Happy 2014 everyone. In the spirit of new beginnings, Teen Wolf starts season 3B next Monday, not as a continuation of the first 12 episodes thus far but more like a new season altogether. New villains, new challenges. Lose your mind, indeed. As such, here is my wish list for the "new" season based on the 2, yes 2, rewatches of season 3A I've done this holiday break. While spoilers have shown that some of these will not come true, it would make for a great 3B. Feel free to add your own wishes in the comments below.
10. No momentum killing, angst for angst's sake, story crushing love triangles
Allison and Isaac together, Allison and Scott together, Scott and Isaac together? I don't care. Just do NOT
make it a part of what plays out on my TV. Almost every single time the momentum comes to a screeching halt in Teen Wolf, it is because of Allison or Scott's relationship issues. No tattoo stories of non-communication reward. No wacky note passing or seat choosing hijinks. Absolutely no long glances at your love with their new love. Most importantly, do not ruin these characters through some dumb love triangle that puts all this stuff in the forefront and takes up valuable action time. No drippy characters period.
9. Kill off Gerard and Duke / Stop killing off all the females
Teen Wolf has a bad reputation for killing off all the female villains while keeping the male ones. It's now incredibly off balance and frankly annoying since many time the females are more entertaining than their male counterparts. Of our main male villains, Peter, Gerard, and Deucalion are still alive, Ennis and Matt are dead, and Jackson and the Alpha Twins are alive and reformed. Of our main female villains, Kate, Mama Argent, Blake, and Kali are all dead. Period. Yes, Hallucination Kate will be haunting Allison in 3B but she's still dead and will probably be dispatched fairly quickly. This causes 2 problems for me:
1. They kill off too many females period, especially the wrong ones. Mystery Motorcycle Chick could have been a fascinating new character with lots of depth, but she's killed in the premiere and we're left with Cora, a poor substitute of whine and angst. Why show? Why?
2. We are now stuck with lame duck villains that weren't that cool to begin with. I have no idea why Gerard is still living much less on screen with his black goo problem. He doesn't make Allison more interesting and his info has only been 50-50 so far. Bringing him back in for many episodes just reminds me of how irksome he is, while Deucalion's release made me wonder if Scott and Derek are indeed brain dead. He killed more people than Blake and Kali combined, but he's the one that gets a free pass? The man gave the most boring yet psychotic monologues in the history of Teen Wolf. Why do they think restoring his sight will somehow make him NOT nuts? That was terrible, terrible storytelling. Plus it makes the case that no matter how awful male villains are, they should live to try to redeem themselves, while female villains shouldn't have that chance. For the love of anti-misogyny, don't kill the females in 3B…..unless it's Cora. I'm fine with that.
8. Allison works best in junior hunter mode
This goes along with the no love triangles wish, but Allison is by far at her best when she is using her bow to kick monster butt. Since more monsters are heading to Beacon Hills now - thanks nematon - having her focus on her skills over her love life is far preferable. It also gives her a chance to work more with the person she has the best scenes with - her dad. Argent and Allison together make a great team but they have only skimmed the surface of this. Give her the role of matriarch of the family business but have her learning skills from the master. This expands Allison's character in two ways and keeps her more being the moron who can't make up her mind between Isaac and Scott. One leg of a love triangle makes no one look good. Personally, I would like to see an Allison that can truly take care of herself and others, a hero in her own right. In fact, have her start giving Lydia basic self-defense lessons since I don’t think screaming is always a viable defense, not even banshee shrieking.
7. Keep making the parents awesome and a vital part of the story
One of the biggest shocks for me about Teen Wolf, especially since it airs on MTV, is how multifaceted and non-stereotypical the parents are. They aren't there simply to give their teens grief. They have skills and resources that are important in helping their teens. It's a refreshing look at the teen-parent bond we don't get enough of these days. I love how each parent is unique and now that Sheriff Dad is on board and Argent is back in the hunting business, I cannot wait for them to contribute more to the story. I'd love to see them working together. Mostly I want them to keep developing as characters and to get meaningful scenes in their own right. Douche Dad's return gives us an excellent excuse to delve more into Mama McCall's past and to see how living with the supernatural is affecting her. His newfound knowledge should make Sheriff Dad and Stiles closer as well. I also would like to see the parents continue to be in on the action. One of my favorite scenes in 3A is when Mama uses the defibrillator on the Alpha Twins to rescue Scott. I would love to see Sheriff Dad take an active role in hunting monsters since he has the most resources outside of Argent. In fact, I hope 3B is when all the characters learn to work together more and less of this lone wolf stuff that has never actually worked for them. Kids and parents taking on the supernatural, no secrets, no hidden agendas - that's my kind of Teen Wolf.
6. Peter can stay
As much as I want Duke and Gerard to die, Peter is the most fascinating villain of the three and has a personal tie to almost all of the characters. Plus, he breathes snark. You cannot overvalue good snark. Ideally, Peter would continue his underground manipulating of the characters like chess pieces until the final season. Then I want him to reveal himself to be the real Big Bad of the show, showcasing exactly how he maneuvered them to get what he wants and exposing the slow burn calculation he's been using for years. For this to work, they have to give him the time and opportunity to do so. It is not yet time to pull the trigger on such a great personal villain. Let them continue to fight the minor ones but keep the audience clued in on exactly what Peter is doing to use every situation to his own benefit. Make him irreplaceable to Scott and Derek. Then have him betray them. For an epic hero story to work it has to have an equally great, seasons-long villain. For Teen Wolf, that should be Peter.
