Wolf Pack 1×02 “Two Bitten, Two Born” does a really good job of digging further into the core four characters, rooting out what ties them together and what keeps them apart. As of now, despite picking up right where we left off with Blake, Everett, Luna, and Harlan being drawn together, there’s still a very clear boundary. And it’s keeping them from forming the type of connection it takes to be a strong pack.
The episode also does a good job of continuing the disaster film feeling of the series premiere and delivers more fun suspense/horror vibes, as well. The procedural aspect, too, delivers on some food for thought. Notably, we come away from this one with a real question of whether or not we can trust Ramsey. Or, really, can we trust anyone — especially the grownups? But let’s talk about the teens before we get to the adults because, honestly, they’re the true story here.
Everett and Blake are such an interesting pairing — for a number of reasons, at that. As we open the episode, Blake seems incredibly determined to just run from all of these huge life changes. First off, that’s entirely relatable. Second, though, it’s really not healthy. On the flip side, Everett has been pushing her to be part of his search for answers all along. This isn’t the only place where they’re perfect opposites, though. Far from it. Perhaps most interesting is just how much Blake fights to convince everyone — including herself — she’s “fine,” while Everett is a shining example of accepting that it’s ok to just not be ok.
To that end, one of the easy highlights of Wolf Pack 1×02 is the sequence where neither character can sleep. It includes brilliant depictions of Everett trying to work through all his coping mechanisms as his anxiety is eating at him. It doesn’t matter that this is “just” a genre series, or that it can get a little bit much in a few areas. As long as it keeps treating us to this kind of acknowledgement that, yes, anxiety is real — and no, it doesn’t magically disappear — it’s giving a very important issue the attention it deserves.
With all of that being said, while Blake and Everett do have different approaches to handling their situation, they also have a lot more in common than they think. And no, it’s not just the obvious element of being thrown into this new world, with so many questions about the changes they’re experiencing and just about nowhere to look for help. That alone would be compelling enough. But as we kind of touched on when we discussed the premiere, they’re also just two kids trying to navigate really messed up family lives.
There’s a lot to be said for forming a new family with someone who just gets it. And that is, beyond the supernatural element, something that really works for these characters. I’d almost argue that, of the two, Everett is in a worse situation. His mother is not only physically abusive and incapable of apologizing — she seems to expect him to feel more sorry for leaving the hospital and staying out late than he should feel for her smacking him — but, at the risk of making an awful pun, she also feeds him to the wolves.
Seriously, what kind of parents just let the cops have at it with their very scared kid, especially one who’s already seeing a professional for anxiety and — oh, yeah! — has also just been through a trauma? Two of them, if we count his poor excuse for a mother’s role in all this.
Everett’s pretty much alone in his at-home suffering. But Blake, on the other hand, at least has Danny. No, she shouldn’t be in charge of taking care of him. But at the same time, he obviously adores her just as much as she does him. While we’re on the subject of Danny, it’s very telling that he’s so instantly comfortable with Everett. These two people are “different” to the rest of the world, but something resonates between them. Everett’s just great with the kid, in a way that even Blake isn’t. Their little moment together is really beautiful, to the point where even “tough, uncaring” (lol ok) Blake just melts — when she thinks nobody is watching, of course.
As far as parents go, yeah, both teens have bad ones. But Blake’s dad, for all his faults, sticks up for her and says she was pretty even before her skin healed. Which, kids at home watching this, take note: A skin condition is a medical concern, not something that makes you ugly or less than. A lot of people go through it! Honestly, it’s long overdue for a television series to break away from the “let’s all make fun of acne” nonsense. (Remember when all “the nerds” on Saved by the Bell had things like skin conditions and dental appliances, as if both of those things weren’t horribly common? Yeah. That.)
Anyway. Back to the point: Comparing each other’s suffering isn’t always the best idea in the world, but if we had to give away a “worst family” award, it’d go to the Langs. And regardless of which you choose as the biggest loser, or even if you choose not to choose, the fact remains that Blake and Everett have more in common than they realize. We very much hope that, at some point, they get to help each other through it.
