Teen Wolf: “The Tell”

Werewolf Lite

Teen Wolf

MTV, Mondays, 6 PM

“The Tell”

Written by Monica Macer

Directed by Toby Wilkins

“We don’t go out murdering people in the middle of the night, do we?” – Scott

Okay, I’ll just say it: Scott’s a wimp. He’s the original wimpy kid. I know he’s got these werewolf powers, I know he rocks at lacrosse, that he’s book-smart. But he just can’t seem to grow up, and a guy who is being stalked by an “alpha” wolf, a guy who turns into something hairy and clawed at the drop of a hat, needs to man up and stop whining. Or at least pay attention. I get it: he just wants to succeed at being a normal teenager, not a supernormal one. Scott must surely know by now that that is never going to happen, that his choices have changed along with his life. He needs to re-think his priorities, his attitude, his life plan. Granted, he’s just a teenager, but there was a time not too long ago when men his age were ruling countries and leading armies. Being young does not equate with stupid. At this point, Scott’s story is so boring, so devoid of any juice, that the show is introducing a more compelling storyline: the alpha wolf. And my money says that wolf is someone we’ve already met.

“I’m carrying a lethal weapon. If I want the curly fries, I will have the curly fries.” – Sheriff Stilinsky

This was a fill-in-the-blanks episode. Five weeks in, we are finally given a little more information about the characters, but none of it seems really relevant. We learn that Jackson (Colton Haynes, Look) is adopted, which in your normal teen soap would allow us to explore questions of identity, but this is a werewolf story. Why is this relevant? We discover that Sheriff Stilinsky (Linden Ashby, Field of Vision) is scary and funny at the same time. Derek introduces us to the chief occupation of werewolves when they’re not hunting: calisthenics to show off their hot bods. We get loads of filler and drivel like this, but very little that is really interesting or that moves the story forward.

“You want to do homework? Or you want to not die?” — Derek

There are two hints that more is going on here than just a skimpy rip-off of the Twilight movies. The first is when Jackson is attacked, sort of, in a video store by the shadowy alpha wolf. At the last moment, he is saved when the alpha notices the scratches Jackson left on his neck last week. Which tells me that the entire reason Derek wandered into that school last week, in a scene I found unbelievable at the time, was to leave those marks. This is by-the-numbers plotting, and it’s lazy. Okay, I get it, Derek somehow “branded” Jackson, but if so, he didn’t do it as a favor to the jock. The second hint we get is when everyone is terrorized by an animal in the parking lot, which turns out to be – a mountain lion. Again, the ground was laid last week, when Kate Argent speculated that the animal attacks in the community were caused by a mountain lion. Whether she was deliberately trying to misdirect Scott or warning him, it at least felt more natural than Derek’s foray into the school. I loved the scene where Chris Argent shot the creature in the parking lot so quickly – if you’re going to be a badass, be a good one. What I was left with however, was the question: are there more than one kind of were-beings in this community? Was that really a mountain lion? Or a were-panther? Maybe our “alpha” can shift into more than one form.

“I don’t know whether to kill it or lick it.” — Kate

I got a distinct feeling of déjà vu when Kate Argent said that the body of Derek’s murdered sister had bite marks on it. This series opened with the discovery of the body of a teenage girl who had been murdered. It progresses with hints and misdirection. I remember this story back when it was Twin Peaks, and had a darker undertone. No one, not even Sheriff Stilinsky, seems to be looking very hard for her killer, though. Maybe it’s time for Special Agent Dale Cooper to put in an appearance. If the show can complicate the basic story into a more interesting one, I think it stands a chance. But if it continues in this plodding vein, it will not stand up against shows like Vampire Diaries.