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Teen Wolf S04E01: "The Dark Moon"

Hi, how was your Spring? If it was anything like mine it was just a straight-up garbage existence. I can't even count the number of dumpsters I fell asleep in or the number of discarded, half-eaten burritos I consumed. Twelve? One hundred thousand? It was a bad time, to be honest. My only friends were seagulls. And my enemies? Also seagulls. Do you know what it's like to wake up covered in slime and not know whether you'd been haunted by a ghost in the night or if you just have a serious medical problem? I do. But I will be honest with you right here and right now. All my bad times can be traced to one thing and one thing alone: Teen Wolf was on hiatus. I think we can all agree that without new episodes of Teen Wolf to watch and discuss, life is trash. What is even the point of it? Anyway, I'm pleased to report that those dark times have passed and I am currently sitting in my condo wearing a white fur pashmina sipping champagne out of a geode. Because Teen Wolf is BACK and life is BETTER now.

I am nearly 451 years old, for reasons that are a whole story in itself and I frankly don't have the energy to get into it at the moment. (A curse is involved.) But believe me when I say I've been around for a while now and I recognize certain patterns in not only pop culture but in human culture. What happens is people fall in love with a piece of art or entertainment, demand more of it, and then grow tired of it. The weariness with a work of entertainment can be traced to one of two reasons: It changed too much over time or it didn't change enough. I am here to tell you that all GOOD works of entertainment need to grow and change, and for the viewer to cling to a first impression out of some kind of nostalgia is not only misguided, it's a shame. You are really missing out! It's one thing to reminisce about the old days, but to outright reject new things because you miss the olden times is a depressing form of nihilism. To put this in more specific Teen Wolf terms, MALIA IS AMAZING. 

But yeah, in a general sense, my favorite kind of person is one who loves new things. Right off the bat, "The Dark Moon" felt new, different, larger in scope, but fundamentally consistent with what we know Teen Wolf to be. Giving each season a different international spin is a fantastic idea, and while Allison (and Isaac!) will never be replaced, the newer characters have so much to add to the lore that is this beautiful, frightening, shirtless monster saga. So that's all I wanted to say. Let's appreciate the old but have fun with the new. Because "The Dark Moon" was a VERY fun prologue to what's looking like a very entertaining new chapter. 

Let's talk about it!

I don't know why anybody would want to build a small Mexican town on top of a forbidding, untraversable mesa, let alone a CGI town, but here we were! (You could tell it was Mexico because everything was yellow.)

Stiles and Lydia were clearly on a mission, so that's why they talked about being on a mission for a few minutes. I think maybe they sat in silence on the cab ride over because they wanted to present a unified front to the driver, but now that they were out in the open on the streets of Mexico (which also looked a lot like the streets of Mexico of Arrested Development) they could openly question each others' instincts.

Anyway, then night fell and they did something very unrealistic: They walked right by a street hot dog vendor and didn't even buy a delicious dog! Ugh, guys, come on. But then they gained entry to a secret underground club by showing this thing to the security camera:

And they were in!

It was just your typical underground Mexican dance club in an otherwise destitute-looking, semi-abandoned CGI Mesa town. And it was BANGIN.

Yep, Mexico or not, this was still definitely Teen Wolf!

Then the bartender gave the kids free shots but they didn't shoot them? Very rude. Anyway, then one of those Mexican hunters came and found them and brought them to their mother, who I guess is Mexico's answer to Mama Fratelli from The Goonies. That's when they all got down to business.

That's when we found out they were there to FIND DEREK. And they would buy him back if they could! But here's the thing: Mexican Mama Fratelli did NOT want to sell Derek to Stiles, not for 50 G's of Yakuza money, not for NOTHING. 

And that's when Stiles had to threaten her with brute force. Well, BRUTES force, plural. And then we got the superhero roll call of my dreams! All the other canine monsters were up in the club dancing and posing for the camera in powerful stances!

Ugh, so good. When it comes to superhero stories, the only thing better than a team standing in tableau is the roll call introduction. So this was perfect. (Also hi, Malia, you look perfect.)

OH and if that roll call wasn't enough for you, check out the brand new roll call credits! (But spoiler alert?)

Also Malia and Kira are both in the credits now, and Scott no longer levitates like a Jesus Werewolf. 

Also Jeff Davis' card has a cactus on it so I guess this season will officially have muy caliente Southwest flava?

This part was as charming as it was very gratuitous!

