If you are anything like me you've destroyed your brain with too much gas station candy and can't remember anything anymore. I legit can't remember anything that happened longer than 10 minutes ago, which is why I get tons of stuff wrong in these reviews, which are basically the only literate thing I do all week. This is why we are a good team; you remind me when I miss something and I remind you that I have mental probs. Mythology-dense shows like Teen Wolf just get denser and denser as they go along and it can be hard to remember half the stuff that happens. Which I think is fine, that is normal, we have a lot of information to process all day every day. But it's a bummer when misremembering something causes you to like it less. Like, I keep getting into arguments with people who are claiming that True Blood went off the rails recently. Uh, do you even remember the first season? Or more pertinent to this review, that the previous two episodes of Teen Wolf somehow weren't in keeping with what had come before? I'm just saying, don't misremember the format of every season! The main plot doesn't usually kick in until a third of the way through, and that's how it's always been. Even Season 1 devoted its first third to the question of whether Derek was the Alpha or not. Season 3A had something to do with ritual sacrifices. Sorry to sound defensive, but here we are, I'm defending my favorite show. Not that it needs defending: "Muted" was one of the best episodes of Teen Wolf maybe ever. So yeah, Teen Wolf can speak for its-f*ckin-self pardon my French cussin'!
So again, we know that Teen Wolf likes to devote extra time at the start of the season to world-building and character introductions. Haunted motels and coyote girls may not have tons to do with their seasons' respective climaxes, but they DO have a lot to do with getting into our characters' heads and setting things up for future seasons. (At this point maybe only a deeply disturbed person would regret those Malia introductory episodes at the beginning of Season 3B.) That's why I wasn't super impressed with complaints that a Mexico-set episode or an episode about baby Derek were Teen Wolf being somehow off its game. Um, you've seen four (basically) seasons of this thing by now. This is how it works!
However, I definitely understand those complaints a bit more now if only because of how fun and wonderful "Muted" was. Like, I know intellectually that we NEED world-building episodes for a back-to-basics episode like this one to feel so special. But "Muted" nailed all the best Teen Wolf tropes in an almost next-level way. That cold open! The new monster(s)! Lacrosse! The bite! "Muted" was a real holy sh*t of an episode. And yeah, it REALLY does feel like the season has finally started. I think we can all agree on that.
Let's talk about it!
So, one of the things I'd been missing that Teen Wolf had made less and less frequent over the past few seasons were the truly terrifying, near-standalone cold opens. When it wants to be, Teen Wolf is one of the scariest damn shows on television. It's very clear the writers know their horror and the directors really tend to shine during these scenes. This cold open was probably the best one in the history of Teen Wolf, and I'm not going to lie, it was shockingly disturbing. Like, I maybe can't even believe MTV aired it? On the other hand: AMAZING. An alone-in-the-house suburban boogeyman horror scene reminiscent of Halloween, The Strangers, High Tension, House of the Devil, Martyrs AND Saw (except 1 million times better than Saw) and centered around a shirtless hunk? Sign me up. If this opening teaser were a feature-length horror movie it would be an instant classic, no joke. I would own it on Blu-Ray. I would watch it more than once a year. I would probably obsess over it and constantly name check it in photo recaps of teen supernatural soaps. So good.
Anyway, here's what happened: a teen hunk went looking for his cat outside but then came inside and turned out the lights and doffed his top and went to bed. That's when he noticed bloody paw prints on the rug, which in my opinion is not a good sign.
AAAAAAAH! A bloody... nevermind. But that's when things got horrifying. On the other side of his bedroom door there were suddenly the sounds of an older married couple getting axe-slaughtered!
Like, jeez, Teen Wolf. That is DARK.
And then the kid finally went to go see what was happening and found a hulking behemoth with a bloody axe standing in the hallway! And oh yeah, the boogeyman "spoke" using a touchpad and a robot voice:
In this case he urged the teen to break a shard of mirror and fight him.
But like a clever minx he merely shattered the window and split. Fair enough! But then the killer stepped into the moonlight:
OMG. Holy moly. Where is your mouth, guy?? Teen Wolf is the best show on television. Amazing.
So then after the opening credits thankfully brought us back into a slightly less terrifying plane of existence, the Hales were negotiating something with Braeden. Specifically how much money they'd have to pay her to capture Kate Argent.
ALL OF IT, basically. She wanted all of their money. Which would be tough since Peter Hale had gotten all of his bear bones stolen. (Or bearer bonds, doesn't matter.) Anyway, Derek immediately agreed because he wanted Kate captured so bad, but Peter Hale got mad at him.
(Thanks to people who reminded me that yellow eyes means a werewolf hasn't murdered anybody.) So I guess Derek had had his murder stolen from him and he wanted it back? But why was he mad about not being a murderer anymore? Because blue eyes look cooler? That seems kinda racist, Derek. I guess we'll find out later after— Whoops, nevermind, can't talk now:
TWO NEW HUNKS! Meet Garrett and Liam, tiny hunk lacrossies (is lacrossie a word?) and obvious threats to Scott and Stiles' status on the team, especially Liam who is a freshman but seems like a prodigy or something.
