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Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Teen Wolf S5E3: Dreamcatchers.

Teen Wolf
Series 5 Episode 3

I'm not even sure where to start with this episode. It's difficult, in many ways, to conjure any solid memories of what it was like, even though I watched it less than twenty-four hours ago.

Continuing on from the first two episodes of the series, the peace is disturbed once again when angry youth Donovan's transportation to jail is interrupted by an attack from Tracy, a victim of the Doctors, who murders her father, Donovan's lawyer, and leaves the lad himself to be the latest victim of one of the Doctors' experiments. As Tracy's bodycount starts piling up, the gang realise that she's still suffering from a night terror, and believes herself to be asleep - and also that she's been transformed into a monster they've not seen for a very long time.

In many respects, this episode is enjoyable blah - it was fun to watch, but it's nevertheless an episode in which not a massive amount of progress is made on the plot. In fact, the only significant plot development I can think of is that a member of the main cast - Malia, in this case - has encountered the Doctors in person, and we're most likely going to see her reporting back to the rest of the group on what little she saw (in this case, a bunch of masked men injecting Tracy with mercury and announcing that her condition is terminal. Great bedside manner, guys).

But apart from that, this episode is, er, very episodic - Tracy isn't likely to be relevant again in future, just like how Random Werewolf Dude from the first episode isn't going to be relevant again - and unfortunately, despite its fondness for dipping into monster-of-the-week plots (that was, after all, the whole dealio with the Benefactor and the deadpool), Teen Wolf isn't that good at making said plots impactful and meaningful, leading to them always being a bit so-so, a bit 'why should I care'. 


The fact that Tracy is a Kanima, a monster that was a very real and serious threat when it first appeared, now functionally reduced to a relatively minor inconvenience (and an odd one, too, since Kanima have masters, and Tracy doesn't seem to, given that the Doctors never give her any orders), only exacerbates that problem. Which isn't to say I'm not glad to see Kanimas making a reappearance, since they were a charmingly creepy monster in the second series, but I do feel that if you're going to bring them back, you need to make more out of it.

In general, the 'why should I care' problem seems to be magnified this series. Why should I care about Liam? I certainly don't know, do you know? Why should I care that Mason now knows about the whole werewolf thing? I like Mason, but the show apparently doesn't think I should care, having had him find out with the bare minimum of ceremony. Why should I care about the Doctors, when literally all they do is show up every now and again to waggle heavy industrial equipment at people? Why should I care, even, about Kira, when you've barely given her any lines? 

(Seriously, Kira is one of the best characters of the bunch, use her. Especially since the kitsune mythology is some of the most interesting you've had in the show.)

Even my interest in Theo is starting to drain away, as after the big reveal of his evil intentions in the second episode, the writers apparently nearly forgot about him, giving him about twenty seconds worth of screen time. For god's sake, guys, way to not capitalise on your own cliffhanger.

Apparently she was able to do this for an entire history class without anyone noticing.
Said history class is taught by someone who's aware of the supernatural.

So, without the episode making much of an impression on me, I'm left in a position where really the only thing I can say is 'This is definitely an episode which possibly aired on TV maybe'. It held my attention for forty minutes adequately enough, but as soon as I stopped watching all interest in it fled my head. 

And this is the thing with Teen Wolf: While I do think it has improved with time - possibly peaking in its third series, at least for the moment - it suffers when it tries to move outside of a very serialised format. That is where it's comfortable, that's where it does its best work, in heavily serialised stories that do away with the fluff and the extra fat. Too often, it does stories which are nearly entirely fluff, and whose only relation to a serialised plot is to big up the series' villains.

This boy's head is oddly too small for the rest of his body.

In the end, while I'm enjoying this series (somewhat, at least), almost nothing is jumping out at me, and that's a crying shame. We're nearly a third of the way through the first half of the series, and I'm kind of expecting to feel something by now. Give me some drama! Give me a reason to actually be interested in the Doctors! Hell, give me some weird American stuff that I can be baffled over, like that time when the Stilinskis were being hounded by debt collectors over bills from urgent medical care - your villains are evil doctors, for god's sake, I'm sure you could have them ominously pass a grotesquely large bill to Donovan or something.

Just give me something to talk about, Teen Wolf writers, please. Make my job easier. Help me to help you. 

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