NOW we're cooking with fire! (Oops where are my eyebrows?) If you gave Teen Wolf's pilot a shot and then stuck with it for the rest of the season, you know that what began as a sketchy exercise ended up being a surprisingly well-done and addictive serial. More than anything, Season 1's primary goal was to just BE a TV show. A lot of effort was put into scaling back the camp and intensifying the horror elements enough so that people would buy this premise as something they'd stick with for the long haul. And it worked! The mysteries all came together, the characters all found themselves on the same page, and one of TV's best villains in recent memory (R.I.P. Aunt Kate) got her comeuppance. It was hard not to be hopeful for what Season 2 would have in store.
Ladies and guys, Season 2 is KIND OF AMAZING so far. Honestly, wow. I used to describe this show in measured terms... "Pretty solid for MTV." "A good summer diversion." "Aesthetically pleasing locker room scenes." But after its two-part season premiere of "Omega" & "Shape Shifted," I'm pretty sure Teen Wolf is now one of my favorite shows on television and something I might even describe as "must-watch." Who knew? There are a couple of reasons for this: Unlike a lot of other TV shows, Teen Wolf did not scale back or reset after its huge Season 1 climax. Nope, Season 2 has so far just maintained that kind of breakneck action while ALSO introducing brand new elements and characters. It's like this show spent the summer getting way buff and came back to school with a new haircut and an "I don't give an F" confidence. This show is CRAZY now. The admittedly tired werewolf mythology has taken a dramatic left-turn into Batsh*tville and basically every single new element is ingenius. The only thing I can compare this Season premiere to might infuriate TVD fans, but still: Remember when Season 2 of The Vampire Diaries did not slow down after its amazing S1 finale? That's what's happening here and it's AWESOME.
Let's not waste time. We got TWO episodes to discuss!
What some might call "gratuitous" others might call "integral." Thus begins the best opening scene this season could've offered: A newly bitten Jackson rising out of a river for some reason. What happened to you, guy? Did Derek push you in? Did he tear your t-shirt? So many questions, and only a dozen more slow-motion shots could possibly answer them!
Derek bit him on the abs! I love that the alphas are always biting people on their abs. I wish they would've shown that happening because WHAT?
Meanwhile in a CGI version of the California countryside (LOL sure) a mysterious man ran like a wolf through the mist. It was hard to capture a clear image, but reader, please know that it looked RIDICULOUS. Seriously, I don't know if the sight of a man running on all-fours will ever not look insane. But Teen Wolf doesn't give an F, it was like, "You will watch a montage of a man running on all fours and you will LIKE it."
Oh gosh, so first off, it's important to note that only a day or two has passed since the S1 finale. So Aunt Kate and the original Alpha are newly dead, and presumably everybody's still a little rattled from the common knowledge that werewolves are real and play lacrosse. BUT ALSO this short time span made it all the more hilarious that Scott looked about four years older than he did last season. Maybe it's the new haircut of the fact that he's put on like 20 pounds of muscle, but I just love it when things like this happen on TV shows. Time doesn't pass but that won't stop the hair and wardrobe department from keeping up with the times. (We'll talk about Allison's hilarious new hairdo later.)
Even though very little time had passed, we STILL got a flashback: Allison's dad was NOT happy about her daughter dating Scott, regardless of whether Scott had drawn human blood or not. (The Hunter Code ended up being a big deal in Season 1 and is one of the main reasons why Mr. Argent is such a good character.)
Which set up one of this season's best innovations: Allison and Scott are DEFINITELY still going strong, it's just that their shirtless hugs have to be super secret.
And another innovation: Some pretty stellar new opening credits! The main characters all get artsy, impressionistic, roll-call style credits and their over-the-top-ness perfectly suits the tone this show has taken on so far. Just perfect. Also, disgusting! I mean, what was this supposed to be even:
I don't know and I don't care. When it comes to shows like this I just like to be surprised and so far this show has not disappointed.
Speaking of surprised, not one minute into their shirtless hug, the kids nearly got caught:
Oh, and you know it's going to be a good episode when MY FAVORITE CHARACTER shows up early and powerfully:
I am loving what's become of Allison's mom. She is SO intense! I think a commenter pointed out how Teen Wolf hasn't shied away from having strong, dynamic parents and it works to this show's benefit. Where a lot of other shows have bent over backwards to marginalize the parents' influence on story, Allison's are just straight-up obstacles to these characters (as parents usually are!) when they're not engaging in actual diabolical scheming. But yeah, I hope you like this actress as much as I do because you will be seeing A LOT of her in my recaps. Her, and shirtless dudes.
