• The Outside Story

Teen Doges: Thoughts on Teen Wolf Seasons 1-3

Updated: Jul 19, 2020

Written by Jonathan | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

From the title of this blog, you might think that my review for the first 3 seasons of this show is going to be a negative one but actually, I really liked the first 3 seasons.

As we sit through the relapses of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., I am finding that I am continuing to watch more and more TV (like the majority of the people in the U.S.). So last week, I started watching Teen Wolf. The film Teen Wolf with Michael J. Fox came out in 1985. I’ve never seen this film but I’m sure there are tons of throwback moments in the TV show to this film.

Teen Wolf (1985) movie poster

It’s not the first time I’ve seen the TV show though, I’ve actually seen season 1 and the very beginnings of season 2 when it first aired 9 years ago in 2011. I wanted to revisit the show and put something on in the background while I played video games and worked.

The first season was a nice refresher for me. We have a teenage boy, Scott McCall (played by Tyler Posey) who gets bitten by a werewolf and shortly thereafter begins to exhibit werewolf-like abilities such as heightened senses and supernatural strength. But he also now has a short temper and can’t control when he changes his eye color and grows sideburns and fangs.

Scott McCall (Tyler Posey) in Teen Wolf.

With his newfound abilities, Scott is able to be a star player on the Lacrosse team, which also spikes up his popularity in school. Before, he was a nobody and now, he’s the coolest kid in school. To my surprise, he tells his best friend Stiles (played by Dylan O’Brien) everything and they both eventually deduce that he is indeed a werewolf. The first season is a good introduction to strong characters like: Derek (Tyler Hoechlin), a.k.a. the worst werewolf mentor in the world; Allison (Crystal Reed), the girlfriend who comes from a family of werewolf hunters; Jackson (Colton Haynes), the rival-frenemy Lacrosse team captain; and Lydia (Holland Roden), the scream queen of Teen Wolf.

From left to right: Lydia, Jackson, Stiles, Scott, Allison, Derek

Overall, the first season of the TV show is a great season – there’s a murder mystery to be solved and even during this second watch I couldn’t pinpoint who the main baddie was. There’s also plenty of fan service (i.e., shirtless sweaty werewolf, and non-werewolf, men), if you’re into that. All the characters are somewhat likable and grow on you as the season ends out.

As the seasons continue, it seems as if the show gets darker and starts to fall more into the horror category. It’s not that werewolves and murders aren’t horror, but to me it seems more supernatural/fantastical than horror. The second and third seasons are definitely horror.

In the second season our seemingly support characters get put into the spotlight as both Jackson and Lydia become important aspects of the story. Jackson and Lydia are given the bite at the end of the first season and typically you either die from the bite or become a werewolf. Both of them have done neither and they’re still alive.

Jackson from Teen Wolf

Jackson is by far my favorite character of the series. He starts off as this spoiled brat who’s good at everything. But as you start to learn more about who he is—an orphan, a loner—then you start to understand why he does what he does. He’s smart, talented, good looking, and the world is very very cruel to him. Jackson also has THE BEST werewolf transformation scene in the whole damn TV show. Think the ending of Beauty and the Beast but human becoming werewolf. I’ve only seen the first 3 seasons and let me tell you, it’s going to be hard to change my mind.

Jackson becoming the sexiest werewolf to ever exist.

It’s a shame that he didn’t come back on for season 3. Word on the street is that his character was only in half of the third season so he and his management team decided not to sign him on. It’s a shame because I think Jackson deserves more screen time. There was such a big lead up to his transformation that you would think he would’ve been a bigger character in season 3. Supposedly he comes back for a couple of episodes, so we’ll wait and see!

I’ll admit that I’m a little biased towards Jackson because of the person who plays him, Colton Haynes, a gay and out Hollywood actor. At the time of his casting and during the first two seasons, he was very much in the closet and dealt with anxiety issues. If you want more on that, click here.

Jackson’s girlfriend Lydia is also going through her own personal story arc as well as she tries to move on from the traumatic incident at the end of season 1. As the story progresses, we will soon learn that she is much more than just the scream queen of the show. She is probably my third favorite character on this show, although I’ll admit it’s hard to rank these characters as they tend to change ranks for me from episode to episode.

Lydia from Teen Wolf

Season 2 was a good deep dive into the characters that we already started to grow and love. With another murder mystery as the main plot, we’re left guessing who the mastermind could be.

In Season 3 part 1, we’re introduced to a whole new plethora of characters. It can start to get a little confusing so I’m not going to bombard you with too much. However, we have to say goodbye to Jackson who has now gone to boarding school in London. After all that he went through, I guess it kind of makes sense… a moment of silence for my favorite character though.

In this season, we see Lydia step into her new role in Scott’s pack as the wailing woman, otherwise known as a banshee. She can sense death and even prevent it if she’s quick enough. There’s also, you guessed it, another murder mystery, this time involving a druid. Wolf packs usually have a druid as a healer and an emissary. Although they do not have shape-shifting powers, they are fountains of knowledge and advise the alpha. Scott’s druid is his boss at work, the veterinarian Dr. Deaton.

Dr. Deaton doing his druid thing

There is also a new (evil) pack of alpha wolves who make their way to town. They’re there to try and recruit Scott into their pack. If he refuses, they’ll kill him. Why do they want Scott? Well, Scott is what you call a true alpha – an alpha wolf who did not have to kill another alpha to become the leader. True alphas are stronger than your normal, run of the mill alpha. And, supposedly, only one is created or born every so often.

Although Season 3 part 1 has got to be my least favorite of all the arcs, it has one of my favorite episodes in it – episode 6, Motel California. The dialogue between Scott and Stiles at the end is just amazing. The episode as a whole deals with suicide, so be warned!

And last, but not least, season 3 part 2. No murder mystery this time. I was waiting for this because of Arden Cho! I’ve followed Arden for a long time on YouTube and am such a fan of who she is – her acting, singing, vlogging, you name it. When she made a vlog a long time ago about her being on Teen Wolf, I thought to myself, “Hmmm, maybe I should go back and watch it.” Years later, here I am, and I’m so glad I made it this far.

Arden plays of the main characters in season 3 part 2, Kira. She’s the daughter of the new history teacher (RIP all the previous history teachers who have all been evil so far) and has a crush on Scott McCall (I mean, who doesn’t). But man, Kira is a badass. She’s kind of stereotyped into being a samurai sword wielding Asian American woman but don’t get me started on all the racial issues of Teen Wolf (seriously, it’s not all that bad but it’s pretty bad).

Arden Cho as Kira in Teen Wolf

It does seem like the writing team did some good work on their research though with the talk of different types of kitsune, physical representations of their tails, etc. The dialogue around the game of Go is also very well done, especially around the idea of a divine move, which is a real idea.

Also, this arc very much proves that Dylan O’Brien is the best actor on this show. From his night terrors to his monologues as the nogitsune, holy cow this guy can act! Whenever he woke up from a nightmare it just felt so real. By far my second favorite character on this show.

Dylan O’Brien as Stiles in Teen Wolf

The ending of season 3 part 2 is tragic and we even lose some key characters. So be warned, don’t get too attached to any if you start watching.

I’m excited to finish out the rest of the series but it looks like the ratings dropped off towards the end. Hopefully, it was more because of a lack of interest than a decline in story/writing. I will update you all as I continue.

What are you currently watching?