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Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Teen Wolf S4E1: The Dark Moon.

Okay, and the second of the two new ongoings. Teen Wolf is about a young man who becomes a werewolf, and airs on MTV, with - for those not in the US - episodes going up on Amazon a few hours after they air. It's one of those series that starts out fun and then just gets heartbreaking and epic, so I'd recommend it.

Teen Wolf
S4E1: The Dark Moon.

 When did Teen Wolf series 3 actually end? It feels like it's barely been off the air.

Okay, having checked, it last aired on 24th March, it genuinely has only barely been off the air, for about three months. The mid-series hiatus – and I have no idea why American television feels the need to clumsily wedge a many month gap into the middle of their television programs – was longer than the hiatuses between series.

When we left the gang, Stiles had just been freed from the evil influence of an insane fox spirit; kitsune Kira and werecoyote Malia had joined the gang; Danny had revealed quite casually that he knew about werewolves; we'd discovered that Kate Argent, thought dead in Series 1, was actually alive and is some kind of supernatural being; and most importantly, Alison had died, in probably the biggest shock of the show so far.

We open on Stiles and Lydia in a delightful South American town. They're doing their standard snarking at each other about how the plan is stupid and they're going to die, and I approve of this, because I can always use more Stiles and Lydia being ridiculous and sassy and sarcastic at each other. 

Embrace the sass. Embrace it like a son.

They use a card with a skull on it to enter a house, and notice that as they walk towards the ominous door, the lamps on the walls are shaking, and – wait, it's a nightclub?

It's daytime.

Anyway, a man comes to offer them drinks, act vaguely threatening, and fish for information, and while Stiles is clearly offput, Lydia isn't bothered at all, and just drops a shotgun shell into her drink.

It gets them an audience with Creepy Team Rocke – wait, no, I've already given someone in Orphan Black that name.

… It gets them an audience with Unnerving Team Flare Matriarch, who apparently has Derek held captive, and they want him back. They throw down a decent amount of money, and UTFM remarks that they were foolish to come alone.

Of course, as Stiles points out, they didn't. They had Malia, Kira and Scott out in the club just waiting to strike dramatic poses while staring smirkily at the camera. Somebody has clearly been watching their share of perfume adverts.

(Those are so artsy.) 

Kitsune, the new fragrance by Beacon.

After the – equally artsy opening credits play, Kira and Malia attempt to blend in by having a dance sequence which, to be honest, if you're in a club does genuinely seem like the best way to blend in. That, or standing at the side looking awkward and occasionally making a few stumbling half steps towards the crowd and then skittering back, but, um, but dancing – that's, that's good too.

UTFM says something about a dark moon, which will probably be relevant later, and her men report in, except one, who has been knocked out. Instead, Scott responds, telling Stiles to take ten off the table. There's still no deal, though, and out in the club, violence ensues, with Malia, Scott and Kira taking down henchmen, the latter with … glowstickchucks.

Well, it's appropriate for the venue, I suppose.

Things go sour as wolfsbane is pumped into the club, and UTFM confronts Scott to taunt for a little, before he realises that she has no idea where Derek is either.

Suddenly, flashbacks! Scott, Stiles and Lydia are discussing how Derek's gone missing, and Lydia uses her banshee powers, which tell her, ominously but not very helpfully, that he's not dead, but she isn'tsure whether he's alive, either. They decide to go to – okay, is it New Mexico, or Mexico? Because they say New Mexico at the start of this scene, and Mexico at the end, and one is a US state, having become one in 1912, and the other is a federal republic in South America that declared independence from Spain in 1810 at the Grito de Dolores, marking the start of an eleven year war for independence and a string of Spanish reconquest attempts that would last for fifteen years after the end of the war. 

I bet UTFM knows her history.

Scott wakes up and finds that Lydia has been captured – she's off drinking tea with UTFM, who wants her to predict which of her men is about to die – and we get a reminder that Malia was a coyote for years, as she says they should just leave Lydia, and calmly says that if she'd been weak and injured while Malia was a coyote, Malia probably would've eaten her.

