Teen Wolf Season 4 Finale Review “Smoke and Mirrors”


Last night’s episode of Teen Wolf was easily the most entertaining episode of this season, which has been plagued at times with inconsistency and overuse of filler. I’ll save my thoughts about the season overall for later. For now, let’s get to church!

S.O.S. – Save Our Scott

The episode opened with the respective members of Scott’s Pack (and associates) stocking up on ammo and collecting personal artifacts for the supernatural members to pick up Kira and Scott’s scent once they arrived in Mexico. Even sweet, precious were-baby Liam was ready to try out the hero role if it meant saving were-daddy Scott. Those of us who have watched 4 seasons of Teen Wolf know that when Peter Hale emerges from the shadows and volunteers his assistance without asking for anything in advance, this is the appropriate response:

Apparently, the characters on Teen Wolf have not learned this very important lesson and they were understandably desperate enough to accept his help against the seemingly immortal berserkers. The axis of evil, Kate and Peter, arranged for Lydia to be left out of the trip south of the border, thanks to an assist from a berserker. I don’t think a banshee’s presence was necessary to figure out that someone’s life was on the line and that the most likely candidates were Kira and Scott – the kidnap victims.

Lydia being delayed at the school did allow for an opportunity to involve Mason in the finale and for him to get a face to face introduction to supernatural life in Beacon Hills. Poor Lydia and Mason gave Kira a run for the most hits upside the head in last night’s finale.

The road trip to La Iglesia provided a few choice fan service moments. We finally got a Sterek scene that was more than a few seconds long. I’m indifferent on ships generally, but there is no denying that Dylan O’Brien and Tyler Hoechlin have great chemistry with each other and seeing Derek and Stiles try to convince Liam to believe in the “magic” of the triskele was a reminder of the sarcasm, wit and humor that made Teen Wolf a show I really enjoyed watching in seasons 1 and 2. With Derek potentially poised to help Braeden find the Desert Wolf, season 5 should allow more opportunities to see Derek and Stiles in scenes together.

In a scene that was straight out of the Allison/Victoria handbook in season 3A, Noshiko appeared to Kira in a vision and helped her trigger her healing so that she could warn the others that Scott was the berserker Peter had rallied them together to kill.

I suspected last week that Liam’s berserker fear and Kate making Scott a berserker would culminate in a moment where the young Beta would pull his Alpha from the brink of becoming the monster he’s always feared he’d become. Look, I’m always here for were-baby/were-daddy family feels, but I wish that it hadn’t been so predictable. I also don’t think that we’ll truly see Scott’s restraint tested until he faces a foe who has no ties to his inner circle – maybe the Demon Wolf will resurface or we’ll get a new foe in season 5 who has no connection to Scott’s circle of friends. Indeed, Scott is virtuous, has an upstanding moral character and some of the images last night damn near made him look like Jesus wolf as the light shone down on him while his pack looked up to him in awe. Yes, that’s all true and it’s one of the reasons we haven’t seen Scott cross the line and kill someone. However, it’s worth pointing out that Kate and Gerard, all their character flaws aside, were related to Scott’s first love. Scott’s other nemesis, Peter, is related to Derek and Malia. Even if Allison or Derek would have no objection to their respective relatives dying, I still think Scott’s friendship with them would always lead him to find a way to stop them without killing them. Darachifer and the Demon Wolf were a different type of foe, because their bad behavior was very much a byproduct of the extreme cruelty to which they’d been subjected. For once, I’d like to see a villain on Teen Wolf whose as evil as Kate, Gerard or Peter, but who has no familial ties to anyone in Scott’s pack and who is just evil for the hell of it.

I don’t mean to discount the traits that make Scott such a great protagonist for the show, but I would like the writers to find more satisfying storylines for him. Although 3B was Stiles-centric, it was a good storyline for Scott as well, as he struggled to “keep everyone safe” from the person hurting them – who just happened to be inside his best friend. Ultimately, I’m glad Scott retained his murginity. He is, after all, just a teenager.

