Series: Teen Wolf

Main cast of Season 4. From left to right: Malia Tate, Stiles Stilinski, Lydia Martin, Scott McCall, Kira Yukimura, Derek Hale, Liam Dunbar.

Be a man. Be a wolf. Not a Teen Wolf. Be a werewolf.
Stiles

Teen Wolf was revamped in 2011 by MTV, and focuses more on the drama and angst of being a werewolf. A few of the elements of the story have been changed and this series tries to take a different route from the original. Starring Tyler Posey as Scott, this Teen Wolf takes a Darker and Edgier feel to it. The series revolves around social outcast Scott McCall, a young lacrosse-playing student at Beacon Hills High. Scott's life drastically changes when he is bitten by a werewolf, which in turn transforms him into one of these mythical creatures. He must henceforth learn to balance his problematic new identity with his day to day teenage life. The following characters are instrumental to his struggle: Stiles, his best friend; Allison, his girlfriend, who comes from a family that partakes in werewolf hunting; and Derek, a mysterious werewolf. Throughout the show, he strives both to keep his loved ones safe and maintain the relationships and secrets he shares with each person around him.

The theme of "finding your place" is a prevalent undertone that is mirrored by the pack mentality of the werewolves. Lycanthropy is used as a metaphor for adolescence—-disconcerting body changes, alarming and hard-to-control urges, etc. - while packs can stand both for cults and gangs on the negative, and close-knit families and circles of friends on the positive side.

Has a Character Sheet. It's unlocked again albeit this may be temporary. Now has a Recap page!

Seasons 1, 2, 3 and 4 are all available on MTV.com. The series is currently airing it's 5th season and was renewed for a 6th in July 2015.

Spoilers are whited out only for the most recent Season (currently Season 5), so beware.

The TV series contains examples of:

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    A-B 
  • Abandoned Warehouse: Beacon Hills seemingly possesses an extraordinary number of very large, abandoned buildings. These are frequently the scene of supernatural conflicts. In Season 2, Derek and his betas even live in an abandoned subway train.
  • Absurdly Ineffective Barricade: Stiles tried to warn everyone that blocking the door with desks and chairs wouldn't do anything to secure the twenty-foot wall of windows, but gets not now, kiddo'd.
  • Academy of Adventure: Beacon Hills High School has officially become this, but most of the student body is unaware of the supernatural nature of the strange events and murders in town. They also have no idea about the growing number of werewolves among their classmates. Werewolves and other supernatural creatures battle inside the school, human sacrifices are committed on the premises by an evil druid who doubles as the English teacher and the entire school orchestra is possessed during a concert (also by said druid).
    • In Season 4, we have assassins attending classes, mouthless men sneaking around, and a visiting instructor who has some interesting applications for Canine Distemper...
  • Action Girl: Pretty much every female character is this to some degree: Allison, Kate, Erica, Kira, Malia, Kali, so on. Even Melissa gets in on this; only Lydia seems to be immune, but as of the fifth season, Lydia seems to have levelled up from an Action Survivor to a full-fledged Action Girl as well.
  • Adult Fear:
    • Sheriff Stilinski's reaction and horror at Stiles' kidnapping is a very accurate portrayal of every parent's worst nightmare of losing their children.
    • In "Fury", when Matt shoots Scott, Stiles' father is locked in another room when he hears the gunshot. He panics and begins shouting for his son and Scott, not knowing what is happening or who was hurt. Made worse because Scott's mom saw her own son shot and Matt refused to let her go to Scott, despite her pleas.
    • In 3B, things point to Stiles developing the same illness that killed his mother. Fortunately, it turns out to be a trick by the entity who tried to possess him.
    • "Echo House" takes this Up to Eleven when the sheriff must commit Stiles to a mental institution, because he's a very real danger to himself and others.
  • Alliterative Name: The show seems to be a fan of this, even for characters whose full names we don't know: Allison Argent, "Stiles" Stilinski, Melissa McCall, Sheriff Stilinski, Marin Morrell.
