Wolf Pack 1×07 “Lion’s Breath” has three three main elements, two of which work very well. That leaves the third, which doesn’t make the most sense in the world but is fun to watch anyway. So, basically, it fits with every other episode. One of the parts that works very well comes right at the beginning, as we’re back in full horror/suspense mode — this time with a creepy entity or two. Then, the middle and end rapidly swap back and forth between a phenomenally absurd plan to restore Baron to human form and the ongoing
Buffy the Arson Investigator plot arson investigation. Of course, that last part is now officially a homicide investigation, too
Oh, and no big deal: We finally, finally know what Kristin Ramsey, the person in charge of the case, has been hiding all along. But do we know who started the fire or why? Nope. Do we care? Also no. Why? Well, first of all, there’s still another episode to come. And second, maybe — just maybe — we’re too busy screaming “OMG YES I KNEW IT” at the Kristin part and “lol WTF” at the pack’s solution to the Baron problem to think about much else.
“The one that cures all humans: death.”
Ok. Putting aside the, uh…creativity, we’ll call it…involved in Everett’s plan to cure Baron, this piece of Wolf Pack 1×07 actually has some strong aspects. And we shouldn’t discount them just because they exist due to all the chaos. Actually, if anything, the fact that they’re noticeable in the midst of all the “WTF” just shows how important they are.
So, what works here? Mostly, it’s all down to Everett stepping up and being a leader. We saw this to a lesser extent in the sixth episode, but that was basically nothing if not a step along the path that brought him here. When we first met Everett, he was talking about feeling like he had this “giant fucking weight” on him. He was tentative in a lot of situations, especially with new people. But that’s not what we get in “Lion’s Breath.” This Everett is much more determined, much more sure of himself. Basically, going through this huge, werewolf-shaped life change has helped him.
While obviously shaken up from his experience with both Baron’s human spirit and Phoebe’s ghost, he calls the rest of the
Scooby Gang pack in to come up with a solution, rather than letting that fear control him. He’s found his voice, acquired new strength — both physically and mentally — and does what has to be done. Somehow, he has a unique connection with Baron. Which, at least as far as anyone can tell, means he has to be the one to initiate whatever happens next. Challenge accepted.
No, it’s not like he’s magically become a different person overnight. And we definitely shouldn’t, under any circumstances, conclude that Everett’s anxiety just magically disappeared. But there’s something healing about knowing you’ve found your place and have your people around you. Being where you’re supposed to be, knowing your purpose…it just helps. That’s the takeaway here.
Put another way, Everett knows his pack will support him. As a result, it’s much easier for him to step up. To have confidence in his (kinda bizarre, but we’re going with it) plan and do what needs to be done, for the good of both the entire pack and anyone else who might happen to cross paths with them.
…with all that being said: Kids, don’t try this at home. I’m not even interested in knowing if the science holds up in any sense either. It’s all bonkers, but that’s what makes it fun. So, eh. Whatever. Entertainment is a good thing, actually.
“I think I might surprise you on that subject.”
Absolutely no one who grew up with Buffy the Vampire Slayer expected Sarah Michelle Gellar to join Wolf Pack as “just” an arson investigator. You simply don’t come back to genre after all these years without doing something special. The question was always what that something was going to be. Similarly, the series has been dropping hints since pretty much the very beginning that Kristin Ramsey has been hiding something all along. And, again, the question was always what.
At first, it seemed like maybe Ramsey was just crooked, which would’ve been its own interesting sort of twist. But even as she was doing “bad cop” things, like interrogating kids without parents present…she just always gave off this vibe that she knew things she maybe shouldn’t. Or, at least, Kristin knew things that your average arson investigator most certainly shouldn’t. Sometimes, the series gave us very obvious indicators of that; others, it was way more subtle and entirely down to Gellar’s always-fantastic performance.
Regardless, every single hint was pointing us toward this revelation. Sure, it’s not a huge shocker if you’ve been really following along. If you picked up on the white noise machine to keep preternatural hearing from causing too many distractions. Or if you’ve followed all the over-confidence, the sarcasm aimed at anyone who seemed to be too close to the truth — which, as it turns out, was just sarcasm aimed at getting them to doubt themselves. Maybe you picked up on Kristin’s fixation with our core four, which never wavered — not even long after she decided they were innocent.
Put it all together, and this character was always going to be one of two things. Option one: someone intent on killing monsters…a slayer type, if you will. Or, option two: one of them. Of course, the series went with the second one —
Buffy Summers Kristin Ramsey is a werewolf. She was there during that awful fire that killed Cyrus’ dad, the same one Malcolm told us about last episode. Kristin’s memory of that day is a bit different, though, and “Lion’s Breath” gives us her side.
And, to borrow a probably overused phrase: I support women’s rights, but I also support women’s wrongs. Apply that here times at least a thousand. Because wow, do I support this mama wolf’s wrongs.
The flashback to the fire with the big reveal is pretty fantastic, and it even explains a WTF from earlier in the season. That position Ramsey laid in on the ground when she went off to investigate Connor’s disappearance? It’s here. She did that then, after everything, after ripping all those people apart in an act of vengeance for them shooting 50 rounds into part of her family.
With that being said, though, it’s what we see back in the present day that really hits even harder than all that. Like, yes. Kristin’s supernatural backstory is intriguing. It’s badass, and it’s a great, “OMGIKNEWIT” moment. But it’s the humanity that’s always the biggest draw for any series, especially supernatural ones. So, what makes today more interesting to watch than all the carnage from back then? In the first place, there’s the shot of Kristin lost in all that emotion, right before Garrett brings her focus back. Yeah. SMG did that.