I really wonder what Allison's neighbors think of their family. Or maybe at some point they were just like "F it, we're keeping the blinds shut forever."
Meanwhile at the hospital, Stiles was holding vigil for Lydia who'd gotten real bitten up by the alpha at the end of S1 (but who did NOT turn into a werewolf for some reason).
He got some wacky introduction where he had a sex dream in front of a janitor, but I weirdly didn't think it was all that funny. Stiles is waaay funnier just in normal conversations where it seems like Dylan O'Brien is improvising so he makes me laugh a lot more in unexpected places. Didn't matter, I was just happy to see him! Stiles is the best!
For her part, Lydia was NOT having a good time. This episode really took a turn for the weird when she was taking a shower at the hospital and black goo started seeping up from the drain and like any reputable horror heroine she reached into it and began pulling out rotten hair.
And then something GRABBED HER!
Seriously, this show does horror really well, and this episode established that its horror scenarios would no longer be limited to werewolf stuff. Now that both Lydia and Jackson have been bit, we still don't know WHAT they are (if anything) and that opens up a whole realm of other things that people can turn into. Personally I'm still curious about Peter's psycho nurse from S1 (was she bitten or just needy?) and I figured that's what Lydia would become. But hold on, things were about to get interesting for her because then she up and disappeared! While naked! For TWO DAYS.
I really enjoyed this part, where Stiles and Allison made Scott sniff Lydia's hospital gown and then he stuck his head out the window trying to follow her scent. Man, the dog jokes will never get old.
Meet Isaac, just your typical gravedigger. Here was a situation in which it seemed like a random nobody was about to get killed (an obvious werewolf was prowling around the cemetery) except wait a second, hot teens don't get killed on this show! So then it became clear we were meeting a new character and his plotline took on an immediate importance. Especially when...
So after being sorta-attacked by a mysterious creature (which dug up a grave!), Isaac cowered in fear until Derek swooped in and offered to "help" him. Cue ab-bite. (I'm guessing, it wasn't shown).
Meanwhile the gang continued following Lydia's scent and eventually they were back to the decrepit house where they'd recently lit an enormous beast on fire with homemade molotov cocktails. And then they accidentally tripped one of the hunters' tripwires and Scott found himself face-to-upside-down-face with Mr. Argent!
This was one reset I appreciated: Even though Mr. Argent now knows about Scott's condition and he'd sorrrrta been been decent to him after Scott had proven himself as a good kid, it was back to bickering as usual. They'd always had a testy relationship seeing as Mr. Argent is kind of a dick, but the slight acknowledgment that Scott isn't his main concern is kind of heartwarming, you know? I like what's happening there.
Speaking of dickish dads, HEY, IT'S DAWSON'S DAD! (Mr. Creek?) I don't know, but look, Isaac the dreamy gravedigger did NOT have a good relationship with his pops.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, the police now believe that supposed grave robbers steal livers now:
I liked that this image was followed by a scene in which a hobo scavenges for food.
Coincidence?????!!!??!?! Probably not.
So now that Jackson was 100% certain he was going to become a werewolf he was strutting around campus tellin' folks off.
But it wasn't long until he started dealing with some unexpected side-effects.
This was a clever scene because he first oozed black fluid during science class, then he ran to the bathroom and it really started pouring out, but then it was all a hallucination. And then it happened again but it was NOT a hallucination. Man, I had no idea what was going on, but like the Lydia situation, it was a good kind of confusion. Black ooze is a new element to the werewolf mythology, so I'm pretty thrilled about it.
Derek informed Jackson that his body was "fighting the bite." Which, what does that even mean? It was earlier implied by Jackson's father that he might have origins that aren't what they seem (Jackson was adopted and has always had a psychopathic drive to succeed.) So yeah, maybe there's some kind of pre-existing supernatural condition coming into play. Get well soon?
Oh look, another new character!
This guy kinda flirted with Allison at school, but all we know about him is that he's a photographer and sorta looks like Sufjan Stevens.
Like Season 1, it appears that much of Season 2 will be hinged upon which character is secretly a shape-shifting abomination (specifically the shape-shifting abomination we were about to meet), so just to provide a refresher, this teacher still gets a ton of screentime and is still totally weird:
Okay, guess what is awesome? Teen Wolf is one of the few supernatural dramas that takes place in a town where the citizens aren't irrelevant/dumb. Like take for example this scene in which the Argents attend Kate's funeral and TONS of reporters are there.
