Episode Title: "Omega"
Writer: Jeff Davis
Director: Russell Mulcahy
Episode Title: "Shape Shifted"
Writer: Andrew Cochran
Director: Russell Mulcahy
Previously on "Teen Wolf":
I sometimes wonder if "Teen Wolf" exists for any other reason than to constantly feature the male cast members shirtless so they can show off their ridiculously defined abs. I'm sure that plays really well with the female audience… and a smaller percentage of guys.
One of the primary angles of the show is the romance between teenager turned werewolf, Scott McCall (Tyler Posey) and his girlfriend, Allison Argent (Crystal Reed); who happens to come from a family of werewolf hunters. Posey and Reed actually have some good chemistry with each other, but overall their romance is the least convincing part of "Teen Wolf." The first episode back reintroduces Allison's father, Chris Argent (J.R. Bourne) as he holds Scott at gun point as his daughter breathlessly promises to break up with Scott if her father will spare him.
Naturally that break up lasts all of thirty seconds before Scott and Allison are using his abilities to sneak around in her bedroom. That's the fun part of their relationship. However, the tension that comes out of hiding their continuing relationship from her family is so overwrought that it gets old really quickly. After spending the entire first season getting Scott's secrets out in the open it seems like a mistake to try to throw up the same family obstacles again.
Scott himself had a problematic first season in that he wasn't much of a protagonist. Oh sure, Scott is the title character and he occasionally did things that mattered to the story. But by and large he was simply reacting to things instead of driving the events forward. And aside from occasionally saving his mom and Allison from the Alpha wolf, Scott didn't really do anything heroic… until now. In the second episode of the new season, Scott finally has a selfless hero moment when he resolves to help Isaac (Daniel Sharman) — a new werewolf accused of murdering his abusive father; played by John Wesley Shipp, who starred in "The Flash" over 20 years ago. Of course, this was slightly undercut when Stiles Stilinski (Dylan O'Brien) did most of the heavy lifting to save Isaac and Scott locked himself in a box.
"Omega" starts off the season shortly after last year's finale, with Stiles maintaining a vigil at the hospital for Lydia Martin (Holland Roden), much to the annoyance of Lydia's father, Mr. Martin (Jeff Rose) and Scott's mother, Melissa McCall (Melissa Ponzio). Stiles' unrequited love for Lydia is endearing… if a little cartoonish. As for Lydia herself, she barely seems to realize that Stiles is alive, much less in the hallway outside of her room. But Lydia soon suffers a freaky vision in the shower and she escapes into the night while completely naked.
The bulk of the first episode deals with the search for Lydia and it suggests that she may have been turned by the Alpha Wolf after all; which seems to backtrack from her apparent immunity at the end of last season. And when a new were creature starts eating livers from corpses, Stiles tries to make excuses for Lydia's supposed actions. Even by the end of the second episode, it's ambiguous as to whether Lydia has become a werewolf. But Stiles does get to see his dream girl sans clothing when she finally shows up again.
There's also some backtracking when it comes to Jackson Whittemore (Colton Haynes), the show's most unlikable douchebag. The opening moments of "Omega" implied that Jackson has finally become a werewolf… a transformation that he only wanted so he could cheat at lacrosse and basically get the same advantage that Scott has been using. Jackson is so in love with himself that it's almost hilarious to see him preening in front of a mirror while hoping to film his first transformation into a wolf. Jackson also dismisses Derek Hale (Tyler Hoechlin) — the new Alpha Wolf — because Jackson thinks that he doesn't need anyone anymore. So when Jackson finally gets his comeuppance, it's a satisfying moment.
All of the best parts of "Teen Wolf" tend to come from the mythology aspects of the show and the ongoing war between the hunters and the werewolves. Apparently the brief peace after the death of the last Alpha Wolf, Peter Hale (Ian Bohen) didn't last more than a few days at best. One of the new primary adversaries this year is Michael Hogan's Gerard Archer — Alison's grandfather — who comes to town after the death of his daughter, Kate Argent (Jill Wagner) with a new pack of hunters who are more willing to kill the werewolves than his son, Chris. Gerard even has a very amusing way of inserting himself into Scott's life and the larger high school in general. There's also a suggestion that Chris is withholding Scott's name from Gerard to protect him, even if only as a way to keep Allison from hating him.
While the first episode reestablishes the war between the wolves and the hunters, the second episode, "Shape Shifted" tosses in a new wild card element in the form of a lizard-like shape-shifter whom no one is familiar with. In keeping with "Teen Wolf" history, this Alpha Lizard is probably someone we've already met or someone we will meet later in this season when they assume human form. The early money is on the creepy teacher who hates Stiles. But for the first time out, the CGI on the Alpha Lizard wasn't bad.
"Shape Shifted" and "Omega" also ushered in a new status quo of Scott, Allison and Stiles acting as a team to find Lydia and to protect Isaac from a hunter sent to kill him at the police station. Although in Allison's case, using arrows on her family's fellow hunters may not be the smartest play if she doesn't want her actions to blow back on her. And for someone who was largely one dimensional last season, Lydia is actually getting some character development that makes her more sympathetic. But then again, anyone looks good when playing off Jackson during his "King of the A**holes" moments.
"Teen Wolf" also delivered some tense moments in both episodes, particularly during Gerard's declaration of war on the wolves and during the brief appearances of the Alpha Lizard. I do wish that the high school side of the show was better written and less bizarro than the werewolf aspects around it. But so far, "Teen Wolf" season two has been enjoyable despite its imperfections.