Courtney Accocella ‘17/ Emertainment Monthly Assistant Web Editor
Teen Wolf is a show that can viewers what can only be referred to as “plot-line whiplash.” Each second has a new storyline or a new character. Just by blinking, it is possible to miss something that could be relevant for the current episode or one forty episodes down the line. “Ouroboros” is a true example of what Teen Wolf is—a snake, quite literally, eating its own tail. This episode demonstrated the major flaws of the show all at once. These flaws were also the same ones that were apparent in season four. Season four tried to pull off a bridge, similar to the one part one of season three built into part two, using the background storyline of the Desert Wolf (Marisol Nichols). The problem was that Malia’s (Shelley Hennig) mother’s story wasn’t written like a background reference. Rather, it seemed like a simultaneous plot line to Kate Argent’s (Jill Wagner) story. This would have made at least some sense, seeing as both women are were-coyote killers, but ultimately the plot line was too complicated and too far-reaching to be covered in the twelve-episode season.
So in true Teen Wolf fashion, the storyline continues into season five, in which it probably should have just been the main storyline of the season. Instead, it seems like it would be a true background story this time, something we wouldn’t even talk about after Stiles said Derek (Tyler Hoechlin) looked for the Desert Wolf in Mexico. One would think this would be a convenient way to keep Derek “occupied” and out of the season, and at the same time put the Desert Wolf story to bed for a while. For whatever reason, though, the writers can’t seem to hold back a storyline, and they are fast approaching Twin Peaks levels on side stories and characters.
Because why not let Malia have weird PTSD flashbacks of the Desert Wolf? Have Hayden (Victoria Moroles) and Liam (Dylan Sprayberry) have a romance that’s clearly rushed without Hayden even having proper character development. Have Stiles (Dylan O’Brien) continue to act uncharacteristically without enough motivation for him to do so. Write Kira (Arden Cho) off the show, rather unceremoniously following giving her one of the worst storylines a female character has seen on this show. Focus on Parrish (Ryan Kelley) stealing bodies with no explanation as to why or what he even is. Create Theo (Cody Christian), a complete mess of a character who is a continued question, coupled with the most complicated villains who have no basis in any sort of preexisting mythology at all. Making it the absolute perfect time to have Deaton (Seth Gilliam) travel to Russia to encounter the infamous Desert Wolf. Season five has more issues to tackle in twenty episodes than some shows encounter in twenty seasons. No episode has even begun to answer a single question. Instead, we continue to get more mysteries as the episodes maintain a cyclical element. You know—Scott (Tyler Posey) doesn’t trust Kira, Stiles doesn’t trust Theo and fears losing his friends, Malia sees something insane, there is a weird romantic-ish/creepy moment between Parrish and Lydia (Holland Roden), an inevitable dead body is discovered (then is stolen), Parrish burns the body at the nemeton, and characters and audience like have no idea what is happening.
The issues really began for this episode with the Desert Wolf. Firstly, why would the Desert Wolf be in Russia, let alone stalking Deaton? This is never explained and probably will never see any sort of explanation. But the show’s last statement on her was that the Desert Wolf was in Mexico, violently slaughtering gangs. Beyond that, her storyline has no place in this season. This season is focused on the Dread Doctors and their chaos. Bringing a killer coyote—who for whatever reason prefers to use guns—and her scarred daughter’s visions into the already convoluted plot line is a hindrance. It’s a vain attempt at continuing the at best weak storyline of Mexico from season four. It’s a terrible choice to make this storyline a part of the current season. Malia’s flashbacks already were disjointed from the rest of the show, as they had no place in the rest of the action at all. The story should be told eventually, but it will ruin both the Dread Doctor storyline and the Malia/Desert Wolf storyline by trying to rush to explain both. Malia’s storyline should have more focus to actually be developed fully. She, like so many of the female characters on this show, is pigeonholed to have no dynamic complexity and instead carry the role of dumb brunette. It’s not all that shocking that the writers find it fine to make her clearly dramatic backstory a crumby subplot this season.
