MTV’s hit show Teen Wolf returns this fall for it’s final season. It’s an emotional time for its fans. So I decided to take a look back at the seasons and rank them from the weakest to the strongest of the seasons. That’s not to say I don’t love all of the seasons, because trust me I do.
Beware of spoilers below!
Season 1 has Buffy S1 syndrome, where it’s not a bad season but it’s riddled with cheesy moments and probably the campiest of the seasons. That’s not to say that’s a bad thing, in fact I think that’s what so endearing about Teen Wolf’s first outing. From moments like “My mom does all the grocery shopping” to Scott asking Danny to dance with him to throw off the Coach from kicking him out of the dance, the first season was extremely lighthearted and fun.
Ultimately the season was just your typical Werewolf boy trying to live an ordinary life while fighting with this curse. Though it had a fairly enjoyable mystery of the identity surrounding the Alpha, with enough plot twists to keep you guessing. Is it Scott’s boss? Is it Derek? Is it Melissa? Only to be lead to the comatose Peter Hale who got an awesome CGI cartoon wolf which is high on my list of villains.
My main issue with Season 1 was the romance heaviness of it all, while the romance is definitely one of my favorite parts of the series I felt as though Season 1 was less subtle about it. Could have been worse though, we could have had a Twilight-esque love triangle, thank God Jeff Davis isn’t a fan of those.
With Season 1 the show was still finding it’s footing, so I can’t give it too much crap. It was just an introduction to these characters and the town of Beacon Hills.
Get your pitchforks ready! This is regarded as the Holy Grail in the Teen Wolf fandom, so I should probably explain myself. There is much to love about this season, the introduction of Malia Tate & Kira Yukimura, Derek becoming president of the Scott McCall fanclub, the Sciles moments that break your heart, and the inclusion of Kitsunes & Oni.
Why so low, you ask? Too much Stiles. YES, I know everyone loves Stiles including me, but after Season 3A establishing Scott as a Alpha only for him to be put on the back burner it felt a bit jarring. Not to mention them dropping the door open in their minds after their Nemeton sacrifice after only two episodes. It just seemed like it was too soon when there was lots they could have explored with that. But the season mostly focused on saving Stiles and a lot of the mystery of the series was lost 4 episodes in, I feel like the season definitely had the most potential that was just not executed the way it could have been.
That said the season is still great with Dylan O’Brien’s performance as the Nogitsune and his performance in general. But so was the performance of the rest of the cast, especially Tyler Posey & Crystal Reed who gave us one of the most heartbreaking scenes on television with the death of Allison.
I also enjoyed them bringing Japanese mythology into the show, the use of Kitsune & Oni was brilliant and I wish they could have been expanded on more in this season (shame the Kira spin-off never happened!).
Teen Wolf is a supernatural series that takes a very comic book approach to it’s characters and where season 1 can be seen as Scott’s origin story, season 2 can be seen as him accepting his role as a hero. Scott’s development from a boy who didn’t want to accept this “curse” to a hero who embraced this power that was forced on him starts here.
From Season 1 he had people telling him he had to do something that it was his responsibility and Scott took it to ear because in Season 2 we see it from the premiere. Scott cares, he wants to help, he wants to protect people. Everything is his responsibility, which is in it’s own right depressing considering he thrust into this world with no choice. But Scott’s persistence to do the right thing in S2 is endearing and fun to watch as he began his ascent to hero of Beacon Hills.
Season 2 also introduced the more wild side of Jeff Davis’ mythology with the Kanima, one of the most interesting creatures to be used the series. The introduction of this creature began to hint at just how big the scope of this world Davis was creating was. The mystery surrounding the creature and how it worked it probably one of the greater mysteries of the series. Especially with how it intertwined with Jackson’s tragic past.
Not to mention Gerard Argent, one of the series more hateable villains who would play a bigger part in the series than we originally imagined. A villain so full of prejudice & blinded by archaic beliefs that he became the catalyst of all the bad things to happen in Beacon Hills (but that’s a story for another time).
This season is probably one of the more underrated seasons of the series and I’ve never been able to crack why. There is just so much to love; Scira, Stalia, Draeden, the introduction of Mason & Liam, Assassins galore, an awesome mystery plot, GLOW STICK NUNCHUKS.
But mostly this season got back on track with Scott’s Alpha storyline that was sidelined in 3B. We got to see how much power Scott really has, which has been a question on everyone’s mind. What can a True Alpha do? Well, he can kick ass that’s for sure. He wasn’t harmed by a thermal cut wire, he knocked an assassin out by lightly tapping their head into the wall (you asked for it Violet), almost became a beast ala Peter Hale when letting go of his strength, and took Peter down with precision that Neo from the Matrix would be jealous of. This season showed us why he needed to hold back, and honestly it was one of the greater plots of the season.
Allisons death also played a huge role in this season, while there was no funeral, her death started the deadpool, her name was the first key to break it, and you could feel the impact of her absence throughout the season.
The Benefactor story also gave a peek at how it would be if the show took the ‘monster of the week’ route by giving us an ‘assassin of the week” formula for most of it and it was fun! Though the assassins deserved more backstory, they still were beyond interesting. From two teenage killers, to a chemist who created a virus that only affected the supernatural, to a DJ who used dubstep to subdue the pack members (YEAH THAT WAS A THING).
