Teen Wolf season 4 shows the pack growing up, and trying to find their places in the adult world that they are fast approaching. At two points, we hear characters talk about who should be handling the events in Beacon Hills. Stiles finds that Scott and Kira’s wanting to let the adults handle investigating a murder as being irresponsible with what they know and can do. Later in the season, Melissa and Noshiko talk about why they let their children fight these battles, and Noshiko responds that if they didn’t, they would be asking them to run away.
At the same time, this is the season we see the adults struggling with real life problems, and watching the pack trying to balance between their life and the supernatural world. The biggest one that is brought to our attention is the financial issues – an underlying struggle in the Martin, Stilinski, and McCall families this season.
First off, if they have the case of yakuza money (150K) to bring to Mexico to buy Derek back, and only brought 50K, what did they do with the other 100K? Why did they not give that to the parents to fix the financial woes then? Secondly,why the hell is Agent McCall not giving Melissa money to pay the bills? He is working for the government and living there, so how about a little room, board, and child support and less leaving your tools in the middle of the kitchen.
I can understand the issues with the Sheriff having money issues post Eichen House and all the medical tests Stiles went through in 3B. Melissa and Natalie, however, developed theirs out of the blue which makes it feels very out of place. Plus, after the season ends there is no more talk about these ongoing money issues. Does Scott take back the money after Derek says it would be better that Peter never gets the rest back? We never really learn about it, and this undertone of the season feels like it was a secondary thought in the story building aspect of the season. There were other things that could have been used as influences with the money – sticking with just Stiles’ needs, talking about college funds and needing scholarships (we got a hint of that from Sydney and her need to do well on the PSAT) – that would have made more sense for them.
Return of the Teen Wolf: Time Traveling Derek
Derek makes a pretty inside-the-wall decoration, don’t you think?
Poor Derek, spending all of Teen Wolf ‘s hiatus in a wall, only to get turned back to what is probably his least favorite age, no memory, and relearning that his family died all over again. You really, really want to yell at Teen Wolf to stop giving Derek mental trauma but then what would they do with him? I’m at least amused that Teen!Derek and Stiles relationship mirrors how Adult!Derek and Stiles in season 1 and 2 were – a nice little blast to the past including Derek throwing Stiles against a door.
Also Teen!Derek is a little beanpole of kickass! One berserker takes on three of Scott’s pack and nearly kills them, and yet Teen!Derek can handle them on his own! The instant he hears Scott howl, instinct has him rush to help while Peter and Kate don’t move. He fearlessly runs into danger, not caring about his own safety, and that sacrifice helps return him to his adult form – with one minor change: yellow eyes.
Derek starts his evolution in earnest at this point, losing his powers one by one until he’s left human. He thought at first it was Kate taking part of his past – taking away Paige’s death and it’s effect on him – but when he lost his sense of smell he knew it was something more. The loss of the powers leads Derek to find alternatives to accomplishing his goals, including recruiting his cousin Malia. I really loved the two of them having their cousin’s moment where he’s teaching her to track to find Brett’s pack by scent. It’s sad that Derek left the show, because there were a lot more opportunities in season 5 that Derek and Malia could have formed a family bond.
Speaking of bonding – we then have Braeden and Derek. Their “just business” relationship slowly morphs to sleeping together in a typical pattern: Boy and Girl meet, barely get along, one gets hurt, the other gets worried and soon that worry morphs into feelings.
After she is shot, he wants to take care of her but he keeps his distance and covers it like he is protecting his investment. When she tries to find out later why he isn’t healing, he tries to deflect like a five-year-old, but she won’t let him. Braeden pushes Derek to be more open than he is willing to post-Jennifer, but at the same time he’s gone through the journey in season 3A where he stopped closing himself off and gave up his anger at the world.
Derek admits that he hates feeling helpless – how he feels now that he has lost all his powers. Braeden teaches him how to be human and how to bend the rules – aka cheat – when dealing with the supernatural so that he can continue to survive. To her, it’s almost a game a first. You can see she enjoys playing with him, the verbal banter between them almost like a game of tennis as it goes back and forth until the game turns into something more. When they reach that point, the bond between them is strong, and it feels a lot more real than Derek and Jennifer did. Braeden doesn’t need Derek to protect her (it’s actually the opposite) but there is no outside motivation leading to this relationship on either end. That, I believe, gives it a lot more realism in how their feelings are expressed to each other.