Speaking of underdeveloped female characters on the show, look no further than newbie chimera Hayden. Sure, Hayden was only introduced a mere few episodes ago. As an audience, we’ve only had one real moment to learn anything about her. Yet here we are, just halfway into the season, and Liam and Hayden are now “Layden.” It’s not that the relationship shouldn’t have happened. It definitely should have, it was one of the inevitable relationships of this show. The issue taken is the ruined potential of this relationship. The start of the ‘flirtationship’ was the essence of why people want Stiles and Lydia to date. It’s a certain playfulness between the characters, the sarcasm and teasing dynamic between them, one of the few teen-like things on a show ironically called Teen Wolf. They were a relief from the intense storylines. Even just looking at Liam’s development from season four, the hot-tempered boy, to season five, a floundering dorky awkward guy, Liam began to embody early Stiles. Stiles now is untrusting—he’s seen too many friends die and experienced too much to be that class clown from season one. Liam hasn’t really seen much yet. He still has some ability to laugh, to make jokes, to fall in holes!
With the rush to get to Liam and Hayden kissing, it squashed the fun of their dynamic. It would have been great to just have their storyline this season be building to fall into a relationship by the finale. To have Liam learn more about Hayden as the audience does. To have Hayden come into her own as a character rather than an extension of Liam’s character. To not rush at ruining Liam’s youthful innocence so he could still be a comedic relief before facing a dramatic event, like being kidnapped, that would push the character to have to mature. And then to see that competitive dynamic between the two turn teasing turn friendly turn flirting turn actual relationship, which would have really saved this cyclical season. Hopefully the parallels seen in the previous episode that Layden had to Scott and Allison (Crystal Reed) will continue and provide instead the couple to root for that the show is currently lacking.
Of course, the other major issue of this episode occurs with another female character—Kira and her rather abrupt exit from the show. It’s only a one-episode break, according to IMDB. However, it’s a glaring example of how poor of a story Kira has. We finally have a development in this low-grade story they have given her, and just when we might be able to see something worthwhile out of Kira, they send her away so we can once again ignore her as a character. At this point, Kira is a background character who gets a few lines. Though she has been a character for three seasons, she has had as much character development (outside of her relationship with Scott) as Hayden has had in half a season. One could go as far as saying that Tracy (Kelsey Asbille) had more character development in four episodes than Kira has had in her entire time on the show.
Kira exits after realizing the doctors had experimented on her while she was stuck in traffic on senior scribe night. They jabbed her eyeball with something and seem to have gotten her struck by lightning to enrage her fox side. As it is, the explanations of the kitsune power have been minuscule. This whole idea of a clueless bumbling Kira is not cute; it’s lazy writing. It’s time to either give Kira a chance to become her own character and not just Scott’s girlfriend, or write a true exit for her off the show and stop wasting time with a storyline that has not gotten real development since part two of season three.
For all of the issues, one of the greatest things to come from the episode is the actual arc that Melissa McCall (Melissa Ponzioo) and Sheriff Stilinski (Linden Ashby) are getting. It seems that finally, Teen Wolf will battle with the question of Supernatural vs. Humanity. It’s a storyline that definitely should have happened a good three seasons ago, but Sheriff is finally saying enough is enough. To see these two frequent scene-stealing actors finally get to show their chops on their own is so great. The writing for their scenes and their acting abilities made this serious discussion of whether or not to start involving the law in the supernatural affairs funny and entertaining. Teen Wolf used to do that frequently, adding humor into what would be, for any other show, intense moments. It was what made it great, a quirky dramedy with action and eye candy and simple one-issue storylines that were complex, but not overtly complicated. Teen Wolf needs to find its base again before we ramble off into a plot line that looks like Stiles’ unsolved wall of mysteries.
On a side note, let’s keep giving Scott a storyline that test what he believes and knows, because Tyler Posey did phenomenally this episode, and we need to see more of that!
Overall Rating: C
While you’re debating what name could start with ‘M’ and end with ‘ienim’ (we’re looking at you, Stiles) take a second and let us know what you thought of “Ouroboros” below!