'Teen Wolf's Dead Pool Proves Beacon Hills Isn't Interested In An Apocalypse, At Least Not Yet
At the end of Teen Wolf 's most recent episode ("The Benefactor"), Lydia and Kira discovered that they and all of their friends are, indeed, screwed. At the very least they're very hunted: Lydia and Kira, alongside puppy alpha/werewolf messiah Scott, chiseled broodmaster Derek, dirty third-grader Malia, and pretty much everyone else they know (except for Stiles) is on a list of supernatural creatures. A hit list, to be exact. The term "dead pool" doesn't evoke images of happiness and tolerance, after all.
The trailer for next week's episode promises that we'll definitely be hearing a lot more about the dead pool in "I.E.D.," but this episode's final scene also proved something else: These kids could really use the help of some more experienced hunters.
Yeah, they've got the brawn of Chris Argent — who is a big ol' badass — and the brains of Deaton, alongside their own wits. But it's pretty hard to watch Teen Wolf and not imagine what would happen if, say, Buffy Summers stopped by town one day to check it out. Or if Sam and Dean Winchester got wind of all the weird shit going down and drove in in the Impala. Of course, the dead pool also proves that Teen Wolf's not going after the exact thing Buffy did, or the exact thing Supernatural still is. At least, not yet.
Unlike the Winchesters or the Buffy Scoobies, it's notable that the teens of Teen Wolf are rarely trying to save the world. Scott McCall could have a noble-off with Buffy Summers any day over who's more likely to out themselves in the line of danger to protect people. They'd probably actually get along pretty well, but Scott McCall, it must be said, simply deals with way less apocalypses than Buffy Summers did in even her first season.
This is something I've also noticed about The Vampire Diaries, that other big teen supernatural show right now. Though themes of sacrifice run rampant and our young protagonists are constantly having to balance passing calculus with saving the lives of the innocent people in their small towns, the issue of heroism rarely transcends those of family, romance, or friendship to really explore those of civic duty.
It would be foolish to say that Teen Wolf and The Vampire Diaries aren't dealing with big moral questions just because they're not dealing with the end of the world, but the difference between these shows with shows like Buffy and Supernatural — which feature so many apocalypses, like, so many — is one of the micro versus the macro. Scott McCall's role in this world is bigger than just himself, that's for sure, but there's no arguing that his role is bigger than Buffy Summers'.
The dead pool brings the gap in themes to the surface in a big way: It's got the potential to become bigger than our fallback ensemble, but it's also putting a very direct threat on the heads of those ensemble members (with the exception of Stiles). It's the micro. It could always get bigger — in the process of trying to save themselves and whatever other supernatural creatures they can get their hands on our gang might find a grander purpose in aiding the supernatural world at large. That would be macro, like Buffy trying to decide if she's willing to sacrifice someone she loves to stop the destruction of the universe.
But Teen Wolf could also stay small and get away with it pretty easily — they've proven before that they're okay with keeping their action relatively localized, emotionally-speaking. Noble, but not epic.
Sometimes it can be hard to tell what kind of hero's journey Teen Wolf is on. The dead pool, and all that it represents — supernaturals ranging from those very close to us to those very, very far — has a chance to help define that. I'll be curious to see what kind of definition they come up with for themselves.