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Teen Wolf season finale recap: 'Smoke and Mirrors'

Scott’s friends try to save him from the life of a Berserker, and Peter battles it out for the ultimate werewolf power… but there can only be one True Alpha, and word on the street, he’s got a heart of gold.

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Teen Wolf 01

Teen Wolf

TV Show
Comedy, Drama, Horror
Jeff Davis
Tyler Posey, Dylan O'Brien, Holland Roden, Shelley Hennig
Current Status:
In Season

Don’t you ever, tame your demons

But always keep them on a leash

Those are kind of confusing instructions there from Hozier, whose “Arsonist’s Lullaby” underscores the final scene of tonight’s season finale of Teen Wolf. But what is Beacon Hills if not full of hormone-ridden confusion over keeping your supernaturally enhanced demons on a leash?

Following a couple of disjointed episodes, Teen Wolf returned for its season 4 finale feeling more focused, if not in the typical format you would expect of a finale. If you were unhappy with the answers provided for the story lines that shaped the season…well, that went out the window when Peter and Meredith split a hospital room. But in an odd move for a Teen Wolf finale, there weren’t really any season-long questions left to be cleared up tonight. Yes, Kate and Peter are still hanging around, but we left last week knowing exactly what they were up to: Peter wants Scott dead in order to steal his power, and Kate is helping him out by turning Scott into a Berserker so that his friends will kill him without knowing it. This week just gives us a few more details, a few more death scares, and a whole lot of fight sequences.

Most fans know that closure isn’t Teen Wolf’s specialty; for every Teen Wolf finale there’s at least one former Big Bad who we never technically saw die; that trend does not end here. But this finale felt almost more like a beginning for it’s characters than an end, which considering all that they’ve been through in the past couple of months, seems a kind gesture. It would be easy to discredit this finale altogether, as it’s lack of resolution makes the rest of the season seem a little inconsequential, upon reflection; but this is Teen Wolf, and the surplus of action, heartbreaking Chris/Kate scenes, and full wolf-itude kind of override that…”Smoke and Mirrors,” indeed. If Peter had to be the Benefactor without actually being aware of it, I’m glad that’s not the note we ended on. I much preferred his imprisoned scream of terror.

The werewolf world proves to have its own system of checks and balances regarding humanity and power, as Scott and Peter battle it out for both, respectively, in this episode. If you don’t overestimate your own power and seek to use it for noble purposes, you might get an upgrade. Say, turning into a full wolf (Derek), or if you’re just good-hearted enough, a werewolf Jesus True Alpha (Scott). And if you’re a power hungry maniac who thinks you can take on a True Alpha when your eyes are clearly still Beta blue (Peter), then you just might find yourself pumped full of yellow flowers, waking up in the Special Supernaturals Unit of Eichen House. But first… Mexico!

If I were to make a drinking game for “Smoke and Mirrors”—which I wouldn’t because the wolves are teens—but if I did, I might write the rules thusly:

–Drink every time someone screams, “SCOTT!” to try to keep him from going full-Berserker

–Drink every time someone just want to save their friends

–Drink every time Peter says “Buh-suuuur-KUR”

–Drink every time you’re confused… J/K, I don’t want you to die.

“Smoke and Mirrors” opens up in the now traditional horror style with Kira still trapped in a dungeon of bones in La Iglesia. But now she’s being guarded by a Berserker, and as that Berserker beats her mercilessly, she realizes it’s sporting a two-ring bicep tattoo… you know, like the one Derek burned into Scott’s skin in Season 3. Kate saunters over to spill a little exposition as only Jill Wagner can and tell Kira that seeing as Scott has risen to ultimate werewolf power without ever killing anybody, making him kill his girlfriend will be an excellent test of his Berserker loyalty. And Berserker Scott is down to party… he stabs Kira right in the heart.

Back in Beacon Hills, everyone is preparing to head to Mexico to save Kira and Scott and somehow, some way, they have let Peter back on their team. Even after finding out that he technically created the dead pool, even after he’s most definitely tried to kill each and every one of them at some point in the past, they just can’t resist all of that fresh Berserker knowledge he brings to the table. He says to kill a Berserker, you need to break the animal spirit from the human: “You might see humanity behind those eyes, but do not assume there is any humanity left.”

Unfortunately, the eyes behind one of those skulls are Scott’s (and two other poor souls we’ll never know), and it seems that Peter and Kate’s plan to keep that knowledge hidden is to strap some sort of bone-armor armband over that tattoo, and more importantly, to keep Banshee Lydia trapped in Beacon Hills so she won’t be able to tell anyone that Scott is about to die. Good thing there’s an extra Berserker on hand to trap her in the school with Mason, another guy who just wants to save his friends, even when he doesn’t realize quite how much saving they actually need… like, all the time.

NEXT: Father/daughter bonding, discussions about humanity… the usual