  • A Man Is Not a Virgin: Averted with Stiles. And the virgin sacrifices. Possibly played straight with many of the other teenage male characters so far.
  • Angst? What Angst?:
    • Invoked by Scott's father when he says that Scott and his friends are not half as traumatized as they should be over the recent events at school.
    • Subverted with Liam, who actually reacts with fear, anxiety and bad dreams to the things that happen over the course of Season 4.
  • Animal Motifs:
    • Wolves for most of the leads, including those who aren't actually werewolves.
    • Moths for the Darach in season 3A.
    • Fox elements are added in season 3B with the introduction of Kitsunes.
    • Fireflies are associated with druid magic, while houseflies are connected to the Nogitsune.
    • Corvids in Season 5, to creepy effect.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Mountain Ash, which can serve as a general purpose Deflector Shield against supernatural creatures like werewolves and can also be used to prevent someone from turning into a werewolf if consumed before being bitten. However, it is prone to Phlebotinum Breakdown under assault from very powerful supernatural beings.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism:
    • Subverted: Scott has difficulty at first believing that the murderer in Season 3A is a druid, but quickly changes his tune once Stiles reminds him he is a werewolf.
    • Averted: When Lydia starts hearing voices in "Motel California", Allison automatically believes her because of everything else the group has been through.
  • Arc Symbol:
    • The spiral in Season 1, which represents a werewolf vendetta.
    • The triangular triskelion in 3A, which is the calling card for the Alpha Pack, and the tree that appears in the opening credits and Lydia's drawings.
    • The "backwards 5" in 3B, which is actually the Japanese kanji for "self".
    • The Ouroboros, which is used as a sigil by the Dread Doctors in Season 5.
  • Arc Words:
    • "The Sun, the Moon, the truth" in Season 4.
    • "They are coming. They are coming for all of us." in Season 5.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Chris Argent's "rabid dog" speech in S01E04. For starters: the bats in the United States and Canada ARE occasionally born with rabies, but they're all microchiroptera — which feed on insects and do not willingly approach other species. It is unlikely to that a dog would have contracted rabies from a bat bite anywhere in the upper part of North America. The so-called "vammpire bat" (which generally preys on livestock) is in Central and South America. The rabid behavior he describes is also false.
  • Artistic License – Pharmacology: Most varieties of wolfsbane, or aconite, are actually quite poisonous to humans. On the show, they'll only cause hallucinations for humans, but have various different effects on werewolves, from letting them hallucinate to sedating them to killing them outright.
  • Artistic License – Medicine: Lydia kisses Stiles to stop his panic attack, which wouldn't work in Real Life.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: When Scott and Stiles try to tell Jackson that Lydia might be turning into a werewolf, his response warrants this reaction from Stiles.
    Jackson: Turning?
    Scott: Yeah, turning.
    Jackson: Into?
    Stiles: A unicorn. What do you think, dumbass?
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Allison and Kira have a memorable moment battling the possessed twins and Isaac in De-Void. They even switch their signature weapons.
  • Badass In Charge:
    • All Alphas and all leaders to the hunter clans count as this.
    • Derek when he is an Alpha in Seasons 2 and 3A. Also in Monstrous, despite being a beta and having lost all his werewolf powers.
    • Scott, who is a True Alpha as of season three.
  • Bad Black Barf:
    • Happens to werewolves when they are poisoned with wolfsbane or supernatural weapons, as seen when Derek is shot early in season 1 or when the twins are shot with wolfsbane bullets in season 3B.
    • In Season 2, Jackson vomits similar-looking black fluid briefly, which serves as a sign that he's not transforming into a werewolf as planned.
    • Gerard by the bucketload after being bitten by Derek. He had been consuming cancer medication laced with mountain ash without knowing it, leading to a magical chain reaction between the werewolf virus and what is essentially Anti-werewolf powder. When we see him again in Visionary, he still has black fluid leaking from his nose and mouth.
    • Poor Paige in "Visionary", after their body rejects the werewolf bite.
    • Also Aiden after being lethally wounded by one of the Oni.
    • Tracey in "Parasomnia", just after Mrs. Martin tells her that her Night Terrors are perfectly normal. This barf also has crow feathers mixed in with it.
