Teen Wolf "Insatiable" Review: Eat Your Feelings (PHOTO RECAP)
Despite 98 percent of society constantly telling single people that they are somehow incomplete without a partner, in my opinion it's often romantic love that seems more dehumanizing. Just anecdotally we've all seen independent, dynamic friends suddenly have their most interesting traits sanded away by the compromise of romance, but I would argue that TV characters get it the worst. They simply can't exist without being thrust into a romance (or the promise of one), and our need to see them partnered off trumps all their other hopes, dreams, or personality traits. I'm guilty of it too: When Malia first morphed from an angry coyote into Shelley Hennig, I immediately looked past her much more interesting family trauma and started speculating about who she'd be dating later. That's how TV has brainwashed us all, particularly teen supernatural dramas. These characters aren't individuals, they are merely fodder for 'shipping. Because if you're not involved in a romance then you may as well not even exist.
Allison Argent was, for a few reasons, one of the most important TV characters in teen soap history. Her origins, her arc, and her tragic death may as well be Teen Wolf's thesis statement. A woman who began as a dewy, know-nothing, romantic lead and who functioned primarily as a tool to cause growth in our hero suddenly became strong, independent, and fully realized on her own terms. She was Teen Wolf's statement about how we are all more than our romantic aspirations, how growth is an independent endeavor, and how love means much more than than intermittent hookups. We watched as Allison's romance with Scott met complications and obstacles, we understood when circumstances conspired to end what they had, and we respected both characters for being so mature about it all. Teen shows almost never take that course, so beholden are they to teenagers' bizarre insistence on forever-ness and the primacy of high school sweethearts. But Teen Wolf is an adventure show and an adventure is most thrilling when you go it alone. Allison went it alone, but she was still there for the people she loved. She entered as a love interest and went out as a hero. Allison Argent is important.
Obviously Allison had a thing with Isaac this season just as Scott has had a thing with Kira, but take note of how minimal and beside-the-point these romances have been compared to the Scott-Allison fling of Season 1. Very minimal! Teen Wolf has successfully de-prioritized romance in favor of bigger, more grand guignol intentions than mere puppy love and that has served to not only make the storytelling tighter and more compelling, but what remains of the romances somehow seems more meaningful. That brief scene between Allison and Isaac in the car, where she wanted to make sure she and Isaac's first time still counted? That was as understated (and weirdly powerful!) as a teen supernatural soap is legally allowed to be. Neither had to outright state what they were feeling, but WE could feel it in our bones. It makes sense that Allison in her post-breakup, still-mourning phase would not exactly be full of romantic gestures. But in this quiet moment we found out she still knows what's important to her, even when it's not most important.
It could be argued that Allison hasn't had nearly enough screen time ever since she became more independent-minded, but that's probably true for everyone in this ever-expanding cast. But again, like I'm saying, decreased screen time has meant that Allison's appearances have been almost more powerful. We haven't needed to see her agonize over a decision; she'll just show up out of nowhere to shoot exploding arrows at a pack of Alphas like it's an after-dinner chore. We haven't needed to hear her give a speech about all the tragedy she's been through, we only needed 20 seconds in an elevator with Sheriff Stilinski where all that pain was right there on her face. Teen Wolf took a slightly boring female lead and made her more mysterious, yet somehow more knowable. Right up until her last moments, Allison Argent was a feeling human being, one who could be trusted, and better yet, one who could trust herself. CAN YOU TELL THAT I'M VERY SAD RIGHT NOW?
Allison is gone. Allison. There's a temptation to look at Teen Wolf's past few half-seasons and bargain with ourselves that she hadn't been as integral as she used to be. But she was integral. She's in the DNA, the very fabric of this show, she's integral to the character dynamics, she was the center of that group of friends, even more than Scott. In some ways she made Scott. And for a circle of people who have experienced tons of terror and nightmare imagery, shockingly few people on this show have died. Now somebody has, and it's somebody crucial to all their lives. Guys, everything will be different now. Everything.
"Insatiable" was a doozy. But before it became super sad, it started out VERY disgusting! Just a bunch of wet hunks getting mouth-fisted by a veterinarian, typical teen soap stuff.
