Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Teen Wolf - Season 1 - Episode Reviews and Rankings

Teen Wolf season 5 premieres next Monday so what better way to prepare than to look back at the previous seasons as we make the final push to end hiatus. Below are season 1 episodes ranked in order by my favorite to my least favorite, including my pick for worst Teen Wolf episode of them all. All episodes include my ranking, a plot summary, and why I ranked it the way I did. Since these are ranked according to my own likes (action) and prejudices (romance and emoangsting), I've included a Ranker at the bottom where you can vote episodes up or down as well. Also, please share your own rankings in the comments below. Conversation helps pass the hiatus blues.

My rankings:  Night School / Code Breaker / Co-Captain / Pilot / Formality / Heart Monitor / Second Chance at First Line / The Tell / Wolf's Bane / Lunatic / Magic Bullet / Pack Mentality

1.01 – Pilot

Plot - A teen named Scott and his best friend Stiles go out in the woods at night to find a dead body. Scott gets bitten and Stiles realizes he's a werewolf. At the same time a new girl named Allison moves to town and Scott is immediately struck by her only to find out that her dad is a werewolf hunter. This episode also introduces Derek Hale, a mysterious 20-something with ties to the murder and the town.

My Ranking - #4

This is one of the most fast-moving pilots I have ever seen. I expected it to take forever for the character to realize he's a werewolf but it happened almost immediately. They set up the world really quickly and the characters. Still it is a pilot so many of the characters, like Lydia and Jackson, feel flat and there's too much stress on more teen things like being first line in lacrosse. Even those have their moments though. Jackson and Scott's exchange on juice still makes me laugh to this day.

1.02 – Second Chance at First Line

Plot - Scott, after being knocked down by Jackson, almost goes full werewolf on the field, but Stiles gets him in the locker room in time. Werewolf Scott then tries to kill Stiles, who defends himself with a fire extinguisher. Later they find a dead wolf on Derek's property but when Stiles yanks out the wolfsbane by the grave, she turns into a dead human. They call the police, who arrest Derek, but the wolfsbane makes Scott sick. At the lacrosse match, he wolfs out and wins the game. Scott and Allison kiss but Stiles interrupts to tell Scott that Derek is out of prison.

My Ranking - #7

I liked this episode and its build up of the werewolf mythology. Derek is intriguing in this episode but much of that is drowned out by teen problems. I understand Scott wanting to hold his spot on the lacrosse team but his bratting out about it made me roll my eyes. I thought his expression after Allison kissed him was really sweet though. Still the best thing about the episode was delving more into the characters.

1.03 – Pack Mentality

Plot - Scott has a nightmare about killing Allison on the school bus only to find that the bus driver was attacked. Scott's afraid he mauled the bus driver but it turns out that he was trying to help when he was called against his will by the alpha. Lydia turns Allison and Scott's date into a double date with Jackson and her. They all go bowling and Jackson is obnoxious. Argent is obnoxious too when he instructs his crew to damage Derek's car, who ends up fighting Scott before explaining the difference between alphas and betas.

My Ranking - #12 of this season, #60 of all Teen Wolf episodes so far

This is the worst episode of Teen Wolf to me. The entire date was pointless and stupid. It was a filler episode to the core and easily skippable. It does introduce the School Bus of Doom though and the alpha lore. Other than that there is not much to recommend this episode. I tend to pass this one by in most rewatches.

Teen Wolf – 1.04 – Magic Bullet

Plot - Allison's Aunt Kate, another werewolf hunter, comes to town and shoots Derek with wolfsbane. Scott must find her wolfsbane bullets or Derek will die. Kate invites Scott to the world's most awkward dinner and he steals a bullet. Arriving just in the nick of time, Scott gives Derek the bullet so Stiles won't have to amputate his arm. Derek brings Scott to meet his Uncle Peter, who has been comatose ever since the Argents burned down the Hale House with everyone else trapped inside.

My Ranking - #11

Kate Argent is annoying. It's that simple. She's not a good villain because she comes off petulant and crazy. Crazy only works so long and then it's boring. Kate got to that point in one episode. Also the family dinner was perfect for fast forwarding and it was one of the funniest scenes.