The plot twist of Meredith being the Benefactor is also one of the most memorable twists in the series especially with how they tied her story in with the fire from Season 1. Everything was brought full circle and the Peter VS Scott arc that had been building finally came to a head with an awesome battle in the finale.
Season 4 was honestly a fun season and I enjoy it more and more with each rewatch.
I have a lot of good to say about the first half of season 3, but I’ll try to keep it short as possible (no promises!).
After Scott’s development into a hero in S2, this is where we got to see a lot more development for his character. He became much more wise, much more of a martyr, and this was his rise to an Alpha. It was a powerful season for Scott, one of my favorite moments comes from the episode “Frayed” where we hear a conversation from him and Deaton:
Scott: I don’t know what else to do. Do I keep trying to get them to listen to me? Do I tell Derek that he’s gonna get them all killed? How do you save someone who doesn’t wanna be saved? How do I stop them?
Deaton: Don’t stop them. Lead them.
It was then we see Scott fighting his way to Boyd while injured just to stop him from making a mistake. Scott’s heartbreaking characterization of putting others first became truly cemented in this season, and it hurt but was important for understanding the type of person Scott is. It also played into Scott’s rise to become a True Alpha, an Alpha that rises to power through will & strength of character. Everything Scott had done to this point was integral and he earned his way to becoming a hero that went against the stereotype of Werewolves. He wasn’t wild, he wasn’t a killer, he was just a boy who cared.
The inclusion of the Celtic druids in the origins of Werewolves and Lydia’s banshee reveal sit high on my list of of the mythology in this show. With Deucalion & Jennifer Blake being high on my list of villains. Their personal war against each other was fascinating especially when taking into consideration that it all started with Gerard’s betrayal. It was this season that showed the bigger scope of the supernatural history in Beacon Hills.
The finale also included one of the most memorable cold opens with the core three waking up in a white room only to see versions of their past selves after connecting with the Nemeton through a sacrifice.
3A also contains my favorite scene from the series with Scott quoting “Heart of Darkness” and claiming when he feels the darkness in his heart, he looks for his friends. This was the last moment we got to see everyone living as normal teenagers and happy. Before the somber events of 3B took place. Season 3A will always hold a personal place as one of the greatest seasons of TV for the supernatural genre.
This last season has given us the darkest season in the series, it told the story of the fall of Scott McCall and the loss of his pack. It was emotionally raw and it showed us just how flawed these characters were. One thing I appreciated was how it showed that one small lie could unravel even the best of relationships, in most shows they gloss over it and pretend like it only had a small ripple on the relationships of the characters.
5A was all about lies of omission and the consequences they have. One consequence being the manipulation of Theo Raeken, Teen Wolf’s most interesting villain. He played on the insecurities & niceties of the pack, and for the first time in Teen Wolf history we got to witness it all first hand as an audience. While we knew Theo was a villain, there was nothing that would give that impression to everyone aside from a very paranoid Stiles (who still based his assumptions on ridiculous theories).
Theo wasn’t the only villain ripping the pack apart either, the Dread Doctors (crazy cool looking scientists) began to toy with the world of the supernatural and even experimented on Kira to further their goals. They are perhaps the most formidable foes in the history of the series, and all hope is lost when they are around. They seem almost invincible.
Each break in the pack was riddled with feelings of depression and heartbreak. Malia being forced to watch the people she tried to save die before her eyes and discovering her birth mother wants her dead, Kira losing control of her Fox therefore losing control of herself, Stiles taking a life and then being manipulated by Theo, Liam losing faith in his Alpha due to his feeling for a girl & seeds planted by Theo, and most of all Scott losing everyone he loves and blaming himself for all the failures.
Everything was tragic this season, but the most tragic scene of all was watching Scott McCall die. It was shattering and you could feel that light of his go out, leaving 5A with this haunting tone of hopelessness. I haven’t felt this emotionally raw from a show since Buffy Season 5.
Cut to 5B where the story continues, it starts with a vulnerable and broken Scott. You can feel the repercussions of the events of 5A, no one is close and Lydia is locked away in Eichen. No one had a happy ending in the first half of this arc and it takes quite a few episodes until the mending starts.
On top of this new villains arrive in Beacon Hills, the Desert Wolf, and the mysterious final Chimera the Beast of Gévaudan. The stakes are high and the pack needs to rebuild, and it does piece by piece.
5B was the hope among the dark low note that 5A ended in. We see the pack at it’s strongest and we see these characters fall back into a family despite the damage that Theo caused. It honestly was a great feeling to have this sense of unity after the start of this story.
We also see Scott at his wisest and most heroic. He not only puts together a plan to rescue Lydia but puts together one of the BEST plan B’s that ends up saving the day come the final act.
Season 5 was a great mixture of dark and hopeful, and with its closing scene of the pack settling into school again and looking hopeful, it felt like it could have been a series finale.
It earned it’s way into my #1 spot.
Teen Wolf returns for its final season on November 15, be sure to tune in.