5. No more lessons
Listen writers, no matter how much you feel the need to improve the minds of America, your opportunity to be classified as an educational show is negated by a constant barrage of naked torso eye candy. Therefore, chuck it all and live out the glory of what this show really is - entertainment fluff at its best. That means no more word etymology, bad science, Literature 101, or SAT prep. We all know what ephemeral means thank you and no one cared how the word tattoo came about…in either language. Plus I am not sure you have a good enough grasp on what an idiom actually is to be teaching America's youth about it. If you want to sneak some gratuitous learning in every now and then - the fireflies were interesting the first
time - go for it. Just stop using them as freaking anvils that crash into a story and leave a hole where the momentum used to be.
4. Villain overload actually hurts the story
I loved 3A, but it had far too many villains. 5 alphas and a druid serial killer sound great on paper, but when you've only got 12 episodes to tell their stories, even your supersonic pace can't cover it. Each of these villains , with some story tweaking of course, could have been their own season. The kanima story was richer because of its personal stakes and because we had time to unravel the mystery with the characters instead of being browbeaten with them. The connection we already had with Jackson made his descent into monster even more compelling and then to see that it was Gerard manipulating him at the end was a masterful twist. It was hard to care for any of these 3A villains because we were constantly rushing from one to another. When we did get background on them, it was in brief flashbacks that were designed to play on our sympathies but we knew too little of them to really care. Jennifer and Kali had such a rich background together that it seemed a shame to see only a glimpse and only at the very end.
3. Either kill the "Scott as true alpha" story or give Derek a spin-off
Besides Malcolm Merlyn coming back on Arrow, there is no other major plot movement I hated more in 2013 than Scott becoming a true alpha. It relegates him to the super special snowflake, Boy King position that inevitably makes me loathe the character and long for his downfall. The fact that he achieved it by the moral superiority of his soul makes me want to vomit. Trying to push a character as the true source of goodness and light, of innocence and wisdom, the very best of everyone, in short the very nature of a Mary Sue, is the number way to turn me off of them for good and I'm not the only one. There is no upside to this plot detour and Boy King roles are rarely successful, as Stephen on The Tomorrow People can attest. A much more interesting route would have been allowing Scott to gradually grow as a werewolf first and a leader second. It would showcase his transition from ordinary high school kid to someone extraordinary. I fail to see why both Scott and Derek could not be competent and work together instead of a melodramatic power shift. In fact, I fail to see why they have stopped utilizing Derek at all. This season his only purpose has been as physical and emotional punching bag. Frankly, he has taken Jackson's role without the awesome tail. Derek is too intriguing a character to back burn like this merely to make Scott look even more like the most awesomest awesome whoever awesomed. It's so frustrating that right now I wish Derek would get his own spin-off with writers who actually like the character. To me, Derek is the Angel of Teen Wolf. He's the adult on a mostly teen show, the supernatural being who doesn't quite fit in. By spinning Angel off of Buffy, they actually improved the character and made a grittier show. I think Derek could do the same thing. Send him off to a city that needs a hero. Let him be competent for once and grow as a leader himself. Surround him with interesting characters and watch this character shine. In fact, don't forget to send another criminally underused character on Teen Wolf to help….Lydia.
2. Screaming and sexual predator are not character arcs
If Derek is the Angel of Teen Wolf, then Lydia is the Cordy. For three seasons now, the writers have not seemed to know what to do with her. She had visions and helped raise the dead. She is now a banshee, but the core problem remains. For a presumably main character, Lydia is still often sidelined. Heck, they didn't even bother to tell her about alphas until after she was screwing one. Lydia is the smartest character on the show but she is rarely allowed to use her brains to help. She has a supernatural power, but it is reactive instead of proactive so far. Quite frankly, Holland Roden is one of the best actresses in the show and when they allow her to shine, she always does. They need a targeted strategy to actively incorporate Lydia as a key player in the action of 3B, not just the mythology of it. It does no good to be a banshee if she's still just the girl outside looking in.
1. Keep up the awesome work
For all of this list, the fact remains that Teen Wolf is consistently entertaining, gripping, and intense. From the first time I watched the pilot (2 years late), I was shocked by how good this show really is. It has the fastest pace of any show on TV and the characters are generally likeable, root-able, and fascinating. The writers do a great job of developing character through action while the actors let their body language sell their reactions. It's a show that doesn't need monologues to hit you in the heart, but knows how to throw a powerful punch when it needs to. The scene in Motel California with Stiles talking Scott out of self-immolation is a prime example. That is one of the best scenes I've seen on any TV show this year. All kudos to the cast and crew of Teen Wolf for creating a mix of action, suspense, drama, snark, and good old-fashioned storytelling that continues to exceed my expectations and leave me excited for the next installment. As such, I wait anxiously for Jan. 6.
So what is on your Teen Wolf wish list? Anything I missed? Do you disagree with something? Sound off in the comments. Lively discussion makes the wait for Monday less painful.
Screencaps most likely by Screencapped.net