The lines are more clearly drawn in Beacon Hills as even more supernaturals are revealed on the dead pool, the littlest assassins get greedy, and new hunters roll into town. Things are getting... complicated.

By Jodi Walker
March 11, 2015 at 05:20 PM EDT
MTV
S4 E5
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Teen Wolf is proving to serve much more consistently as a show anchored in mystery than it sometimes did as a show anchored in mythology, although the mythological foundation past seasons left in their stead is still appreciated here: new strains of wolfsbane, the Sherriff’s ever-growing scowl as he lists each new supernatural creature he’s learned about this year, and enough knowledge of lycan lore to understand exactly what has been taken from Derek, a born-werewolf, but still have no idea what he’ll have to do to get his powers back from Kate.

The show has been better than ever in Season 4 at patiently weaving a mass of new characters into its typically complicated supernatural narrative. Stiles opens the episode up with a bit of introductory exposition layered over imagery of him using his classic sleuthing skills (there’s a lot of red tape) to help us keep up with recent dead-pool-related events: The wendigo Walcotts were killed by the Mute and his pesky tomahawk, who was then killed by Peter and his tendency for rage and destruction; DeMarco Montana, the keg-delivering werewolf with the name of a porn star, was beheaded by a mystery assassin; and now Carrie Hudson—the first ever werewolf to actually look younger than her supposed 23-years, and also a believer in DeMarco’s “the sun, the moon, the truth” stress relief chant—was killed by another mystery assassin.

(Where did Stiles get that fancy glass board for Lil’ Detectives in Training? I have no idea. Do I love that the Sherriff is finally able to help these kids out while still rationally fearing that he’s not keeping a safe enough distance to not get himself in trouble, and wondering if his Deputy is hiding an extra row of teeth somewhere? Definitively.)

That’s a lot going on in Beacon Hills, and don’t even get Stilinski Sr. started on what a dead pool of supernaturals with $117 million to spare could mean for Beacon County, at large. Coach Finstock, as chock-full of wisdom as ever this year, barks at Kira after pulling her from her first lacrosse game when she scores, but fails to pass during a play, “This is about teamwork!” It seems a little unfair, especially since, to my knowledge, no one has even told Kira how to play lacrosse. But with so many new players in the Teen Wolf rotation, this season itself is very much becoming about teamwork on every side; it’s not just Derek and Scott against the Alpha Pack, or the whole gang versus the Nogitsune anymore. It’s the McCall team of misfits, versus the Benefactor’s team of weirdos, versus every supernatural in Beacon Hills… versus a multicultural team of hunters… versus whatever the hell team of Berserkers Kate the werejaguar is working with. This hour felt like the calm before the storm.

The Benefactor is certainly accomplishing his/her goal, killing off six supernaturals from the dead pool in a matter of weeks, but tonight, his/her team reveals itself to be a little less than competent at being assassins, revealing their identities while failing to take down Brett (Cody Saintgnue) or Scott. As interested as I am to know where Violet and Garrett came from, the Benefactor’s P.Y.T mercenaries are basically just a couple of heartless 15-year-olds with close-range weapons and access to the school chemistry lab. You know who doesn’t have an assassin-like grasp on their emotions and urges yet? Teenagers. Violet, by all accounts a human, attacks an Alpha werewolf alone with nothing but a weapon that put her within his arm’s reach. Garrett is able to use his pretty boy charm to lure Carrie into a false sense of security after his partner fails to kill her, sure, but all that glaring he did on the lacrosse field was kind of screaming: I’m the assassin! Avoid me!

The teenage assassins don’t pose nearly the same threat the Mute did, but the Benefactor surely has something else big coming, and Scott’s pack, basically the Varsity of supernaturals according to their dead pool values, will need to be ready. And according to how much they learned tonight, they just might have a 50/50 shot, which is pretty good for a bunch of teenagers. Scott is still trying to get Liam under control after finding out that he’s angrier than your average lacrosse-playing werewolf; Derek is advising Scott with fatherly eyebrows, Stiles is investigating with his dad, Kira and Malia are standing by for support, and Lydia is either about to go off the deep end or finally learn to harness her banshee powers. The arrival of Meredith, the banshee from Eichen House, suggests it could very well be both.

NEXT: She’s not crazy, she just Banshees a lot.