There’s also a not-insignificant layer of chemistry between Armani Jackson and Bella Shepard, which gives their characters an extra attachment. Wolf Pack 1×02 takes advantage of that in a number of ways. And yes, one clear place is the scene with the almost-kiss. Now, whether or not viewers want more of that is going to be up to which viewers you ask. Some of us have been burned too many times to jump on a new ship so quickly. However, here’s something to consider about this potential one: It’s super sweet that Everett is always looking out for Blake. He’s ready to run into those woods after her without a thought, frequently checks in on how she’s doing…all that good stuff.
No, Blake doesn’t need a savior. Yes, she can handle herself. But it’s always nice to have someone in your corner, making sure you don’t always have to.
…and two born.
Luna and Harlan’s arguments in Wolf Pack 1×02 are more than your standard sibling banter and do quite a lot to show us who they are as individuals. The siblings have spent their whole lives hiding their true nature, and their separate approaches to possibly having new people to share their secrets with could not be more different. In the first place, Luna is clearly more open and willing to reach out — to start forming her new pack and helping these younger kids along — than her brother is.
As another point of contention, Harlan’s answer to losing Garrett seems to be “let me thirst and build muscles,” while Luna’s is to actually worry. Constantly. Which…ok. To be fair, exercise is a great outlet for stress, and admiring someone attractive isn’t a bad thing. (As long as you don’t cross any boundaries, of course.) Not to mention, Luna’s inability to find a coping mechanism — other than just wanting to run out into danger — just isn’t healthy.
At the same time, though, Harlan’s actions prove he’s content with being a lone wolf on every level other than the superficial. It’s like he doesn’t seem to quite have the desire for any kind of true bond with anyone…which is also not healthy. Luna already has a real connection with Garrett and wants to be, if not part of a family with, then certainly some kind of helper for, Everett and Blake. But Harlan? So far, it’s “hooks up in a club in the premiere, lusts after some guy at the gym.”
Harlan’s also still on his frustrating “not our real dad” bullshit. Still, he has a very telling reaction to seeing Garrett on that gurney. It’s nowhere near as direct as Luna’s, but he obviously cares. Whether he wants to admit it or not.
If he has any real concern for anyone, it’s Luna. He obviously wants to protect her, but it manifests itself in trying to tell her what to do and even being passive aggressive as a way of imposing his will on her. Case in point: He didn’t want Luna continuing her conversation with Everett in the car. So, when she wouldn’t do what he wanted and stop talking, he went so far as to turn the radio up to force the conversation to an end. But Luna’s her own person, with her own motivations, and never gives any indication of backing down. Not in the car, and not at any other point in this episode. She’s going to do what she wants, regardless. And these siblings are just going to keep challenging each other. We’re here for it.
Oh. And we’ve still got ourselves an arson investigation.
Wolf Pack 1×02 starts to hint at Kristin Ramsey being someone viewers shouldn’t trust. When she interrogates Everett with Officer Jang, she definitely attempts to pose herself as “good cop,” but there’s still something…off. Sarah Michelle Gellar, slayer that she is (I had to, ok?), does a fantastic job of keeping us guessing with this character. She’s got that chipper demeanor about her, smiles in all the right places, and tries to play at being “warm.” But…she’s also…not quite right.
Here’s where this all gets really, really thought provoking. Is it that we shouldn’t trust Kristin because she’s actually a villain, someone who takes advantage of scared children in her quest for some distorted idea of “justice”? The way she kind of looms over Everett when she’s positioned behind the couch, even stalks about the living room as if she’s some sort of predator, definitely screams, “don’t trust this woman.” She’s also almost cruel with how she preys on his anxieties and makes note of the teen’s near-lack of friends.
