Teen Wolf “Required Reading” Review (Season 5 Episode 6)

Like last week’s episode of Teen Wolf, “Required Reading” got off to a pretty strong start. This time, it was Scott who found himself in danger at the hospital and Malia going total bad ass on the Dread Doctors, who were were responsible for Scott’s precarious predicament. I’m always up for a Mama McCall braving the supernatural to come to the aid of her son, so I quite liked the opening sequence. You know what else? I have finally reached a point where I like Malia!

Don’t get me wrong – I did not exactly hate Malia last year. I just found it hard to warm up to the character because of several missteps the writers made in her relationship with Stiles. From that awful, ill-conceived Eichen House scene to her playing the role of a shadow to Stiles last season, I really did not know what to make of the character. I love Malia when she is tapping into her natural survival instincts and will take that every time over a scene where Stiles is chastising her for saying that deer is her favorite food. My only regret for the character is that they are saddling her with Theo. I do not care for the character and unfortunately for the actor, he simply comes off as eye candy that I could do without.

Although I still find myself frustrated with the pacing of the Dread Doctors plot, last night’s episode did a pretty good job at recapturing my interest in the Steampunk looking trio. Scott’s pack, minus wanna be member Theo, decided that the best plan of attack was for everyone to face their fears and read the Dread Doctors book. This was a HORRIBLE idea! I understand that Deaton is off on his undisclosed mission to find something to help the pack, which is really code for Seth Gilliam is in Atlanta filming The Walking Dead, but that should not be a reason for the writers to have the characters act in such an inexplicably stupid manner. This pack has already dealt with their fair share of shady individuals who provide self-serving guidance in order to serve some unknown, horrible end. As such, it would make way more sense for Scott to seek out a second, more trustworthy opinion on Valeck’s take on the Dread Doctors. Why not run the idea by Deaton first? If Deaton was not around the first time the Dread Doctors came to Beacon Hills, I would have more confidence in his ability to find someone who was than I would in the word of Valeck. Further, why compromise the entire pack by having everyone read the book at once? Charging Malia with the task of keeping everyone in check just seems ill-advised when the pack knows that a new chimera could pop up at any minute.

That complaint aside, the pack’s required reading resulted in some interesting character beats. All of the flashback/hallucination shots were well-directed and visually stimulating. Lydia reconnected with her grandmother who appeared to be going to extreme lengths in order to escape the Dread Doctors. I like the idea of the banshee having a unique connection to them, particularly because she is able to see what other people have experienced with the Dread Doctors. Hopefully she will be key in figuring out that Theo is horrible and needs to go away forever. Kira is continuing to speak in Japanese and although it was a random placement of exposition, I kinda liked Mason randomly showing up and explaining why Kira being a kitsune makes it difficult for her to finish the Dread Doctor book. Of course, I’m not a fan of Theo worming his way closer to Scott by being a total creeper and taping Kira’s Japanese ramblings while she slept. The Stiles hallucination was the weakest for me. It was hard to watch his vision of his mother, knowing that the writers had something much more meaningful planned for Stiles and his mother during the season of the nogitsune. That story, unfortunately, got scrapped in exchange the messiness we got in the basement of Eichen House. Ugh. I guess Stiles’s vision of his mother at least helped, or was intended to help, viewers understand why Stiles is so sensitive about being viewed as a killer – even if being a killer and self defense are very different things.

“Required Reading” could have been the strongest outing of Teen Wolf‘s fifth season, had the writers left EVERYTHING with Hayden and Liam on the cutting room floor. I have really enjoyed Liam this season and I hate that he is being saddled with this Hayden nonsense. It looks like she might be a chimera and honestly, I hope that it is a plot twist that culminates in the character’s permanent exit from the show. I liked Liam coming to Scott’s aid when he needed an inhaler and the callback to Liam’s ability to get through to Scott was great. More of that, less of this stupid Hayden business. I am not a fan of the addition of Hayden or Theo this season, so having an episode that attempts to tie both characters to the central plot is less than ideal. Speaking of additions to the cast, how is Brett always conveniently near or at Beacon Hills High School? He might actually be a worse student than Scott and the members of this pack.

I remain confused about everyone’s fear of telling Scott about self-defense or defense of others. There is no reason Stiles should not have come clean to Scott and told Theo to go screw himself and yet, here we are. Theo has something on just about everyone in the pack now and I wish his storyline did not feel so goshed darn predictable. If no one in the pack is not questioning why Theo is somehow exempt from the Dread Doctors’ trauma next week, I will be annoyed. I should probably be prepared to be annoyed. LOL.

As I’ve said before, I’m all for Lydia learning how to defend herself and kick some ass. However, I wish the writers and showrunners could find a way to do so without music and scenes that make me wonder if I’m watching Cinemax on a Friday night at 11 PM. Once again, Stiles and Lydia went off to explore the unknown by themselves with no one supernatural by their side. I really need these two incredibly smart people to stop doing this. And on the topic of soft porn, what was with that Theo seduces Malia scene? The writers are heavily foreshadowing that Stiles’s lies about Donovan and Theo’s attempts at seduction will cause problems between Stiles and Malia. I have a bit of a hard time buying into this. I need the writers of this show to stop pretending that Dylan O’Brien is not as attractive as anyone else on the cast and although he does not have to do a shirtless scene in the gym, it’s clear that Stiles does not have a terrible body. I have eyes, Teen Wolf writers! If Malia is drawn to Theo because he kept her secret about the Desert Wolf, fine. Just don’t make me buy into this lie about Theo somehow being hotter than Stiles with these horrible, cheesy over-the-top eye candy scenes. Get outta here with that nonsense! No one has been able to pull those scenes off since Colton Haynes and frankly, Colton barely made them work. Let’s just put a stop to them altogether!

Until Next Moon Day!

Overall, “Required Reading” was pretty entertaining. I felt a little cheated by the show closing and opening with the same elevator scene – use that time to give me more action or something!!! If Hayden is a chimera, is it safe to assume that the Dread Doctors are taking a page out of the Derek Hale season 2 book of recruiting? They appear to be targeting vulnerable teens who have some sort of physical ailment or psychological/mental issue – kidney problems, night terrors, psychological disorder? If so, does that make Stiles vulnerable due to his panic attacks.

What did you think of this week’s episode of Teen Wolf? Sound off below!