TEEN WOLF 1.07 ‘Night School’

Scott tries to control his wolf side as he and Derek try to draw out the Alpha Wolf.

Blair Marnellby Blair Marnell

Episode Title: "Night School"

Writer: Jeff Vlaming

Director: Tim Andrew

Previously on "Teen Wolf":

Derek Hale (Tyler Hoechlin) began mentoring Scott McCall (Tyler Posey) in ways to control his werewolf abilities. According to Derek, Scott's relationship with Allison Argent (Crystal Reed) made him weak, so he told Scott to stay away from her. Scott tried to follow Derek's advice, but he soon found that Allison was actually the key to making sure that he didn't transform under stress. Scott's friend, Stiles Stilinsky (Dylan O'Brien) was able to successfully test this theory by setting Scott up to be beaten by some of the other students.

Meanwhile, Derek became convinced that Scott's veterinarian boss (Seth Gilliam) was the Alpha Wolf that's been stalking them. Scott interceded in Derek's bloody interrogation of the veterinarian and he proposed an alternate plan. A half hour later, Derek arrived at the school with the veterinarian tied up in the backseat of his car. Scott and Stiles broke into the school and used the PA system to draw out the Alpha Wolf. Outside, Derek berated them before they noticed that the veterinarian had escaped. Moments later, the Alpha Wolf struck and seemingly killed Derek. Frightened for their lives, Scott and Stiles ran into the school as the Alpha Wolf pursued them.

Story:

Moments later, Stiles makes a risky move by going back outside to retrieve the bolt cutters and secure the door. The Alpha Wolf reveals its presence and Stiles barely gets back inside before it comes to the door. As they race for safety within the school, Scott and Stiles wonder aloud what their next move should be now that Derek is seemingly dead. Scott tells Stiles to call his father and the Sheriff's department, but he doesn't want his dad killed "Terminator 2" style by the rampaging Alpha Wolf. The Alpha further taunts them by sabotaging their cars and throwing the battery from Stiles' jeep through the window.

Meanwhile, Allison anxiously awaits Scott outside her home when Jackson Whittemore (Colton Haynes) and Lydia Marti (Holland Roden) arrive to pick her up. She then receives a text message from Scott telling her to meet him at the school. Back with Scott and Stiles, the Alpha spots them in the hallways and it crashes through the windows inside to chase them. They hide in the locker room, where they are soon caught by the school janitor (Brian Bascle), who orders them out. The Alpha then appears and kills the janitor, but Scott and Stiles manage to lock  him in the locker room.

Outside, Allison, Jackson and Lydia arrive and notice that Scott and Stiles have seemingly broken into the school. Allison goes inside to look for Scott. Because the Alpha appears to be trapped, Stiles taunts the wolf moments before it rips through the ceiling duct and brakes into another room. As they run, Scott hears Allison's phone ring and realizes that she's in the school as well. Using Stiles' phone, he has her meet him in the lobby. Outside, Jackson realizes that Stiles' jeep has been disabled and he goes into the high school with Lydia to find Allison.

The group is reunited in the lobby and Scott explains that he didn't summon them. The Alpha Wolf then starts breaking a door down to chase them. They flee to an upstairs classroom and barricade the door while pressing Scott for answers. Scott eventually blames the rampage on Derek and says that he killed the people around town and that he's after them too. They argue about calling the police, but Lydia ignores Stiles and calls them anyway, only to learn that the Alpha has the warned the police about "prank calls" tonight from the high school. Realizing that they need the key from the janitor to escape the school, Scott volunteers to go get it over the objections of Allison.

Armed with Molotov cocktail courtesy of Lydia, Scott finds the janitor's body in the bleachers and removes the key. When the Alpha Wolf shows up, Scott uses the cocktail; which fails to ignite thanks to Jackson's potentially intentional mistake. The Alpha then pounces on Scott and howls loudly, triggering his transformation into a werewolf. Now in wolf mode, Scott begins to stalk his friends and almost walks in on them in his transformed state before Allison's voice brings him back to sanity. Outside, the police arrive after hearing a frantic message from Stiles to his dad.

Later, Sheriff Stilinsky (Linden Ashby) tells Scott and Stiles that he can't verify their story or find the dead janitor. Scott also sees that his boss is still alive but Derek's body is nowhere to be found. Privately, Scott admits to Stiles that the Alpha didn't kill them because he wanted Scott to do it for him. And while in his transformed state, Scott wanted to do it. When Scott goes to comfort Allison, she angrily yells at him for lying to her the entire night and says that she doesn't trust him anymore. She also says that she doesn't want him to call her again and essentially breaks up with him.

Breakdown:

Aside from some unconvincing teen romance shenanigans, this was actually the most entertaining episode of "Teen Wolf" yet. It was refreshing that the series didn't have to deal with most of its conventional high school trappings while ironically taking place almost exclusively in the high school. It also helped that there was essentially only one story instead of several loosely connected narrative threads.

The corridors of the high school at night had an appropriate otherworldly look and the director did an excellent job during the early chase sequences. Because the Alpha Wolf was present so many times in this story, this could be the most effects heavy episode of the series to date. And for the most part, the FX team handled it well.

The Alpha Wolf is becoming an intriguing villain, thanks in large part to his off screen actions. The Alpha clearly sent the text message to Allison and warned the police to stay away while laying out his trap for Scott and his friends. Even the Alpha's plan made sense. If he wants to bring Scott into his pact, there's no better way than by tricking him into slaughtering his friends. However, the show is clearly forcing the veterinarian down our throats as the main suspect for the Alpha's human identity… which almost certainly means that he isn't the Alpha Wolf, although he's clearly more knowledgeable about it than he lets on. He may even be the Alpha's lackey, if not the wolf himself.

As an antagonist, the Alpha is intriguing because we don't know what he's thinking and he doesn't speak while we're watching him. The show won't be able to maintain that mystique forever, but it's the strongest selling point of the character so far.

Note that Derek's body didn't turn up at the end. That means that he's still alive and Scott just implicated him for multiple murders. It was almost a given that Derek would live once Scott began "throwing him under the buss." It's just a great opportunity to see what Derek will do now that Scott has openly betrayed him and more or less ruined what was left of his life.

Stiles even had a redemptive moment this week when he popped Jackson in the face. Of course, Stiles undercut himself earlier in the episode by taunting the Alpha Wolf like the human cartoon character that he usually is. The show also seems to be setting up Jackson as a new werewolf and a more overt rival for Scott. It certainly looked like Jackson intentionally sabotaged the Molotov cocktail intended for Scott and he seems overly interested in winning over Allison's trust.

While the episode had a lot of high points, it does seem like it was primarily used as a way to break up Scott and Allison to increase the angst in the coming weeks. Not to mention that it's a convenient excuse to have Allison start dating Jackson while Scott will probably see Lydia on the rebound. The problem is that none of this relationship shifting seemed believable, nor was Allison's rationale for breaking up with Scott.

Speaking of unconvincing, the idea that the Alpha Wolf moved the janitor's body and cleaned up the mess in the bleachers is just not flying, Seriously, is this a CSI trained werewolf who manages to remove all of the blood that leaked out of that man's body? If he had all freaking day, then maybe the Alpha could do some of that. But he only had a short time from Scott's transformation to the arrival of the cops. That means he must have done it in about five minutes or less. Is that really what we're expected to believe?!

The werewolf story of "Teen Wolf" has won me over enough that I want to see where the writers are going with it. But I could live without the teen hijinks. "Teen Wolf" has potential, but it's no "Buffy." And it never will be without the sharply drawn characters; which it just doesn't have.

Crave Online Rating: 7.5 out of 10.