Drawing from past Teen Wolf “bottle” episodes—like “Night School” and “Motel California”—”Weaponized” attempts to capture some of that magic with its own spin (no pun intended). In some ways, the episode does succeed, but at the same time, it highlights the issues of the show not exactly being what it once was.
Part of why the episode doesn’t work as well as its predecessors is that it strives to work on a larger scale and doesn’t quite stick the landing. Sure, neither of those episodes are small scale in terms of creativity, but they’re still very self-contained moments in times for our protagonists. The Centers for Disease Control literally gets involved in the case of “Weaponized,” and somehow, press still isn’t swarming Beacon Hills. At this point, it’s downright ridiculous that the press hasn’t paid attention to this town (a town recently terrorized by trained killers posing as high school students). Kate’s funeral got more press in the second season premiere, and the town mortality rate has probably tripled since then. This is a season where the characters’ (and even extras’) family money issues is the central theme, so it’s not as though having the press finally camp out in such a disturbing town would be too mundane. If assassins have no problem migrating to Beacon Hills (assuming they’re not townies), then it shouldn’t be so difficult for national news teams to do the same.
It’s an absolutely ridiculous argument, for sure, but ”Weaponized” is an episode that has no problem with embracing the ridiculousness. As if the introduction of the secret Hale vault underneath Beacon Hill High School back in “Muted” wasn’t absurd enough, this week’s episode takes it a step further and makes it a convenient hiding place for its heroes. It’s still a cop-out to have the characters hide in this secret werewolf-safe zone that’s been unknown for three seasons, but the saving grace of it all is how much everyone sells it. If Posey, O’Brien, Cho, and Hennig didn’t sell their part of this episode, it really would have fallen apart.
Maybe the best thing about the Benefactor storyline is how it allows the show to reinvent the wheel, with regards to how it approaches the hunting and killing of werewolves and other supernatural creatures. It’s not just the old standbys of mountain ash, wolfsbane, etc. now. The major assassins who have appeared as a result of this storyline have all brought something new to the table, whether it be the brute strength and intimidation of The Mute, the cunningness and hubris of The Orphans, or now, the unassuming intelligence of The Proctor (James Urbaniak, of The Venture Bros. and Review). Whoever or whatever the next true assassin is (and not just the next obvious blonde in a hospital), it’ll be someone or something distinct. That’s the type of excitement this storyline needs to continue to work.
Urbaniak is sufficiently creepy as the villain of the week, from the moment his face hits the screen to the moment he gets shot in the back of the head. Teen Wolf is lucky that it’s not suffering from a film-sequel overdose of villains, but at the same time, it’s frustrating that these villains can’t last longer, especially in a world where Deucalion was a half-season-long Big Bad. As mentioned in the review for “I.E.D.,” Jeff Davis appears to be removing interesting characters this season before they can officially live up to their potential and/or overstay their welcome. The fact that The Proctor (or whatever the ideal nickname for him is) only lasts this episode is a bit of a waste of Urbaniak’s talents and a sign of the show squandering potential.
But despite how great Urbaniak is in his large-but-short-lived part, Stiles and Malia are actually the highlight of the plot, both individually and separately. It’s becoming clearer that the two of them are good for each other, and if they never get the therapy either of them still need (after all, Stiles “got better”), just being together will be enough. The scene where Stiles leaves the vault and tells Malia he’s coming back because he’d never leave her behind (just like she’d never leave him behind) really sells the relationship and bond the two of them have, and even though there’s no risk of anyone in that vault dying (despite Lydia’s banshee powers saying otherwise), both O’Brien and Hennig sell it like there’s a chance we possibly won’t be seeing at least one of them by the end of the episode. They manage to evoke real emotion in the type of moment that has happened hundreds of times on this and any genre show.
All just in time for everything to come crashing down by episode’s end.
The positive side of pack mentality has been a major factor of Teen Wolf from the moment Scott McCall became more than just a reluctant teen wolf and began to accept his role as a leader to many. The definition of a pack—extended to both family and friends, not just the werewolves he was sort of related to via werewolf rules—has defined the show. Time and time again, Scott has proven that, above all else, he’ll do the best that he can do to protect his pack. Which is why it still makes little sense that he and the rest of the pack would think it’s a good idea to hide Peter Hale being Malia’s biological father from her for this long.
It’s far from the most important part of “Weaponized,” but it speaks to an underlying problem of Teen Wolf, where being upfront is usually saved for after the humor has been milked from the situation of lying. Half of “The Benefactor” is dedicated to this type of thinking, and in this episode, the humor of Kira knowing the truth but Malia not is played up as much as possible before the focus shifts back to the CDC situation.
Why is it so wrong that Malia know Peter Hale is her father? Not everyone’s dad can be Sheriff Stilinksi, and honestly, with the dead pool, there’s no reason why total transparency shouldn’t be a part of the pack’s code. That’s the kicker: None of these characters are good liars when it comes to each other, yet they keep doing it for no reason. Malia knowing doesn’t instantly make it so Peter knows, but the lying makes it much easier for the latter to happen sooner rather than later. If it’s a matter of Malia’s whole life being a lie, it’s a little too late for that, since she spent the better part of it as a coyote and now apparently never sees the father whose life had no meaning in her “death.” It’s a lie that didn’t need to exist, especially when the biggest lie in the episode is the one television shows keep perpetuating about the importance of the PSATs.
This isn’t the same as Stiles’ suggestion that he and Scott don’t return the found money to Peter. Stiles is right: There’s absolutely no reason why they should refund Peter. No matter how good the psychopath looks in a V-neck, he’s still a psychopath, and that’s true even without the knowledge that Peter is colluding with Kate. It’s easy to forget that Peter is public enemy No. 1 in a lot of ways, when he snarks and doesn’t try to kill all of them on a weekly basis anymore, and Stiles pointing that out is very true to the character who has a habit of seeing the Hales for who they really are.
The money discussion scene is far shorter than expected after last week’s episode—though it’s clearly not over—but Stiles’ argument in favor of them keeping the money is one that hopefully the show decides is the right one. Stiles, Scott, and even Lydia (who isn’t even a part of the discussion) aren’t deserving of the money solely because they’re good guys, but it’s not as though any of them would want it for selfish reasons. When Kira, in an uncharacteristic moment of condescension, questions Stiles in the vault about why he’d want the money, he makes it clear that it’s to help his father with the MRI bills that wouldn’t even exist if it weren’t for him. And Scott wants to make sure he and his mother don’t lose their house. Money being the root of everything this season is still disconcerting, but it’s bringing out some honest moments. This episode, for all of its hits and misses, is that way too when it comes to the school plot.
Now if only the episode could have done the same for the Satomi plot.
- It’s really hard to take an episode seriously when the antidote to this horrifying werewolf disease comes from a plot where a character is constantly quipping up a storm in between her Matrix moves.
- “Scott’s worth 25, Kira 6. They’ll take you guys out way before me.” Bless Malia’s $4 million dollar heart.
- Sidney, student Patient Zero, does some amazing overacting (her only competition being the blonde assassin crying in the hospital hallway) early in the episode. Watch her behind Stiles before the test begins, hyperventilating up a storm. Good thing we got to hear about her family’s money issues too.
- Beacon Hills should just name its hospital after Melissa McCall. And then said hospital should give her a big fat raise.
- Lydia apologizing to Meredith (who shockingly spent some time in the Martin lake house) was much-needed. Unfortunately, that’s the extent of “much-needed” in terms of Lydia plot this week.