Tyler Posey and Crystal Reed in TEEN WOLF - Season 1 - "Formality" | ©2011 MTV

Tyler Posey and Crystal Reed in TEEN WOLF - Season 1 - "Formality" | ©2011 MTV

Stars: Tyler Posey, Crystal Reed, Dylan O’Brien, Tyler Hoechlin, Holland Roden, Colton Haynes, Linden Ashby, JR Bourne
Writer: Monica Macer
Director: Russell Mulcahy
Network: MTV, airs Monday nights
Original Telecast: August 8, 2011

The problem with having 12 episodes to tell a complex story is that some times 12 episodes isn’t enough.

Ironically, there are many shows that have short seasons, some even shorter (eight and ten), that have no idea how to make those episodes count (even padding them with episodes that literally stop the story cold).

Thankfully, that isn’t the case with TEEN WOLF – a series that’s hard to criticize, because it’s so good. Yet, there are a few things that can be somewhat criticized in the latest episode, because it’s showing that TEEN WOLF needs more than 12 episodes to tell its already dense story.

So much stuff happens in “Formality” – and so many major things happen – that you almost wish there were two or three additional episodes just to deal with these large plot strands.

First of all, you have big bad Alpha werewolf Peter Hale (Ian Bohen) trying to lure Scott (Tyler Posey) into his pack. And to do this, he’s going after the people that he loves. Last week it was his mom and this week it’s his girlfriend Allison (Crystal Reed). That alone could have been one whole episode.

Then there’s Allison who last week discovered Derek Hale (Tyler Hoechlin) was a werewolf because her aunt Kate (Jill Wagner) decided to capture and torture him to find out who the other Beta is. She also wants Allison to live up to her Hunter potential, despite her parents thinking she’s too much of a wallflower.

Her ascension from regular high school girl warrior could have used one more whole episode.

And finally, you have Jackson (Colton Haynes) still pining away to be a wolf, and going on a huge self-destructive binge. We’ve definitely had episodes that have focused on this self-destruction, so that plot strand certainly doesn’t need any more additional airplay than is already featured here, but again, any other series would have killed to have this kind of story mojo going for it to exploit.

So what I’m saying is TEEN WOLF has so many good things going for it, it’s unfortunate that so much of it has to be rushed through to get to next week’s season 1 finale. I want to spend more time with these characters and their plights – and to have it unfold at a less rushed pace.

Dylan O'Brien and Holland Roden in TEEN WOLF - Season 1 - "Formality" | ©2011 MTV

Dylan O'Brien and Holland Roden in TEEN WOLF - Season 1 - "Formality" | ©2011 MTV

That said, “Formality” is another solid episode of MTV’s attempt at genre television. The aftermath of last week’s major events are still in play as Scott is trying to dodge Peter’s advances at bringing him into his pack. He’s also trying to find out where Derek is.

Of course, there’s some major revelations with Derek as well. While being tortured by Kate, we learn that they used to be lovers and she used Derek to get at his family (she is a Hunter after all). Yes, Kate was the one that set his family’s house aflame. As much as this new revelation about Kate and Derek would make for some great Season 2 television, I’m starting to think as soon as Peter finds out the truth, she’s not going to make it out of the season finale alive.

The winter formal dance plays a major part of this episode, and it provides some interesting pairings – and some really cool and romantic moments that would feel right at home in a 1980s John Hughes film. It’s really the calm before the storm – allowing the characters one last chance at being teenagers before their entire worlds are turned upside down.

You have Scott banned from the dance (because of his grades), so he begs Jackson to take Allison to the dance (to protect her). Somehow (and I’m not quite sure how this happened), Allison convinces Lydia (Holland Roden) to take Stiles (Dylan O’Brien) to the dance.

And the Hunters, including Daddy Argent (JR Bourne) are out in the forest full-force.

The big revelations involve Stiles calling Lydia out on her nitwit act. He knows she’s smarter than she leads on, and Lydia kind of likes that Stiles knows this. Sadly though, she still has a thing for Jackson, and she goes looking for him, only to get chewed up by Peter Hale.

This opens up a whole other can of worms – why did Peter bite Lydia. Sure, Scott is friends with her and they made out, but it would have made more sense to attack Stiles or Allison. In fact Peter has a long conversation with Stiles, face-to-face, which could have made it very easy for him to turn Scott’s best friend.

Maybe there’s some kind of taste test Peter needs in order to turn someone into a wolf – I’m sure we’ll understand this ritual by the end of next week (or even Season 2).

Once again, some of the best moments on the show, are actually the more quiet ones. I loved the Stiles/Lydia stuff – it’s a shame that it was cut so short by Lydia’s tragic attack. The moments between Tyler and his mom (Melissa Ponzio) are also very real and sincere. Parents on any TV series (genre or otherwise) tend to usually be unaware dolts, but TEEN WOLF continues to infuse all the adult characters with layers and depth, making their occasional appearances have more weight.

The previews for the finale look fantastic, and I’m still unsure how this massive story is going to pan out with only one more hour to go. Then again, the writers of TEEN WOLF have created so many interesting plot strands that moving forward into Season Two should be pretty easy and fortuitous indeed.

AGREE? DISAGREE? LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD – COMMENT BELOW!

Click on link: for AX’s Exclusive Interview with TEEN WOLF star Tyler Posey

Click on link: for AX’s Exclusive Interview with TEEN WOLF star Dylan O’Brien

Click on link: for AX’s review of the series 1 premiere of TEEN WOLF – “Wolf Moon”
Click on link: for AX’s review of TEEN WOLF – “Second Chance At First Line”

Click on link: for AX’s review of TEEN WOLF – “Pack Mentality”

Click on link: for AX’s review of TEEN WOLF – “Magic Bullet”

Click on link: for AX’s review of TEEN WOLF – “The Tell”

Click on link: for AX’s review of TEEN WOLF – “Heart Monitor”
Click on link: for AX’s review of TEEN WOLF – “Night School”
Click on link: for AX’s review of TEEN WOLF – “Lunatic”
Click on link: for AX’s review of TEEN WOLF – “Wolf’s Bane”
Click on link: for AX’s review of TEEN WOLF – “Co-Captain”

Click on link: AX’s Exclusive interview with TEEN WOLF executive producer Jeff Davis – Part 2

Click on link: AX’s Exclusive interview with TEEN WOLF executive producer Jeff Davis – Part 1

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Article: Review: TEEN WOLF – Season 1 – “Formality”

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