Hahaha perfect. Also, hey Wet Isaac. Anyway, Deaton got those evil flies out of their bodies and again, it was very disgusting. The most important thing was that Deaton immediately realized that the evil fly incident had been merely a distraction but it's like no doy, Deaton, the Nogitsune's main thing is trickery. Y'all tricked.
Meanwhile Mrs. McCall was trying to figure out if Stiles was the real Stiles or not, but it was obvious that she was still all steamed about what the Nogitsune had told her about how he knew what she did last summer or whatever. What are your secrets, Mrs. McCall? We still don't know because then Scott busted in and told them that the evil spirit inspector had arrived.
And she brought friends!
Stiles immediately passed the Oni's test and he got one of those cool tattoos behind his ear. Phew! But that meant that Evil Stiles was still out there and he was chasing Lydia through dark tunnels at the former internment camp and making a speech about how Regular Stiles was probably going to die.
Poor Lydia! That seemed like a very humid place for someone with her hairstyle to be hanging out.
Meanwhile Kira's mom wanted to teach her how to play Go, mostly because it was going to help her in battle or whatever.
I don't know, guys, that game looks hard. I have a hard enough time playing Crazy Eights. Count me out.
Meanwhile Sheriff Stilinski was hanging out at the office looking bummed about how Stiles was missing, and the young deputy dude saw an opportunity.
Okay just kidding, he did not ask to be Sheriff Stilinski's new son, but he DID make a seemingly out-of-nowhere-but-probably-meaningful statement about how something had "drawn" him to Beacon Hills. I don't know if that means he is a monster, but probably? Is he a Berzerker? As one of you guys pointed out last week, Berzerkers have been casually mentioned two episodes in a row now, so in TV logic that means they are going to be showing up soon. It's about time Teen Wolf got into bears IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN. Just kidding, I don't go to those bars as much, the music isn't as good, sorry bears.
Oh, but then look who showed up:
This part killed me. Sheriff Stilinski had found his son again. Also *I* found my old fisherman hat, what was it doing back there? Anyway, love these guys. I hope that sometime before I die I get to see Linden Ashby win an Emmy finally because IT'S TIME.
Meanwhile I guess Derek had spit out his evil fly and he was enjoying an awkward goodbye with Mr. Argent.
Aw. Gotta say, I love that in this universe you can become possessed by an evil fly and then talk so much trash and/or beat up your friends and everyone is pretty understanding about it. There were no real grudges held or even proper apologies made. Everybody just sort of spat out their evil flies and got on with their days. I was honestly relieved about this. I just don't know if I could handle an Argent-Derek grudge. These two fellas need each other, you know? I hope in Season 4 they can hang out at Dave & Buster's together or something.
Anyway, at some point Stiles was reminded of the fact that a girl on a payphone in a mental ward had once used the phrase "full story" so he became convinced she was the only way they could learn the "full story" about where Lydia was. So the next thing we knew Sheriff Stilinski was following that one dickbag orderly into the solitary confinement cells at Eichen House.
But she snuck out behind them! Clever girl. And I will always love a short perm.
Meanwhile the twins were running through the woods for whatever reason and somebody shot them!
I guess the bullets were laced with Wolfsbane, so whomsoever shot them meant BUSINESS. But in my opinion if you are going to shoot at supernatural monsters, you better not bring your B-game. BRING YOUR A-GAME. That's what this sniper was doing, so I get it.
Meanwhile Allison had a simple question:
Haha okay, so I really was into the Isaac and Allison chemistry back when it was a mere possibility, but this season really backburnered this relationship, didn't it? Were there any, like, big, grand romantic gestures between them AT ALL? Yes, they kissed and had a few meaningful interactions and even had sex (!) but their passion didn't really ever get hotter than microwave nachos, if we're being honest. But I still love this idea of two beautiful yet damaged people just sort of making a go at it despite everything else going wrong around them. And like I said earlier, this reveal that Allison wanted to make sure that the sex had been meaningful to him really took me by surprise. For the record, yes, Isaac had an evil fly in him, but they had sex BEFORE he'd turned evil and handcuffed her to the bed, I guess? Anyway, I have to vent for a second: When TV characters do not make out and then take off their shirt, it does not occur that they are having sex! It straight-up didn't register last week that they'd slept together, I cannot believe I missed that! That should have been a momentous occasion marked by the removal of one or more shirts! That's why I make the shirtless hug joke all the time, because that's how people on TV have sex. I really do not like this trend of people having sex off-camera without any indication of shirt removal. I'm so brain damaged that unless I see a shirt removal, it will not seem like they had sex. SORRY. Get it together, showrunners. Shirtless hugs or it didn't happen.