Just two female hotties trying to blend in and stay low-profile by grinding up on each other in the club. (I love the girl behind them giving them the side-eye.) And you know what? It's only fair that we get some female homoeroticism for once. I'm not even mad. But all vaguely bisexual moments have to come to an end and in this case it ended when two armed brutes attacked the ladies! Luckily they were ready.

Oh gosh, Kira's glowstick nunchuks were really funny to me. I couldn't decide if this part was hilarious or awesome, and that's why this show is so special. 

But then the trio went to go look for Stiles and Lydia and ran into trouble!

That's when they all got captured! Also at this point Scott realized that the Mexican Fratellis probably didn't even HAVE Derek, so what was even going on anymore?

Rhetorical question, because it was suddenly flashback time for some reason:

They were at the vet's office and Scott wanted to know if Derek was dead so he made Lydia hold all the bullet casings from when the hunters (and then a were-jaguar) invaded Derek's loft:

But of course Lydia didn't know anything. Just that he wasn't dead. But also might not be alive. Which, I guess that was true? But still, get better at this stuff, banshee woman. Anyway, then Scott looked at the skull logo on the bullets and decided they needed to go to Mexico. Why didn't he decide that earlier? It had been like two months since Derek's disappearance. Were they waiting for Labor day or something? Nobody knows, and nobody will ever know.

Then Scott woke up from his gassing:

Did I mention I really love Malia? Obviously much of that is Shelley Hennig related (The Secret Circle was so great, guys), but also her characterization here is way better than I imagined. She's this weird combination of naive new girl slash audience surrogate but also borderline FERAL. 

Like, in this scene she didn't understand why they wouldn't just leave a captured Lydia behind. And Malia even admitted that if she were still a coyote she'd consider straight-up eating Lydia before abandoning her. SO FUNNY. I mean, she spent what, ten years as a wild animal in the woods? I really hope we get to see more hints of that. Like, yeah, as a human Malia is gorgeous and clever, but it's such a funny backstory that she used to be a full-time COYOTE and I hope this season plays with this joke way more. Also, it should be pointed out that she and Stiles have really good chemistry. After she admitted she'd eat Lydia, his line "this is actually progress" legit cracked me up. 

In this scene Mexican Mama Fratelli decided to test Lydia's banshee powers and see if she could predict an imminent death:

But of course she couldn't. Lydia's powers are as random as possible. I'm sure they'll shift or get better this season, but for now they're basically just theoretical.

Um, not going to lie, this whole scene made no sense to me:

Like, okay, the Mexican Fratellis might be jerks but they're ostensibly good guys, right? Most hunters are, even human Kate Argent had a plausible wish to protect humans from monsters. So I'm not sure I understood why this woman was straight-up torturing innocent teenagers (whom she knew to be on the up and up, and who really HAD been trying to find their friend) just to make a point about Kate still being alive. I guess it was a test to see if Scott was a murderer or something? But then why involve Lydia or Kira? I guess to see if he was heroic enough to prevent them from being harmed? I don't know, it seems like a major violation of the Hunters' code for Mexican Mama Fratelli to be endangering non-werewolves. And again, couldn't she have just told him that Kate was alive? I'm pretty sure he would have believed her. Scott believes most things. But anyway, here he was in his tank top gripping an Ikea chair and getting shocked a ton.

Meanwhile in the bathroom Malia was trying to listen in on the carnage but she couldn't concentrate so Stiles helped her out.

So I guess making out with Stiles has the same effect as, like, banging a radio and getting better reception, so suddenly she could hear, but none of it really made all that much sense to her. 

Meanwhile Scott was telling Kira it was okay to shock him with the machine. They were making her use the knobs because electricity wouldn't hurt her, but shocking her boyfriend would. Or something. Again, this is the kind of scene that might make sense by reverse-engineering everybody's intentions but in the broadest sense I had no real idea why any of it was happening.

And that's when Scott started having flashbacks about Kate and then he realized she must've changed into a were-creature instead of dying. I mean, Mexican Mama Fratelli already knew this, but now Scott knew this too. And also WE knew this because then the camera cut to Aunt Kate looking like a creep in a dark place:

Oh and she had Derek locked away in a tomb or something:

So yeah! I don't know! Sorry, don't ask me. All I know is, after this small bit of horrible torture, everything was suddenly very chill:

Except Mexican Mama Fratelli warned Scott that if he ever murdered anybody she would come up to Beacon Hills and literally kick his butt. Scott was like, duh.

Then guess who showed up? Braeden, the lady mercenary who once rescued Isaac, which earns her a permanent place in all our hearts. Anyway, Mexican Mama Fratelli hired her to take the kids to find Kate and, I guess, kill her? Also to rescue Derek. 

