Wow! It’s another banger from Jeff Davis’ Wolf Pack. Episode 6, “After Party,” is a wild follow-up to the mild twisting end of “Incendiary.” Not only was I spot on about that random blonde boy being the werewolf, but he’s apparently Harlan’s (Tyler Lawrence Gray) and Luna’s (Chloe Rose Robertson) brother!? That I was not expecting. I thought he might have been Kristin Ramsey’s (Sarah Michelle Gellar) son because of that story about her son dying in a fire and then at the end of “Incendiary,” she bonks off that security guard. My god was I wrong! It makes sense why this wolf has been ‘protecting’ the pack from people who appear to hurt them because he’s Harlan and Luna’s kid brother raised by wolves—he doesn’t know any better.
However, that’s not the only reveal we get in “After Party.” According to an Orderly that witnessed arson suspect/Harlan’s boy toy Cyrus’s (Zack Nelson) father die, it wasn’t the wildfire that offed the firefighter but a pair of wolves—werewolves, to be precise. How do they know this? Because the fire apparently changed the wolves into beasts. There’s some kind of magical connection between these werewolves and the California wildfires. We also now know that most of what these werewolves have been doing is out of wolf-y instinct to protect their pack.
Some things are coming together and starting to make more sense, while at the same time, other elements of the story are seriously beginning to confuse me. Where is their bio-dad if the wolf at the kickback wasn’t Harlan and Luna’s father but their brother? Is it possible that not all attacks are by the same wolf? Also still a mystery is Kristin Ramsey’s connection to the werewolves—how and why does she know these attacks are by a werewolf? Why is she protecting it? Why isn’t she afraid of it?
The Kristin Ramsey character is still shrouded in so much mystery. On top of that, Sarah Michelle Gellar’s performance wavers occasionally. For some reason, when I see her cock a gun or duck and roll, I immediately see Buffy the Vampire Slayer, not Wildfire Investigator Kristin Ramsey. Perhaps that’s on me, but I think some elements of Gellar’s acting style ring the same note for me.
Then we have the wonder of Zaddy Briggs’s (Rodrigo Santoro) sidekick Park Ranger Prisha (Hollie Bahar), whom he’s let in on the twins’ secret. She carries silver bullets, and Zaddy confides his werewolf fears in her. She seems to be very comfortable around his teenage children. She’s in on the family secret. When will these two kiss? I mean, come on! No way is she just a work-wife.
Speaking of chemistry and sharing secrets, Everett (Armani Jackson) and Blake (Bella Shepard) continue to be hot for one another, making out in parking lots, giving each other looks from across the room, and sensing each other’s emotions. I’m happy for them. Curious, however, that Luna and Harlan, so far, have no opinion on these two pack members mating—do they know? Should they care? Will this cause issues? Who’s to say? I’m just happy these two actors don’t have to pretend they don’t have chemistry anymore because watching them try and create friction was extremely painful. I do not look forward to when this couple falls out and fights. It’ll be cringe city—they’re just not cut out to hate each other.
Harlan and Cyrus’s little cuddle made me squeal with joy. The queerness of Teen Wolf never took to canon romances—it was mostly baiting, side characters, and quick hookups at raves. Whereas it’s very clear from the characterization of Harlan that Jeff Davis is back with revenge and, possibly, giving a happy ending to these queer characters. Although, it’s a little disappointing that all of these romantic interests are carbon copies of the same white boy prototype.
Blake telling Pheobe (Bailey Stender) about her phone phobia half an episode before she was attacked and taken by one of the giant wolves was wild. I only kind of understand the backstory of Blake’s hatred for cellular devices. I mean, I don’t think it was the phone’s fault her mom cheated on her dad, and she and her brother were in foster care for a week, but maybe that’s the kind of black-and-white thinking teenagers have.
However, this confrontation and forgiveness felt too little too late. I think this may have been a device used by the writers to try and make Pheobe’s death more shocking and heartbreaking, but it didn’t play out that way for me. I needed a little more time with Pheobe’s good side to feel what they wanted me to feel when we saw her body dragged across the skylight Austin (Rio Mangini) was standing under.
Speaking of Austin, they’re really torturing this guy. Not only is Kristin Ramsey gaslighting him, but so is Everett. Even Luna let everyone look at her crush like he’d gone insane after he ranted and raved about the giant wolf he’s been seeing around. Hello, villain origin story. This guy is not going to let this betrayal go, I fear, and it might end up biting the wolf pack in the ass later.
I find it odd that Wolf Pack has introduced all of these teenage characters with backstories and connections to the main cast with only the intention of killing them off. Is there a possibility there’s more to these ritualistic killings/attacks every night? Is there a chance they might rise from the dead? Or, not all of them are actually dead but wounded at the bottom of that hole in the construction site? Maybe I’m overthinking it, and they really did cast people as complex characters to kill them off in the first season, like Barb from Stranger Things. If so, I feel bad for the actors.
The other tip Wolf Pack may have pulled out of the Stranger Things toolbox might have been using practical effects. They do a lot in this series to avoid CGI for the wolves by rustling leaves, choppy camera work and having characters stare into shadows as if they can see something, but it doesn’t necessarily make up for the shoddy CGI editing of the wolf itself. It comes across as pretty cartoonish. The glowing eyes and fangs they give the humans are perfect! But the bigger wolves rely on a lot of generosity from the viewer. I think they would have been better off following Stranger Things all the way and putting an actor in a wolf suit as they did with the first season Demogorgon.
'Wolf Pack' 1x06 - 7/10