But anyway, for the record I am pretty sure that Allison took Isaac's virginity and I have no reason to believe otherwise. YET ANOTHER reason why Allison was a true hero.
Meanwhile Meredith the Eichen House escapee showed up in Coach's class and Danny narc'd on her.
I like this lady. So creepy! Then the dickbag orderly showed up to come and take her away, but in the process he bullied Coach a ton:
Later when everyone was scouring the campus looking for Meredith, she was in the music room listening to banshee whispers in the piano and the dickbag orderly tried to tase her.
But COACH got him first! It was a classic turned-table tasering! Personally I was almost convinced that he had also spent time in Eichen House (and was probably renting out a room there at the moment) and that's why he hated this orderly so much. You never forget your first dickbag orderly.
Meanwhile Lydia was not having a great time at the old internment camp. The main reason being that the Nogitsune is not a good conversationalist.
Like he claimed that he eats what she feels? Or was it "fears"? I honestly cannot make out the dialogue sometimes, but that is probably a personal problem on my part and also I should probably not be munching on microwave nachos while i watch this show. The main thing was, the Nogitsune is an agent of chaos but he feeds on the negative emotions that his trickery causes. Fear and strife are like gas station candy to him. He will eat up fear and strife like it's a multi-pack of Airheads. Just trying to put this in terms you might understand, guys. Fear tastes like Green Apple and strife tastes like White Mystery.
I loved this scene and in retrospect it's almost too devastating to talk about. Allison was feeling useless because she didn't know how to find Lydia, so she was nervously cleaning her weapons. That's when her dad got out some silver slabs and taught her how to make silver bullets, which is an Argent family tradition. At that point she asked him to be careful out there and mentioned that she regretted not telling her mom that she loved her before she'd died. But even though Allison was just trying to get her dad to be careful, in retrospect she was giving him a final goodbye also. Man, so tough. But this scene wasn't overly sentimental, so it didn't necessarily telegraph that her end was coming soon. That's what was the best part about Allison's borderline unceremonious death: The lack of fanfare preceding it made it all the more shocking. I would have expected a four-episode struggle that climaxed with a memorable, utterly heroic sacrifice, but nope. It was simply a series of low-key interactions and then a careless slip-up in battle. So shocking and heartbreaking. But at least she did get to have this moment with her father, so that takes the sting off a little. A LITTLE.
It was very funny when the fellas brought Meredith to Scott's house and had to explain to Scott's dad who she was.
But obviously THIS was the best:
Guess who's MUCH LESS INSANE than we previously thought? Honestly, Eichen House should only be full of people who wouldn't date Isaac, but in that event it would have to shut down because it would have zero people there.
Anyway, after a series of tactics to get her to spill all her secrets it became clear that (A) Meredith was definitely a banshee, but (B) she was kind of out of the loop on banshee affairs. Fortunately she received a fake phone call on Stiles' powered-off cell phone and gave them a big clue about where Lydia was. I don't know what the clue was, but it was in French. Come to think of it I seriously did not catch the connection between the French words and the Oak Creek internment camp, but Scott made the connection so that worked. Thanks, permed banshee!
Meanwhile we found out the true reason that Scott's dad had been kicked out of the house. It involved alcohol and inadvertent child endangerment!
Scott did not seem to mind that his father had drunkenly flung him down a flight of stairs and that his skull had dented the hardwood floor. After all, he was a clumsy child who broke everything with his face all the time. But he seemed VERY mad that his father had left and lost touch for so long. Fair enough! But also, the guy was still an alcoholic who inadvertently flung his infant son down a flight of stairs, so there was still SOME guilt to be had. Anyway, I do not think this was the thing that Evil Stiles had threatened Mrs. McCall about. He'd made it seem like there was something terrible SHE had done and this just didn't feel like it fit that description. Stay tuned for more secrets maybe?
Meanwhile Derek rescued the shot-up twins and dragged them into Malia's old cave. They were not doing great!
He got Argent to help him take them to his loft and he showed Argent a bullet casing left by the unseen shooter(s).