  • Bash Brothers:
    • Scott/Stiles, Scott/Isaac and Scott/Derek. Scott and Stiles are Heterosexual Lifepartners, and he comes to consider both Isaac and Derek brothers over the course of the show. He knows all of them would have his back in battle.
    • Ethan and Aiden are a literal example.
  • Battle Couple:
    • Scott and Allison in season 1 and 2. One is a werewolf with superhuman abilities (Scott) and one is a badass werewolf hunter (Allison) born into a Badass Family with a Secret Legacy. They would often fight side by side during battles and missions.
    • As of season 3, Scott and Kira are shaping to be this, as Scott is an Alpha and Kira is a badass kitsune.
    • In Season 4 we get Derek and Braeden, complete with Back-to-Back Badasses.
  • Battle in the Rain:
    • Between Scott, Kira, and the Oni in "Letharia Vulpina". There's one in the snow as well in "The Divine Move".
    • Kira gets another one in "Monstrous," defending two werewolves against rogue hunters.
  • Bedlam House: Eichen House Asylum is an example of this, with creepy orderlies, mysterious suicides, and supernatural inmates locked away in high-security cells.
  • Bi the Way: Caitlin, the girlfriend of Emily, one of the Darach's victims. Also Lydia's grandmother Lorraine.
  • Big Bad/Big Bad Ensemble: Similar to other shows in this genre, each season has at least one.
    • In Season 1, Scott and the others deal with a mysterious Alpha werewolf who turns out to be Derek's Evil Uncle Peter. Additionally, there is Allison's aunt Kate, who is responsible for the death of Derek's family.
    • In Season 2, it looks to be the Kanima, but the role goes to Gerard Argent, Chris's father and Allison's grandfather. The Kanima is however The Heavy. There's also Matt, who was the Kanima Master, before becoming Disc One Final Boss.
    • In Season 3A, it's the Darach, a dark druid. She is revealed to be the new English teacher, Jennifer Blake, whose real name is Julia Baccari. There's also Deucalion and his Alpha Pack, until Deucalion offers to help Scott defeat their common foe, Jennifer, if he joins his pack, and Julia assumes the role of the seasons Final Boss.
    • In Season 3B, it's the Nogitsune, a void kitsune who takes possession of Stiles.
    • In Season 4, its Kate Argent, who returns to Beacon Hills as a werejaguar, wanting revenge on Scott and his friends due to Allison's death, which she blames them for. Midway through the season, Kate is offered a partnership from Peter Hale and the two of them begin working together as a Big Bad Duumvirate. Additionally we have The Benefactor, who is a Big Bad for a portion of the season, only to become Disc One Final Boss.
      • The Man Behind the Man: In a way. The Benefactor's deadpool was Peter's idea, back when he was going insane from pain while lying in a coma. A mentally vulnerable Meredith listened to his ravings for months on end.
    • In Season 5, its the Dread Doctors and Theo, the latter whom has a motive of being in Scott's pack by any means necessary and the former being Outside Context Villains with a motive that exists to create new supernatural creatures.
  • Big Bad Friend: In Season 3B, Stiles is possessed by an evil fox spirit known as the Nogitsune.
  • The Big Bad Wolf: The Alpha in Season 1. In true fairy-tale like style, he's the season's Big Bad, nigh-indestructible and psychopathic.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Stiles and Lydia kiss in "Alpha Pact" complete with appropriate lighting, angles, and background music. Subverted when they don't get together afterwards: Lydia continues dating Aiden and Stiles hooks up with Malia later in the season.
    • Scott and Kira's first kiss also subverts this trope, despite their feelings for each other being much less ambiguous than the previous pairing's — it's chaste and anticlimactic, the complete opposite of how both wanted it to go. Later on, they have a proper Big Damn Kiss.
  • Big "OMG!": Stiles, in regards to not being able to help Scott out at sneaking over a fence, Batman style. Actually, he pretty much goes "OH MY GOD" all the time. In every episode.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: In the Pilot, Scott's mother worries about him having a new girlfriend, and says she won't be on "some show with a pregnant teenager." Teen Mom also airs on MTV.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: In Season 2, Erica's the blonde, Allison's the brunette, and Lydia's the redhead.
