in Television

Teen Wolf Season 4 Premiere Recap: The Pack Goes To Mexico In “The Dark Moon”

Previously on Teen Wolf

Malia Tate is a werecoyote, Lydia is a banshee, Allison is unfortunately still dead (R.I.P.), the pairings we’re starting off with this season – because there are no guarantees it’ll be the same ones throughout – are Malia/Stiles and Scott/Kira, and the big bad is a resurrected Kate who’s now a were…panther? Snake? No idea, but I suspect we’ll find out soon. Season premiere recap time!

Stiles and Lydia are in Mexico, which just serves as further fuel for a From Dusk Till Dawn/Teen Wolf crossover. MAKE IT HAPPEN, JEFF DAVIS AND ROBERT RODRIGUEZ. Stiles and Lydia apparently have some sort of ill-advised plan in the works and banter in their usual manner about it as they walk around the town.

They make it to their destination by nightfall, but are only allowed in when Stiles shows the men guarding the door a tarot card-looking thing. The creepiness factor is upped with the help of low lighting, ghostly music, close-ups on Stiles and Lydia’s faces, and shaking lamps. I’m too busy being distracted by how yellow this scene is and how well it’d fit into a FDTD crossover to care.

Stiles and Lydia open the door at the end of the hallway to find… pretty people dancing. Anti-climactic. I was hoping for a torture dungeon. It’s like every season of Teen Wolf HAS to have at least one club scene in it, or it’s not Teen Wolf. The two teenagers make their way to the bar where they’re offered drinks on the house, to which Lydia responds by plunking a bullet engraved with a skull into her shot glass.

They’re taken to the head boss lady whose name I’ve totally forgotten – did we even get a name for her? She’s that one woman who tortured Derek and Peter last season looking for “la loba.” Lydia tells her that they’re here for Derek Hale. “We know you have him,” says Lydia, “We’ve heard you can be bought.”

And then Stiles casually puts FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS ON THE TABLE. How in the hell did they get all that money?! Did they rob a bank, because that’s EVEN MORE FDTD CROSSOVER FUEL. Question: Am I ever going to stop talking about this? Answer: Nope. Not until it actually happens. Actually not even then, because it’ll be all I ever talk about until I’m dead and gone.

Cheesy, overused dialogue time: Boss Lady tells the teens “it’s not smart to come alone,” and Stiles retorts, “what makes you think we came alone?” as the camera zooms in dramatically on their yellow-filtered faces. The camera pans over the crowd dancing outside and we see Malia with blue eyes flashing, Kira, with orangey eyes flashing, and Alpha Scott the Sunshine of My Life with his Alpha red eyes flashing.

Credits roll. It’s a new sequence from last season, with the addition of series regulars Shelley Hennig and Arden Cho. We come back to the episode to find Boss Lady’s hunters searching the crowd for suspicious individuals. Kira is visibly nervous, but Malia is all loosey-goosey and urges Kira to dance with her to blend in. Poor sweet Kira is an awful dancer, at least until Malia pulls her in close and helps her loosen up. Is it too soon to say I ship it? Because I kinda ship it.

They’re successful in evading the hunters, and Boss Lady frustratedly continues berating Stiles and Lydia for their poor timing in showing up. The Dark Moon is coming soon, and she wonders why Lydia and co. would risk everything for Derek when they’ve already lost so much. We’re finally reminded of Boss lady’s name – Araya – when her minions call in to report that they haven’t found the intruders. Well, some of them haven’t… one of the hunters has been knocked out by Scott. Scott picks up the fallen guard’s walkie talkie and tells Stiles to “take ten off the table.” Okay seriously, this episode is trying way too hard to be Too Cool For School and I don’t like it.

Screen shot 2014-06-24 at 11.26.26 PM

Back on the dance floor, Kira and Malia have finally been made. A boringly choreographed fight scene ensues, as Kira, Malia, and a randomly appearing Scott take care of the incompetent hunters. The trio makes their way to the back of the club, likely searching for Derek.