So they were off!

But again, because Malia had spent most of her life as a full-time coyote, she had tons of questions about this Kate Argent character.

Luckily we got tons of flashbacks from Season 1 (including Peter Hale as a CGI werewolf, my favorite kind) but also some new scenes of the Mexican Fratellis retrieving Kate's body from the morgue and watching her come alive again, and then offering her the customary suicide that all turning-hunters must undertake. (Remember Mrs. Argent? Just kidding, she is literally unforgettable.) But Kate didn't go out like no chump!

She faked suicide and then escaped, killing her own brethren on the way out! Way harsh, Aunt Kate.

Meanwhile the desert caravan hit a snag when Stiles' Jeep had issues.

Somebody had thrown an ivory dagger at it? Or was that a dinosaur tooth? Not our business. But the Jeep was broken and Stiles suddenly had to pop the hood and take everything apart for some reason.

But Braeden was in a hurry to get to Kate's lair before sundown so Scott volunteered to go on alone. But before he left Kira got all emotional and hugged him goodbye.

AWKWARD. Guess Scott and Kira haven't really been dating for the past two months? Later on Braeden asks him about it and he shrugs it off like what a silly question. Him and Kira? Pshht. Okay, show.

Here was this brokedown church that was built on an Aztec temple devoted to were-jaguars. OBVIOUSLY.

In my opinion this was a frightening location. 

Speaking of frightening, the two canine ladies stood watch while Stiles tore apart his Jeep and almost immediately they sensed trouble in the area.

So Kira used some quick thinking to shine a little bit of razzle dazzle onto the surrounding rocks:

And without missing a beat Malia straight up CHASED that mysterious figure! At that point Kira ran after her and waved around her sword and Malia snuck up behind her (a cool thing to do when someone is waving around a samurai sword all frightened) and was wounded but ok. Whatever the thing was had gotten away. Meanwhile Stiles was NOT happy about Malia's instincts.

This was a cute moment when Stiles assumed Malia might've just simply ran away from them forever, but she insisted she would never leave him. She'd leave the other girls, sure, but not Stiles. SAME. 

Look at this little fella:

So cute!

So then Braeden and Scott entered an underground catacomb and almost immediately a shadowy monster that looked to be wearing Predator drag started rustling and coming toward them:

But that wasn't the ONLY frightening thing in this scene. Look out behind you!

Ugh, skeletons are the biggest creeps, always and forever. If it were up to me I would NOT let a skeleton hang out inside my body all the time. I hope future scientists can work on this issue.

Anyway, then Scott realized the only way to keep this creature away from them was to shout at it!

And it worked! But also some walls caved in and Braeden's ears were ringing.

But it led them directly to a wall with a were-jaguar on it, so Scott immediately knew Derek was buried behind it.

And they busted him out! But something was wrong, at least according to the looks on their faces. And soon we discovered what it was:

Derek was a TEEN again! WHAT THE? That is a werewolf ability I was not aware of. Yes, I know they can turn into animals and sometimes CGI monsters or maybe even lizards, and yes, they can use moon voodoo to come back to life, but I was NOT aware of this return-to-twinkery thing. Why wouldn't they ALL do this?  I don't know. But I guess Kate Argent has a thing for young boys. It was not explained how often she'd been licking Derek's abs over the previous two months, but my guess is she might be a real creep if she'd been licking Teen Derek's abs also. Aunt Kate is truly a weirdo.

So that was "The Dark Moon," which was a term used to describe a time of contemplation or sadness but then the episode was just sort of crazy and fun. Title was not accurate in my opinion. Episode title, I mean. The show title is still pretty accurate. Teen Wolves, even more than before! I liked this episode. It was hard to feel TOO crazy passionate about it, because, again, it was merely a prologue to the Beacon Hills drama to follow. But as a one-off excursion to a new locale and an introduction to new concepts and characters it was a very fun and intriguing beginning. I miss the parents, I miss the bedrooms, and classrooms, and dear gosh, I miss lacrosse. But those are coming! This was a mere appetizer. And I very much liked it. Ugh, so happy it's back. Teen Wolf forever.


... Should Derek stay a teen and re-enroll in high school?

... How should Lydia's powers improve? 

... How much do you like Malia?

... How do you think Isaac spent his summer?

Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 2/9/2016

Season 5 : Episode 16

Next Episode

AIRS ON 2/16/2016

Season 5 : Episode 17

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