The Real Heir to the Hale Family Power

The conclusion to Derek’s storyline was interesting. Trusting that previews are misleading, I figured Derek would not die in the finale, but I certainly didn’t expect him to transform into a wolf like his mother. I am a lifetime member of the nice things for Derek Hale club, so I was thrilled to see Derek “evolve” to were-form and presumably become stronger than ever. If/when Peter finds out about this development, he is going to be so jealous.

You know what brought me as much joy as the revelation of Derek transforming? The site of him mauling Kate. That was glorious. Of course, Derek didn’t finish the job and Kate lives to annoy the crap out of us all for another season. As much as I hate Kate, I think she continues to be a necessary evil for now. Her escaping gives us an opportunity to check in with my favorite silver fox, Chris Argent. It will also give us a chance to see Araya be a bad ass and show us how the Calaveras do it. Araya, like Brunski, is another character who is so over the top it can be distracting, but it works for a campy, but dark show like Teen Wolf.

My third favorite moment of the episode was naked Derek crushing the berserker’s head with his hands. I am eternally here for strong, self-assured, having a nice life, happy wife (or girlfriend) Derek Hale.

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Yasssssss!!!

Now that I’m done with my La Iglesia-inspired praise and worship, a few nitpicks about the glorious elevation of Derek Hale. We still have NO idea what Kate did to Derek and I would be genuinely shocked if we ever learned how/why she de-aged him. That is a very frustrating oversight and not even the prospect of a naked Derek can distract me from that huge plot hole.

And then there’s the issue of Braeden. Braeden, like Malia, has suffered from poor character development by the writers. However, I also think some in the fandom have been excessively hard on the character and the actress and at times, it borders on irrational. I understand finding yourself disliking a character because of how she’s been introduced and incorporated into the show, but it is curious to see people spending so much time griping about a character they don’t like. At some point, it’s just easier to ignore them. I haven’t been a huge fan of Malia’s integration into the pack this season and as such, don’t spend a lot of time talking about her in my reviews.

When we were first introduced to Braeden this season, we were told that she was hired by the Calaveras to find Kate. We then saw her agree to breach her contract with the Calaveras and find Kate for Derek. Over time, we saw Braeden spending more time with Derek and helping him adjust to life as a human. What we did not see Braeden doing, however, is what she was paid to do. I quite liked Braeden helping Derek embrace his strength in human form, but viewers at home could have really benefited from just a quick conversation in which we see Derek tell Braeden – “I want you to ignore both contracts and just spend time with me, as I cope with losing my power.” Or whatever. By never addressing it on screen, it just made Braeden look like a lovestruck girl who threw her responsibilities aside to be with Derek. In my head canon, I don’t think that’s what happened, but I understand the fans who take the show at face value and have some issues with Braeden not doing the job for which she was paid. I like to think that Braeden was the one who called Calaveras to La Iglesia and that maybe at some point she even refunded whatever money the paid to her. It wasn’t a positive reflection on her, without additional context, to learn that the Calaveras partnered with Chris to do the job they’d initially hired Braeden to do.

It looks like we’re not done with Draeden, based on the look on Derek’s face when she mentioned the Desert Wolf. With Derek’s transformation, there is one relationship I want to see him develop above all others – a relationship with Deaton. I mean, come on Teen Wolf writers, you gave us the payoff with all the references to Derek looking like and reminding people of his mother – wrap this up with Deaton and Derek interacting and talking about the vet’s history with the Hales. And also, just more Deaton in general.

Other supernatural thoughts, observations and feels. . .

– Overall, I found the finale a very satisfying hour of television. However, the episode really exposed some of the major flaws in the season, the biggest one being the serious disconnect between the Benefactor storyline and the showdown at La Iglesia. Teen Wolf has repeatedly done the bait and switch with villains, but in past seasons, the show has done a much better job at connecting the first big bad with the second big bad. As much as people complain about 3A, the transition from the Super Alphas to the Darach, was still smoother than the transition from the Benefactor to Peter/Kate. The only thing with any significance that came out of the Benefactor storyline was Scott biting Liam. That’s it.

