Jodi Walker
March 11, 2015 AT 05:20 PM EDT

Wolf Watch, Teen Wolf’s after show—featuring host Kate Argent Jill Wagner, and a few guest stars from preceding episodes, lured in by the promise of some sick DJ Cole Plante beats—isn’t necessarily a must watch. But tonight, feeling particularly overwhelmed by eerily silent scenes, killer bolo ties, and the still unexplained absence of Danny, I tuned in to try and find some answers. They were not readily available; but there was a helpful chart that updates the weekly count of Teen Wolf staples: shirtless moments, deaths, hookups, and transformations. Four episodes into Season 4, there have been three shirtless moments… and nine deaths.

There’s no question that Teen Wolf has been a very different show this season. Though the general vibe has veered back toward the campy humor of the first two seasons, the goal of the narrative seems to have shifted to something that remains ambitious, but feels more cohesive than the deliberate chaos of last year. If Teen Wolf had continued on the trajectory it built to by the end of Season 3, we’d be claws-deep in Mayan were-jaguar lore right now. But this season, in many ways, seems to be about beginning again—rising from the ashes, as the dusty Season 4 promos suggested. The writers now appear to be officially most interested in filling out the town where they planted the Nemeton-shaped homing beacon for supernatural creatures last year. The suspenseful build to meeting Beacon Hills’ true Big Bad, and the gradual introduction of more supernatural players is a welcome addition, even if right now they seem to be going as quickly as the come.

Death certainly isn’t a new thing in Beacon Hills, home of the homicide-ridden high school/hospital/sheriff’s department; but this season’s deaths aren’t stacking up to be just random strangers, reversibly murdered by Nogitsune flies; these are characters we’ve spent a few scenes getting to know, yet still without being sure on which side of the supernatural good-and-evil line they fall: Sean the cat-loving wendigo, Demarco the keg-delivering Buddhist werewolf, even The Mute. Because these days, the only thing there’s more of than deaths in Beacon Hills, is killers.

With all the reworking that Teen Wolf is doing, and with all the growing up and loss of innocence experienced by the main cast on this show about teenage werewolves, the rollout of “Teen Wolf: The New Class” isn’t surprising. The parallels drawn between Scott’s unwilling transformation into a werewolf in Season 1, and Liam’s transformation in “The Benefactor,” are damn near delightful, due in large part to Scott’s initial attempt to just copy what Derek said to him when he was turned, even though he most of all must know that’s the worst plan possible: “Liam… we’re brothers now.” When that line inevitably fails to sway Liam to listen to him, he opts for his go-to panic move: kidnapping. Luckily for Scott, in addition to being a more patient alpha than Derek, Scott also has his pack to help him out, including but not limited to, one no-nonsense Stiles and one extra clumsy vixen.

But simply getting Liam out to Lydia’s lake house in time for his first bout with the full moon ends up being the least of the McCall pack’s worries. In addition to Sheriff Stilinski and Derek, a.k.a., The Hardy Men, out there battling the Mute and his tomahawk, and bearing in mind that Kate is still on the loose, the pack now has car-destroying teenage angst to deal with.

Oh yeah, and teenage assassins. The guy who delivers the keg to Lydia’s accidental lake party is apparently a werewolf, briefly clawing out a bit under the moonlight, and chanting a mantra to anchor himself: “Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, the truth.” But before we get much time to consider this new werewolf casually going about his nightly life in Beacon Hills, Violet (Samantha Logan)—new freshman, occasional murderer—sneaks up behind him, removes her bolo tie necklace, and slices his head right off. She then goes back in to join the Jackson Jr. we met on the lacrosse field last week, Garrett (Mason Dye), who initiates a make-out session to celebrate the joyous text he just received: The Benefactor is super excited about their new kill and has transferred the money to their account.

WHAT. These CW-pretty 15-year-olds are assassins? And they’re working for the same person as The Mute, who recently threw a tomahawk right into Peter’s (most likely exposed) sternum? Yes, yes they are. But to get to the bottom of the Benefactor, we have to go through that Lydia scene first… you know the one. The one where she breaks down to Mason (Khylin Rhambo)—the only freshman who seems to be up to no bad—after spilling red wine on the white carpet upstairs. The one where you checked your TV three times to see if the sound was working correctly because Mason and Lydia were having a full conversation without your audio-participation.

NEXT: Lydia said what, now?

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