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Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Teen Wolf S6E8: Blitzkrieg.

Teen Wolf
Series 6, Episode 8

Dear Teen Wolf cinematographers: I can't get invested in watching your show if I can't see seventy percent of what's happening. If all your scenes are so dark that basically nothing but shapes are visible, that's not atmospheric, that's just annoying. There was literally a scene in this episode where you panned up dramatically to somebody's face, but I couldn't see who they were because your shots are all so goshdarn dark. Get some lighting. Start shooting more scenes in the day. Just do something.

That aside, let's roll on with reviewing the episode. Well, what I could see of the episode, anyway, which wasn't a lot, for aforementioned darkness reasons.

In this week's episode, with most of Beacon Hills having been taken, Scott, Lydia, Malia, and Peter try to figure out a way to pass through the rift to the Wild Hunt's phantasmagoric train station. Meanwhile, Douglas, revealed to everyone as the Nazi Alpha, is on the loose with a Rider's whip, and forces Melissa and Chris to take him to Parrish, planning to use him to open the rift himself and turn the Wild Hunt into his own supernatural army, as flashbacks reveal his failed attempt to do so back in World War II. As this all happens, the Sheriff comes to terms both with the existence of his son, and the fact that his wife has been dead for years.

Why is it the only pictures from this episode I can find are of Douglas.

I don't know quite what to say about this episode? It's kind of a treading water episode, in that it's always moving about frantically but, for a lot of it, nothing much is really happening. Scott and company's plan to open the rift doesn't really lead them anywhere, and we don't get anything new with the Sheriff's plotline, save for the loose thread of the Claudia phantasm being tied off in a way that was probably meant to be touching but came across more as perfunctory. Douglas' storyline has some movement in it, but not enough to warrant an entire episode -- in a better show, Douglas would have been opening the rift within the first fifteen minutes of the episode.

That last kind of hits on one of the reasons why this show's pacing is so poor. It's unwilling to let anything just happen: We can't just be shown Douglas tracking Parrish to his hideout, and then have him open the gate, we have to waste time on a subplot with him, Melissa, and Chris first, and with a handful of pretty boring flashbacks. Everything has to have a song and dance attached to it, and the song and dance usually aren't that compelling.

Nor is Douglas -- or Hauptmann, whatever -- an especially compelling villain. His characterisation is basically 'sometimes sinisterly says German words,' to the point where he is less a character as he is a cartoon, with a vague and generic motivations and a hazy veil of Nazism thrown over him to show us that he's evil. The thing is, an immortal Nazi werewolf could be pretty interesting, in the sense that a violent, superpowered white supremacist could actually be pretty nauseating and terrifying if played seriously -- but as is always the case, American entertainment shy away from a brutal and frank portrayal of how horrible the Nazis were, since doing so would swiftly reveal just how similar American culture of today and the culture of Nazi Germany are.


Nor are the Wild Hunt -- much in evidence in this episode but doing basically the same thing they always do -- especially compelling. Since the Hunt doesn't have much motivation except 'hunt things,' and since the show has failed to sell them as being threatening in the slightest, they just kind of come across more as slightly antagonistic background elements than anything.

I miss the Dread Doctors. That's not a sentence I ever thought I'd say, but the Doctors did actually have a sense of weight to them. They didn't have much substance, but they were impressive, and their motives were interestingly mysterious. They made an impression, is what I'm getting at, even if they couldn't back that impression up. Our villains this series are just very dull in comparison.

We end this episode very nearly where we started it, except now the Sheriff knows that rifts can be created through memory (ugh), and Douglas is off at the phantom train station. Oh, and our cast has been drastically scaled down, I guess, too. Again, we find ourselves in a position where so much of this could and should have been condensed -- to say nothing of episode six, which should have had its entire Canaan plot cut wholesale.

Next episode, people will apparently be doing stuff. Ghost Riders will be turning up. Stiles reappearing, probably. Who even knows. Who even cares. I'm so tired of this arc that I just want it to end so that we can get onto this show's final arc, which hopefully will be a drastic improvement on this one.

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