– A lot of fans took issue with the lack of significant deaths in the season 4 finale. I have no qualms with it. This show has also proven this season that it does not properly handle the consequences of major deaths and as such, it should take a break from killing major characters (unless the actor/actress wants out). It took TWELVE freaking episodes for Kate and Chris to come face to face and actually discuss Allison. What the hell?

– In season 5, I hope the show will give more time to developing the core characters. Despite early promises, this was not the season of Lydia. She spent far too much time separated from the rest of the group and I’m not sure how much that will change now that she’s set on helping Parrish figure out what he is.

– It was great to see Kira get her first tail at the end of the episode and I hope we don’t have to spend all of season 5 watching her get knocked upside the head and choosing her sword over her kitsune abilities.

– Like Braeden, Malia was not done any favors by the writers in how they chose to integrate her into the show. The Eichen House sex was already a moment most fans wanted to forget, so having her spend so much time with Stiles was probably not the best approach to integrating her into Scott’s pack. With several characters now focused on finding her mother, I hope we’ll see Malia continue to spend more time interacting with other characters, like Derek, Scott or Kira. In many ways, Kira and Malia are both struggling to figure out who they are and I liked the few moments they shared on screen together this season.

– I don’t think for a minute that we’ve seen the last of Peter, but I’m okay with a bit of a timeout for him next season. He’ll probably be back by 5B.

– I can’t believe it took 12 episodes for someone to try blowing up a beserker. Bless the sheriff and his smart, resourceful ways.

– It bears repeating from last week’s review, Peter is the worst dad ever. He was willing to let Malia kill Scott, which he knew would have ruined the life she’s built for herself and he tossed her around like a rag doll. I think Malia should be prepared for more disappointment with her mother.

– My biggest wish for season 5 is that the writers will really think about what is needed on screen to fully tell a storyline. For the last two seasons, I’ve spent far too much time learning details missing from the show by watching Wolf Watch. Wolf Watch should not be a mechanism through which the writers fill in the gaps. The Walking Dead doesn’t use Talking Dead to do it, Breaking Bad didn’t do it, and Teen Wolf should not consider this an acceptable method of storytelling either.

– Kate blamed Scott’s pack for killing Allison and Garrett thought Scott fought off an entire pack of Alpha wolves by himself (despite the fact they were clearly attacking Derek, not Scott). I think Stiles and Mason should start a supernatural blog and stop the flow of misinformation in Beacon Hills.

– What’s your take on the looks exchanged between Scott and Derek at the end of the episode? Do you think anyone told Scott’s pack that Derek totally evolved into a wolf? None of them were there to see it?

– What’s your take on the look Peter gave Derek when he appeared to be mortally wounded? It was a look of concern, but I’m not sure if it was genuine or if it was because he suspected that Derek was evolving. If Peter suspected this, it might have made his need to reclaim his Alpha status more urgent.

– At least the writers had Stiles acknowledge how utterly ridiculous it was for him to have cell phone reception in La Iglesia.

– Mason could give Stiles a run for his money at being adorable with a bat.

– And now for some unresolved questions:

What is Malia’s home life like? Did her adoptive dad get caught in one of his bear traps?

Does Derek even know that Malia is his cousin?

Where was Rafael McCall?

How did Derek evolve? When did he know it was happening?

I am certain that Jeff Davis said that we would see Danny again after Holland Roden said that he wouldn’t be in season 4. Unless Danny was one of the berserkers, I’m still left wondering – where the hell is he?

What drew Kate to La Iglesia and how did she learn to control the beserkers? Scott mentioned Peter telling her (I think), but Kate had the berserkers well before she developed plans with Peter.

Okay, enough with the unresolved issues.

Until Next Moon Day!

That’s it for this season, fellow Teen Wolf fans! Reading your thoughts and speculation has been a true joy. A very special thanks to chrisjozo and Melody Paris for hanging in there with me week after week!

What did you think of the season 4 finale and what is on your wish list for season 5? Sound off below!

Gifs from the Busy Kween Tumblr and the Teen Wolf Tumblr.