    Stiles: "[Lydia's] hair's actually strawberry blonde."
  • Bolivian Army Ending: Season Two ends with the already-weakened werewolves Erica and Boyd surrounded by the Alpha pack, who appear to be itching for a fight.
  • Bottle Episode:
    • "Night School", takes place...well, in the high school at night. It has Scott, Stiles, Lydia, Allison and Jackson form a temporary alliance while trying to evade the Alpha.
    • The third season's "Motel California" similarly traps the students at a motel while the deadly events happen.
    • Season 4's "Weaponized" quarantines most of the main characters in the school due to a virus outbreak - together with the assassin who orchestrated said outbreak.
  • Bound and Gagged: The hunters like using this method. For example Chris had himself and Allison bound up and gagged as a training exercise and Gerard did this to Erica and Boyd once they'd been captured.
  • Break the Cutie: Multiple characters, notably Scott in Season 1, Allison in Season 2 when her mom dies, and Stiles in Season 3, when he is possessed by an evil spirit. A big part of many backstories, such as Derek's (who had to kill his first love and inadvertedly helped the second one murder his family) and Isaac's (who was abused by his father).
  • Brick Joke:
    • A dramatic use of one. Throughout the first season, all the werewolf incidents are dismissed as mountain lion attacks. In "The Tell", the school parent teacher conference seems to be under attack by the alpha. Turns out after Mr. Argent shoots it, it was a mountain lion.
    • Scott attempts to literally sniff out the other werewolf on his lacrosse team. He crashes into his teammates, causing them to fall so that they are in one place long enough to smell them. When he falls on top of Danny, Danny says, "It's Armani," referring to his aftershave. Scott flirtatiously says, "It's nice." Viewers are left to simply see this scene as Fanservice until four episodes later, when Scott is chasing down the Kanima using his sense of smell, and realizes he smells... Armani. It leads him to realize that the Kanima is seeking out Danny.
  • Buffy Speak: Many of the characters use this on occasion, but Stiles is by far the worst offender during his Motor Mouth tangents.
  • Bullet Seed: A variation where Stiles can spit a highlighter cap to the ceiling of a classroom (and then catch it).
  • Bullets Do Not Work That Way / Pretty Little Headshots: In Season 4, Agent McCall shoots an assassin into the back of his head to keep him from killing Stiles. In reality, the bullet would also have hit the person he is trying to save.

    C-D 
  • California Doubling: Inverted in the first two seasons: the show takes place in Northern California, but was then shot in Atlanta. After the show won a lottery rewarding it tax credit for shooting in California, principal photography moved back to Los Angeles, subverting the trope from Season 3 onwards.
  • Call Back:
    • The school principal demands that whatever happened in the library be fixed, and also demands, "And what... the bloody hell... is this?"... holding up Gerard's sword.
    • In "117", Malia highlights the same way Stiles does (as in, everything). The same episode also has Stiles refer to Derek as "cousin Miguel from Mexico" just as he did in season 1 with Danny.
    • When Liam is turned into a werewolf, Scott spends "The Benefactor" failing to communicate with him exactly the same way Derek did with Scott in season 1, up to regurgitating random useless and faintly alarming quotations. The issue is resolved in a scene where Chris Argent shoots at the new werewolf when he and Scott crouch against a tree, a scene-perfect recreation of a shot from the first season with Scott and Derek—though the ammo is nonlethal this time, and Chris is a friend. It's a "the more things change" kind of episode.
    • In "Smoke and Mirrors", Kira has a vision/hallucination of her mother, who helps her calm down and focus to activate her healing. In "Motel California", Allison used a memory of her mother to help her focus.
  • Cast Full of Pretty Boys: Most of the guys in the show range from drop-dead gorgeous to just very, very pretty. Examples include Scott, Stiles, Derek, Jackson, Danny, Boyd, Isaac, Aiden, Ethan, Parrish, etc. Depending on your type, you could add in Chris Argent, Peter Hale, Sheriff Stilinski, Agent McCall, Deaton, random extras on set...
