cupidsbow (cupidsbow) wrote,
cupidsbow
cupidsbow

Teen Wolf S3

I'm enjoying season three a lot so far. There's some good character development, while still having interesting shades of grey, episodes are fairly tightly written, representation is better, and there's some great dialogue.

Below the cut are some thoughts, theories and speculations...

Spoilers for TW S3, up to 303

Characters

Okay, so I'm loving the teamwork and snark. The cinematography is gorgeous, as we've come to expect. All the characters have developed -- I hate when characters are stuck in the same ruts for seasons. Having Derek just lay stuff out from his perspective is fantastic, and showing us Allison and Lydia's changing relationship and the different ways they make choices now is really working for me.

Also, Derek has been hit with a pretty stick. OMG. The way they're shooting Tyler Hoechlin has changed -- they aren't focusing on the angles of his face to make him look "other" in the way they have in the past, and they've dressed him in colour. I hadn't realised how much difference this would make, but he's already less objectified and has more personhood. I like it.

I'm not happy with Erica's death so far. I hope there is a twist and she wasn't just fridged. Gage Golightly, come baaaaack! (No, go have an awesome career, but if you could give us closure first, I would appreciate it. I miss your face.)

I'm holding out high hopes the Sheriff will find out this season, but that he will take some plot complicating wrong turns first. Things are shaping up well in this regard. Stiles following in Dad's footsteps by becoming a supernatural detective is also really working for me.

Mindfuckery

I'm liking this nascent theme so far. It gives the season a kind of anything-goes feel, as I'm already unsure of what is real and what is not. Magically merging alpha werewolf twins? Virgin sacrifices? Derek's car? Team Beacon Hills working together instead of at cross purposes?

Clearly, it must all be a figment of someone's imagination. Maybe a fanfiction writer. :)

Representation

Three episodes in and both Allison and Lydia are much less problematically drawn in terms of gender and agency, and there are some interesting returning and new female characters who also seem to have agency (Melissa McCall, Kali, Morell). We have a couple of potential new deputies as well -- hopefully they will have more to do as the season goes on.

However, we've seen a lot of violent female "deaths" so far (nameless woman in 101, two virgin sacrifices, and Erica). Even if these turn out to be not all real, that's a lot of women we've seen victimised. Including a random non-speaking-part male virgin in the list of victims doesn't really negate this pattern, although it's better than having all three being women, and does put Stiles at risk as the most prominent main-cast virgin, which is a nice flip on the expected horror trope. Still, it's not great, and with an opening like this, you can bet I'll be tracking the gendered body count this season.

There are also two non-dead female victims - Cora and the new teacher. The new teacher is still alive for now, although she's shaping up to take on Lydia's victim role from S1 and S2. She better not be fridged because of potential love interest with Derek. I will be very angry if that happens.

Moving on to sexuality, this is fairly strong this year, with representation for many different sexualities, none of which are being shamed within the text. Thank you, Davis. I'm hoping to be impressed on this front, so I'm looking forward to seeing how it unfolds.

As has already been mentioned by many others, Lydia's comment about "freshmen" is problematic. It's so clearly ironic, with all those obviously non-teen actors being shown; but irony doesn't entirely alleviate the ick factor. I've been wondering about this: how do you show positive sexuality for teens in a show like this without fetishising youth in an icky way? The actors are not teens, overtly so, and if they weren't playing teens that age-of-consent aspect would be entirely absent from their positioning as desirous objects; on the other hand real teens are addressing issues of sexual identity, and from what I recall, often in just such vulgar and objectifying ways. I don't envy Davis his job here.

Which brings me to racial and ethnic identities. Again, better this season, with more characters who are obviously non-white, and in a range of roles, from deputy to villain, and also those who are morally ambiguous (just as most of the white protagonists are). Ethnicity is still pretty absent, with werewolves standing in for non-mainstream culture. Of course, better doesn't mean great; most of the dialogue still goes to white characters (and men).

We'll see how things shape up over the course of the season, but at the moment I'm optimistic. I don't expect a perfect scorecard here, but I do expect solid improvement and real effort, and so far it looks like we're going to get that.

My pet theories


Way back on 14 May, I posted my pet theory for season 3: zombies.

This was based on nothing much, just the trailer that had come out and the general themes of the show.

As of 303, I'm starting to get excited that this theory might actually play out. The opening credits with hands reaching from out of the dirt? Virgin sacrifices?

I've been thinking, in a world where both magic and resurrection are real, what kind of spell would require multiple virgin sacrifices? And who would cast it?

The Alpha pack cannot be the only Big Bads this season; that's not how Davis tends to work. So is there a mysterious third party out there?

Obviously there could be, and I kind of hope there is. But my current guess is that Peter is trying to resurrect the Hale family. We already know Peter can do this kind of magic, but he needed a pawn and a power source (Lydia and Derek) to make it happen. While I don't think she's the killer, Lydia is already sensitive to the sacrifices and may still have a link to Peter (although that's probably a bait-and-switch; I do love the Banshee theory about Lydia's scream -- that would be such a great way to give the horror trope of the female scream agency). And now there's a whole Alpha pack in town as well -- potential batteries galore. So my current question: is Peter the killer or does he have an Igor? (Note: I've slightly edited this para for clarity.)

So why the virgin sacrifices? Not sure. I can't see the connections there yet, except that it does imply that at some point Stiles will be in peril because of this, and if Davis is at his cunning best, there will be a dilemma, such as: Derek must choose between raising his family or saving Stiles.

Anyway, I'm intrigued so far. There seem to be possibilities for several really, really clever inversions of the usual horror tropes in terms of who is a victim, and what symbolises victimhood. I 'm hoping like crazy that Davis doesn't bobble the narrative ball and manages to pull some of these off.

PS - Hate the new DW posting interface for cuts. Yuck.
This entry was originally posted at http://cupidsbow.dreamwidth.org/401005.html.
Tags: discussion, review, teen wolf
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