Teen Wolf Review: “The Sword and The Spirit”

photo credit: ew.com

photo credit: ew.com

Here’s my review of Teen Wolf season five episode “The Sword and The Spirit.” 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.

I continue to be very disappointed with this season of Teen Wolf. So much so, I actually wonder if they have different writers than before. Previous seasons have been stronger because they had focus, they had a well-defined villain, and the storylines made sense even if they were ridiculous. “The Sword and The Spirit” has none of that, and while I thought things might be improving, I was clearly very, very wrong.

Let’s begin with villains. This season we have the Dread Doctors, Theo, the Beast, and the Desert Wolf. Already that’s too many, especially because we don’t know why anyone is doing anything. Nobody’s motivations are clear, except that this episode finally gives us a reason for the Desert Wolf wanting to kill her own daughter. And because we finally understand, the Desert Wolf becomes the most interesting of the villains. The Dread Doctors and the Beast basically aren’t even actual characters because they’re so ill-defined and Theo is so shady, he makes no sense. Villains of the past seasons had more backstory and purpose. The audience got to know what the Darach and Deucalion and the Nogitsune were capable of and why they wanted to bring doom and destruction to Beacon Hills. More time was devoted to fleshing these characters out and making them into credible threats. But now we just get things like the CGI Beast. If we knew the Beast’s true identity, it would seem more like a real threat. Things are dire in Beacon Hills but it doesn’t feel that way while watching at home.

If we talk about this episode specifically, the problem is that there are so many plot holes in it. You can argue that one shouldn’t focus too much on the details of a show about werewolves, but even when things were at their craziest in the past (remember when the Nogistune climbed out of a pile of bandages that Stiles vomited out??) everything had a purpose and made sense within the universe of the show. Each episode felt like a real story instead of just a series of vaguely connected scenes like they are now. Let me give you some examples just from this episode.

Here’s a problem: last week, the episode ended with Deucalion’s name being a sort of cliffhanger moment. But when this episode begins, there is no mention of him. Scott and everyone else seem very unconcerned about who Theo is searching for and why. It almost feels like we’ve missed an important scene between this episode and the last. Does Scott not care about this returning threat? In addition, I just don’t believe a pack of newly made chimeras were able to capture Deucalion themselves.

Another problem: didn’t Parrish already know he was a hellhound? I thought Lydia already figured that out and told him earlier this season. But honestly, I can’t remember whether that really happened or not. There’s just so much going on, it’s difficult for the audience to keep up anymore.

Another problem: Lydia doesn’t really learn anything at all and yet somehow gains control of her power. Meredith shouts at her to find her own way but what is it? Shouting louder? There is no visible a-ha moment when Lydia finally understands what to do. She just suddenly screams and that’s that. This is an example of very lazy writing. (On a sidenote: Lydia very clearly said “this is bullet-resistant glass” and Meredith’s response was seriously “then make your voice a bullet.” Honey, you might want to learn what “bullet-resistant” means.)

Another problem: if Mr. Kira’s Dad has a way for her to get control, why did she even go to the desert? And why does she only get one scene in an episode titled “The Sword and The Spirit?” Kira’s journey to master her powers could be quite interesting but we’re apparently never going to see it.

Another problem: at the end of the episode, Scott and the pack are back together and things are all fine and dandy. Why?? Did I miss a scene? Is everyone suddenly cool with each other again for no apparent reason? I don’t even know anymore.

I could continue, but you probably see my point. This episode could have used a rewrite or five. Teen Wolf has always been a fun, weird show about werewolves, but now it makes no sense. The writers are just getting lazy.

All There in the Werewolf Manual

  • A nitpicky weird thing: how were sheriff deputies roaming the school halls with shotguns supposed to help?? That’s not one of Sheriff’s better ideas.
  • My brother watched a few minutes with me before declaring that everyone looked the same and then he left. He’s not wrong.
  • Boy, Mrs. Martin’s sure gonna be mad when she finds out they really are gonna drill holes in Lydia’s head.
  • Malia being tortured unnecessarily by spiky steampunk goggles. Sigh. -___-
  • I’m dropping reviews for this show because I don’t want to continue to write bad reviews each week and I don’t really have anything else to say. I’m going to keep watching though and if things improve any by the end of the season, I might put together a season wrap-up post to discuss what happened.

So what did you think? Like it or hate it? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

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