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Stiles points out that the events occurring in "Motel California" are similar to the party where Lydia unintentionally poisoned everyone with wolfsbane. While he's saying it to explain his fears that someone might be manipulating her again, it actually foreshadows that the wolves present were doused with wolfsbane hidden inside the coach's whistle, which is why they're hallucinating.
    • After noticing the deep claw marks in the back of Jackson's neck, Kate asks Chris if it's possible for a werewolf to turn someone from a scratch. Chris comments that it is possible, if the claws go deep enough. That was in season one. During the Cliff Hanger of season 3, it turns out that this method was able to turn somebody after all: Kate Argent herself.
    • The Kanima's venom shows up a few times in season 3B to harmlessly subdue people, until it's finally used on possessed Stiles.
    • After the Nemeton is reactivated due to the events of Season 3A, Deaton mentions that it will draw supernatural beings to Beacon Hills, acting as a beacon. One episode later, the Yukimuras show up, who turn out to be a Human-Kitsune family. And then, another few episodes later, Sheriff Stilinski's newest deputy Parrish mentions that he came to Beacon Hills because he felt drawn there. In Season 4, Parrish does turn out to be supernatural, without having known about it himself.
    • In Echo House, Stiles has to spend time at Eichen House Asylum. Shortly after he arrives, a patient kills himself, which happens regularly, as another patient tells Stiles. In Season 4 we discover that one of the orderlies is a serial killer, who disguises his murders as suicides.
    • One that was cocked way before it went off: in the parent-teacher-conference shown in Season 1, Lydia's father wonders seemingly out of the blue if Lydia behaves strange and erratic at school. In Season 4, it turns out that Lydia's grandmother behaved like this due to her own banshee powers, leading her son to believe his daughter inherited her "mental illness".
    • And in a case of Chekhov's Bomb rather than Chekhov's Gun, one of the assassins in Season 4 tries to blow up Derek and the Sheriff with a claymore mine. It's defused and put into the Sheriff Department's lock up, only to be used by the Sheriff to kill a Berserker in the finale.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • The first two episodes of season 3B are spent trying to find Malia Tate, a werecoyote who accidentally killed her mother and sister when she first transformed. Six episodes later she reappears in the same asylum where Stiles is staying, and then is revealed to be Peter Hale's daughter.
    • In "The Wolf And The Fox", we're introduced to Satomi, a Japanese werewolf imprisoned in an internment camp in World War II. In season 4, we find out that after losing control there, she devised the Arc Words "The sun, the moon, the truth" as a mantra to help werewolves maintain control.
    • In the season 5 premier, Kira's parents make an offhand reference to The Wild Hunt. Genre Savvy viewers would expect this to tie into the arc of the season, but it's seemingly innocuous until "Status Asthmaticus", when Lydia remembers the story and digs deeper into it, discovering that Parrish is a member of it - specifically, a Hellhound.
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: Stiles' smile from Frayed.
  • Comic-Book Time: If we are to go by the date on a newspaper at the end of season 1 that says it's 2011, season 4 should be in early 2012 judging from how the school years have been. However, in season 2, it seems to be 2012 judging by how much time is said to have passed since a certain class graduated. In other words, each season seems to be in Present Day; the show is on a sliding timescale.
  • Conspicuous CG: In the pilot episode, we're treated to a sequence of stampeding deer as well as quick shots of a werewolf.
  • Cool Bike: Scott's motorcycle. It's definitely an upgrade for Scott considering that he was either getting around in Stiles' Jeep or on a regular bike.
  • Cool Car: Derek's 2010 Chevrolet Camaro and Stiles' Jeep CJ-7.
  • Creepy Crows: Dramatically disrupting the first day of the year at the Beacon Hills High School by breaking a classroom window and attacking those inside.
  • Crossover Cosmology: The first season was basic werewolf lore, but after that many different mythologies were drawn into the show.