The same goes for her showing up, unannounced, and towering over Blake when she collapses after her running trial. But, are we afraid of Ramsey because were seeing this from Blake and Everett’s perspective, that she’s just another horrible adult — definitely not to be trusted? Or is it that she’s truly corrupt? There’s a certain sense of lethality to the character. Then again, when she catches Everett with Connor’s cast, he looks about as guilty of the other kid’s murder as it could possibly get. But her initial reaction isn’t to tell him she’s caught him red-handed, though. It’s, “we’ve got a few more questions to ask. And it looks like you’ve got a few of your own.” That doesn’t come across as someone who’s out to get this kid…or is she just trying to lure him in?
Basically, SMG kills it. She keeps us guessing, and she most definitely plays on that gut instinct to want to see her as some kind of hero — even if, at the end of the day, she very well may not be. While we’re at it, she also gives us the impression that Ramsey, kind of sort of…probably knows way more than she’s letting on?
More on Wolf Pack 1×02 “Two Bitten, Two Born”
- So, Luna and Everett used to hang out but now don’t. Interesting.
- Forget the horror element. It’s the normal people who are scary in this series. See also: Kristin and all the terrible parents, as we discussed above. But look how terrified Blake was when she ran into that guy from the rescue group. Or, how about the doctor who crapped all over Connor for his leg not healing quickly enough?
- “I’m not as good a liar as he is.” “Funny. I like you.” Same.
- That awkward moment when you can overhear the entire conversation…about whether or not to trust you.
- Also, just saying. if you almost hit someone head on because you weren’t paying attention, maybe don’t immediately take your eyes off the road after you barely prevent an accident?
- I hope a wolf eats Everett’s shitty mom. Honestly, his weak excuse for a dad can go, too. There, I said it.
- “We barely know anything about any of this shit.” It’s a line, ok? Not only Harlan and Luna barely know the lore, so to speak, about the whole wolf thing…but it’s also a really good metaphor for growing up. Sure, they’re a year ahead of the other two teens, but they’re far from having their shit together. (Same goes for a lot of adults, honestly.)
- “Because now it’s their secret, too.” There it is.
- Everett’s whispered “fuck” when he can’t sleep is far too relatable.
- “Blake’s afraid.” “No, I’m not. I’m just being safe.” Sure, Jan.
- “I’m past it. We need to move forward, alright?” Past…what, exactly? And no, Everett should not feel the need to tell this monster how “ok” it is. Because it’s not.
- The lilt in Gellar’s voice when she says, “not at the moment.” And the barely-there shrug when she says they’ll “see how the conversation goes.” Delivery queen is gonna deliver!
- And the excellent timing with that awkward beat over the handshake, even after Everett’s (weak) dad tries to reassure him…
- With that being said, there are a few places in this episode where we could probably cut some pauses out. Lingering too much makes things cornier than they really need to be.
- Ok but bringing up mental illness in relation to arson…not ok.
- That moment with the little wolf paw reaching out to Garrett, then turning into a baby hand, is so touching, I don’t even care about the bad flashback hair. Also, considering the locked pinkies just before teen Luna pulls her hand away from her newly-rescued dad, I’m guessing that was her. It’d also track with Harlan kinda being…Harlan.
- Those kids are totally Garett’s reason to survive, though, which the combination of the forest fire scenes and the flashbacks make abundantly clear. He remains the only parent on this series who deserves the title.
- “I was fast last night.” “Not now.” “I am aware of that.” I giggled.
- Not Buffy giving this child training advice…
- “I don’t faint for shots.” My vagus nerve will not allow me to relate.
- WTF even with the horse and the door?
- “He doesn’t talk to strangers. And he never touches them.” AND YET.
- “You’re staring.” “I’m not.” Sure.
- Great sequence of Connor struggling down those stairs to get away from the Big Bad, too. Scary AF. RIP to him, though. And all that pain with smashing his leg up to get the cast off for nothing. Damn.
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New episodes of Wolf Pack stream Thursdays on Paramount+.