These last two Lydia scenes in the mysterious room in her Lake House have been a wild ride from start to finish, both audio-visually, and thanks to Holland Roden’s just-on-the-edge-of-unhinged performance. Lydia, with the hovering help of Malia and cryptic messages from Meredith, is trying to crack the Benefactor’s ciphers to reveal the three-part dead pool. “ALLISON,” and the cipher Meredith, Malia, and Lydia crack tonight, “AIDEN,” are coincidentally two particularly Lydia-centric characters, but they also just so happen to be two people who died last season at the whim of the Nogitsune. The third cipher is the key to not only finding out who else is on the list, but getting a real idea of who might be writing it and handing out all of the Hale’s heisted bearer bonds.

Definitely revealed to be on that second list is Deputy Parrish, to which I think the entire fandom says, “Booyah, we see you and we feel you, Green Eyes.” Now the questions is, what kind of supernatural creature gets a $5 million bounty on his head, and is he really as wholesome as he seems? My heart hopes he’s a male banshee and can toss some advice Lydia’s way, because she really, uh, seems to be going through some stuff right now. Or perhaps his extensive knowledge of dismantling actual explosive devices will be helpful with Liam’s now werewolf-infused Intermittent Explosive Disorder (I.E.D.).

Parrish does seem to have a calming presence, and Liam is getting growlier and growlier with every surprise werewolf tackle. It probably doesn’t help that he has to take a patented BHHS boy’s locker room clothed shower to calm down after his old lacrosse team from the prep school he was kicked out of shows up as their scrimmage opponent. In the end, it’s that team that contains the Beta Violet and Garrett go after on the field, because undetected werewolves are everywhere these days.

After Garrett takes Brett out with his poisoned crosse-spear, Scott tracks Brett and Violet to the locker room and uses his Alpha hands to overcome her awful killer necklace. The unofficial guardians of Beacon Hills are used to having a lot thrown at them at once, but tonight, everyone seems especially unprepared for the threats ahead. With so many teams in play—the Benefactor and assassins, the pack, Kate, and now the Calaveras—exactly who is hunting whom? Argent and his ambiguous eye shift as Abuela Calavera arrives and insists he recite the hunter’s code make it clear that this game could end any number of ways: “We hunt those who hunt us.”

“I.E.D.” wasn’t the most eventful episode thus far, but like Stiles’ detective board, it laid out the map for just how much of a mess Scott’s pack has in front of them. As an Alpha, Scott’s  solution will never be to kill whoever gets in the way, not even the bad guys. But every bad guy isn’t a freshman assassin you can calmly knock out with a light slam against a cinder block wall (do not go into the Beacon Hills High boy’s locker room, by the way); somebody is going to have to go, especially with the dead pools’ biggest bounty revealed to be on our True Alpha’s $25 million head. It’s hard to imagine that Kira, who has the power to harness electricity, and could probably fly if she really tried hard enough, is worth less than a third of Scott “I’m Having Trouble Wrestling My Beta to the Ground” McCall; but perhaps Scott’s real value is in his leadership—take out the leader, take out the team.

Best Lines: “Banshee?” “Banshee.” —the Stilinski men, experts in being both annoyed and correct. Also, Meredith’s simple look at Parrish when asked to answer a few questions that seemed to imply, “Yes, I will tell you whatever you want to know because I like the way you’re working that face, Deputy.” Okay, and everything Stiles said to Brett (the perfect combination of ’80s teen villain and current British boyband hair) while trying to distract him from the three-hole-punch Liam was performing on his own hands: “Welcome to our little public high school… we’re very excited for the scrimmage.”

And a Few Questions…

–How wonderful was the scene where smart-ass Derek Hale showed up in the BHHS locker room to intimidate little Liam? Each episode this season seems to have some sort of homage to a scene from Teen Wolf’s first season, and it’s making what’s beginning to feel like the inevitable passing of the torch a little easier. Also, Derek smiled.

–Speaking of, is it odd that Derek has only recently started winning fights, just as he’s losing his werewolf powers?

–I was really proud of Malia for using her high school education to crack that phone code and all, but didn’t the solution feel a little obvious for all the flack they were giving poor Meredith?

– Expecting any surprises from the third and final dead pool list?

–Finally, who works an Important Dramatic Eye-Shift better: Tyler Hoechlin or J.R. Bourne? (J/K, I would never ask you to choose.)

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