Do you know why reporters might be there? Because what happened to Kate is COMMON KNOWLEDGE. A scandal, even. This was a nice touch that ratcheted up the stakes these characters face. Keeping secrets is so much harder when the people around you aren't completely oblivious.
Oh, and meet Grandpa Argent! You probably recognize Michael Hogan from Battlestar Galactica, so doesn't he seem so weird without the eye patch? Anyway, he was in town and he was MAD about Aunt Kate's death. Werewolves just can't catch a break.
Okay, who did this? By the way, it is some bad luck when you not only have a heart attack, but you then get eaten in the ambulance by a werewolf. You know?
But it was at this point when Lydia finally turned up.
Where had she been? Had she been eating heart attack victims and corpse livers? You have some 'splaining to do, young lady!
But whoops, mystery solved. This hobo werewolf ate everybody:
He was what's known as an Omega... A werewolf without a pack.
Derek wanted to teach Scott all about it, so he held him close as they watched the werewolf hunters hang him upside down and BISECT him with a sword!
R.I.P. Proud Werewolf Hobo. Our thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family at this difficult time.
So, this season premiere was a two-parter that aired over two consecutive nights. The first episode provided a great continuation of the craziness set up in the S1 finale, but it was in this second part when things really started going off the rails FOR THE EVEN BETTER.
After a fairly chilling, intense scene in which Isaac's dad hassled him about grades and made ominous threats about "going to the basement" for punishment, the dad just finally up and started throwing dishware at him!
But then Isaac's cut began to suddenly HEAL.
Like any teen who suddenly realizes he had superpowers, Isaac was OUTTA there. Unfortunately for Isaac's dad, he decided to chase him with the car.
Here's something we didn't know about Beacon Hill: It has a fairly large downtown that could double as GOTHAM CITY? No seriously, the Gotham City comparison is apt... Especially after what was about to happen:
In a scary use of something that is so annoyingly common, the dad couldn't see out his dang glasses and therefore couldn't tell that the shadowy silhouette standing opposite him was NOT human.
AAHHHHHH!! That was NOT a werewolf! Whatever it was, it was strong enough to rip off a car door and pop a human being like a blood-filled water balloon. Gruesome stuff. Amazing stuff. Ladies and gentlemen, our first official non-werewolf monster! What was it? WHO was it?
Meanwhile Allison got a secret meetup message from Scott. Pretty funny that he spelled out the word rather than using two digits, but whatever. Young love, you know?
AAHHHHH!! That is not attractive, Scott. Dang, how annoying would it be to date a werewolf? Always lurking in the dark with glowing eyes. Relax with the glowing eyes, you weirdos.
So in a scene that was just straight-up bonkers, Mr. and Mrs. Argent teamed up to apparently torture the school principal into retiring? WHAT ON EARTH? But it was like, okay. So the Argents are definitely maniacs. Not just principled fighters of an understandable threat. Maniacs. Which is fine because Mrs. Argent is the best.
Anyway, I'll just spoil it right now. Here's who got the principal's job:
Sorry kids, high school just got A LOT more growly.
Oh, another new thing for Season 2. Derek had moved out of his decrepit, burnt-down house and into an abandoned subway car because LOL.
It was clear Derek and Isaac were already pretty tight (werewolfism is nothing if not just a supernatural Big Brother-Little Brother program), and Isaac was eager to tell Derek one big thing: He wasn't the person who'd killed his father. Dun-dun-dun!
Meanwhile Lydia came back to school lookin' and feelin' fine. It was pretty hilarious when she brushed off the notion of having spent two days in a fugue state by bragging that she'd lost 9 pounds. Fair enough!
And again, this show did something we don't see too often in this genre: Public recognition of the characters' bizarre drama!
I mean, seriously. Nobody can suss out a good piece of gossip like teenagers, so this acknowledgment that everyone knows everyone's business is pretty startling. Good job, show.
Meanwhile lacrosse continued to factor into the characters' werewolf adventures. This episode gave us an admittedly pretty silly scene when Scott realized another werewolf was in his midst and systematically began to sniff each of his teammates out on the field.
After literally sniffing out most of the other dudes (including a cute NBD moment with gay teammate Danny) it became clear that Isaac was the one Scott sensed. They both wolfed out at the same time right in front of each other!
