Episode Title: "The Tell"
Writer: Monica Macer
Director: Toby Wilkins
Previously on "Teen Wolf":
Kate Argent (Jill Wagner) rolled into town and promptly shot Derek Hale (Tyler Hoechlin) with a bullet laced with a special wolf's bane as he pursued the mysterious Alpha Wolf. Before he fled, it became apparent that Kate was the sister of Mr. Argent (JR Bourne) and a fellow werewolf hunter. While looking for his reluctant ally, Scott McCall (Tyler Posey), Derek encountered Scott's rival, Jackson Whittemore (Colton Haynes) and left deep scratch marks in his neck when Jackson tried to interrogate him about Scott. Derek then pressured Scott and his friend, Stiles Stilinsky (Dylan O'Brien) to steal a bullet from Kate that matched the one he was hit with.
On his study date with Allison Argent (Crystal Reed), Scott learned that she really believes her father's cover story about being an arms dealer for law enforcement. Scott was eventually roped into an awkward dinner with the Argents until he slipped away and found the bullet that he was looking for. Kate attempted to confront him about the theft, but Allison covered for him. Scott reached Derek just in time to keep Stiles from cutting off his arm. Once Derek was cured, Scott threatened to go to the Argents and tell them the truth about what happened. In response, Derek showed Scott his brain damaged Uncle wasting away in a rest home… a victim of the werewolf hunters' from years ago.
During a late school night, Lydia Marti (Holland Roden) pressures Jackson to rent "The Notebook" from the local video store. Unfortunately for Jackson, the Alpha Wolf is already inside after having murdered the store owner. The lights cut out and Jackson is pinned under the video displays, but the Alpha Wolf leaves him alive after noticing Derek's mark on him. As the Alpha Wolf jumps through the store window, Lydia accidentally tapes it as it passes her, panicking in the process. Stiles and his father, Sheriff Stilinski (Linden Ashby) interrupt their fast food run to head over to the scene of the crime, where Jackson is freaking out.
On the roof, Derek and Scott question why the Alpha Wolf is killing people and they seem to miss the red wolf's bane mark on the roof as they leave. At Derek's mansion, he tells Scott that he only has a week until the next full moon and if he doesn't kill alongside the Alpha Wolf, he'll be killed in turn. Incredulous, Scott wonders who makes these rules. Derek also demonstrates that pain can reverse a transformation… by breaking Scott's hand and letting it heal slowly. The next day, Kate gives Allison a wolf symbol necklace for her birthday and hints that the symbol means something to her family.
At school, Scott runs into Allison and learns that it's her birthday. Because she is a year older than everyone else, Allison worries about being teased about it all day. But Scott's proposed solution is for the both of them to skip school for the day. In class, Jackson is shell shocked from the night before and Lydia is MIA and presumably at home. Stiles is also unnerved by Scott's absence as well given the critical parent teacher conferences coming that night. In the locker room, Derek confronts Jackson again to find out what he saw in the video store. Jackson lies, but Derek seems to know that he saw the Alpha Wolf.
Stiles goes into his own investigation by visiting Lydia at home. She seems happy to see him at first, until Stiles realizes that she's so drugged out of her mind that she thinks that he's Jackson. Stiles also finds the video clip of the Alpha Wolf and deletes it from her phone when he can't reach Scott. Meanwhile, Kate gathers two other hunters to confront Derek in his burnt out home. He holds his own until she starts shocking him with a taser stick. Once he's down, Kate says that she didn't kill his sister and they just want to know who the Alpha Wolf is. But when it becomes clear that Derek doesn't know, she tries to kill him with an automatic weapon.
Derek is forced to flee his own home in order to survive. Out in the woods, Scott and Allison are so into each other that they don't realize how late they are for the parent teacher conferences. They arrive just in time to be confronted by both of Allison's parents and Scott's mom. Just as the two families are about to go Montague and Capulet on each other, the school crowd freaks out as the Alpha Wolf is apparently engaging in a brazen attack. Mr. Argent grabs a gun and shoots it before Scott can get there first. But soon everyone sees that the current attacker really was a mountain lion, as Scott and Mr. Argent eye each other warily.
Aside from the main character's storyline, there are actually some intriguing things happening on "Teen Wolf." The Alpha Wolf's motivations seem fairly obvious. He's not killing at random. The people he's attacking are his enemies and he's targeting them for a purpose. I didn't notice the red symbol at the top of the video store the first time I saw this episode, but on my second pass I caught it. It seems similar to the symbol that Scott and Stiles disturbed when they dug up the grave of Derek's sister a few episodes back. And whatever that symbol means is the key to breaking this story.
Personally, I think the symbol is meant to ward off werewolves or to offer some sort of protection against. Clearly, it's not working or the Alpha Wolf has discovered a way around it. We never actually meet the video store owner (who presumably placed the symbol on the roof), but when the Alpha Wolf attacked the former bus driver, Mr. Myles, he clearly knew who and what Scott and Derek were.
This week's episode also brought two more Alpha Wolf suspects to the front. The really intense science teacher and Scott's boss at the animal hospital. Scott's boss has to be the prime suspect now, given how suspiciously he acted towards the Sheriff's photographic evidence that the Alpha Wolf can walk on two legs. Plus, I really like the fact that the Sheriff is played by the guy who played Johnny Cage in the first "Mortal Kombat" film.
On the downside, "Teen Wolf" really goes overboard in order to get its male cast out of their shirts and place them in weirdly, homoerotic situations. Either that or the teenage girls must really love that. The scene between Derek and Jackson was particularly hilarious (probably unintentionally) as Derek dominated the Jock. This episode also tried to give Jackson some emotional depth by suggesting that he's an overachiever because he's trying to please his adopted parents and the birthparents he never met. However, Colton Haynes is so one note in his performance that I wish the Alpha Wolf had just killed him.
There are also some hints that Jackson might be changing into a teen wolf himself, since the Alpha Wolf backed off when he saw Derek's mark on him.
As for the hunters, I have a hard time believing that Kate wasn't behind the murder of Derek's family. And that lie detector trick of Derek's shouldn't prove anything. Maybe she's just really good at lying. But it is interesting that the hunters also view the Alpha Wolf as their primary target.
The Scott and Allison story was just really soft and uninvolving. They practically took a vacation from the show to do absolutely nothing. It would have been different if their respective characters had been peeled back on this excursion, but it's the same teen claptrap you could get on any MTV reality show. Not good.
I'm cautiously optimistic that "Teen Wolf" can pull off the Alpha Wolf story even if the teen stuff doesn't feel remotely real. But maybe it will eventually surprise me there as well.
Crave Online Rating: 7 out of 10..