In fact, Liam was so good at lacrosse that the boys immediately assumed he was a paranormal monster of some kind. So next thing we knew Stiles and Scott were grilling him in the locker room about it.
So, I don't know if this is a subject that will bum everybody out or not, but Teen Wolf is a show that will probably be on for a long time and cast members will continue to cycle in and out. It's sort of like how Captain America 2 [SPOILER] introduced a character who miiiight very well become Captain America should Chris Evans retire from the franchise. So it makes sense that while Dylan O'Brien and the gang are on the cusp of stardom that Teen Wolf needs an infusion of cute sympathetic boys, you know? (What happens to Liam later on in this episode kinda plays into my theory a lot also.) This character turnstile is already spinnin' with Malia and Kira replacing Allison as female leads. I don't know, maybe I shouldn't have said anything. I guess what I mean is these new guys are characters we should probably get used to if we plan to stick with this show for a while. Teen Wolf may just become the DeGrassi of supernatural horror soaps and that is a reality we should start accepting now. But these two also seem so tiny right now, which is rude for me to point out, but aren't they SO tiny??
Meanwhile at the hospital:
Hey look at the new doctor! He was an ancient hunter on The Vampire Diaries. Man, I will never get tired of the cast crossovers between all my favorite shows. Also HEY MRS. MCCALL! Missed u.
So after that bloody hunk showed up a the hospital Sheriff Stilinski discovered that his whole family had been murdered with an axe and he and Mrs. McCall had to decide whether to even inform their kids or not. What a weird moment! Like, theoretically their kids have super powers or whatever, and are probably better and investigating this stuff, but on the other hand, can you imagine being a sheriff and having to ask your teen son for help to do your job? But the biggest question at this point was why any of these people still live in Beacon Hills. So then I laughed when it appeared that Kira's family had already come to the correct conclusion about that:
Aw, they were selling their house and moving back to Manhattan! Kira was not happy, mostly because she hadn't yet sat 'n spun on Scott's werewolf D.
Also HEY KIRA'S MOM. Man, I love the parents on this show. I still wish we could get more appearances by the ghost of Mrs. Argent or maybe it could be a Lady Stoneheart situation, but who knows, maybe later. Nobody stays dead forever.
Meanwhile this episode confirmed that the lead characters are juniors in high school, which was weird considering they seemed to be taking algebra? As juniors? I mean obviously Malia is uneducated and Scott probably won't be acing SAT tests in general, but why was Lydia taking basic algebra? But I did love this chalkboard exchange with Malia:
Aw, poor Malia. She hates math. Meanwhile this cracked me up:
Stiles got a text alert about the murders! It reminded me of the time I was in a waiting room and everybody's iPhone got an Amber Alert (which is a California thing indicating that a child was stolen by gypsies or something) and it was honestly really terrifying to hear twelve phones go off simultaneously. It was like the beginning of a horror film where technology goes haywire and then the machines rise up to turn us all into batteries. So yeah, this was just a cool text message to get in the middle of class.
But the heroes being the heroes they were, Stiles immediately reasoned that they should skip out of school and go sort that murder sh*t right out.
Haha I liked that Scott seemed VERY disinterested in jumping into the season mythology just yet. It's like he KNEW it was only the third episode. Stiles on the other hand was appalled. I guess ever since his brain unbroke and he became literate again he's been rarin' to get back in the saddle. Classic Stiles.
There was also a cute moment here where Scott kissed Kira goodbye on the mouth too chastely and they both freaked out. That is a teen plotline I've never seen addressed before, so again, I like when Teen Wolf remembers it's about teens.
Meanwhile I have never related to a character as much as I related to The Mute:
The scene where he stayed up all night staring at his computer screen was VERY RELATABLE BASICALLY. And I'm not going to lie, I was slightly jealous of how he eats:
I mean, gosh, I'm just thinking of all the time this would save me and I'm suddenly craving a hole in the neck. Anyway, The Mute is obviously a horrifying monster with a blood-caked axe, but I feel like in certain ways he really "gets" me. Like, look at what he was typing:
That's exactly how these recaps start looking to me when 6am rolls around.
Meanwhile the Coach announced in the locker room that the entire lacrosse team was experiencing a rebuilding season because half of its hunks went away. Like specifically Jackson and Isaac. But he didn't say anything about Danny, who I guess is not only gone but also forgotten? If he's gone forever this doesn't surprise me, since the revelation he was hip to the monsters all along felt like an unofficial parting line, but who knows if he is off the show or not. Only the lawyers and agents know for sure.
So even though Stiles has spent the better part of a semester running toward and away from dangerous monsters, he was surprisingly wheezy at lacrosse practice!
It was cute that Kira and Malia went to go watch practice like a couple of devoted girlfriends, but I REALLY liked their weird friendship, which mostly consists of Kira being awkward and Malia telling her off.
Malia was amazing in this episode, as always, no duh.
Meanwhile tiny hunk Liam was invited into a three-way with Scott and Stiles and he scored a ton!
I loved when Malia demanded that they all go again and Stiles got embarrassed:
Also I am not going to lie, I laughed out loud when the Coach immediately accepted her $10 offer to let them go again. He needs that money for the vending machines they keep in the lobby of his adult daycare.