1.05 – The Tell

Plot - Jackson is attacked at a movie rental store and Scott and Allison skip school to avoid her birthday. Lydia skips school from trauma so Stiles visits her but she's high on prescription pills. He finds a video of the alpha on her phone but erases it. Meanwhile Kate and her thugs go after Derek, who doesn’t know who the alpha is. Later at parent-teacher conferences, they exposit that Jackson's adopted, Lydia's parents are in a nasty separation, and Stiles has a weird first name. Allison and Scott get caught skipping and Argent shoots a mountain lion on school grounds.

My Ranking - #8

Besides the opener and Kate wielding a gun, nothing much happens in this episode. There is some good character development but it's of the tell not show kind, although Holland does a great job of showing Lydia pull herself back together by putting on makeup.

1.06 – Heart Monitor

Plot - Stiles decides to train Scott to control his wolf side by hurling lacrosse balls at him to learn to control his heart rate. Kate gives Allison clues to her family's werewolf hunting history but the pictures trigger a PTSD response in Lydia. Jackson sees Scott start to transform. He later freaks out as he dreams about something crawling out of his throat and then makes nice with Allison, acting vulnerable and apologizing for how he treated Scott. Derek tries to force Comatose Peter to help locate the alpha but when that doesn't work, Scott summons the alpha who stabs Derek.

My Ranking - #6

For the most part this episode still has too much teen romance earnestness for me, but I love all the Stiles and Scott moments. Them talking in detention is touching while Stiles getting his frustration out at Scott's expense has its funny moments. Plus we have the first faux-Derek death, a Teen Wolf tradition, and the actual alpha appears.

1.07 – Night School

Plot - Trapped at school by an angry alpha, Scott and Stiles try several different plans, none of which work. To make matters worse, Allison, Jackson, and Lydia get pulled into the school too by a phony text message. They're all chased by the alpha, but somehow they believe it when Scott tells them Derek killed everyone. They argue over calling Sheriff; Stiles finally agrees but only gets his voice mail. Lydia shows her brain power and creates a Molotov cocktail, but Scott realizes the alpha doesn't want to kill them. He wants Scott to kill them. Sheriff comes to the rescue and Allison breaks up with Scott.

My Ranking - #1

Except for the last 3 minutes and the Allison montage, this is a suspenseful, intense, mostly well-paced episode. Scott shows his bravery, Lydia shows her smarts, Jackson shows actual concern, and Stiles brings the snark. The atmosphere is claustrophobic which adds to the tension too. Sure there are some plot holes, but overall it works on all levels.

1.08 – Lunatic

Plot - Stiles tries to get Scott drunk to take his mind off Allison but only gets drunk himself. School gets back in session after being closed for 2 days and the parents are overprotective. Stiles is also protective of his dad…and Scott when he freaks out during a test. Being a werewolf on the full moon turns Scott into a super aggressive douche. He takes down Danny and makes out with Lydia to Stiles' horror. Stiles makes first line on the lacrosse team and Scott becomes co-captain to Jackson's horror. Jackson gets payback by flirting with Allison and Stiles gets payback with a dog bowl. Jackson also learns that Scott is a werewolf.

My Ranking - #10

That's a whole lot of emoangsting for one episode. I don't care about Scott and Allison's breakup and Scott as a douche actually makes me uncomfortable, physically uncomfortable. I do love the interaction between Scott and Stiles that made for the best acting so far of the series. I like Derek keeping Scott from doing something he'd regret even more. Best of all though is the Stilinski family hug, which earns the episode extra points with me.

1.09 - Wolf's Bane

Plot - This opens up with Derek being chased by the Argents and police, who were called when the alpha grilled Harris, the chemistry teacher, because he unwittingly gave Kate the info she needed to burn the Hales alive. It ends with Uncle Peter revealed as the alpha. The middle is all about romance blues with Scott and Allison broken up and Jackson dumping Lydia. Jackson has nightmares, wolfsbane poisoning, and a weird desire to go werewolf. He blackmails Scott to make him a werewolf in 3 days or he tells Allison. Stiles meanwhile gets Danny to use his hacking skills to track the alpha. Allison tours the burnt out Hale House where she meets up with Aunt Kate, who wants to train her to kill.