Which, hey, she's more honest than Hannibal.

UTFM wants to know about Scott, and after killing one of her henchmen, has Scott and Lydia taken to a room, and Scott tied to a chair. Kira is also brought in, and told that she'll be turning the dial to send volts of electricity into Scott, which seems like a – poor idea. She can control electricity. When Stiles was possessed, he had fine enough control over that power to manipulate electrical cables like they were whips. Why are you putting her next to a machine whose sole purpose is producing electricity.

UTFM says she's just going to ask some questions, and they begin. It's mostly questions about who took Derek – oh, and while this is going on, Stiles and Malia kiss, which you know, is a thing that happens – and Scott realises that it's Kate, after some rather unpleasant electrical torture. 

Which may have just been an excuse for him to be sweaty.

UTFM lets them go, with Braeden – the mercenary - as a guide to take them to 'the Church', where Derek is apparently being held. We get some recapping about Kate and in so doing, the early parts of the series: Kate set the fire that killed the Hale family, which Peter survived, Peter bit Scott, Peter killed Kate. Scott then posits that UTFM's lot stole Kate's body, as they realised that she wasn't dead, and was changing. They gave her an opportunity to commit suicide, and she instead escaped, killing a bunch of people.

They hit something and the car breaks down, and Braeden says that they have to get to the Church before nightfall. After a few emotional moments, Scott leaves with her on her motorbike. After they're gone, Malia realises that a stake of bone was thrown into the car. As Stiles is working on the car, she also realises that they're not alone out there.

Scott and Braeden reach the Church, the only building left standing in an earthquake destroyed town, situated over a werejaguar temple. Meanwhile, Kira, using her sword to reflect the car headlights, sees something moving in the darkness. Her and Malia go rushing after it and get separated, with Malia showing up a moment later, slightly wounded and only knowing that whatever it is, it moves fast.

In the Church, Braeden gives Scott relationship advice ('You should've kissed your girlfriend,') because she is wise and sage and can she please become a series regular? Make it happen, showrunners. You know she's interesting, that's why you have her keep showing up. Anyway, in the tunnels, there are creepy moving skull things, and it's not long before they attack.

Mercenary, relationship counsellor, maker of amazing facial

Back at the car, now on the move again, Stiles berates Malia for running off, saying that she thought she was bolting and leaving. She matter-of-factly states that she'd never leave him, before pointing out that she'd leave Kira and Lydia. I like Malia. I know that in fandom, saying that you don't irrationally despise any female character is tantamount to saying that you like kicking children in the face, but I do. Like Malia, that is. Children are the – unless they're very small, it's difficult raising my leg high enough and keeping my balance.

The skull-thing is still heading for Scott and Braeden, though, and they're getting more and more tense. Eventually, Scott roars, scaring it away, and also revealing a wall with the mark of a jaguar god on it. Figuring that Derek is behind it, they break through the wall, where the audience is shown a hand reaching for the shocked pair.

They help him outside, where Stiles and the others finally arrive and run towards them. As they get close, Stiles realises that something's wrong with Derek, and Derek looks up to reveal that he's been de-aged about five years and is now played by the dude who played young!Derek in the last series.

I genuinely thought he was going to be revealed as having turned into a werejaguar, so that came as a shock to me.

It's a strong start, and in the extended preview for the next five or six episodes it looks like we're going to be seeing Dylan Sprayberry's character showing up, supernatural assassins, and – Derek using a pretty repulsive slur for disabled people, so that's vexing. 

Sigh. To be honest, TV shows do problematic things at times - Game of Thrones, as we know, did something really awful - and I can acknowledge that and move on. But I cannot abide what's inevitably coming when it happens, which is a bunch of fans going 'No, no, no, it's a fine word to use!'

Still. End on a positive. Werejaguars. Gotta love werejaguars. Also, attempted pederasty from a villain next episode - that's less a positive, more villains being creepily villainous. 

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