Teen Wolf Season Finale Recap and Review: 'Code Breaker'
Teen Wolf S01E12: Season Finale
Okay, I watched the Season One finale of Teen Wolf, having only seen two other episodes of the series (the pilot, and the one where they're running around the school, and the Alpha corners Scott in that awesome tribute to the original film).
So I gotta say: excellent screenwriting and very good acting, since most of the story made sense to me. Amazing that they fit that much narrative into only 40 minutes of teleplay.
Teen Wolf Spoilers below.
Scott is outed as a werewolf in front of his girlfriend, Allison. She's horrified, and is clearly not a fan of the Michael J. Fox original. Her dad is a professional werewolf hunter. This is going to get very awkward, very quickly.
Stiles accompanies the Alpha Wolf (does he have a name? They never name-check him) to track down
Angel Derek. He's forced to abandon John Locke's mom Lydia, who the Alpha had apparently mauled only moments before. Stiles is obviously in luuuurrv with Lydia, but, when a homicidal werewolf tells you to give him a lift, well.
It's revealed that, if Lydia becomes a werewolf, she would have two cycles: the full-moon cycle and her menstrual cycle. This could be the first time I've heard menstrual cycles mentioned on scripted TV as being played for anything other than laughs. Am I the only one who got the implication that female werewolves were therefore more powerful than males?
Apparently Derek has Scott's phone. Teen Wolf fans, help me out. Why does he have Scott's phone? The Alpha needs Stiles to access Scott's phone online and switch on the GPS. He's on a mission to kill the werewolf hunters. This seems reasonable, actually. They apparently murdered his whole family. Methodology aside, it's not clear that the Alpha is really the bad guy.
The Alpha offers Stiles the opportunity of a lifetime: The Bite. The opportunity to become a werewolf. He makes it sound so romantic, but Stiles wants none of it. If we've learned nothing else so far, it's that being a werewolf is a total pain in the ass. The Alpha (who is both a Mac user and a storer of nurses' dead bodies in his trunk) is like, "whatevs", and just leaves Stiles standing there.
Stiles runs to the hospital, where Lydia is hooked up to life support. She looks terrible, but her hair is great. Jackson, who looks like he was cloned from Tom Cruise's fingernail clippings, is the prime suspect, but Stiles' dad (who looks just like Allison's dad) soon finds out that Stiles brought Lydia to the formal dance. Teen Wolf fans, help me out: how much time has passed between the pilot and this episode? A month? A year?
Stiles and Jackson team up to find Scott, but they're waylaid by Allison's dad and some goons. Stiles flips Allison's dad by telling him that his sister burned Derek's family alive. Apparently that's a no-no for werewolf hunters. There's some more exposition, I think, but I missed it when I went into the kitchen to pour a small glass of whiskey.
Scott tracks Derek to Allison's family's house and helps him escape to Derek's house. (Teen Wolf fans, help me out: Does Derek live there full-time? How/why?) However, Allison and her Aunt Kate are lying in wait. (Allison and Kate were supposedly on their way out of town, but Kate had other plans. By the way, does Allison's parents' relationship remind you of Henry Hill and his wife in Goodfellas?)
Allison pincushions Derek with some arrows, and Kate then shoots Derek at point-blank range. This is a beautifully downplayed moment, showing Kate as an ice-cold killer. She's about to do Scott, too, and not in a bow-chicka-bow-bow sense.
Allison's dad shows up and draws on Kate. This moment was very specific: their relationship as brother and sister read perfectly. Looks like it's a cast reunion at Casa Derek, because the Alpha shows up and pretty much kicks all the humans' asses in about 7 seconds. He grabs Kate and drags her inside the Rob Zombie house.
Allison follows them in, just in time for Kate's execution. Dang. Apparently this won't be solved with a game of basketball. Seeing someone get their throat slit and then die with their eyes open is not what I expected, but that's what we got. Okay, the Alpha is the bad guy now, even if only by virtue of having just killed the other villain.
At this point the show is in full action-horror mode. Scott and Derek (who is extremely tough, apparently) team up to battle the Alpha. It's going about as well as you'd expect, and the Alpha keeps sort of hulking out as he fights.
Stiles and Jackson show up in a Porsche, and throw these chemical bombs at the Alpha, who at this point is wolfed out in all his CGI glory (this doesn't work so well, to be honest: he looked more cool in the shadows). Teen Wolf fans, help me out: were these chemical bombs a recurring plot point since that school episode? If not, when did they have time to make them?
Allison uses her archery skillz to shatter the glass on one of the chemical bottles. The Alpha is now a human/lupine torch, and he ends up lying on the forest floor like Darth Vader at the end of Return of the Jedi. Then Derek moves in for the kill.
There Can Be Only One!
Scott begs Derek not to kill the Alpha, but Derek does it anyway, becoming the Alpha himself. Scott says that only if he kills the Alpha can he shake off the curse of the werewolf. Is there any indication that this is true? Surely Derek was just bullshitting Scott to keep him on side.
Oh, well. Derek clearly doesn't give a fuck about Scott's feelings. So there. Boom. He's the Alpha now. Deal with it.
Anyway, the A-story is over. Time for some epilogue. We see Stiles and Scott visit Lydia in the hospital. She's not fully healed from her wounds, which means that she isn't wolfing out any time soon. However, she's not dead, which means that 1) Stiles may still be in with a chance, and 2) she probably has some supernatural shit going on in Season Two.
Boys Becoming Men... Men Becoming Wolves
Jackson visits Derek at the Rob Zombie house, demanding to be wolficized. Wolfified? Wolfed? Wolved? Anyway, don't make demands on sociopathic werewolves. Jackson realizes his mistake, probably at the expense of his face. Why do we get the feeling that Derek won't be a kind, benevolent Alpha in Season Two?
And we end with Allison and Scott making out on the roof of her family 's house. The moon is full and Scott is still human, so I guess he has control of his powers/curse/disease.
Overall, I was impressed with the Teen Wolf finale. MTV has a crappy track record with scripted TV (quality-wise, with TV in general), but this is a notable exception. What sold the show to me was its willingness to embrace horror, and the cast's ability to play specific relationships. It says something that I was able to tune in so late in the game and still know what was going on, with only the "previously on Teen Wolf" to help me.
The show was compared to Twilight, but it's more like Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Veronica Mars.
Over to you, fans. What did I miss?