"Teen Wolf" Review: “Riddled”

Alysha Boynton ‘17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Dylan O'Brien in the Teen Wolf episode "Riddled." Photo Courtesy of MTV.
Dylan O’Brien in the Teen Wolf episode “Riddled.” Photo Courtesy of MTV.
At this point if you’re not watching Teen Wolf, you don’t really have a good excuse. “It’s just a dumb MTV show about shirtless hot guys” won’t fly anymore. Monday night’s thrilling and utterly compelling installment, “Riddled,” dispelled once and for all any notion that this show is just campy fluff for teenage girls. It was scary, it was heart breaking, and above all, it was well done and well paced, more than earning the respect that many people still seem unwilling to give it.
The episode revolved around Stiles (Dylan O’Brien) going missing, and it began with a panicked phone call from Stiles to Scott (Tyler Posey), telling him that he’s cold, hurt, and doesn’t know where he is. Scott rallies all the forces he can find to help rescue his best friend, and watching all of the characters work together and put aside their differences was refreshing and a nice change of pace, especially when Derek (Tyler Hoechlin) got involved as well.
There seemed to be a strong theme of brotherhood in the episode, between both Scott and Stiles and Scott and Derek, and it was these scenes of friendship and camaraderie that helped keep the episode from being too much to handle in terms of negative emotions. Watching Stiles thrashing around in the basement of a mental institution with a bear trap clamped around his leg while a horrifying demon whose head is wrapped in bandages torments him with riddles was not pleasant, and O’Brien’s outstanding performance made it even harder to bear.
Tyler Heochlin and Tyler Posey in the Teen Wolf episode "Riddled." Photo Courtesy of MTV.
Tyler Hoechlin and Tyler Posey in the Teen Wolf episode “Riddled.” Photo Courtesy of MTV.
When Agent McCall (Matthew Del Negro) and Melissa McCall (Melissa Ponzio) finally find Stiles, we see that he’s actually in the middle of the woods, and that all of the basement scenes were in his head. He is taken to the hospital where he undergoes testing to see if he’s suffering from frontotemporal dementia, the same sickness that killed his mother. There’s no question about it, the scene in the MRI room was one of the most touching the show has ever had. Between Stiles’ father (Linden Ashby) watching with poorly contained despair from the observation room and Scott’s promise to Stiles that he’ll find a way to save him, it was a masterpiece of emotive acting.
Derek, oddly enough, provided some of the only light scenes in the episode, both when he was acting as a mentor to Scott and Kira (Arden Cho), and with his almost comical disbelief that the nogitsune could possibly be possessing “skinny, defenseless Stiles”. He really began to show how much he cares about the teens in this episode, not only helping the pack to look for Stiles, but also by fixing his jeep despite not being asked to. His conversation with Scott where he tells him that Beacon Hills needs someone to protect it showed a great deal of growth for both characters. It also indicated the start of a friendship between Scott and Derek that fans have been waiting for since season two.
The episode ended with Stiles being overtaken by the dark spirit, and having a standoff with Kira’s mother (Tamlyn Tomita), who we learn has a bone to pick with the nogitsune, and she won’t hesitate to kill Stiles to get to it. Dylan O’Brien’s possessed Stiles is positively terrifying, and the episode owes a great deal of its excellence to the skills of this young and extremely promising actor.
Overall Episode Grade: A+

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