    • Aztec Mythology: The Kanima, though entirely fictional, is based on several different South American superstitions tied together, mainly those around werejaguars. An actual werejaguar appears in season 4 and brings with it a lot of mythology entered around the Nahuatl and Tezcatlipoca. Then there are the berserkers, which are a hybrid of Aztec and Norse mythology.
    • Celtic Mythology: Mainly featured in season 3A with the introduction of druids (emissaries for packs) and the darach (druids' Evil Counterpart). It also established the Nemeton, a World Tree and beacon for supernatural beings. Later in season 5, Stiles and Lydia see a Sluagh locked in Eichen House - Valack explains that it takes the form of lost souls.
    • Classical Mythology: The origin of werewolves comes from the myth of King Lycaon, who was turned into a wolf by Zeus as punishment. In the show his followers suffered this fate as well, and they all sought refuge with the druids.
    • Japanese Mythology: Heavily featured in season 3B, as it introduces Oni and Kitsune of various types (including the Nogitsune).
    • Native American Mythology: Wendi's appear briefly in season 4.
    • Norse Mythology: Chris mentions fighting berserkers in a conversation with Sheriff Stilinski, who were kids that channeled uncontrollable animal spirits and got lost in the change. Actual berserkers appear in season 4 utilizing jaguar bones to channel the spirits. When Lydia researches The Wild Hunt the book also refers to it as "Woden's Hunt".
    • Satanism: Possibly, as Beelzebub appeared in the Argent bestiary as a Lord of the Flies.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Averted and subverted throughout the show, as there are werewolves who are more good/neutral, werewolves who are bad, creatures that are involuntarily evil, people that are purely evil, and so on. Taken Up to Eleven by the Oni from Season 3. They get played up as unstoppable villains in their first few appearances, but it is revealed that they are actually a force of nature tracking down something much, much worse.
  • Darker and Edgier: Than the '85 movie.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Derek, via Dead Family, and eventually, ripped-in-half older sister. Also, Isaac, Liam, and a whole bunch of the villains (naturally).
  • Deadpan Snarker: The whole cast in spades; Stiles and Isaac in particular, though Melissa and the Sheriff easily outsnark all of them.
  • Designated Girl Fight: Played With. Most of the shows combatants usually fight whomever is of equal power to them regardless of gender. That being said, while the female fighters do usually face off with each other, it isn't because their both girls. Only 1 example plays straight and that is when Allison faces off against Erica in the episode 'Venomous'.
  • Discriminate and Switch: Sorta. In one episode, Scott is banned from a school dance, shows up anyways, and when his coach starts chasing him, he comes across an openly gay classmate and convinces him to dance with him. When the coach catches up to him and starts yelling, the whole gym thinks he's yelling about the two boys dancing together rather than the fact Scott isn't supposed to be at the dance. Also a scene showing Scott's intelligence, especially since he came up with that ON THE FLY.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Danny never stood a chance with a shirtless Derek in the room. Invoked because Stiles is actually making him change shirts.
  • Druid: Introduced in Season 3, they are revealed to be advisers, or "Emissaries", to werewolf packs, like Deaton and Morrell. One of the villains in season 3 is a dark druid, aka a "Darach", who performs human sacrifices to gain new powers.

    E-F 
  • Enemy Mine:
    • Scott, Allison, Chris, and Kate versus the Alpha in the season one finale.
    • Then Peter with Derek versus Gerard and Kanima!Jackson in season two (Although it's really more "cheering Derek on" then "joining Derek in the fight.")
    • After the Darach kidnaps Sheriff Stilinski and Melissa McCall, Scott joins the Alpha Pack.
    • The Calaveras temporarily align with Scott's pack because it means getting the resurrected Kate out of Mexico. Araya is quite clear that if Scott ever turns an innocent, then the truce is over and she'll come for him.
    • In the Season 4 finale they join forces with Chris Argent and Parrish and function as The Cavalry. They've also made a deal with Chris to leave the supernaturals in Beacon Hills alone, if he helps them catch Kate.
  • Evil vs. Evil:
    • In Season 1, it's the Alpha vs. Kate Argent. Peter (the Alpha) almost kills Kate near the end of the season.