Araya and her people fill the building with wolfsbane smoke, which neutralizes both Scott and Malia. Kira tries to fight them all off on her own, but fails. Araya approaches Scott and taunts him, which helps Scott realize that Araya doesn’t have Derek after all – in fact she has no idea where he is. Well, yeah, dudes, that’s because Kate totally kidnapped him. KEEP UP, GOSH.

Araya angrily tasers Scott, and the pain makes him flash back to when the crew was still in Beacon Hills, realizing that Derek was gone and making a plan to go find him. Derek had been missing for weeks when Scott found bullet casings in his loft with the markings of the Calavera hunter family. Lydia used her powers to try to find Derek, but “there’s something not quite right” about Derek’s situation. He’s not dead, but he might not be alive either. Ooh, is this show incorporating zombies? Are we gonna get zombie Tyler Hoechlin? Scott decides it’s time to go to Mexico to get answers from the Calaveras, which is how the pack got to where they are now.

When Scott comes to, he’s back in the present and locked up in some dingy bathroom with the rest of the crew – minus Lydia, who’s being questioned by Araya. Apparently Araya wants to know which of her men is going to die soon. The gleeful smile on her face doesn’t match the super dark words coming out of her mouth, which is a surefire way to creep me the fuck out. Araya murders one of her men in broad daylight and right in front of poor Lydia, then orders Lydia to tell her about Scott’s Alphaness.

Meanwhile, Team Scott is trying to find a way out. Malia suggests braining the next hunter to walk through the door and making a break for it, leaving Lydia behind, because that’s what she did when she was a coyote in the woods. Oh, so she’s still experiencing some dissonance from her years as a coyote after all! I wasn’t entirely clear on that based on the sexytimes last season, thanks for clearing that up, Jeff Davis.

Their planning session is interrupted when the hunters end up dragging everyone into a room together for interrogation time. They force Kira to torture Scott, otherwise they’ll torture Lydia. I’m sure this whole situation is supposed to be dramatic and horrifying, but it just feels forced. Why are the Calaveras even doing this, besides being sadistic fuckers? Is there any hunter in existence who follows the Code besides Papa Argent – sorry, Chris Argent – and dearly departed Allison?

The first question Araya asks is, unbelievably, “where is Derek Hale?” C’mon, son. They came all the way to Mexico without chaperones and carrying fifty grand so they could get him from you. Naturally, Scott answers with the PG-13 version of “what in the fuck are you talking about,” so Araya tells Kira to turn the electrocution dial. Scott begs Kira to just do it. I’m still over here yawning.

The yawns continue as we’re taken back to the bathroom where Stiles is trying to coach Malia into focusing in on Scott and the others. Malia kisses him as soft piano music plays. It magically helps her focus, just like Stiles’ kiss with Lydia seasons ago helped stop his panic attack. The power of teenage makeout sessions, folks.

The torture session progresses. Scott still can’t answer Araya’s question, and Kira is refusing to turn the dial up to ten, so Araya shoves her away to do it herself – see, what the hell, you could’ve tortured him yourself the entire time and you just wanted his friend to do it to increase the angst factor. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE. She didn’t even go to torture Lydia like she said she would (not that I want Lydia tortured, but what’s the point in creating a “do this or I’ll do that” if you don’t honor the terms?)

The pain, again, makes Scott flash back. He realizes Kate is behind it all. Using her super-hearing, Malia relays this to Stiles, and then it’s a quick cut to Kate standing in some crypt somewhere looking menacingly into the camera. We finally find where Derek is: buried behind a big circular stone wall thingamadoodle.

Now that Araya’s gotten what she wanted, she’s letting Scott and his friends go. So… all that physical, emotional, and mental torture of teenagers just for confirmation of something that she apparently already knew about, because she’d already sent men after Kate? And now she’s making them hunt down a murderous were-something when four seasoned adult hunters already died trying? What. I’m having trouble wrapping my head around this level of sadism, man. That From Dusk Till Dawn crossover really needs to happen now so Queen Santanico can wipe this family off the map.

