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‘Wolf Pack’ season 1 finale review: “Trophic Cascade” reveals little and sends a concerning message

By March 16, 2023May 1st, 2023One Comment5 min read
Sarah Michelle Gellar in the Season 1 finale of Wolf Pack

Thank you, Jeff Davis, for getting “Can’t Fight The Moonlight” stuck in my head with that sick cover and remix. What a song to serenade the final moments of this series. There is so much to unpack from the Wolf Pack finale.

My prediction came true, Wildfire Investigator Kristin Ramsy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) is, in fact, Luna Briggs’s (Chloe Rose Robertson) and Harlan Briggs’s (Tyler Lawrence Gray) biological wolf mom. Baron (Chase Liefeld) is 100% the twin’s brother, but Ramsy also doesn’t explicitly say she’s his mom too. I could be reading too much into cryptic dialogue that there’s more to the story, or we are supposed to infer that she is the mother of all three, but after the twists and turns in this finale, I don’t want to rule out any possibilities.

Gellar’s performance in this episode is the best she’s done in the series. I feel like she didn’t quite have the stalk to play a mom pretending this and that with so many layers to the performance, but now, with the truth out in the open, her acting can shine a little more. From the cold, hard staring to the emotional manipulation and creepy obsession, Gellar nails it as the long-lost and possessive mother to this Wolf Pack.

I also found that Baron’s trip through the Wolf Pack’s memories was a trippy way to integrate how connected he is to the rest of them and emphasize the confusion he was experiencing in his wolf form. That’s the kind of sequence you want to get right in a finale—the big reveal, the secret-spilling, the character strengthening, it was executed well. However, as an afterthought made me wonder where the hell Austin (Rio Mangini) went. We did not see or hear from him, which is a hole in the storytelling. Why wasn’t Luna trying to reach him and seek answers?

As much as seeing Mother stalking, peeping, and so on was eery and fun in the Wolf Pack finale, plenty of questions remain unanswered by her and the writers’ room. No one has been confirmed as the murderer of all those people—it seems to be a toss-up between Baron and Mommy Dearest, but the motivation is unclear. I don’t think all of the people in the body ditch were posing a threat to the Wolf Pack. It is also unclear who the arsonist is. Again, Mother has been accused, but she doesn’t give a confession to Zaddy Briggs (Rodrigo Santoro) in the Fire Station. For some, the accusation may be enough, but not for me—without confirmation, it still doesn’t make sense.

Actually, most of the lore doesn’t make sense to me still. What is the connection between fire and the wolves? Why does Baron get to turn people into werewolves, and all Luna has is the super smell—seems like a shitty tradeoff. Who is the anonymous caller, and why does he know so much? How did Ramsy’s handshake equal a protection spell?

And while those questions are left unanswered, we’re also left stewing over the ruined lives of our main characters after the Wolf Pack finale. Harlan has been arrested for murder. Everett Lang (Armani Jackson) has been put on a 72-hour psychiatric hold by his dad. Luna is in her depression era. And Blake Navarro (Bella Shepard) and Danny Navarro (Nevada Jose) are split up by social services.

Steve Dietl/Paramount+

Not only that but Ramsy makes a speech to Blake about changing Danny into a werewolf to “cure” his autism. This has got to be the most despicable thing I have ever heard; she compared curing Blake’s acne to turning Danny from neurodivergent to neurotypical like it was a topical cream or light treatment. It made me want to scream. I can excuse stalking and murder, but I draw the line at ablism. Unforgivable. I hope they kill her.

In my previous article about the slippery slope when implying mental health can be cured by supernatural causes, I thought Wolf Pack would be staying above that line and not dismissing or mystifying disabilities. God, was I wrong.

Now, this may not mean that the Wolf Pack universe (aka Jeff Davis and his writers’ room) is implying autism and other mental health needs to be irradicated, being that Kristin Ramsy isn’t exactly the hero of the story. Or because Everett’s ego about not needing medication anymore is being checked by his dad. However, by including the thought process alone from Ramsy, we enter dangerous waters in the discussion about disabilities and ableism.

Even if we try to dissect the implication that Blake wishes her brother wasn’t autistic as a nuanced reflection on caregivers to people with disabilities, we enter murky waters. When Everett wishes his anxiety and depression didn’t afflict him anymore, it’s less controversial. Speaking as a person with anxiety and depression, I wish I didn’t have it all the time, but I keep mine in check with medication which is the reality for most people in my boat. I know that if I’m feeling better, it’s because the medication is working, not because I’m cured. Wolf Pack appears to have a disconnect there.

As much as we can talk about anxiety and autism like they’re in the same category, they are not the same. Anxiety is when a circuit breaker is oversensitive; autism is an entirely new system with different wiring altogether. To treat anxiety is to improve the breaker’s function, and to “cure” autism is to replace the whole system. Danny would become a completely different person from what Ramsy has implied, not at all the brother Blake knows and loves. It’s a dangerous implication. I wish they hadn’t even touched it.

It sucks because I loved so, so much about this finale but in that one conversation, I suddenly feel like we’re skating on thin ice. With how Jeff Davis and his writers’ room wrote about trigger-happy police picking on a white kid and the number of light-skinned kids with not a single dark-skinned teenager to be seen, I don’t have much faith that they’ll figure this out with appropriate insight. They’ve clearly attempted to approach hot topics their demographic is interested in. Still, they don’t fully grasp them because Wolf Pack has continuously played into nuance topics with the delicacy of a jackhammer.

Feature image courtesy of Steve Dietl/Paramount+

  • 'Wolf Pack' Season 1 Finale - 6/10
Isobel Grieve

One Comment

  • Elizabeth R Browning says:

    I think it is fantastic. I don’t think they have to follow the socially popular version of events. My son is severe ADHD and nephew is a medium functioning autistic child. I wish they could live a “normal” life though I love them the way they are. SMG said it perfect when she told Blake that she knows Blake isn’t supposed to think about Danny be different. That is how many of us feel. I’m not supposed to think about my son and nephew being different but i do. Also white kids and people are killed and roughed up by police every day. My uncle was killed in 1994. I think it’s refreshing to see another angle to the social issues on TV instead of every show pushing the same narrative every single day. It may not be the popular angle but it’s the real angle to alot of people in this country and that angle deserves to be shown as well

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