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Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Teen Wolf S5E14: The Sword and the Spirit

For those wondering why it isn't The Flash today, the answer is that since The Flash and Teen Wolf air on the same day, I'll be alternating which one comes first and which comes second, week by week, until Teen Wolf is done. The Flash will be up tomorrow, and Legends of Tomorrow the day after that.

Teen Wolf
Series 5, Episode 14
The Sword and the Spirit.

I misread the episode titles and thought 'The Sword and the Spirit' would be episode fifteen, and now I'm very confused. The name would suggest it's a Kira focus episode, but she shows up in all of one scene: Instead, all of the focus is squarely on Malia and Lydia, and while that's fine, this is not the first time that Teen Wolf has given its episodes rather misleading titles.

In this episode, Malia goes hunting for her mother, the Desert Wolf, with the help of Braeden and Theo, with Theo using one of the Doctors' devices on her to reveal that the Desert Wolf has arrived in Beacon Hills. Tracking her down to an abandoned building, the three prepare to defeat the Desert Wolf and rescue Deaton - a plan which quickly goes awry. Meanwhile, in Eichen House, Lydia begins having premonitions of deaths, and under the tutelage of Meredith, learns how to project her scream as a weapon, leading to the unsuccessful escape attempt from the pilot. Meanwhile, Argent and Gerard investigate the tunnels where Scott and the others once searched for Liam, only to run into Scott and Liam, sent there by Malia.

So, in a refreshing change, we really only have three storylines to follow in this episode.

"I can hear you, but I can't see you, I'm ... trapped behind glass."

We'll start with the shortest: The Argents' plotline. We don't really see a lot of it, and its purpose is mostly to slide the plot on a little further, giving us exposition about the Beast of Gevaudan (described by Gerard as 'a shadow trying to be real' - I do wish they'd decide exactly what it is. Is it a werewolf? Everything prior to this series suggested it was just a werewolf, but it seems to be a magical shadow werewolf), and how to kill it (a maiden with a silver spear, apparently - the Maid of Gevaudan, confirmed to be played by Crystal Reed in an Ye Olde Times episode coming up), and establishing that it's possible to incapacitate or at least put the Doctors off if you know their frequency, tying into what Valack said ages ago about the Doctors deriving their powers from a particular electromagnetic frequency. 

We also get Scott finding out about Gerard, and taking it surprisingly well, so that's a thing. It's all interesting stuff, and it'd have been nice to have a smidgeon more time spent focusing on it, but Teen Wolf's glacial plot is, as ever, glacial.

The next storyline up, in terms of content, is probably Lydia's. Not a lot happens in her part, but we do get one important development (her learning to project her scream as a weapon), and some Meredith backstory, as she apparently injured her entire class once during an everybody-will-die-induced panic attack. Lydia's arc this episode also made it pretty clear that she's going to be the one to take down the Doctors: With the episode having already established that the Doctors are vulnerable to certain frequencies, and with Lydia's storyline this episode both being about her learning to be a precise weapon and drawing attention several times to her scientific abilities, she's clearly being set up to destroy the Doctors.

Never a good way to wake up.

(In fact, we're slowly seeing the lines drawn for who will be defeating what - Lydia defeating the Doctors, Scott definitely defeating Theo, and probably Parrish when he inevitably goes Hellhound-y, Malia defeating the Desert Wolf, and Kira, whose storyline is all about weapons and how they're a gateway for her Fox, taking up a silver spear or sword and striking the finishing blow on the Beast.)

That leaves us with Malia's storyline, probably the meatiest of the bunch. Interestingly, like Kira's, her story doesn't end in any kind of resolution, but is instead left open-ended to continue over the rest of the series, and I'm not sure how I feel about that. It feels messy, somehow, even though it will probably mean that both these characters (who I both absolutely adore) will get more screentime and important plot stuff.

It's always great to see Braeden, too, although every time she appears I am reminded that Derek, one of the best parts of the show, left, and then I'm reminded that Allison's gone as well. It's tough. Still, I will reiterate what I've said before: Braeden is wasted on a guest role and should be a regular character. 

Theo's betrayal of Malia is actually genuinely surprising, although in this case I put that down to poor writing more than anything else. There's nothing to really suggest that he had even met the Desert Wolf before, or that he had anything he wanted from her, so his helping Malia really did come across as him just trying to get her on-side so that he could try and turn her to his pack later. The betrayal feels completely out of the left field.

Oh, yeah, Stiles shows up once or twice too.

Bonus points for a Big Damn Heroes moment from none other than the Beast of Gevaudan. Speaking of which, where was Mason in this episode? Oh, right. He didn't show up. At all. How very suspicious.

Oh, and Deucalion showed up again at the end of the episode. He's evil again, apparently. To be honest, I have no idea who's going to deal with him - maybe he and Gerard will mutually murder each other, I don't know.

This is a solid episode, even if it certainly isn't the best so far, and it looks like things are going to kick into an even higher gear next episode, as the gang tries to break Lydia out of Eichen House - which, one imagines, will involve them bursting in on the episode eleven flashforward, with Theo's pack and Parrish.

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