Before Scott leaves, Araya delivers one last threat: if Scott bites and turns an innocent, she will come after him. Yadda yadda overacting via eyebrows yadda. At least she bothers to give the group a guide to help them track down Kate… drumroll please… it’s Braeden. In case you’ve forgotten who that is because it’s been so long since this show bothered to mention her, she’s the mercenary woman who rescued Isaac in season 3A, and Derek and Peter in 3B. Cheesy dialogue alert: Braeden tells them she’s here to bring them to La Iglesia, and that “its not a place where you’ll find God.” Ugh, the writing in this episode is causing me physical pain.

teen-wolf-690x262 copy

On the way to La Iglesia, Lydia, Stiles, and Scott update Kira and Malia on the Kate Argent problem. A thirty second montage of events in season one remind the forgetful people in the audience of the circumstances leading up to Kate coming back from the dead with a vengeance. Here’s the part we didn’t know: the Calaveras had found out that Kate had survived, and took her body from the morgue. The Calaveras follow the Code after all (I guess there’s nothing in the Code about torture) so they gave Kate the chance to kill herself before she turned, as per hunter law.

Instead, Kate faked her death and used it as an element of surprise to kill the hunters and escape.

Scott’s barely finished telling his story when Stiles’ car breaks down. At Stiles’ urging, Scott goes ahead with Braeden to find Derek. There’s a sweet moment with Kira and Scott hugging as she tells him to be careful. Meanwhile, Malia pulls a bone out of Stiles’ car, saying “I don’t think we hit something, I think something hit us.” Classic move, making the team split up.

Scott and Braeden arrive at La Iglesia, where an entire town was ravaged by an earthquake. The only building left standing is the church, which locals rumor is built on top of an Aztec temple. AZTEC TEMPLE?? Do I need to say the words “From Dusk Till Dawn crossover” again? No? Well too bad, I already did.

Braeden even conveniently explains what Kate is to Scott: a werejaguar. Werewolves, werecoyotes, werejaguars. On the next season of Teen Wolf we’ll get another new species: wereflamingoes.

Back at the Jeep, Stiles is trying to salvage his dead car when Malia senses something bad coming. Darkness falls, and as Scott and Braeden brave the temple, something lurks around the group at the Jeep. Malia attacks, which forces Kira to chase after Malia as Stiles and Lydia keep trying to fix the car. Whatever it is that’s out there, it scratches Malia before getting away. Stiles succeeds in getting the Jeep to work, and everyone piles in and drives away.

Meanwhile, Scott and Braeden are also getting attacked – but not by Kate. A bone-looking creature sprints toward them (which is giving me Hannibal flashbacks) and Scott gives his Alpha roar to scare it away. Bonus: the Alpha roar also opens a secret door to a secret room containing the circle wall tomb thing that was covering Derek before. Braeden and Scott open the tomb to find… teenage Derek?!

Memorable Quotes

Lydia: We are going to die.
Stiles: Are you saying that as a banshee, or are you just being pessimistic?
Lydia: I’m saying it as a person who doesn’t want to die.

Lydia: Some people say it’s a time of reflection. Or grief.
Boss Lady: Grief and loss, mija.

Stiles: Alright, come on, just give us Derek. You don’t want him anyway. Haven’t you noticed what a downer he is? No sense of humor, poor conversationalist. Just take the money.

Kira: Is that what you’d do as a coyote? Leave her for dead?
Malia: If she was weak and injured, yeah. If hunting had been bad that season, I would eat her. Then I’d leave.
Stiles: …Believe it or not, that’s progress.

Braeden: [La Iglesia] is not a place where you’ll find God.

Scott: There’s a saying. Sometimes the shape you take is the kind of person you are.
Lydia: What kind of shape is a sociopathic bitch?

Braeden: She’s a mass murderer.
Scott: You’re a mercenary.
Braeden: Girl’s gotta eat.
Scott: If you were paid enough, would you kill her?
Braeden: If the money was good, I’d kill you.

Braeden: You shoulda kissed your girlfriend.

Scott: I think I scared it!

Final Thoughts

It started off okay, but quickly devolved into a boring, dragging episode, full of awful dialogue and forced tension.

Rating: C-