Teen Wolf 3.02 "Chaos Rising" TV REVIEW(opens in new tab)
Writer: Jeff Davis
Director: Russell Mulcahy
THE ONE WHERE Stiles’ childhood friend goes missing, Ms Morell returns and we learn the fate of Erica.
VERDICT Teen Wolf has a tendency of underestimating its audience. While the show itself is often quite clever, the writers always seem to shove an obvious metaphor to the forefront of the episode to make sure that we “get it”. However, the way it’s delivered this week sees the welcome return of Coach Finstock (Orny Adams) in grandstanding mode, so we can let them off for now.
“Chaos Rising” is by far one of the most graphic Teen Wolf episodes to date. There’s an almost sex scene, bloodied feet and even a dead body. It’s great to see Mulcahy working his visual magic with Davis’ collaboration solidifying them as the Teen Wolf dream team. Last season, the series faltered ever so slightly when another director was in charge, so let’s hope this pair stick to their guns and hold on to the reigns a little longer.
The episode opens with Stiles (Dylan O’Brien) and Scott (Tyler Posey) heading to the birthday party of Stiles’ childhood friend Heather. Since she plants a kiss on Stiles as soon as he enters the house, it’s clear that some hanky panky is on the cards for our favourite comedian. It’s about time he got some action and the look from the Heather’s friend to Scott is a hilariously sassy fixture that finally puts the heartthrob in his place. But, of course, it wasn’t meant to be. As Stiles runs upstairs for some protection, Heather is bombarded by flying wine bottles in the cellar in a very slasher-movie-esque sequence. She even does the old, “Hello?” before being dragged through the window by someone… or something.(opens in new tab)
The slow motion, the bloodied feet and the ear-shattering scream make this one of the most tense and scary-movie inspired scenes we’ve seen so far. It’s a brilliantly devised opening that sets the tone for the rest of the episode perfectly.
Sadly, there’s no sign of motorbike girl. It seems the blood splattered across the locker room last episode was the end of her, which is a huge shame. Despite her disappearance, the bruises she left on Lydia and Allison are still very much on show. As they research what the symbol could mean, the Haleses are busy trying to get Isaac to remember what happened to Erica and Boyd. The attempt sees the reappearance of Peter Hale (Ian Bohen) who enters the room in a very Wild West fashion, complete with close-up boot shot and twangy guitars. Surprisingly, Bohen gives O’Brien a run for his money when it comes to the comedy stakes – providing snappy, sarcastic one liners in an often serious setting. He pulls it off effortlessly and showcases some welcome comedic relief – especially during a scene he shares with just Stiles.
Meanwhile, Derek is still trying to find out where Erica (Gage Golighty) and Boyd (Sinqua Walls) are. The only way for Isaac (Daniel Sharman) to remember what happened is to place him in an ice cold bath (shirtless, obviously) under the watchful eye of Dr Deaton (Seth Gilliam). Last season ended with a Dr Deaton and Ms Morell (Bianca Lawson) cliffhanger that hinted the pair were not as they seemed, so naturally every time Dr Deaton appears to be helping the pack, you can’t help but feel he has an ulterior motive. This time, however, he seems to be on their side. The ice bath vision leads them to an abandoned bank whose logo coincidentally matches that of the bruises on Allison and Lydia’s arms.(opens in new tab)
As Derek and Scott head to the bank, so does Allison who is almost apprehended by Ms Morell. She barks instructions for Allison to hide in the storage cupboard, which holds a gruesome find – Erica is dead and Allison discovers this by the light of her mobile phone. There’s a clear cut shot of the dead body that shows Teen Wolf is the kind of show that’s growing up; unafraid of going in a little harder with the scary stakes. It’s always sad to see a character go but Erica was never a well-loved placement. Golighty did a great job of portraying a selfish, spoilt brat but sadly, the writers were too slow at developing the character.
Scott and Derek eventually find Boyd in the vault along with Derek’s sister (previously presumed dead) and it’s here that the writers provide some new were-lore. Last season, we learned how to contain werewolves using mountain ash and now we learn about the properties of hecatolite (moonstone). The mountain ash returns and it is Ms Morell who completes the circle to trap Scott and Derek in with Boyd and Cora (Adelaide Kane). Thankfully, Allison is on hand to break to seal, freeing Scott and Derek but releasing Boyd and Cora into the town.(opens in new tab)
“Chaos Rising” is one of the smartest, funniest and thought-provoking episodes to date. Ending with Lydia screaming, the episode leaves you wanting more immediately; Daniel Sharman as Isaac is the best he’s ever been and the writers are developing characters such as Peter Hale nicely. If they keep this up, season three could push Teen Wolf out of the mushy-teen-drama reigns and into the forefront of die-hard fantasy fans.
MISDIRECTION Did anyone else spend the opening scenes – when Heather was having that “first time” chat – presuming that she couldn’t possibly be talking about losing her virginity? In this post Buffy -world surely it was all a metaphor? It sounded like she was talking about sex, but clearly she really meant she was about to turn into a giant insect and make her first kill. Nope. Turns out she actually was just talking about doing it . Do teenagers really talk about such things in such a prosaic manner?
BEST BIT Wine bottles fly everywhere as Heather is helpless against an invisible creature .
AS SMOOTH AS SILK For werewolves, these teens don’t have ONE hair on their bare chests. Veet are seriously cashing in here.
BOTTOMS UP It seems a shame to waste all that red wine just to freak out a 17-year-old girl. Let’s hope it was just a load of Vimto.
Stiles: “Where do you live?”
Peter Hale: “In an underground network of caves deep in the woods.”
Stiles: “Woah! Really?”
Peter Hale: “No you idiot. I have an apartment downtown.”
Teen Wolf season three currently has no UK broadcaster.
Read our previous season Teen Wolf reviews
Read our other season three Teen Wolf reviews(opens in new tab)