    • In Season 2, it's the Kanima and its master vs. Gerard Argent. Gerard kills the first master, Matt, and takes control of the Kanima for himself.
    • In Season 3A, it's the Alpha Pack versus the Darach. Jennifer, the Darach, heals Deucalion's eyes but is unable to kill him. Deucalion attacks her but she manages to escape.
    • In Season 4 it's Kate Argent and Peter Hale against the Benefactor. the Benefactor is defeated midway through the season, and the assume the roles of Big Bad Duumvirate.
  • Exceptionally Tolerant: See Discriminate and Switch above. Beacon Hills High School is clearly at the forefront when it comes to opposing homophobia.
  • Extra-Strength Masquerade: Beacon Hills, full stop. Werewolves and other supernatural creatures battle each other, frequently inside the high school or the hospital. Human sacrifices happen left and right. People get shredded by werewolves and kanimas. Flocks of birds smash through windows and kill themselves. The entire high school orchestra gets possessed in the middle of a performance! Yet most people think that Beacon Hills is just a pleasant town with an oddly high number of accidental deaths, murders and/or wildlife attacks. Ironically, the heroes are the only ones making any effort to cover up what is going on, and usually from specific people rather than the whole town. Near the end of season 3, though, it becomes evident that it's closer to a Buffy-level masquerade: most people know that Beacon Hills actually features quite a lot of strange occurrences, and some - such as Danny - have long since figured out what's going on.
  • Eye Colour Change: Alpha's have red eyes. Betas have orange/topaz eyes, which change to blue once they've taken an innocent life. Kitsunes have flame-colored eyes, werejaguars have green eyes, wendigos have blank white eyes, and Parrish has reddish-orange eyes. In all cases, their eyes change to show they're powering up.
  • Fingore: Happens when Peter falls victim to the Calaveras' Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique.
  • Follow the Leader: To Twilight and The Vampire Diaries. Might even have some influence of Smallville and The Walking Dead and lately, Hannibal.
  • Foreshadowing: Each season's opening sequence (aside from season 1, which didn't have one) is basically nothing but this.
  • Fountain of Youth: Enforced in the first episode of Season 4 when Derek is cocooned by Kate in an old church, only to be discovered as a teenager when Scott and Braeden show up to rescue him.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampires: The Werewolf variety. Scott and his pack. Derek, despite extreme grumpiness and No Social Skills. Talia Hale and Deucalion, back in the day. And in Season 4, Satomi and her pack really just want to be left alone and lead a quiet life away from hunters and other dangerous creatures (which doesn't work, naturally).
  • Functional Magic: Basically absent from seasons one and two, where the only supernatural phenomena explicitly depicted were mainly related to werewolves. With druids taking more of a center stage in season three, actual spellcasting, possibly Rule Magic and/or Theurgy (with a healthy dose of Blood Magic for flavoring), has been introduced.

    G-H 
  • Gay Bar Reveal: When Scott and Stiles pursue the Kanima into the Jungle.
    Scott: Dude! Everyone in here's a dude! I think we're in a gay club!
    Stiles: [surrounded by drag queens] Man, nothing gets past those keen werewolf senses, huh Scott?
  • Genre Blind: There's at least one Horror Movie Stupidity Cliche in any given episode. The first episode takes the cake, though. Two teenagers— one of whom is asthmatic— search for the other half of a corpse. At night. In the woods.
  • Genre Savvy:
    • In Season 1, Stiles is much more aware than Scott of the 'rules' governing werewolves and chides him for not recognizing wolfsbane.
    • When Stiles notices that Scott is showing signs of being a werewolf, he proceeds to read what seems to be all available info on werewolves online and in the library.
    • Derek parodies this when he talks to Scott in the second episode.
    Derek: Do you think your little buddy, Stiles, can just look up werewolves and now you've got all the answers?
    • In the sixth episode, Stiles tries to do experiments with Scott's heart-rate by throwing Lacrosse balls at him.
    • in the season finale:
    Scott: Don't say it was too easy. Whenever someone says it was too easy bad things happen.
