Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Teen Wolf: “Monstrous”

I am the one who howls.
Ian Bohen

And so ends the Benefactor storyline.

There’s a sigh of relief that can be breathed over this storyline not ending with Meredith truly being a villain, but as mentioned in last week’s review, it doesn’t change the fact that Meredith is such a disposable character that she could even be used this way in the first place. And it turns out that this whole storyline has in fact been a revenge plot—only it’s not Meredith’s revenge. It’s Peter Hale’s.

Peter is the alpha. He has always been the alpha. Those words echo every episode that features Peter but continues to ignore how he first uttered them back in “Lunar Ellipse.” Since then, there has been no real follow-up. He hangs around the pack, cracking obnoxious jokes and wearing deep cut V-necks, being somehow both useless and useful, but still not being a part of the team. He has illegitimate children (well, just the one) and hides safe houses (also, just the one) under the local high school, while having $117 million in bearer bonds stolen from him. He plots and schemes with his psychotic equal in Kate Argent, and he bides his time. All the while, his name remains absent from a dead pool targeting every supernatural creature in Beacon Hills. lt makes so much sense that he’s The Benefactor that, when he’s not, it makes it even more confusing as to why his name is not on on the list.

Until it turns out that he is The Benefactor. Monetarily—of course—but also on a subconscious level. Meredith’s role is essentially as the conduit to fulfill Peter’s own literal revenge fantasy.

Quite frankly, it’s a disappointing twist that again makes the show feel like it’s the writers’ need to pull the wool over the audience’s eyes just to be able to say “gotcha!” Ian Bohen is terrific as Peter Hale and has been since season one, which is ultimately the saving grace of this being the result, because the fact of the matter is this: The existence of the Benefactor and dead pool in this show’s universe were basically on accident.

While Stiles, Malia, and Lydia essentially solve the season’s biggest mystery so far, Scott, a returning Kira, Derek, Braeden, and Chris find themselves in the middle of a bloody battle to protect Satomi and her pack. The anticlimactic ending of the Benefactor storyline actually leads to the anticlimactic end of the fight (a fight full of characters the audience doesn’t care about and our heroes): e-mail alerts saying that all contracts are terminated. An intended massacre is ended by an e-mail. People (human or not) have been murdered when all that needed to happen was an e-mail blast.


The most interesting things to come out of the episode—other than confirmation that Kate and Peter’s plan involves killing Scott—are the ways the characters crack under all of this now unnecessary pressure. Scott gets the closest he’s ever gotten to complete loss of control, almost clawing one of the mercenaries to death and becoming the full-blown wolf. In fact, during this frenzy, there appears to be every chance that Scott will finally, unfortunately, kill someone. It’s the most interesting thing about these scenes, which are mostly an excuse for a lot of gunfire, as well as a reminder of how the show has subdued its standard Teen Wolf fight sequences this season.

Liam, on the other hand, isn’t close to the edge this week, because he’s too afraid of everything to be. There isn’t a Scrappy-Doo joke to be made, because Liam’s response is completely realistic for a high school freshman. Maybe it’s because Dylan Sprayberry is actually 16 years old, but Liam’s youth is on display in every scene he’s in; so it comes across as ludicrous that he would ever be a willing participant in these activities that could lead to his death. Heroes aren’t necessarily born—they’re created—and it would be reaching to assume that Liam would automatically want to be a part of all of this. Remember season one Scott McCall? All that floppy-haired kid cared about were his mom, Stiles, lacrosse, and Allison. The last thing he wanted to do was be Beacon Hill’s savior. So of course he understands when Liam wants no part of this. Honestly, he shouldn’t want any part of this. If Liam could go on to live a normal life and head to college, this would probably be a boring show, at least on his part. But it’s the fact that he wants it that makes him sympathetic, even though he’s giving up.


Then there’s Lydia, who also realizes that everything that has happened has ultimately been in vain. Her realization and resignation actually kind of saves the episode a little. Holland Roden has been putting in great work these past few episodes, and it’s honestly just refreshing to see the show give her something to do. These character moments are the salvation of the conclusion of a mess of a storyline. They’re what keeps Teen Wolf going sometimes in spite of itself.

As mentioned last week, all Teen Wolf had to do was stick the landing with this Benefactor storyline. Quite simply: “Monstrous” just doesn’t.


Stray observations:

  • Derek Hale Farewell Tour Update: Derek’s entire motivational speech.
  • I call it an e-mail blast, but the actual message isn’t anything resembling a message you would find on a phone.
  • “I don’t know anything about computers from the 1970s.” Thank you, Lydia.
  • So the list of names was made by Lydia’s grandmother, which finally explains why Liam would have been on the list before he even became a werewolf.
  • As if the previouslies are not a big enough tip off that Peter will be a focal point in this episode, the field scene in the teaser mirrors the season one finale, when Lydia is attacked by Peter.
  • “Cassette” versus “tape.” Sorry Stiles, but Melissa is right.
  • Also, as terrific as she is, I highly doubt Melissa cares about Stiles and Malia’s relationship and their reconciliation process.
  • Sheriff Stilinski has finally had enough of Peter, something not even the teenage victims of his reign of terror have really come to vocalize.