They immediately discounted that one Latin old lady, so when Argent said "this can't be possible" or whatever he may as well have just said "Berzerkers" right? I don't know, don't ask me, my prediction success rate is very low lately.
At this point Kira was alerted by her father to the fact that her mother was a stone-cold BADASS. Sure enough, Kira's mom and the Oni showed up at Oak Creek looking to murderize Evil Stiles. But what she either didn't know or didn't care about, was that Evil Stiles was linked with Good Stiles, and there was a good chance that killing one would kill the other. So obviously the kids couldn't let that happen!
I did get chills when they were all standing around in front of the gate getting psyched up. Isaac pretended it was NBD but it was a VBD and he knew it. I also loved that Kira didn't particularly know Lydia or Stiles very well, but she obviously felt responsible for the Nogitsune's existence and wanted to do all she could to help. She's a good lady.
But that's when the Nogitsune's plan was fully revealed! He'd lured them all there so that he could take control of the Oni!
And that's when he went from a sorta-weak trickster to a very formidable villain. All it took was Kira's mom's final "tail" or whatever. So yeah, needless to say, a big fight broke out.
Meanwhile Scott and Stiles ran inside to save Lydia and that's when she started freaking out.
She knew somebody was going to die this day. We didn't know who it was yet, but Lydia did and she seemed very upset.
At that point Isaac started getting stabbed with SO MANY swords and I was already crying because HE wasn't the major death, was he? NO NO NO NO NO. Not Isaac! And while he was getting stabbed all over, here was the look on Evil Stiles' face:
EAT UP, JERK! H8 U
This was great... Just before an Oni could strike the killing blow to Isaac, Allison let rip a perfect shot and MURDERED the tiny firefly inside the Oni! And the Oni exploded!
And there was this brief, glorious moment where both Allison and we learned how to kill an Oni for real. It had been a family secret, seeing as Mr. Argent killed one back in Japan, and Allison made special arrowheads to match his special bullets. So basically she was super clever and add to that her perfect aim and suddenly it looked like our heroes might regain the upper hand--
But then this happened. And it's the kind of moment when you want to stop trying to be funny in a recap because nothing seems funny anymore and I'm already crying just having to see these pictures again. Seriously.
Tougher even than losing this character were the tiny moments mixed in. Like how she fell into Scott's arms. How he tried to take her pain away but she wasn't feeling any to begin with. How she mused that it was perfect to die in the arms of her first love. The look on Isaac's face when he heard that. The look on Kira's and her mom's faces, knowing they didn't know Allison very well but were clearly feeling responsible. The look on Argent's face when he suddenly stumbled onto the scene and saw his daughter's body. Lydia's anguished screams from just the FEELING of what had happened. Stiles collapsing in the hallway, his strength finally sapped by the Nogitsune. Scott's open faced sobs, the last of his teenage innocence disappearing along with his girl. But mostly the final, devastating work by Crystal Reed, a low-key stunner of an actress who will go onto great things I'm sure, I don't know, it's too hard to think about, I already miss Allison.
"Insatiable" started out as a merely very suspenseful lead-up to a season finale, but it suddenly shifted into a watershed moment for Teen Wolf. No matter what crazy new monsters this show dreams up, no matter how complicated the plotting, no matter how attractive or sympathetic the next new crop of towel-clad jailbait hunks will be, this is the moment when a dark gravity falls upon the show and may never become quite as light ever again. It's honestly too soon to know what impact Allison's death will have on the characters or series as a whole; there's definitely a chance her death could be mere setup for a "The Search For Allison" type plotline in later seasons (though Crystal Reed's borderline distraught exit interview during Wolf Watch suggested that she doesn't expect to be returning). But this death hurt in a way I wasn't expecting. Like, really hurt. That's probably the point. Teen Wolf needs real death for there to be real stakes. But there is now an Allison-shaped hole in Teen Wolf's heart and I truly hope that won't become a fatal defect.
"Insatiable" was sensational. In both good and bad ways, but at some point, what's the difference? Yay but ouch but yay.
... How are you doing?
... Ignoring official interviews for a second: Just narratively speaking do you think Allison is gone for good?
... How dark do you think Season 4 will get?
... Who was shooting at the twins? Does it rhyme with "Merberklerz"?
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