Damnatio Memoriae: Teen Wolf 5×12 Reminiscent of Earlier Seasons
Season five of MTV’s Teen Wolf has been nothing short of excellent. The writing, the production, and especially the acting have been spectacular. However, it almost feels like a completely different show. Teen Wolf has always been dark, but with bits of light thrown in. Season five just kept getting darker and darker. Sometimes, I find myself missing those first few seasons, which is why the most recent episode, “Damnatio Memoriae,” was so enjoyable. While still very dark, there were pieces that couldn’t help but remind viewers of earlier days:
Old characters return. An obvious similarity is that this episode gave us four previous characters that we either have not seen in a while or have barely returned. Braeden is back! We saw her for a few seconds in a previous season five episode, but she is still in Beacon Hills and I couldn’t be happier! Not only is she back, but she is doing what she does best: being a badass. Meredith is back (in Lydia’s head?) and once again wants to help Lydia use her powers to protect her friends. Also returned is Chris Argent. We learn in episode 5×11 that Scott called him for help, but he too stayed in town and is doing his own research about the new creature in town. Just like the old days, Argent is around to help, but seeks out his own sources and creates his own plans for taking down the bad guy. Lastly, Gerard is back. I am not particularly excited about this one. If an old nemesis was returning, I would have preferred Peter. He is at least entertaining (okay, okay, I’d be fine if Peter was the bad guy every season. I just love (hate?) him!). Still, having Gerard back (and healed?) is fascinating and I can’t wait to see how the pack reacts when they learn Chris sought him out.
Similar (though maybe scarier) big bad. The Dread Doctors were terrifying for a lot of reasons, but particularly because they were human. In many of the earlier seasons, the bad guy was some supernatural creature the pack was trying to figure out and stop. The alpha werewolf (Peter) in season 1, the kanima (Matt+Jackson+Gerard) in season 2, the darach (Jennifer Blake) in season three. We now have a resurrected historical bad guy who is a supernatural creature, and, perhaps, started as a person. While this creature is old and has no purpose but to kill, it is another supernatural enemy reminiscent of those first few.
Perhaps the aspect of episode 5×12 most suggestive of the first several seasons is Stiles, particularly in his relationships and his attitude. Stiles has had a rough go of things recently, so it makes sense that his life and his personality were different in the first half of season five, particularly after his experience with Donovan, but this episode gave us a taste of the Stiles fans fell in love with:
Stiles and his dad. Scenes between Stiles and the Sheriff are almost always my favorite. They make me want to smile and cry simultaneously. Season five has not been without some emotional scenes between the Stilinski men, this episode especially with the duo finally talking about Donovan, the banter that used to make us laugh has been almost completely absent this season. Tonight, we get a glimpse of the father-son pairing we love as Stiles, just like he used to do, uses his dad’s Sheriff connections to research the case.
Stiles and Scott. One of the most beloved bromances on television has been on the rocks this season, especially when Scott believed Theo over Stiles. In “Damnation Memoriae,” the best friends are back together. Things may not be perfect, but the duo that started the pack are working together to not only stop the big bad, but save their friends, just like they have always done.
Sarcastic Stiles. In the beginning, Stiles always brought some light-heartedness and humor to an otherwise dramatic show, often through the use of sarcasm (“I’m 147 pounds of pale skin and fragile bones. Sarcasm is my only defense”). As things got rougher for Stiles, his humor and sarcasm began to dwindle. This is one of the things I have missed most this season and the fact that we got several sarcastic remarks from Stiles in episode 5×12 made the show feel whole again. He was even able to joke about being paralyzed with kanima venom…again and Scott’s tattoo (season 3 anyone?).
Thank you, Teen Wolf, for a little taste of home in the midst of a season more “intense” than any of us could have imagined!