My Ranking - #9

I loved the beginning and end of this episode but the middle was too slow and emoangsty for me. It was all romance kvetching. Plus I have no idea why anyone would want to be a werewolf so Jackson went from tool to idiot for me. I do love all the reveals though.

1.10 - Co-Captain

Plot - Peter forces Scott to relive the Hale House fire, Allison tells Scott her suspicions about her family, Stiles gets his dad drunk in order to get more info, and Peter threatens Scott via dating his mom. To stop the date from happening, Stiles rams Peter's car and Peter tells Scott that Jackson is on his hit list. Derek takes Jackson to the Hale House to kill him but Scott comes to stop him. Sadly the Argents arrive first and hit Scott. Derek plays distraction so Scott can get away and Deaton patches him up, a Deaton who already knows about werewolves. Kate captures Derek and tortures him in front of Allison.

My Ranking - #3

Answers, lots of answers. I like an episode that jumps things way forward and this one sure did. Plus it allows Allison to become more than just the girlfriend. She has a legacy and a kick butt warrior crossbow that she knows how to use. This is the first time the females show themselves to be very useful, albeit to help the crazy. Add to that the touching scene between Sheriff and Stiles, even if I wanted to smack Stiles for it, and you've got a well-paced, action-oriented episode that only stops a few times for teen angst.

1.11 - Formality

Plot - It’s the week of the school formal and things get intense. Peter threatens to harm Allison when Deaton won't let him have Scott, the clinic's mountain ash counters providing extra protection for them both. Since Scott can't go to the dance due to academic probation, he forces Jackson to take Allison while Allison forces Lydia to go with Stiles as payback for making out with Scott earlier. Stiles breaks Lydia out of her funk and confirms that she's a genius. Scott and Allison makeup so he tells Allison he loves her. Lydia goes looking for Jackson but ends up mauled by Peter instead. Stiles tries to save her by bargaining with Peter - Lydia for Derek. Allison learns Scott is a werewolf when her dad tries to run him over with his car.

My Ranking - #5

That Mama McCall moment with Scott about using his words is awesome. Mama McCall is awesome. I also love Stiles delivering some home truths to Lydia. Mostly though, Scott's secret is out to most of the people who matter so the plot is shooting towards the finale. Despite the dance and all conversations about it, this episode moved quickly and had a good balance of action, drama, and humor.

1.12 - Code Breaker

Plot - Scott and Allison freak when she finds out he's a werewolf while Jackson freaks out about a bloody Lydia. Argent demands Kate take Allison somewhere safe, Peter demands that Stiles helps him locate Derek, and Sheriff demands that they find Stiles. Peter offers to make Stiles a werewolf too, but Stiles refuses and runs to the hospital to check on Lydia. Stiles realizes that Kate is the arsonist and goes to get Scott but Argent and his thugs show up. Scott tells Derek the truth about Peter while Stiles convinces Argent about Kate. Allison and Kate hunt Derek and Scott. Argent stops Kate from shooting Scott but Peter kills Kate before Scott and Derek can attack. Meanwhile Stiles, Allison, and Jackson burn Peter with Molotov cocktails. Derek kills Peter, becoming the alpha. Sheriff ties Kate's body to the murders, Scott and Stiles confirm that Lydia is not a werewolf, and Jackson demands to become one.

My Ranking - #2

Like the pilot, the season 1 finale moves quickly. Action jumps from character to character with nary a breath in between. It does slow a bit for the romance at the end but overall it's a great way to wrap up the 2 villains. If only Teen Wolf believed in the dead staying dead.

So those are my rankings? Your turn.

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Screencaps by Teen Wolf Wikia, Crave Online, Fanpop, Seriepix, TV Overmind, Side Reel, Hollywood Life,  Fandom Post, and MTV.

About the Author - Dahne
One part teacher librarian - one part avid TV fan, Dahne is a contributing writer for SpoilerTV, where she recaps, reviews, and/or creates polls for Teen Wolf, The 100, Grimm, Younger, Major Crimes, and others. She's addicted to Twitter, live tweets a multitude of shows each week, and co-hosts the Sleepy Hollow "Headless" and Teen Wolf "Welcome to Beacon Hills" podcasts for Southgate Media Group. Currently she writes a Last Week in TV column for her blog and SpoilerTV. ~ "I speak TV."
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