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Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Teen Wolf S5E12: Damnatio Memoriae.

Teen Wolf
Series 5, Episode 12
Damnatio Memoriae.

Okay, so it looks like I possibly got some wires crossed last week when I said that Liam had been framed by Hayden, because while that's definitely what seemed to have happened, he's fine in this episode, and nobody makes any reference to anything of the sort, making it more likely than anything else that that scene was meant to indicate something else that I didn't quite catch.

In this week's episode, the Dread Doctors' final creation, the reborn Beast of Gevaudan, makes its appearance, chasing down Hayden and Liam. Scott and Stiles team up to investigate, only to find Theo, who has been shoring up his pack's loyalty with promises that he'll protect them from the Beast. Meanwhile, Argent sets in motion his own plans to take down the Beast, and Lydia, trapped in Eichen House and catatonic, sees a vision of Meredith, who promises to teach her how to use her voice as a weapon.

I think my biggest beef with this episode is that the Beast of Gevaudan doesn't really come across as that intimidating or scary. It was mentioned in the very first series of Teen Wolf, but it's never really been a major figure in the show's mythos, so much as it was an origin story for the Argents - if Allison was still around, it might have more weight, but since she's not, and since the only thing we know about the Beast is 'it's a particularly vicious werewolf that the Argents killed', we don't really have any reason to be scared of it.

Look at the claws, now.

Not to mention, it seems a bit anticlimactic for the Doctors' final creation. We've seen them experimenting with werewolves, kitsune, wendigoes, girtablilu, kanima, and more, but its final creation is - just a very angry, powerful werewolf? Possibly the series will build up the threat a little more over the upcoming episodes, but at the moment, I'm just not feeling it.

We also have Liam and Hayden renewing their romance subplot, and as before, it's quite dull. Neither of these two characters are the best acted in the series, they don't have much chemistry, and their romance just feels like a distraction from more interesting fare.

One part I did really like about this episode was the heartfelt conversation between Stiles and his father - it was beautifully written, and acted incredibly well, and it easily stands out as the highlight of the episode. It's odd, perhaps, that the place where this episode truly shone was not any of the action scenes, or the creepy moments with Lydia, but in a relatively quiet moment between Stiles and his father.

It doesn't work quite as well for you, Scott.

Also, it led to Stiles and Scott becoming a team again, which is always nice, and also involves Stiles becoming approximately as worried as the audience about Scott's non-healing chest wound. Seriously, Scott, get a doctor to look at that. Preferably Deaton, when he stops being a hostage. Scott's fight scene with Theo's pack was also very well done - short, but clever, and it led in well to Theo stopping the fight and explaining the Beast to Scott.

(Who wants to bet that killing the Beast results in inheriting all its powers, and that that's now Theo's eventually main goal?)

We got a little bit of movement on Malia's plotline with the Desert Wolf, too, but only a little. I'm not wholly interested in what happens there, but once the show focuses on it a bit more, it'll probably catch my interest, at least somewhat. At the moment, I'm mostly just vexed that she's barely showing up in the show right now, since Malia's a great character.

Also, a brief glimpse of Kira!

As for the Lydia plotline, I'm not sure what to make of it: Seeing Meredith return (sort of) is always nice, and it's clearly leading up to that scene from the opening episode of this series where Lydia is using her screams to blow guards away, but I'm more interested to know what's going to happen to Lydia in the future, after Theo and company interrupt Valack's session with her. Still, the angry orderly character is a joy to hate, so there is that.

So, not as strong an episode as the first one, but still a considerable improvement over most of the episodes in the first half of this series. In a way, it was a slightly workmanlike episode, easing characters into place for future events, but it performed that role with aplomb and was an enjoyable watch. Next week, it looks like we finally have Kira back, and it looks like she's in Mexico, meeting Skinwalkers. Presumably because the Teen Wolf staff had those desert-y filming locations, and it seemed like a shame to let them go to waste.

I'm always up for more Kira, so I'm looking forward to that episode. 

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