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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Teen Wolf: “More Bad Than Good”

Illustration for article titled emTeen Wolf:/em “More Bad Than Good”
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Last week’s episode ended with the sudden appearance of Derek and Uncle Peter, both stripped to the waist and chained up in some makeshift dungeon. It was the kind of thing a show like this is wise to hold back until the final seconds, because what could follow it? Generously but perhaps unwisely, tonight’s episode picks up right where it left off, with the revelation that Derek and Pete are at the mercy of a bunch of sinister but fun-loving folks who want to know about the whereabouts of “la loba,” and who have learned everything they know about negotiating strategy from the chainsaw-in-the-shower sequence of Scarface. After running electrical current through the werewolves and still not finding out anything about “the she-wolf,” the guy who seems to be supervising says, “Maybe we need a different method of persuasion. Maybe we cut one of you in half, the other talks.” In the end, Derek and Pete make their escape before it can be determined whether, if Pete were to be cut in half, it would be enough to make him shut up.

But the joys and sorrows of the Hale family have yet to fully intersect with our main plot, which involves Stiles’ father and his recent discovery of the supernatural element that does so much to shape the fabric of life in Beacon Hills, and how this eye-opener has inspired him to revisit his old, open cases and look at them in a new light. The most pressing of these cases has to do with a Malia Tate, a girl who disappeared after a car accident in which her mother and younger sister were killed. The sheriff was never able to quite put the pieces of that one together, because he was missing the biggest and most important piece: Namely, that Malia was a were-coyote whose unexpected and uncontrollable transformation caused the car crash. Unable to process her grief and guilt over what she had done, she has been living in the woods for eight years, frozen in her coyote form, so that she may not be capable of reclaiming her human identity. Seriously, why anyone watches daytime talk shows when the people with real problems are all on MTV is beyond me.


Scott, Stiles, and Allison all make haste to the woods to try to reach out to Malia. They have no time to waste, because Malia’s father—what a Walton Goggins character might like if he did not have the great good fortune to be played by Walton Goggins—has gone nuts and is out there trying to bring down the coyote. He blames the furry beast for the accident but doesn’t understand that the animal he hopes to kill in retribution for the loss of his family is, in fact, his sole surviving family member! Alanis Morissette could get a whole concept album out of it. Meanwhile, the heroes have to work together to overcome the ways in which each of them has been left crippled from their recent shadow dance with death on the astral plane.

Allison has been given horse tranquilizers to shoot into the were-coyote, but her archery skills are still shaky. Stiles still can’t read, which is bad when he’s called upon to do it in class, but even worse when Lydia steps on an animal trap and he can’t decipher the instructions describing how best she might step away without leaving the lower section of her leg behind. Lydia gives him a trembly voiced pep talk, telling him that he doesn’t need directions, he’s the guy who never follows the directions, because he’s so smart he doesn’t need directions, he just figures things out, and that’s what he has to do for her now, just figure it out. Stiles nods his head, stops thinking too much, operates on feeling and instinct, and the next thing you know, a grateful and still intact Lydia is folded softly between his arms. There’s a lesson there, dummy.

The real heroics are reserved for Scott, for once. After getting his ass kicked by the formerly-Alpha Twins as a sort of warming-up exercise, he executes a spectacular leap over the wreckage of the car and then challenges the were-coyote to a staring contest so intense that he wills the creature to return to Malia’s human form. He then returns her to her home, where she’ll hug her daddy for five minutes and then spend a week getting dizzy from trying to catch up on eight year’s worth of developments in smart-phone technology and the career and image of Miley Cyrus. Now that this plot has been wrapped up in record time, maybe the kids can slow down and spend some of the rest of the season working on their love lives. The new girl in town, Kira, checks in just long enough to confirm that she really likes Scott—like, like likes Scott—but for the moment, she still has one foot stuck in the wings. This will not stand.

Stray observations:

  • Stiles is such a complete and total sidekick that even his father has him listed on his cell phone as “Stiles.”
  • Stiles, to Isaac, whose great contribution to this week’s adventure is to get himself caught in a trap: “What is the point of you?” Like many a great natural sidekick, Stiles speaks for us all.

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