall.

Scott McCall is like a lot of main characters on television in that the show really wants you to think he's the "hero" and therefore brave, selfless, and generally perfect in every way so they tell you that by routinely having other characters just say it outright. What they don't do is have the character behave selflessly or heroically. Based on how he behaves I found Scott dumb, petulant, whiny, smug, childish and selfish through the entirety of the first two seasons. And as season 3 kicked off I have not changed my opinion in the slightest.

Scott's apparently spent the three months since we last saw him in summer school. So he's "smart" now. Which we know because he reads while doing one-arm pull-ups and way over-using the word ephemeral. What he hasn't done is ask Derek any questions about the disappearance of Boyd and Erica. Or try to find Boyd and Erica. Or think about people who are not Allison. He's celebrating his return to school with a tattoo that somehow symbolizes how proud he is of himself for managing to live without dating or seeing Allison for the past three months. While she was out of the country. Which is exactly like celebrating your restraint when you refrain from eating junk food while in a coma. So he gets the tattoo but his super werewolf healing absorbs the ink and the tattoo disappears.

Then a kamakazi deer plows into Lydia's car while she's with Allison and a murder of crows crashes into a classroom and Isaac is almost stolen from the hospital by a particularly ugly alpha who then beats the shit out of Scott until Derek shows up to save him (again. Some more). Once Derek and Scott have gotten Isaac out of the hospital and safely back to The House That MRSA Built to heal him up good and proper, Stiles shows up and is like "oh good, speaking of strange shit BIRDS!" Derek thanks Scott genuinely for helping him rescue Isaac and then politely asks him to leave but Scott's like "wait, there's all this terrible stuff happening to everyone with the almost getting killed and the missing for months and the When Animals Attack shit so can we just be serious for a minute? How did you make your tattoo stay on your skin?"

That's right, kids! In the midst of the creepiest shit since one of his friends turned into a giant murderous lizard, Scott's main concern is getting his important, symbolic tattoo. Selfless, heroic and deep like a puddle to the bitter end, our Scotty.

But while I could go on and on and on (and on and on and on) about how relying on Scott to carry an episode's story, plot and emotional core drastically reduces my enjoyment every time, this time he wasn't even the worst thing about the ep. What bothered me most was that the episode was overly ambitious. They were trying to do way too much to establish the arc for the first half of the season and they sacrificed character, coherence and continuity turning this ep into a muddled mess.

Last season Scott could smell a newly turned Isaac in a locker room full of teenage boys, last night he couldn't sniff out Deucalion's wolfitude when they were alone in an elevator and Deucalion was copping a damn feel.

The new teacher is fine but was maybe given too much screen time because she had literally nothing important to contribute to the story and we still had 300,000 other new characters to meet.  

Melissa McCall was a bright spot in the episode. Now that she's in the know about werewolves and kanima and other things that go bump in the night, she is able to help the hopeless in a number of ways and it is awesome. But you know who doesn't know and therefore can't help? The Sheriff. That remains not at all awesome. Let the Sheriff know what's up, god damn it! Ahem. This is probably my single biggest gripe with Teen Wolf in general because it seems to me the only benefit gained from not sharing information is the convenience of plot devices. Once your friends lives are threatened, tell them what is up. When you have information about what kind of extra werewolves could be in town and feeling murdery, call a meeting and tell everyone. And when you routinely get up to shit that involves destruction of property, dead bodies, and an array of broken laws, having a Sheriff at the ready to cover for you is a VERY GOOD IDEA!

Last but definitely most irritating, introducing seven new characters in one episode was stupid and unnecessary. New teacher? Fine. Mysterious girl rescuing Isaac and dropping cryptic clues about what's to come? Sure. One or two of the Alpha Pack weres? Ok. But Teach, Mystique, and all five members of the AP Crew? Huge waste. We know there will be several alphas but meeting one or two per episode would have given them some time to create several semi-fleshed out characters rather than just a gaggle of random baddies.

Whether it was a consequence of introducing too many people in too short a time or they were just really pleased with particular visuals, they made a couple of the AP Crew the werewolf equivalent of the dusted-in-the-tease vamps that littered the cemeteries of Sunnydale on Buffy The Vampire Slayer. While actual characters had human features that morphed into monstrous visages, the nameless BtVS stake fodder were in perma-vamp face - because unimportant characters don't get to morph. A couple of the AP Crew members - Ennis and Kali - seem to lack the ability to retract their claws. Seems a rather moronic move to hang out in an operating room with your claws popped through surgical gloves, or wander the halls of a hospital dressed as a nurse with bare feet and long black talons as toenails but that's exactly what Ennis and Kali were doing. No one in the world would fail to notice that shit which is why it comes off as just plain lazy TV making.

The twins got rather a lot of screen time and a frankly ridiculous full-alpha transformation but they didn't say a damn thing and I already want them to go away. When I heard that one of the twins would be getting involved with Danny and therefore Danny's role in the show would be expanded, I was optimistic but so far I just can't imagine that the twins will become at all interesting no matter who they get naked and have sex with. I guess I'll withhold full judgment until at least one of them has a line but as introductions go, this one was botched and yawn-inducing.

The only member of the AP Crew who didn't disappoint was Deucalion and I suspect that's partly because he was given the most to do and partly because Gideon Emery is pretty fantastic.

They have at least 12 episodes to tell this story so I can't fathom why they were in such a fucking rush to force all the baddies, the "what's gone on since we saw you last" exposition, and the introduction and possible immediate death of a character I was actually totally digging into the 20 minutes of this episode that weren't entirely about Scott's inane fucking tattoo.

I'm still looking forward to the season and I think the story they're setting up has a lot of potential to be fantastic, I just think the setup was a mess.

And fine, I'll just say it - not bothering to show Derek even once until the epsiode is half over is a HUGE mistake. Get it together, Teen Wolf.

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