When Derek learns about his name being a cipher code (the first two being names of people being dead), Derek is forced to face his own mortality on top of having to learn to be human. It becomes more real when Lydia arrives at his door and screams. Deaton is trying to help figure out what is happening per Scott’s request, but in that we are introduced to Valack – who will become a major player in season 5 – to get that information. When they are planning to leave for Mexico to save Scott, he knows that he is probably not going to come back from this, and yet he is okay with it as long as it saves Scott and Kira. Braeden, of course, is not okay with it and makes it known, and you can see how much it hurts her when she can’t save Derek from his death.
I doubt I was the only one who would be worried every time Derek was on screen in a fight that this would be the moment. The scariest moment was with Liam in the transport van as the baby beta was losing his control. His surviving that made it even worse that he was attacked by the Berserker when exiting the van. He’s not even killed in battle, but before it starts. Braeden and Kate’s battle erupts around him, and he isn’t able to do anything but watch until his life fades away.
We all know what happens next – Derek somehow disappears and there is a wolf running around in his place. Where his clothes went and how the wolf got out of them is still a mystery, because when Derek shifts back he is completely naked for the world to see. Whoops. I do like that symbolism though of Derek standing over his abuser – the murderer of his family – with nothing on, no weapons in hand, and not even shifted and pointing out that no matter what Kate does, she will never be better than what she is, while – as he said earlier in the season – he has learned a better way.
The problem I have with Derek’s plot is that it was built up wonderfully – and then when Tyler Hoechlin leaves Teen Wolf we don’t get to see anything past it. Braeden returns to Beacon Hills but no word why Derek isn’t with her. We get no real post-evolution development on Derek either on screen or in mentions by other members of the pack. A whole season of evolution built up to evolve Derek into a wolf that, like his mother, is a rare thing and considered to be a sign of great wisdom; Derek’s change of perspective from his mother where the Hales protected Beacon Hills; promising to show Scott trade secrets and pretty much making Scott his alpha; showing off this amazing power of him killing a Berserker with just his hands… and then nothing after that but a nod in Scott’s direction that could be seen as his goodbye.
Was the build worth it? Yes. Did we get the pay-off that we should have with the amount of investment plot wise? Not so much, in my opinion. In fact, it’s almost insulting where next season Theo has the wolf shifting ability that has been given so much honor and prestige, and yet he doesn’t really “earned” it, nor has any of the characteristics that have been given to that ability.
Satan in a V Neck and His Coyote Daughter…
Peter Hale declares that he is a creature of habit, not willing to accept Derek’s vision of having learned a better way. It’s the habit, plus his own desire for power, that will bring about his own destruction when he has an opportunity to move on and even rebuild some semblance of family.
Family is still an important thing for Peter, though it’s inconsistent this season whereas it was a constant through season 3. Why didn’t Peter notice Derek missing weeks before Scott does? Why doesn’t he join them in going to Mexico to save him? Was he that preoccupied about finding out more information about Malia that he didn’t notice? That family tie is strongly shown though when Derek is dying after the Berserker attacked him. It’s almost as if there is a moment Peter would stop the entire “trying to kill Scott” plot if Derek asked in that moment. He actually hesitates, and only leaves Derek at his nephew’s own request.
Peter is in the loft when he meets Malia for the first time. He knows that the pack hasn’t told her yet, and he Talks about her eyes and asks if she got them from her father, and she says mother. Teen Wolf reveals in season 5 that Malia gets her powers from her mother, not him. That means in her case, she is a coyote not because it’s a shape reflecting her, but an actual family line through the Desert Wolf. Everyone in the pack knows that Peter is Malia’s father except for Malia. They aren’t telling her because, as Stiles puts it, Peter will worm his way into manipulating her like he already does them and then they will lose her. If Stiles could put the words PETER IS THE BAD GUY in big, flashing lights around town, I think he would from how much he feels on the subject.
Stiles cares for Malia a lot though, and has been helping her get a normal life post-coyote to the point where they are a thing, but he can’t define what the thing is. He doesn’t want to lose her. However, Malia knows that Stiles and Scott are hiding something from them, and when she finds out the truth she is angry at them. The information sends Malia on her own quest to find out the truth about her connection to Peter, bringing her face to face to Peter without anyone else. They talk, and he admits to her that he is looking for her mother since Talia stole that memory from him, and he has the name of her mother – the Desert Wolf. It’s safe to believe that Peter’s inquiries about her are what gave confirmation to the Desert Wolf that Malia was still alive and brings her to Teen Wolf in season 5. He also holds the information Malia wants over her head in order to manipulate her into helping kill Kate Argent – which is no surprise because one she is done being useful – she did kill his family after all so no reason it keep her around.
