Teen Wolf 3.11 “Alpha Pact” TV REVIEW
Writer: Jeff Davis
Director: Tim Andrew
THE ONE WHERE Allison, Stiles and Scott go to extreme measures to rescue their parents and Scott’s Dad is revealed.
VERDICT This season, Davis has fast been proving his worth as a scriptwriter. Interweaving characters past and present whilst still making time for fights a-plenty has enabled season three to run as smoothly and as brilliantly as possible. This week, “Alpha Pact” acts as a sort of in-between episode, which gives Davis the perfect opportunity for his words to shine. As the penultimate episode to the first half this season, things are about to kick off and Davis does a fine job of executing the tension.
There’s not a whole lot of action this week; that is, unless you count kissing as action (but more on that later!). We don’t see much of the Alpha pack – apart from chase scene rather deliciously shot chase scene by Tim Andrew in the woods – or much of Scott (Tyler Posey) himself. Instead, Davis concentrates on the fundamental relationships that have run through each episode since season one, mainly Stiles (Dylan O’Brien) and Lydia (Holland Roden) along with Derek (Tyler Hoechlin) and Peter (Ian Bohen). He also re-introduces the importance of brief characters at the start of the season and gives the show’s “grown-ups” a chance at some well-deserved screen time.
Speaking of grown-ups, this week we’re introduced to Scott’s father in the form of an FBI agent. It’s not made clear this is who he is at first; Davis does a fantastic job of subtle hints throughout the episode – starting with Stiles’ instant disgust at his appearance at the start – but even a final scene with McCall Snr in Scott’s room, sadly clutching his son’s belongings can’t make us like him. If Stiles isn’t a fan, then neither are we.
So, Cora (Adelaide Kane) isn’t getting any better and after saving her from the apocalyptic hospital last week, all Derek can do is whimper by her side. Isaac (Daniel Sharman) is soon fed up with his puppy dog approach and it’s here that Davis gives Sharman some more in-depth dialogue that’s reminiscent of his trapped-in-a-freezer-days. Despite overdoing it just a touch (including a pretty cheesy door-slam) Sharman is quickly proving his acting abilities that will quickly outdo others on the show.
Back in the Argent household, Chris (JR Bourne) is quickly putting a plan together to save Sheriff Stalinski (Linden Ashby) and Melissa McCall (Melissa Ponzio). However, he doesn’t let Allison (Crystal Reed) or Isaac in on the big picture. Instead he tasers Isaac and handcuffs Allison to some bars, before offering himself as a sacrifice to Ms Blake (Hayley Webb); who, by the way, is a much, much better villain this week. Less screen time and more cracking one-liners allows Webb to really flourish as the baddie. With Chris taken, that leaves plenty of room for some Allison and Isaac alone time. Davis is really enjoying tormenting his fans with this budding romance, as he hints and teases at kisses and locked eyes. Nothing is yet to happen between the two but bath time later will solidify the bitter end of Scott and Allison.
Lydia is back this week and a pretty adorable scene with her often-unseen mother eases her back into normality after her strangling incident. We loved the Clueless -style Lydia from seasons one and two and despite her circumstances, Davis still allows for sparks of sassy dialogue from our favourite redhead which act as perfect light relief. Stiles is quick to seek her help in locating the missing parents, but as he receives word of Chris Argent’s disappearance he experiences a panic attack. Director Tim Andrew really works wonders here, as his gyroscoping camerawork encapsulates the terror that Stiles is experiencing perfectly with fades, wobbles and intense close-ups.
It’s heartbreaking to see Stiles so cut-up and to be fair, I think any of us would do the same after everything he’s been through. Unsure of how to help him, Lydia decides to do what she does best to shut boys up – lay a smacker on them. Now, this is a kiss that’s been waiting to happen for several seasons and Davis’ subtle inclusion in this week’s episode showcases just how far the pair’s relationship has come. Instead of a drooling, geeky Stiles following a mighty-heeled, short-skirted Lydia, they’ve actually come to really care about each other. With everything they’ve experienced together it’s a completely believable premise and one that hopefully will develop during the second half of the season. After all, I think it’s time Stiles got some action – especially seeing as the last time anything like that happened, the girl was brutally slaughtered.
With all three parents trapped at the Nemeton and Chris Argent’s plan of breaking free epically failing, it’s down to the kids to save the day. It’s wonderful to see the “grown-ups” get some screen time together, as often their main role is simply to argue with their kids. Linden Ashby does a fantastic job of relaying the story of his wife’s death, providing even more depth to Stiles and their relationship without overdoing it (even if the whole “believe” spiel is a bit artificial).
Dr Deaton (Seth Gilliam) makes a welcome return this week with a totally bonkers plan to locate the Nemeton. Scott, Stiles and Allison must die for a few seconds under ice cold water while clutching something that connects them to their parents. Apparently this will also power up the Nemeton and turn into a supernatural beacon. To complicate things further, Scott, Stiles and Allison must all be assisted by someone they have a strong, emotional connection to. It’s here that Davis plays with his fans’ emotions. No more Scott and Allison; instead Isaac helps Allison, while Stiles and Lydia team-up, leaving Scott with Dr Deaton. The look on Scott’s face as he realises what’s been going on between his friends is absolutely crushing and will have any die-hard fan heartbroken.
With next week the final episode of this half, expect plenty of fireworks.
BEST BIT Stiles turns Lydia’s various identical drawings of trees upside down to reveal the root cellar – the place of the final sacrifices.
BLUEBELL Did anyone else notice Lydia’s complete change of style? She’s gone from sassy-slut to virginal blue in a matter of weeks.
MEMORY LOSS So Derek and Peter can’t remember where the root cellar is because Talia “took” the memory from them? That’s a pretty lame bit of exposition, Davis, but seeing how well you’ve done this season, we’ll forgive you.
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS Lydia comes face-to-face with Peter and they play it out like bumping into an ex at the pub. Awkwaaaaard.
SUCKER PUNCH As Stiles frantically tries to wake Derek, he comes this close to punching the day lights out of him. It would have been great to see what Derek would have done if that had happened.
BEST LINES Stiles is questioned by Scott’s father in the hospital, who claims Sheriff Stalinski is an alcoholic.
Stiles: “Alright, how about this? Next time I see him I’ll give him a field sobriety test, okay? Start with F and with U.”
The same pair produce another classic later:
Mr McCall : “Styles, why am I getting the feeling that you know something that could help us find your dad?”
Stiles: “If I did, why would I not tell you?”
Mr McCall : “If I’m helping your dad, why wouldn’t you?”
Stiles: “So you’re asking me to tell you why I wouldn’t not tell you?”
Mr McCall: “First, I have no idea what you just said…”