Teen Wolf 3.12 “Lunar Ellipse” REVIEW

Teen Wolf 3.12 “Lunar Ellipse” TV REVIEW

Episode 3.12
Writer: Jeff Davis
Director: Russell Mulcahy

THE ONE WHERE It’s a race against time to save the parents from Jennifer’s sacrifice and the Alpha pack is downsized.

VERDICT Jeff Davis and Russell Mulcahy are the driving force of Teen Wolf; with Davis’ love of his characters teamed with the expert camera skills of Mulcahy, season three has almost pushed the show out of guilty pleasure territory and into the homes of more discerning fantasy fans. Davis’ has effortlessly developed the show’s lead characters into something more than your average teen TV fodder – they’re likeable, mature and wonderful with sly sarcasm. This week’s episode takes us back to the very beginning and shows us just how far the residents of Beacon Hills have come.

The opening scene is one of Teen Wolf’s best yet. Effortlessly merging scenes from season one with present day footage, the visuals are excellently done as we see the role of the nematon from the very beginning. We relive the moment Scott (Tyler Posey) is attacked by Peter (Ian Bohen) and the time when Victoria and Allison (Crystal Reed) almost run him over, with Mulcahy piecing together each twist and turn without flaw. It’s a little heartbreaking seeing the cast as care-free teenagers before all this wolfie business rolled into town, and all three actors – Posey, O’Brien and Reed – tug at the heart strings more than ever. The moment the three of them wake up in a sort of makeshift dream car park is also the most sci-fi the show has ever looked and despite the matchy-matchy outfits and prolonged anticipation, it looks pretty great.

It’s a race against time to save the parents from the root cellar, and after the trio has woken from their deadly ice baths (looking remarkable unwrinkly considering they’ve been in there 16 hours), they’re quick to tell Isaac (Daniel Sharman), Deaton (Seth Gilliam) and Lydia (Holland Roden) where their parents are being held. Unfortunately, there’s now only a few hours left until the full eclipse. It’s a clever technique by Davis to speed things up without having to fill the episode with a load of excuses. Sadly, this week also sees far less dialogue, but what it lacks in Davis’ snappy one-liners*, it more than makes up for in action and effects. The CGI has been more than questionable at times this season but clearly they were saving money to spend on this week’s killer fight sequences. Jennifer (Hayley Webb) breaks through the glass ceiling of Derek’s lair, then telekinetically plunges the shards of shattered glass into Kali (Felisha Terrell); it’s a wonderfully gruesome death. It’s the first casualty of many. It looks the twins have  come a cropper to when Jennifer deals them one of the snappiest (sorry) broken necks I’ve ever seen. Surely Davis can’t kill off two of the best torsos just yet?! Thankfully, they’ve recovered from certain death by the end of the episode.

(* Though we did like the bit when Scott objects to style suggestion that he sniff his dad’s underpants… you can see his point of view.)

When Isaac, Scott and Allison head to the Argent’s apartment to grab a few things for the rescue mission, they come face-to-face with Scott’s snooty FBI father. Thanks to some quick thinking from Allison (and a handy smoke bomb), they manage to escape. Allison’s listing of Chris Argent’s weaponry is also brilliantly executed – that guy is packing some serious heat! Stiles is already making his way to the woods but because of a storm conjured up by Jennifer (druid power!), he crashes into a tree. Davis is seriously stressing out his audience this week, with Stiles’ crash prompting a momentary ‘Red Wedding’ no one-is-safe scare.

Thankfully the other three make it to the root cellar in time to begin untying their parents. Which is a shame of sorts, as the flirting between Sheriff Stalinksi and Melissa McCall was really starting to go somewhere. Unfortunately, the storm causes the earth to fall into the cellar, with only Isaac and his wolf-strength left to hold up the ground and save his friends. But with only a few hours until he’s powerless, will Scott and Deucalion be able to stop Jennifer? In the end it’s not any supernatural power that saves the day; instead, a bruised and battered Stiles makes his way down and stops the impending soil with his trusty baseball bat. It’s nice to see Davis give the every-man his day.

The head-to-head takes place in the abandoned distillery – teenage Derek’s favourite make out spot and the place of Ennis’ revenge mark. It’s Deucalion and Scott vs. Jennifer and Derek (who has managed to convince him to her side with her nice looking hair this week). Deucalion’s transformation from blind Alpha to demon wolf is expertly done and is the best we’ve ever seen on the show. The choreography is once again on point and makes for a tense viewing. By the end of the prolonged fight, Deucalion is left with his vision restored and Jennifer is left with a slit throat. When out heroes backs are turned Jennifer crawls back to the nematon hoping it will save her again. Instead, Peter is waiting there and (presumably) kills her for good by ripping out her throat and cheesily screaming, “I’m the Alpha!” to the skies, which frankly, ruins the episode somewhat. There’s no need for that kind of overacting.

With the season returning in January, Davis has given us plenty to look forward to. Despite a cringe-worthy Scott voice over at the end, it’s actually pretty great to see the younger cast happy and at ease after the horrible happenings (Danny and Ethan’s handholding is particularly sweet) with Scott seemingly accepting Isaac and Allison’s budding romance. With talks of more additions to the show, let’s just hope he doesn’t overpopulate the cast by keeping the likes of Gerard and Jennifer on board. As good as they are at playing baddies, they’ve had their day.

BEST BIT Deucalion and Jennifer fight to the death with scratches and slits galore.

TOILET BREAK The parents were all tied up in the root cellar for more than a few days. I’m guessing there’s either some messy trousers or repressed memories at large here. Or both.

THE MASK Did anyone else think that demon Deucalion was hugely reminiscent of Peter Greene’s Dorian in The Mask? Just, y’know, less green.

BEST LINE Derek and Jennifer come head-to-head with Scott and Deucalion.
Deucalion: “Like brother against brother – how very American.”

Sammy Maine

Teen Wolf season three currently has no UK broadcaster.
Read our previous season Teen Wolf reviews
Read our other season three Teen Wolf reviews