Episode Title: "Formality"
Writer: Monica Macer
Director: Russell Mulcahy
Previously on "Teen Wolf":
The Alpha Wolf aka Peter Hale (Ian Bohen) confronted Scott McCall (Tyler Posey) and showed his reluctant werewolf recruit that his random killings weren't random at all. Instead, Peter was killing everyone connected to the arson attack on his family. And to Scott's surprise, Derek Hale (Tyler Hoechlin) sided with his uncle despite the fact that Peter had killed Derek's sister in a blind rage. Meanwhile, Allison Argent (Crystal Reed) noticed that her father, Mr. Argent (J.R. Bourne) and her aunt, Kate Argent (Jill Wagner) were behaving suspiciously. Kate even began leaving clues for Allison to find so that she could finally join them as hunters.
Meanwhile, Scott's rival Jackson Whittemore (Colton Haynes) was convinced that he could blackmail Scott into making him a werewolf as well. Derek tricked Jackson into accompanying him back to the burned out Hale house where he planned to kill him. But Scott interceded and saved Jackson's life. Before Scott and Derek could face off, Kate attacked the home and sprayed gunfire indiscriminately. Scott was injured and Derek stayed behind to cover his escape. When Scott passed out in the woods, he awoke to find his veterinarian boss treating his wound.
Elsewhere, Kate showed Allison the truth behind the family business and she saw Derek chained and transformed into a werewolf.
Some time later, Allison speeds away in her car before Sheriff Stilinsky (Linden Ashby) pulls her over. In flashback, we see Kate explain that their family is made up of werewolf hunters and that Allison's parents were keeping that from her. She also sees Derek's transformed state up close for herself. In the present, Allison practically begs the Sheriff to write her a ticket before recomposing herself. When she gets alone, Allison takes out her compound bow and arrow and nails a wanted poster of Derek. Meanwhile, the veterinarian is avoiding giving Scott direct answers while he treats his wound.
Peter Hale shows up at the Vet's office looking for Scott, but the Vet is able to repel him with a strange, almost magical barrier. Curious… but he doesn't try to explain it away to Scott. Back at High School, Scott is upset by a great tragedy in his life: his academic probation means that he can't go the formal dance with Allison. And crazy Lacrosse Coach Carolla-light says that he'll throw Scott out if he sees him there. But Scott insists that he must go (to protect Allison!) and so he recruits Stiles Stilinski (Dylan O'Brien) to help him get around the ban. Elsewhere, Kate takes pride in torturing Derek and mentions that the fire that killed most of his family was partially his fault for letting Kate in.
As Kate taunts Derek for falling for her years ago, she out of the blue realizes that Scott is the second beta wolf. At the mall, Allison convinces Lydia Martin (Holland Roden) to go to the dance with Stiles while Allison picks out a dress. Peter tries to initiate a conversation with Allison, but Scott is able to foil it. Scott also strong arms Jackson into going to the dance with Allison as her "friend' just to keep an eye on her. Scott is able to secure a suit for the dance, but only a last minute fix from his mom keeps him from going with a hole in his pants. At the dance, Stiles has his John Cusack moment when he convinces Lydia to dance with him.
Scott gets into the dance, but the coach spots him there. Scott forces his gay acquaintance, Danny (Keahu Kahuanui) to dance with him… which ends up scaring off the coach, who doesn't want to risk the appearance of discrimination. Outside, Jackson spots what he thinks is the Alpha Wolf and begs to be made into one of his kind. Instead he finds Mr. Argent and another hunter, who he presumably tells all about Scott. Inside, Lydia abandons Stiles to go look for Jackson and Scott kisses Allison and confesses his love for her. Stiles runs into Derek and he realizes that Lydia might be in danger.
Stiles finds Lydia on the football field just as Peter catches up to her. At Stiles' desperate request, Peter only injures Lydia and he leaves her alive. But he forces Styles to admit that Derek probably knew that he would be captured and he kept Scott's phone so his location could be traced. At the same time, Allison brings Scott back out to the bus parking lot and acts like she wants to make out inside one of the buses. Then her dad and another hunter show up and try to run Scott down. Scott leaps over the cars and survives… exposing his wolf side to Allison in the process.
The first rule of creating a dramatic season finale is to start bringing out some big moments that drastically change the course of a series. In that regard, "Teen Wolf" is off to a good start, both by having the Argents realize Scott's true nature and by Allison's acceptance of the family business. It's not immediately clear if Allison knew that she was setting up Scott for a trap, but it certainly played like she was. How else would her father and his partner known exactly where to find her? If she wasn't in on it, then it seems pretty coincidental that they just happened to be ready with cars after we saw them walking out of the woods.
From Allison's response to Scott's transformation, I'd guess that she either didn't know he was a werewolf or she wasn't ready to see it in action. But I did get the impression that she was trying to warn him back at the school dance. One of the long running problems on this show is that Scott isn't a very proactive hero. However, Scott's efforts to protect everyone he knows from Peter were some of the more successful things that Scott has done all season. Scott's intimidation of Jackson was particularly effective.
Jill Wagner has been a lot of fun as Kate Argent and the revelation that she and Derek used to be lovers makes sense. But it was really hard to believe that Kate would make such a huge leap in logic to guess that Scott was a werewolf based on "history repeating," especially when the only person saying that history was repeating was her!
Stiles has kind of grown on me since the beginning of the series, so it was nice to see him get the girl… if only for a while. I really did like his John Cusack moment, but how smart can Lydia really be if she heard that declaration of affection and then a few minutes later she went running after Jackson… the same guy who dumped her as "dead weight." That wasn't her finest moment.
I also feel like the show is so proud to have a gay character in Danny… and yet the series constantly treats him like less than a prop. He literally only existed this week as a convenient plot device so that Scott could get Coach McCrazyAboutLacrosse off of his back. If Danny was a black character, would this tokenism be tolerated? On that subject, are there any black main characters on this show? I can't think of any.
The main thing that "Teen Wolf" has succeeded in is that I do want to see how the season wraps up. The promos are promising character deaths and new werewolf transformations. And "Teen Wolf" had better deliver on that guarantee…
Crave Online Rating: 8 out of 10.