Teen Wolf recap: 'A Promise to the Dead'

A frenzied episode delivers plenty of questions for next week's finale, most of them about story lines we've hardly visited since the premiere.
Ep. 11 | Aired Sep 1, 2014

RENAISSANCE WOMAN To the naked eye, Kate Argent might seem like your average hunter-turned-were-jaguar. But she's so much more than that: berserker master; arsonist; closer personal frenemy of Peter Hale... the list goes on and on.

Scott Everett White/MTV

It’s unclear what’s going on with Scott, and it’s definitely unclear what Kate’s plan is. Is she doing this for Peter? If she’s got Scott trapped in purple flowers, why not just kill him then. What does Kate really need with another berserker if her ultimate goal has always been to control her shift and return the Argents to their former glory? And if she and Peter are working together, then why exactly does her brother have a metal rod driven through his torso in the sewers?

After Chris tracks Kate to the sewer to find that she’s already gone, Peter traps him and tells him he can’t risk letting him go. But instead of keeping a watchful eye, he turns Chris’ body into its own cage and leaves him staked to the wall. Luckily, there was either a meeting of the Handsome Men’s Club, or there’s a real open-manhole situation in this city, because Deputy Parrish finds Chris in the sewer and helps him harness the anger Allison would have felt at knowing Peter and Kate had gotten to Scott, to help him get the rod loose… from where it is driven all the way though his body. Also, even though it looks like Argent himself is about to wolf out while they struggle to bend the rod back, it’s Parrish’s eyes that suddenly turn the color of fire, because, phoenix.

It was an exciting moment, and there’s a reason we continue to watch this show: I can’t say that I wasn’t entertained tonight, trading between the edge of my seat suspense, giggling, fearing for these poor teenagers, and lusting after various men with beards at any given moment. Teen Wolf can still send a strong message because it creates and often sustains interesting characters, with the performances to back them up—but in Season 4, have those characters been used to tell a strong story? The narrative it has formed almost could have been better served as a series of vignettes; it’s certainly excelled in its cold opens and horror cinematography this season.

Unfortunately, here in the last two episodes, it seems as if we’re being asked to believe that the Kate/Peter storyline, set up in the first two episodes, is somehow better, its lead-up more interesting, than the Benefactor plot we’ve followed all season. Now, berserkers, which have been lurking around the entire time that every citizen in Beacon Hills was also a potential murderer, are supposed to be the number one threat. To drop everything and worry about what Peter is up to—even if that is manipulating Malia into killing Kate for more information on her mother, the Desert Wolf—just because Stiles turned off an old computer with a key he found in a bottle because of a FaceTime call with Lydia feels a little abrupt.

As a true fan of this show, and someone who will always enjoy watching the madness unfold, whether it's intentional madness or not, I am reminded that conclusions are not Teen Wolf’s strongest point. It often feels as though the writers get so attached to their stories, they don’t want to let them go. So, we say goodbye to the Benefactor without much closure, and hello to Kate and the Rest without much introduction. Malia tells Lydia in math class that her notes are much better when they’re not written in code, and I have to agree. The code is still interesting, it’s a language that we math deprived were-coyotes haven't been clued in on. I might not totally understand what’s happening right now, but I’m expecting a hell of a lot out of next week’s finale.

Best line, of course, goes to the excellent combination of Malia and Stilinskis Sr. and Jr: "Malia, what’s your favorite food?" "Deer." "Piiiizza, she likes pizza" <winning were-coyote smile>
Runner-up: "Where's your money?" "You're standing on it." "There's another vault?!" Your precious teenage puppy True Alpha, ladies and gentlemen.

A few other plot points and questions:

–Lydia isn't mentioned much here because her few scenes are the most inexplicably random: first she shows up in the middle of the night at Derek's loft and Banshee screams in his face when he opens the door; then she finds Deacon at Eichen House under Valeck's trance and insists on talking to him; and without showing any of that conversation, suddenly Deacon is awake, and they're both back at the animal clinic, calling to tell Stiles and the rest of the gang that Scott and Kira are in Mexico and they have to get there, stat.
–Speaking of Deaton, after looking into Valeck's forehead hole, he spend all of the episode in a trance, tracking Kate somehow. He tells the Eichen House doctor he's trying to figure out what happened to Derek because of a promise he made to a woman he loved... is that Talia, Derek's mom? Wasn't he her emissary?
–Derek's resignation to death is a little sad—especially when he just got a girlfriend who has shared interests—but his humor and the occasional tilting of the corners of his mouth is on a whole different level this season. Don't die, Scott still needs a big brother!
–So, who exactly is double-crossing who in this Peter/Kate scenario, and to what avail? Peter plans to kill Kate; sure, she killed his whole family and ruined his life. Does Peter know about the "turning Scott into a berserker" thing? I think not, considering that might effect Peter's ability to steal his Alpha powers. So, can't these two just battle it out and leave our teen wolves alone? They could really use a nap.
–Theories on Malia's mother? I'm personally hoping for something totally out there, and not the almost-too-obvious answer that seems to be circling.
–It looks like next week is a full moon. That means anything can happen, and hopefully everything will. What are you most looking forward to?

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