As the identity of the beast is finally revealed after a long and brutal battle at the high school, Gerard and Argent tell a story about the Maid of Gevaudan, the hunter than originally killed the Beast 150 years ago.

There’s a lot to credit to this episode.  First of all, in a season where the threat was concrete and dangerous, only to become more and more tedious with every passing encounter with the Dread Doctors, it’s finally going somewhere.  The Beast, a MacGuffin from out of left field that entered the show mid season, is an interesting mystery that has at least broken the boredom of seeing Scott as the terrible leader the writers are unintentionally painting him as.

This episode, however, crackled with a style we haven’t seen before in this series.  Sure, other shows have done period pieces before and, in some cases, better than this, but the parallel story told in the 1700’s was a cut of something special… something different.  It was atmospheric and new to this program and it was a welcome change.

Now, let’s talk about the thing that absolutely sank it… Crystal Reed.

I wasn’t a fan of Reed’s character, Allison, on the show.  I thought she was one part stupidly naive and another part, manipulative skank.  I didn’t hate her, I didn’t love her… she was just a nondescript character and then she was killed off and I honestly forgot about her.  This episode welcomed her back playing Allison’s great great great (a few more greats) grandmother and Reed’s portrayal of the Maid of Gevaudan was painful at best.   The moment she opened her mouth and crapped out that awful French accent, I knew it was going to be a long hour.  Few times in history have I seen a better than average episode brought down by a single performance.

I was getting the impression that Reed didn’t want to be there.  Even her body language was stiff and reserved, her expressions blank as though she’s trying to remember the theme to a cartoon show from her youth.  For Reed, she had the expression on her face of going back to an office where you’d just told the boss to go screw himself to collect your last paycheck.

It was awful.  Truly awful.

Normally, this wouldn’t have been an issue, but the entire episode uses Reed’s character as a linchpin and it just doesn’t work with her half-hearted performance and her fake Pepe le Pew accent.

It’s a shame too.  The story of the maiden was interesting.  I wouldn’t call it ambitious or groundbreaking or even excellent, but it’s different than anything Teen Wolf has done and, at the very least, it does break up what’s become a monotonous season.

Meanwhile, back at Beacon Hills, Scott and his pack get the crap kicked out of them by the beast in one of the biggest shockers since the last time Scott and his pack got the crap kicked out of them.  Still, the identity of the Beast has apparently been revealed (unless it hasn’t) and, I have to admit, I was rather surprised and yet… it made sense.  Very clever, guys.

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Written by Jason Gaston

Father, teacher, writer, photographer, artist, actor, male model, and inventor of the semicolon.

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