Malia returns to Stiles after her talk with Peter. She reveals her fear that the words she said to her family about wishing they were dead are signs that she is going to be a murderer like Peter. Stiles tries to ease her fears, but she is still mad at him and doesn’t really speak about it to him until Melissa literally locks them in a room together. Stiles uses this moment to try and explain why she shouldn’t hold grudges when someone tries to apologize because they made a mistake. This conversation helps the two of them find a way to move past this as well as being on the same page where their relationship is. When she sees that Stiles has started to figure out who the Desert Wolf is on the murder board, it confirms to her that he has her as a priority in his life and that strengthens their bond. This is why she will listen to him over Peter when they are on their way to Mexico in not bonding with Peter.
Peter is also connected to the deadpool and to Meredith in this season. He comes to help talk to Meredith because Lydia asks him, and from his face he’s not all that fond of going into the room. This is a change from his season 3 willingness to be helpful to Lydia and seem like a team player to get close to the pack. He’s rattled the first time when Meredith touches the side of his face that had not been burnt in the fire, and how happy she is to see that the burns are gone. When he is able to access her memories via claws, he learns how Meredith was able to hear him talking to himself as his madness spirals out of control.
His madness spiral starts with him talking about how he had tried to warn Talia in an effort to prevent the fire. As he sanity slips away, his respect for his sister’s leadership falters and feels that she made them weak. He feels that he needs to bring Beacon Hills back to a position of power by wiping them all from the town and restarting with them in his image. That idea continued to spiral into an idea that Meredith took to create the deadpool. Peter doesn’t remember any of this, and tries to disassociate himself from it as it was the unconscious ravings of a madman which he believes he no longer is. But killing Scott will give him the power to finish what the assassins didn’t, and it’s a possible future that the pack can’t afford.
After his battle with Scott, and subsequant loss, Valack is the last person to see Peter Hale. They become roommates in Eichen House, to which in season 5 Valack quotes something he heard from Peter to Lydia, but doesn’t mention him by name. It also gives us the last look of the closed ward of Eichen House which is the first setting in season 5, and serves as the backdrop for most of Lydia’s plot that season. At this point, Peter all but disappears from Beacon Hills and any real mention in Teen Wolf until we see him in the season 6 promos.
Scott Needs to Stop Texting People Bad News
Scott has serious communication issues in the beginning of the season. I’m pretty much with Stiles in being boggled in why Scott would TEXT Chris Argent the news that his psychopathic sister Kate is not only back from the dead but some kind of out of control shifter with a posse of Berserkers at her side.
Then you have the whole issue with Kira and not knowing where they stand with each other relationship wise. Braeden points out that they act like they are dating, and that he should have kissed his girlfriend. Of course, when he does kiss Kira for the first time, it’s that really awkward grandma kiss that just… wow, Scott. You’re 17. How are you so bad at this? You weren’t nearly this bad with Allison.
And point three in how much Scott McCall needs to learn basic communication skills: you do not kidnap your newly made beta, tie him up with duct tape, and hide him in your bathtub. No, Scott. That is a bad alpha. When he does start trying to convince Liam what is going on, he then hashes back Derek’s words. Thankfully Chris, who got the text, steps in and points out that Scott would have better success if he used his own words.
The darkness inside of Scott pokes up a tiny bit in this season. It rears it’s ugly head in Scott while he is “mostly dead” in episode 8. His dreams take him through the steps of becoming a killer – a thing he never wants to become. In fact, this is the season that Scott decides that he doesn’t want to let anyone die – no matter what kind of creature they are. It starts with the list, but continues moving forward – the victims of the dread doctors, for instance – and from what I’m seeing in the season 6 promos, will continue into this season as well.
Scott becoming the Berserker feeds into that darkness plot more, in that he loses his sense of self and becomes the predator. None of the others are able to break through to him until Liam reminds Scott that he isn’t a monster. This belief is something Scott has always held onto, and that is what brings him back to find his humanity again. It’s the same humanity that keeps Scott from killing Peter – who will always be a threat to the safety of his pack and Beacon Hills. Peter is the monster, but Scott will not stoop to that level.