So, anyway, this time Scott turned on his werewolf powers and broke Liam's effing LEG!
Poor Liam. See, this was a good introduction to the character because I was already feeling bad for the fella. Luckily there was no bad blood between any of them and Scott and Stiles immediately walked Liam off the field to go to the hospital. Meanwhile Kira caught a stray lacrosse ball with her stick thingy!
And then she threw it back at Coach and he fell down. Man, if this show is implying that Kira might join the lacrosse team I would LOVE that. That would be really awesome, I am in favor, case closed.
Meanwhile, could THIS be a blossoming romance?
Yeah, sorry, I'm definitely feeling it. I like Braeden a lot and it seems like she and Derek were flirting a bunch. Plus she has him all figured out (and not even Derek has Derek figured out.) So I approve of this muy mucho.
Meanwhile Scott and Kira continued to be awkward around each other. Like, he made her wait for him after practice and then he barely had time to say hi?
But then the music got loud and he ran back out and they mouth attacked each other! Whew! It finally happened. Friendzoning is over! Good job, guys.
Later Kira went home and destroyed the 'for sale' sign on her house, so it seems like she's probably going to stay a while now:
Meanwhile dreamy Deputy Parrish went to go investigate the house where everyone was murdered and guess who he found lurking around already!
Um, again, is there something romantic going on here? He is technically a grownup and an officer of the law and Lydia is underage, so that would obviously be strange and illegal, but on the other hand these are a couple of dreamboats and they seem to have good rapport. Who knows! The only thing we know right now is that if there is a wood panel with screaming faces on it, then it is probably the doorway to a secret passageway that leads to an enormous walk-in freezer full of hanging meats:
And despite Deputy Parrish weirdly assuming the hanging objects were DEER, they were actually just a ton of dead people.
This poor extra. I hope she at least puts this scene on her reel. But also WHAT ON EARTH? That family had some 'splaining to do. Just kidding, they were axe-murdered.
So then the Malia-Stiles romance proceeded accordingly with a sexy study session!
They had a really cute moment when Stiles saw that Malia had color-coded her highlighters in the same way he'd once color-coded his crazyperson yarn web. Like, come on, the look on his face when he realized the coincidence was as charming as possible.
Then he discovered that the "notes" Lydia had lent to Malia were probably not very helpful.
Lydia, girl, what is UP with your brain? No wonder Malia was failing algebra.
So then Liam was chilling at the hospital and guess who his step-dad is?
The doctor dude! Personally I love that Liam arrived complete with a dynamic parent who works in a position of power within the community. Now we KNOW Liam's an important new addition to the cast. You're not anybody in this town unless you have cool parent working in the public sector, you know? (Is Lydia's mom still substitute teaching?)
So yeah, after all those bodies were discovered in the crime scene house, it was clear the surviving family member hunk dude was probably not what he seemed. And Mrs. McCall had to find that out the hard way:
(I will never get tired of this joke sorry.) Look at that guy! Just eating a cop like it was NBD. That I didn't have a problem with, but it struck me as unnecessary for him to then also attack Scott's mom!
Luckily Scott was there to save her.
After a brief hallway tussle, the guy—a self-admitted wendigo!—grabbed Liam in the hallway and dragged him up to the roof where he threatened to eat him!
I mean, Liam IS fun-sized but that didn't mean Scott was happy about this possibility.
But the next thing we knew Liam was hanging off the ledge by his fingertips and Scott was trying to save him but the wendigo was grabbing onto Scott and acting a fool.
So Scott did the only thing he could think of to save Liam, and it was a very weird decision!
HAHAH oh man. Of course. Good thinking. Meanwhile the wendigo was mysteriously struck down behind him!
It was The Mute, come to finish his handiwork! Scott probably had mixed emotions about seeing a mouthless demon straight-up murdering someone with an axe right in front of him. But on the other hand, The Mute DID kill an enemy and didn't seem to pose a threat to Scott himself at that point in time. So no harm, no foul. Meanwhile, there was plenty of harm and foul going on with Liam's new werewolf bite!
Wuh-oh. Scott may have officially turned his first werewolf! (Let's be real, Liam's definitely going to survive that bite and will probably not become a banshee or a lizard in my opinion.) That's obviously a big moral grey zone for Scott, even though he seemed ready and willing to turn Stiles into a werewolf last season. But still, he's definitely going to be in trouble with the Mexican Fratellis, seeing as Mexican Mama Fratelli specifically warned Scott not to bite innocent people. But hey, now there is a backup Teen Wolf in case Scott decides to move to Paris or London or get shot with an arrow in the chest, you know? Hakuna matata.
"Muted" was pretty much fantastic. I mean, I don't know if this is too early to say, but is there a Royal Rumble of monsters going on in this town? Will there be even more monsters? I'm VERY into this idea. Very. Into it.
... Will Kira join lacrosse?
... Will The Mute show up in your nightmares?
... What's the better hinted-at romance, Derek and Braeden or Lydia and Parrish?
... Would you date a wendigo?
AIRED ON 3/8/2016
Season 5 : Episode 20