Tuesday, July 2, 2013

'Teen Wolf' 3.05 "Frayed" Review


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Since Teen Wolf is balancing out two main antagonistic forces in the first half of this season, it was time this week to have an episode that once again focused primarily on the war with the Alpha pack instead of the sacrifice rituals. Make no mistake about it, this is definitely a war and with that distinction comes the establishing of roles, battle plans, and scars lots of scars physical and otherwise. It also comes with casualties and ‘Frayed’ saw the demise of an alpha. Despite that grim subject matter, this episode also had some of the very best Stiles antics yet as well as the most effective case made so far for the redemption arc of Allison Argent.



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First of all if you really thought that Derek Hale, arguably one of the two or three ‘stars’ of the show, was really dead then you need to approach these things like Mama Argent would suggest—clinically and unemotionally. If they ever really did off the sourwolf it would be a. not permanent or b. a final season stunt it isn’t something that would happen under vague circumstances when a glorified red-shirt could have bit the dust instead (sorry Ennis we hardly knew ye and thus we hardly could have cared).

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The big Alpha battle was a pretty effective narrative device to frame the flashbacks around as it gave a number of characters events to deal with in the present day during the cross-country road trip. Isaac and Boyd were both fuming after the theoretical death of their true Alpha but it was Isaac that actually acted upon his feelings of rage. Does anyone else feel as though the Alphas did something to him during his time of captivity? Ever since he was rescued, Isaac has been far more agro than we’ve seen him be in the past at least whenever it comes to fighting one of the Alpha pack. Sure, it could just be chalked up to general feelings of vengeance and blood lust for what they’re doing by messing with his pack and his friends, but I wonder if it’s not something more. Specifically we’ve seen the mind-fucking they can do with their claws so I’m curious if there wasn’t a way to sort of set Isaac as a literal time bomb just as Stiles described him during the episode.

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Outside of the emotional scars received during battle we had Scott bearing the physical marks of the world he’s got no choice but to be involved in. Peter Hale may have been dismissive about the idea of Scott wanting to find a way outside of killing to solve their problems, but there really is something worth respecting in the way that Scott doesn’t immediately become complacent with the situation as it is. He doesn’t just immediately accept the fact that killing is the only answer to any foe they may come across—though in this case, it is. It’s a mature outlook for Scott to try to hold onto in the midst of the chaos around him and it’s admirable how he’s doing what Deucalion wants to see others do by ‘rising to the occasion’ during the altercation. Though I wonder if Scott’s new-found red eyes will stick around for long. It’s not as though he hasn’t been earning the status by doing everything he can to keep betas like Boyd in check. A full time job all by itself.

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Not only is Scott serving up some hard truths to his pack-mates, but he’s also put into a position where he has to confront Allison about her involvement in the school battle a couple of episodes ago. If we’d just seen that scene by itself then it would have been a case of beating a point home that Allison herself has struggled with. Her family legacy is such that she’s expected to be an efficient warrior but it’s never fully jived with the person she’s been before the Argent family secret was out—wearing her heart on her sleeve especially when dealing with loved ones in peril. Her struggle with having to always be strong was presented by having her ‘face’ her mother while trying to stitch up Scott’s nasty battle wounds. Some people are born more openly emotional than others and it’s just her lot in life that the family Allison was born into dismisses such qualities in their women.

Her limitations are something that she’s haunted by especially now that her friends are once again in danger fighting the kinds of creatures she’s supposed to be able to handle just like Aunt Kate or Grandpa Gerard could. Allison’s given an opportunity to play the perfect role when she shows up during the melee just in time to help her friends regain any slight upper hand. I’m starting to come around to the idea of what the show is doing with Allison and her struggle to realize just who she is or better yet who she can be while reconciling any of her past mistakes.

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Battle plans or not, the only way I could see eliminating the threat of the Alpha pack outside of their total destruction would be something to do with the magic that seems to be just in the background of this town. Not only is Dr. Alan Deaton utterly unimpressed with the threats of the Alpha pack but we just learned that his vet office is comprised heavily of mountain ash. This is a character that constantly feels on the brink of getting pulled into things and that if he did then everyone would regret it—the side they’re on notwithstanding. Deaton feels like a massive secret weapon that we’ll one day see at his full potential but things will have to be far direr to earn it. Until then, Deaton and Ms. Morell remain one of the most intriguing mysteries on this show.

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Deaton and Morell aren’t the only characters that need to get their hands a little more dirty than they have been. Even though I was greatly amused by Deucalion standing above the big battle ala Shang Tsung in Mortal Kombat (let’s face it, Gideon Emery has the kind of presence to pull off just that alone) I think it’s time to see what he can fully do. You really have to be an absolute badass to keep a pack of alphas under your thumb especially while going about with a fa├žade of speaking softly and carrying a guiding stick.

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We’ve gotten glimmers here and there of what he’s capable of and tonight watching him crush the skull of his wounded pack mate Ennis was just the kind of thing I think we need to see more of from him to remember what kind of threat he actually is. There’s nothing more deadly than someone who will not only end the life of their own comrade but can only gain by doing so. Though spoilers are also pretty deadly and MTV screwed what little ‘is Derek really dead’ mystery they had by airing a promo for the Tyler Oakley and Shantal Rhodes hosted after-show in which they interview the guy that played Ennis all while mentioning that he died in the episode before it happened on the show itself. It was one of the joys of being able to live-watch that I wonder if others caught during the broadcast.

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Since so much of the story took place in the present on the cross-country boss we were
given plenty of opportunity to enjoy Coach interacting with various members of the team. But the real comedic highlight of the episode was, as usual, Stiles being Stiles. I would be hard-pressed to find a more hilarious moment than the word-less grin of mischief Stiles gave poor car-sick Jared when he realized this was the answer to getting Scott off the bus. It’s moments like this one which make me see just why Dylan O’Brien gets such high praise for his talents.  Even though that alone is enough to delight, it’s always better when Stiles is filling a needed role whether it be as that instigator of chaos so Scott could get much-needed medical attention or if he was seeking answers from Danny regarding why Ethan was so glued to his phone throughout the ride—that’s when his hilarious actions play the best.

Regarding Danny and Ethan, it really feels less love interest and more like Ethan is his unofficial captor parading him around in front of Stiles and Scott to show how close he is to someone they care about. I’m not saying Ethan doesn’t like Danny at all, but I am saying that his solidarity with his pack is far more important and so I can’t help but feel that Danny is in extreme danger more than he’s got the chance for a hook-up. Kinda disappointing that Danny isn’t getting a real love interest after all this time but there’s always hope for him after this particular mess is dealt with.


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We're about at the half-way mark for the first part of Teen Wolf s3 and so far it's been a nice emotional thrill ride for our characters. I hope that the sacrifice threat has something to do with the alpha pack because this back and forth method makes things feel a little less focused than they could be. What do you hope to see in the rest of part 1 of Teen Wolf season 3? Leave us a comment down below.

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