At this point the po-po arrived and arrested Isaac for possibly murdering his dad, but apparently his brief moment on the field with Scott made Scott totally Team Isaac. He was definitely worried about the kid and Derek decided to show him just how bad Isaac had had it.
By the way, I love how Derek's always SHOWING Scott stuff. I mean, it's good TV but I'm glad that in real life my friends won't waste two hours of my time taking me places when they could just tell me about them. Anyway, it turned out that in Isaac's basement there was a human-sized freezer with scratch marks all on the inside. So I guess his dad used to lock him in there? That is a pretty crummy punishment, if you ask me.
Meanwhile, Allison's hair.
Haha okay, show. This part just made me laugh because she's listening in on her dad and grandpa discussing killing Isaac and I just couldn't with that hair. Look at all of it! Anyway, one notable thing about this scene was that Grandpa Argent takes secret pills. This probably won't come into play later, forget about them.
Meanwhile Jackson rented the new guy's camera equipment so that he could film himself in the middle of the night and see if he'd become a werewolf or not. (Tonight was a full moon, btw.) This was the big giveaway that Jackson probably wasn't a werewolf, because correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure that when you're a werewolf YOU KNOW IT. Anyway, it was cool seeing Jackson's house! Just FYI it's directly across the street from Isaac's craphole shanty. You know, just in case you're curious about the Beacon Hill real estate.
So this happened:
And some general mirror posing. Just thought you'd like to know!
So back to Allison: Ever since she found out (A) that she comes from a long line of hunters and (B) she's sympathetic to certain werewolves, her character has become WAY cooler.
I'll try not to give in to the temptation to compare her to other shows' heroines, but I loved how willing Allison was to just pick up her bow and arrow and take care of business.
In this case she had teamed up with Stiles to severely hobble an in-disguise hunter from murdering Isaac in his cell. Speaking of which, this was a nice parallel to Season 1: Now Isaac is the brand new werewolf struggling to deal with a new reality and Scott is more experienced. The tradition continues!
I seriously got chills during these parts because I love it when characters work as a team. The episode suddenly turned into a bit of a heist episode, so I was really feelin' it.
For his part, Derek was forced to crack a smile and flirt with the lady at the front desk so that Stiles could sneak back and set Isaac free. (Being the sheriff's son kinda helps with tasks like that.)
But WHOOPS! The hobbled hunter still beat him to it and a fight broke out!
Fortunately werewolves cannot be contained by steel cells and Isaac was suddenly loose and beating up the hunter. But since he's new at this, he then turned his murderous gaze onto Stiles and Derek had to intervene.
Just another night in a small-town jail basically.
Meanwhile Scott was getting pretty bent out of shape over the full moon situation, so Allison met him at Isaac's basement and agreed to chain him up in the torture freezer. (Scott is not the best brain stormer.)
And not a minute after locking that padlock, Allison realized she wasn't alone in that house. SOMETHING was making disgusting, wet noises nearby. It was this thing:
AAHHHHHHH NO!! And then it straight-up ran across the ceiling!
A REPTOID!! Again, werewolves cannot be contained by things, so Scott busted out and confronted the creature only to be rendered awestruck. Fair enough!
The next morning Jackson went to go check his video footage and we braced for a sloppy, scaly, black ooze-filled nightmare scenario...
But he hadn't shape-shifted at all! He's not the monster! And even worse, he was just going to have to live with the reality of being a human being who looks like Colton Haynes.
You guys, only two episodes have aired and I couldn't be more into this season. A lot of people incorrectly pegged this show as being a watered down Twilight ("only one supernatural creature?") but I think it's clear this show is turning into something more akin to a superhero origin story. Seriously, I got some pretty intense Batman vibes from these episodes: a Rogues Gallery of freakish villains has begun to form; our hero has an animal-themed persona; the city is bleak and atmospheric. But there are some Spider-Man vibes as well, particularly now that there's a LIZARD THING. Throw in a bit of X-Men style teamwork and I think Teen Wolf has begun to establish itself as unlike the supernatural teen dramas that have come before it and as something slightly more original with each passing episode. I couldn't be more intrigued or thrilled by what I've seen so far. It's gonna be a good summer.
... Who is the reptile creature: Lydia, Jackson, Photography Kid, Science Teacher, or Grandpa Argent?
... Which character has improved the most since Season 1?
... Is Isaac a good kid or is he bad news?
... How much bigger will Allison's hair get?