The Littlest, Angriest Werewolf on the Block
Liam, Scott’s first beta, was not supposed to happen. I’m sure that he would rather be a werewolf though instead of a splat on the sidewalk outside of Beacon Hills hospital. When he first appeared, I was worried that Liam would become Scott 2.0. In this season, though, Dylan Sprayberry is constant in his character to remind us that Liam is only 14 going on 15, and doesn’t have the same level of life experience or training that Scott got even when he was bit and training with Derek.
The reactions that Liam has to the supernatural world are very realistic. When the Berserkers attack the hospital and he goes to help, it’s really the first battle he’s walked into and it haunts him. Scott is there to help him through it, making sure Liam doesn’t push Mason away, or let his anger get too far out of control. Brett also becomes a minor character through Liam’s arc since he is part of Liam’s past. He is able to show Liam about how lucky he is to have Scott as an alpha – especially at a point where Liam is starting to doubt Scott when he doesn’t show up for the lacrosse game.
If anyone understands anger though, it would be Derek. Scott comes to Derek for help in understanding how to help Liam, and when Scott disappears Derek steps right in with Stiles to help Liam through the full moon even though he doesn’t have the strength to stop Liam if the baby beta tries to hurt him.
In the end, it’s not the Hale mantra that will give Liam focus, but the paraphrased Buddhist saying that is a cornerstone of Satomi’s pack: There are three things that cannot be long hidden – the Sun, the Moon, and the Truth. It’s not that the Hale mantra is bad, but Liam isn’t a Hale and the words don’t have the same meaning to him as they do to Derek.
I love how in the final battle, it’s Liam – the baby beta who is scared to death of Berserkers – who is able to reach Scott while he is not himself. Stiles and Kira are just smacked down even with their emotional connections to Scott. It shows that the bond between Beta and Alpha is stronger than the human ties that werewolves have. To me it also gives a new meaning on the triskele as a symbol with how the alpha, beta and omega – or in Scott’s case, the non-shifters in his pack – are connected, and that when the pack is helping each other, they are stronger as a whole than the three pieces. This is the theme that season 5 will focus on, and seeing how much it hurts when it breaks, and how strong it is when they are together.
Deputy Parrish is Worth Far More than Five Dollars
The beginning of Lydia and Parrish’s connection starts when they search through the wendigo house and he doesn’t instantly dismiss her as being crazy. They work together to find the pile of bodies in the basement. You see it again as you see his face go blank when Lydia is screaming for someone to help her when she is tied up in Eichen House. It’s what brings him to save her for the first of many rescues that will happen during season 5. We’re not going to learn about the connection between them until season 5, but these hints are nice to see in retrospect as the groundwork is laid for their future.
Parrish is burnt alive in episode 9, which is probably his first death since the one in which the Hellhound took over his body in Afghanistan. You can see that when he is reanimated, there is a period where he is not himself – his eyes glow orange during those times. No one knows what he is – including Derek. Lydia will finally figure it out next season but it left fandom trying to figure it out in the meantime. The popular theory was a pheonix – someone who rose from their own ashes – but other ideas about a fire kitsune and dragons were floated out there, among others. Either way, the fact he is an unknown – plus totally helps Stiles in Mexico when neither of them should have been down there – gets Parrish benched to desk duty until season 5 starts.
Meanwhile, Lydia’s frustration at her powers and how she can’t turn it on and off becomes apparent in this season as she’s trying to find the cipher keys. She almost drives herself insane trying to use her powers for that second cipher key. At this point I really feel that they have dragged out her lack of control too long, so I am ECSTATIC when the pre-title scene in Teen Wolf season 5, episode 1 is Lydia having learned new awesome banshee skills. Way overdue, but the fact the writers gave her something solid, powerful, and an ability to feel as if she can now help is wonderful for her character, and for the audience where she is the only consistent female teenage role model who is also highly intelligent and very strong willed.
The season ends with Lydia bringing the Bestiary to Parrish and wanting to help him figure out what he is. In the end, Lydia will be the one to do that in season 5, but it won’t be in the Bestiary that holds their answer… instead it will come from a Norse tale that we first hear from Noshiko in the first episode of season 5.
I miss Derek.
No really, that’s my final thought. This season is a mix of “I love that” and “what the hell were you thinking?” when I rewatched it. It’s not the worst, but not nearly the quality of storytelling we just had in 3B. It is better, though, than the trainwreck that is season 5A and I’m still not even sure HOW to review this without a few choice cuss words that is above the family-friendly rating of this blog. But season 6 starts tomorrow, and from what I’ve seen, it’s going to be an interesting display of storytelling that should make up for season 4 and 5.