I never wanted to watch Teen
Wolf. And yet, curiosity got the best of me.
Initially, the highest praise I’d heard of the show was that all the actors were
really hot. Then, I began to hear through the grapevine that the show had moved on to more serious themes.
Now, I have a Stiles Stilinski hoodie coming in the mail
and I keep dreaming about teen wolves. This ridiculous high school drama about
lovesick puppies was totally worth it, because Teen Wolf is actually pretty good.
The titular teen wolf, Scott McCall, played by the adorable
and oft-shirtless Tyler Posey, is the classic hero type—brave, loyal,
romantic—but also, sadly, the show’s least interesting character. His teenage
angst can be hard to endure for those of us no longer in high school. It’s hard
not to root for him, but Scott’s predictable high school underdog story can
seem rather dull when compared to those of his friends.
Teen Wolf is
largely male-dominated and at times blisteringly homoerotic, but it does
feature a handful of kick-ass female characters. Allison Argent (Crystal Reed)
spent the first season as little more than Scott’s girlfriend, but escaped his
protective shadow when she found out about Beacon Hills’ lycanthropy epidemic. An
eagle-eyed archer, the daughter of a werewolf hunter, and more of a
Buffy-Katniss than a Bella Swan, Allison can take care of herself. But she has
her tender moments, too—her tearful breakdown in the episode that originally aired Monday, March 3 demonstrated her depth and damn near broke my heart.
This season, Kira Yukimura (Arden Cho) has assumed the role
of Scott’s girlfriend. She’s adorable, owns Avengers leggings, and is a
thunder “kitsune,” a Japanese fox spirit with a flair for electricity. While Teen Wolf could
certainly include more people of color, it’s a shame that Kira inherited an
effortless aptitude for the katana along with her supernatural abilities. I’m
impressed with the choice to branch out and address an uncomfortable topic like
Japanese-American internment during World War II, but the show is crossing the
line into fetishization. Not all Asians know martial arts, and not all women
have to wield deadly weapons to be interesting.
The real breakout star of Teen Wolf is Dylan O’Brien, who portrays both the goofy sarcasm and the emotional turmoil of character Stiles Stilinski with a proficiency and humanity one would
hardly expect from a teen show made by MTV. Token humans on fantasy series can
be relatively boring (Matt Donovan in The
Vampire Diaries) or even grating (Xander Harris in Buffy the Vampire Slayer), but Stiles is more than Teen Wolf’s virginal comic relief. I
fell in love with Stiles instantly; he always makes me laugh, but he is also
the only character I legitimately cry for. The show has tested him, frightened him, and molded him into a formidable villain.
Teen Wolf works
best through the middle of a season, when the trap is set but we don’t quite
know who set it, after I’ve been scared to death by cliffhangers but before
I’ve been bored to death by flashback exposition. There have been
some brilliant moments there (high-stakes bottle episodes like “Night School” deliver
on terror and character drama), but the series has moved away from the soapy
hormonal drama of its inception. I am so over love triangles, cruel teachers,
copious empty classrooms, guidance counselors, and lacrosse. I applaud the show for expanding its scope beyond Beacon Hills High.
Horror and mythology aside, humor and heart are
the show’s best assets. Although it may not be the most innovative or well-written show on television, it has always been compelling. I have come to love these attractive people as characters, and I do watch the show for the plot. It has improved in content and style, and progressed from a fun, campy vehicle to an emotionally compromising horror series. Despite some high school cliches, terrible CGI, and
clunky exposition, Teen Wolf is
always entertaining—especially at the end of a season, when it runs on pure
momentum and all hell breaks loose.
The last few installments have been heavy on exposition and
light on action, inching toward the finale at a glacial pace. Monday’s
lackluster flashback episode must have been the calm before the storm; if
previews are any indication, the end of this season will be a wild ride and
hit right in the feels. Show-runner Jeff Davis teased on Monday’s After After Show “big changes” and
“dramatic deaths,” and promised to “leave on one of our biggest cliffhangers
yet.” I am both excited and terrified, although my new preoccupation with
figuring out who will die is interfering with my enjoyment of the show. A major
character death might have been more effective as a surprise; hopefully the
If you’re into teenage drama and supernatural horror,
20-something actors playing high-schoolers taking their shirts off and
hallucinogenic dream sequences, shipping fictional characters and fearing for
their lives, light bondage and creepy bugs, then Teen Wolf may be for you. The show airs on Mondays at 10 p.m. on MTV. The first 2 1/2 seasons are available for
streaming on Amazon Prime.
Lea Bejtovic PO ’15 is studying English. She is from Dallas. She misses sweet tea and Lost.