Here’s my review of Teen Wolf season five episode “The Last Chimera.” Please note that this isn’t a recap of what happens. I’m assuming that you’ve already seen the episode. There are spoilers in this review.
If you want an example of bad storytelling, all you have to do is watch “The Last Chimera,” the opening episode for the second half of season 5. I’m sorry to be blunt but it’s true. The crazy train of this show which used to be lots of fun has crashed and burned (much like how Parrish ridiculous burned his way through some metal bars at the end of this episode). The biggest problem is that this show has gotten way too confusing and it neglects its characters in favor of making a horror film vibe.
Do you ever watch this show and feel like the episode continued going while you were watching commercials? I feel like that a lot, and it’s not a new thing for Teen Wolf. I remember how clunk the plot was moving even way back in season three. But now it feels ten times worse. We open this episode again with a flash forward to Lydia in Eichen House. She’s got a hole in her head and is being interrogated by Dr. Valack. But then Theo and his gang show up, making the timeline seem more nebulous. When is all this taking place? At the end of the last episode, Theo had gathered all the dead chimeras and brought them back to life. So when they show up, it feels like it’s supposed to be in present, when actually Eichen House is still a flash forward.
Things only continue to get more confusing from there because there are just so many things going on in the present story. Sheriff is possibly dying in the hospital, Parrish has escaped jail to search for missing Lydia, Liam and Mason try to find the Nematon and Hayden, Scott tries to be helpful, Theo does evil things, Malia shows up to sniff stuff. It’s just too much and none of it connects very well to create a consistent and coherent episode. How can anyone keep up when the story jumps around so much?
The plot issues would be more forgivable if we had some good character moments to balance it out. But we really don’t have much from this episode. There’s more action than interaction. There is a lack of connection between the characters, so it feels more like we are watching just fragments of several stories instead of one main story. I realize that the writers centered this season’s conflict on breaking up the bonds between the main characters, but they strayed into melodrama territory and ruined any compelling part of that. The scenes with several of our characters come off as flat because there is little interaction. Scott stares at his not-fully-healed body alone in his bathroom, Malia refuses to talk about things, Parrish runs off on his own to find Lydia. None of these things really show us much of what the character thinks and feels. I think probably Liam and Mason’s scenes work the best simply because they can communicate with each other and that gives us more insight into their characters.
The character who is being treated the worst right now is Lydia. She spends this episode either with a hole in her head, in a catatonic state, or as a rather dull hallucination. The only time she does anything is actually off-screen when she apparently carves a design into a rock with her fingernails. It’s like they’re trying to remove her role in the plot completely. The writers revealed that she’s a banshee all the way back in season three, but they have never done much with that reveal other than have her scream at people and then suffer at the hands of people who don’t want her to scream at them. Once she starts functioning as anything other than a narrator for this season, then she will become a more interesting character.
The last major problem with this episode is actually just a problem that carried over from the first half of the season. That is, the Dread Doctors are terrible villains. Their motivations, goals, and methods are just too vague to create any sort of tension for the audience. Theo is actually a better villain simply because his character goes out and sets things into motion. If the audience wants to remain invested for this second half, then the writers are going to need to make the threat from the Doctors more concrete. They’ll also need to pull all the loose threads of this episode’s plot lines together to make it a coherent story. I’m hoping perhaps that this is the show bottoming out and it can only go up from here.
All There in the Werewolf Manual
- There are entirely too many characters stuffed into this episode, which is another reason why this episode suffers in the character development department. Everybody gets a snippet of screentime instead of focusing on just a few characters.
- I’m happy for the return of Papa Argent! Maybe he can be the leader that Scott isn’t right now.
- We were 37 minutes into the hour-long episode before Malia appeared at all.
- This show is very good at creating the visual aesthetic of a horror movie with the body horror and the dark lighting. But Teen Wolf used to be better than a horror movie because of its interesting and well-developed characters. Oh how the times have changed.
- Can Parrish please stop having creepy Lydia hallucinations? That shower scene took up way too much of time they could have been using to explain the plot of this episode.
- My favorite part of the episode was that quick camera shot of the Dread Doctors that made it look like one of them were wearing some fancy Hot Topic boots. Seriously, that’s the kind of fun this show needs again.
- Questions: Will we ever get to the Desert Wolf storyline? Where the heck is Peter hiding out at these days? Is it bad that Mason is one of the few characters I like right now?
So what did you think? Like it or hate it? Feel free the share your thoughts in the comments.