It’s hard not to gawk at the success of the MTV monolith, Teen Wolf. What started as an awkward portal of star-crossed lovers – werewolf Scott McCall (Tyler Posey) and future huntress Allison Argent (Crystal Reed) – has sprawled into a gruesome monster action diorama that can give the Winchester boys a run for their money. The show itself has grown tremendously over the years, expanding beyond the scope of traditional Lycan lore and delving into Beacon Hill’s rich monster-filled history, similar to the vein of Buffy‘s high school Sunnydale and the Hellmouth it’s built upon. The show’s bestiary is chalked with Banshees, Werewolves, Druids, Berserkers and Kitsunes. But with so much impressive feat in the monster category, one has to ask what’s there left to explore in the final/sixth season of Teen Wolf?
Teen Wolf started in 2011, following the standard boy meets girl formula. Scott McCall, our feral hero is your average outcast. He’s accompanied by sarcastic bro-in-arms Stiles Stilinski, a guaranteed show stealer if you stay for the long haul. The show follows the timeline of their friendship as well as Scott’s relationship with Allison, the gorgeous girl next door who happens to be a descendant from a long line of French werewolf hunters. Scott gets bit, and the rest is history. While the show had it’s moments of awful CGI and CW worthy teen drama, the first season’s story does an amazing job of laying the groundwork for these characters fans have grown to love. We see the kindness in Scott even in werewolf form, the tenacity and sarcastic compliments of Stiles, and the feeling that something’s just not right in Beacon Hills.
In season 2, we get our first taste of a different kind of monster. It’s Teen Wolf, so there’s only wolves, right? Wrong! Oh, how wrong we were. We had no clue what a Kanima was (a venomous shapeshifter that’s said to take the form of your inner persona) until Teen Wolf. Thanks?! The beauty of the earlier episodes is they played out as a mystery more than monster of the week feature. The biggest mystery of season 2 was finding out Colton Hayne’s Jackson was the Kanima and Grandpa Argent was his master! But this mystery, a two-fold one, didn’t reveal itself till halfway through the season, while spinning off various subplots like Lydia (the resident Banshee played by Holland Roden) resurrecting the first season’s villain, Peter. Like Buffy these kids are put through the ultimate ringer, and they also go through great sacrifice to achieve their successes. And yet still nothing compared to season 3.
Season 3 is by far the most seminal season for Teen Wolf. We see a myriad of story arcs converge to make one of the most impactful sequence of events the pack faces. Stiles, the fan favorite sarcastic sidekick turns evil via possession of a dark Kitsune, a Japanese fox spirit, pitting him against Scott and the rest of the pack. But we’re also introduced to two heavy-hitting female characters; the Japanese, sword-wielding Kitsune, Kira Yukimura, and the feral werecoyote, Malia Hale. The storytelling hits its peak, as we’re drawn into multiple visions of the past connecting historical and mythological events to Beacon Hills and the Nemeton tree, a literal beacon of mystical power that attracts just about everything supernatural, sans vampires. If seasons 1 & 2 of Teen Wolf is about laying the foundation for the characters and world building, season 3 is about shattering it all. The show’s core narrative, the love story between Scott and Allison is destroyed as Allison dies at the hand of Oni warriors (Japanese shadow demons controlled by the Dark Kitsune) resulting in the most fatal death in the show. The themes of season 3 are all challenges; challenging the dynamic of the pack, the world in which they exist, the roles characters play and the people they love, and not everyone survives said challenge.
So what happens after you’ve pulled the world from up under these characters feet? How does Scott trust Stiles again, after his deceptive murderous streak as the Dark Kitsune? How does Lydia mourn for her best friend, Allison? Season 4, if nothing else is about rebuilding. We focus on side characters such as Deputy Jordan Parrish played by Ryan Kelly. But we’re also seemingly introduced to new characters meant to fill familiar roles. Dylan Sprayberry, known for playing young Clark Kent in Man of Steel, comes on this season as Liam Dunbar, a younger, cockier version of pack leader Scott. And since there’s no Scott without his right hand man, Stiles, we’re introduced to Theo’s out gay best friend, Mason Hewitt played by Khylin Rhambo. Fans could consider this a direct response to the cry for a bisexual Stiles (I too shipped Stiles & Derek/Sterek). The villains of this season come from every direction, most being assassins contracted to kill all of the supernatural creatures in Beacon Hills by way of a deadpool.
Season 5 took the show in a distinct sci-fi direction, as the main antagonist were a group of steam-punk, genetic scientists, called The Dread Doctors. But again, Scott & the pack defeated them…well sorta. One of the most intriguing elements is Mason (the second coming of Stiles) becoming that season’s mystery antagonist, an ancient French werewolf, The Beast of Gévaudan – in a way reliving Stiles’ stint as the Dark Kitsune. Season 5’s restructuring comes off more as a second coming of familiar events. Deputy Parish – like Lydia in the past – is the key to solving both villains this season. Theo is both anti-hero and villain, revisiting a role only held previously by Tyler Hoechlin’s Derek Hale character. The roster of archetypes has been outfitted to a new generation.
So what lies next for the group? What impossible odds will they face in the final season of Teen Wolf? Well…
The final season pits our pack against a group of supernatural desperadoes called The Wild Hunt. Their M.O.? They’re known to erase people from reality/existence. And just when you thought demon fox spirits were the peak of WTF in Teen Wolf lore, we’re hit with what promises to be a collection of sinister events in Beacon Hills. I won’t spoil too much, but even after all our pack has been through, we dare ask again; can the gang truly make it out of this one? With a group of villains that can change reality itself, I get the hunch that someone, or multiple someones won’t make it to tell the strange tales of Beacon Hills to their grandkids.
From the looks of things, a certain sarcastic sidekick may be one of the biggest targets of the Wild Hunt. We don’t have any sense on any new cast members, at this point it’s looking like the core gang is handling this, so for a final season, this works. Teen Wolf at its core, is about a group of High School kids dealing with the supernatural occurrences of an odd town, while also experiencing the pesky existence that is adolescence. Because of this, there’s a definite time stamp to the charm of this show. It’s the reason season 5 shows the replacement of the original roster. The torch has to be passed down. Albeit through the pack, or simply through the Beacon Hill’s lacrosse team. Either way Teen Wolf’s growing up, and I’m not sure how to handle it .
Teen Wolf returns to MTV on November 6, 2016.