There’s also always a sense that anything can happen. All Kristin/Garrett scenes leading up to that memory sequence, coupled with everything after, just really keeps viewers guessing. A few times during their whole trek through the dark, Wolf Pack 1×07 makes you wonder if Harlan and Luna’s dad is being lured off to become wolf meat. See also: Look what happened to that security guard that one time, and couple it with Kristin seeing Garrett shoot the wolf with a silver bullet. She knows he knows, even if it takes until the end of “Lion’s Breath” for him to admit it. So, again. See also: The security guard.
Then, we get the real moment for them. Kristin’s spending all this time pushing Garrett to get him to admit he knows something. At some point, she might have been stalking him as her prey, doing so as a way to keep everyone’s secret safe. But now, as she tells him, she’s seen what kind of father he is. And she wishes her son had that kind of dad. That’s big. Even bigger still is Garrett’s decision, even while assuming he’s talking to a fellow officer of the law, to just…wait to call for backup when they find all the bodies.
He knows his kids aren’t responsible. Even if they are, because he will protect them by keeping them out of this investigation for as long as he can. So, Kristin presses harder for Garrett to admit he knows something. Eventually, she gets what she wants. Or, well. She gets as close to it as she’s ever going to get: “Yes…and no.”
Now, all that’s left is for Kristin to show her hand. We, as viewers, know who she is. (Shoutout to people who’ve been calling SMG “Mother” forever because, um. Nailed it!) But nobody else does…yet. Can’t wait to see what’s next.
More on Wolf Pack 1×07
- Stunning use of the suspense element for the beginning sequence, and Armani Jackson does an incredible job of measuring the way he moves through that space as a way of heightening that effect. It’s hella creepy, y’all.
- Baron’s (Baron’s spirit’s?) whole sitting on the floor, curled over himself and hugging those knees, thing…a mood.
- Bailey Stender utterly nails the timing on some of Ghost!Phoebe’s lines, too. Oh, and just…basically everything about the movement, the makeup, the feeling…No other word for it but killer.
- Hear me out: If a werewolf wants to murder people who aren’t nice to pack members, I would like to volunteer Everett’s mom. What even with this bitch. And he doesn’t need her anyway, when there’s Mama Wolf Kristin out here.
- The marks on the wall from when the twins were growing up. Garrett’s reaction. My heart.
- “I’ll protect him as if he was one of my own.” She told on herself so many times. Genius in hindsight.
- Could we have had literally anyone other than little Danny find that body, though? No? Ok. And how about we believe him when he says he recognizes Kristin from the garage (or ever, really)?
- “If you woke up with a naked guy in your room, you wouldn’t be scared?” “No.” It’s a comedy.
- “She seems a bit rugged.” When she goes full wolf and rips your throat out, lady, you’ll know “rugged.”
- The chutzpah with the whole “I am nice to you” exchange, though.
- “You want to know another myth? When a woman has seven daughters and the eighth child is a man, he’ll be a werewolf.” All I get out of this is don’t force a person to give birth eight times. Huh.
- “It was something I read online. My next guess could get someone killed.” This is why we don’t believe everything on the internet.
- “Will you be needing a court-appointed lawyer, or will you be paying for one yourself?” “Oh, look at that Blake. She’s just like you. Goes right for the throat.” First: SMG, you snarky bitch, you. LOVE. Second: Yes. Kristin is, in fact, just like Blake.
- “Then, all we have to do is get Baron inside, lock the door, and wait for him to freeze.” No big. Solid plan. What could possibly go wrong?
- “I like you sometimes.” “When I’m not a complete asshole.” “Which is only sometimes. Probably a little less than that.” Very much here for this, actually. Especially the use of space, with Austin starting far away and then just…slooooooowly getting closer and closer to Luna as the whole exchange went on. Good stuff.
- “You did notice my kids aren’t speaking with me.” “That just means that you’re a good parent. They should get angry with us. Sometimes. And we’re allowed to get angry, too.” Ah. So, that’s why she didn’t claw Garrett to death immediately after she found out he had a silver bullet. Got it.
- Is this where I make a “Walk Through the Fire” reference or.
- The visual when they have just enough of Gellar’s face peeking through all that monster stuff is just stunning. Did the whole effects budget go to this and Ghost!Phoebe. I won’t even be mad if that’s the case.
- Is she…is she flirting over the flashlight thing or.
- Yes, we still stan Blake.
- “I feel incredibly vulnerable and completely exposed. Perfect.” Can relate.
- “I can be a total fucking asshole.” Same.
- 18 dead bodies? A chai (not the tea…) of dead bodies? I giggled. No idea if anyone knew/intended this…but I giggled.
- No but the tension when they discover the bodies and she forces Garrett to admit…I will not shut up. SMG and Rodrigo Santoro are so much fun on screen together. So much. Fun.
- …none of this plan makes sense. The wolf is chasing Blake now instead of the kid who was a “threat” to Luna? K.
- If Castle and Beckett didn’t freeze to death that quickly, a wholeass werewolf with a very warm fur coat wouldn’t either. But ok.
- Anyway. Baron-flavored pupsicle: Check. Epi….uh…
- …ok but Austin did whatnow. That’s…certainly a way to leave us hanging for the season finale.
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Wolf Pack is now streaming on Paramount+. New episodes stream on Thursdays.