    • When Erica and Boyd are in the woods in Season 2, Boyd stops because he thinks he heard something. Erica points out that that means they should run, not stop.
    • Season 4: In "I.E.D.", a pair of assassins are discussing which werewolf to kill, a beta or Scott. When one mentions that Scott would fetch more on the hitlist, the other points out Scott has taken on a pack of alphas and been the last one standing.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • Out bowling, Lydia bowls a perfect frame, after a game of lackluster throws. Allison tells her she should stop sucking for Jackson's benefit.
    Lydia: Believe me, I do plenty of sucking for his benefit.
    • Another instance in the second episode, again with Lydia when she was talking to Scott about him not playing.
    Lydia: I prefer my boyfriend to be at peak performance.
    • In the season 2 opener, Stiles and Scott try to persuade Jackson to help them search for a missing Lydia who they believe is becoming a werewolf. Jackson tells them to worry about the search party instead.
    Jackson: You've got this all backwards McCall. When I was with Lydia, you should've seen the scratch marks she left on me.
    • In the eleventh episode of season 2, when Coach Finstock is finally going to let Stiles into a lacrosse game.
    Stiles: I'm playing? On the field? With the team?
    Finstock: Yes! Unless you'd rather play with yourself!
    Stiles: I already did that today. Twice.
    • In the seventh episode of season 3, Allison and Scott end up hiding in a closet, standing face-to-face closely together, resulting in him getting a bit excited. Apparently he has less control over that than he does over his werewolf transformations. Allison chastises him and turns around, which causes him to remark that that only makes it worse...
  • The Ghost: Greenberg, a member of the lacrosse team who possibly may only exist in the mind of Coach Finstock.
  • Go: A rather important element of season 3B.
    • Satomi, one of Noshiko's fellow inmates in the Oak Creek internment camp, is constantly playing Go to keep herself calm and conceal her werewolf nature.
    • The Nogitsune holds Stiles captive in his own mind by forcing him to play an endless game of Go.
    • Noshiko explains to Kira and the rest of the group the strategy of the Nogitsune, Scott's pack, and herself using the game.
    • Finally, the Season 3 finale is titled "The Divine Move" and features a version of such a move.
  • Gosh Darn It to Heck!: Arguably played by Scott under the effects of wolfsbane in Season 1.
    Stiles: Scott, you okay?
    Scott: No. I'm so far from okay, right now!
    • Surprisingly averted in quite a few instances, particularly in the first and sixth episodes.
    Scott: Son of a bitch!
    Stiles: You're the one always bitching that nothing happens in this town.
  • Heel-Face Turn: Redemption is a recurring theme.
    • Chris Argent has come a long way from being hostile towards werewolves by default to now seeing some of them as valuable allies, and being willing to protect whole packs.
    • Isaac starts off his werewolf career as what seems like a potential bad guy, but he gets better.
    • Ethan, who may never have been truly evil in the first place based on Scott's judgment, decides to stop Kali from killing Derek. To get his brother to back him, he recruits Lydia, guessing that Aiden will not be willing to allow Kali to hurt her either. It works.
  • Hell Hotel: In "Motel California;" Coach Finstock decides to put the kids up for the night in the motel with the highest suicide rate in the state. Needless to say, trouble ensues.
  • His Story Repeats Itself: Derek has first-hand experience and reasoning as to why he thinks Scott shouldn't date an Argent. Additionally, both their First Loves died in their arms.
  • Homoerotic Subtext: Quite a bit between Scott and Stiles, in the traditional best-friend type. He seems utterly unfazed by Stiles coming in his window, hanging off his roof, etc.
    Stiles (to Scott): Do you enjoy hurting me?
    • Stiles also has his own copy of the key to the house.
    • Scott has no problem with Stiles walking in on him showering.
    • Stiles wonders if Danny doesn't like him and asks Scott about it, saying, "Am I unattractive to gay guys?" Although Scott completely ignores this. He later asks Danny himself if he finds him attractive.
    • Derek does not care for anyone's personal boundaries. If you slow down any scene which involves Derek getting a little too close... Well...
    • Any scene between Derek and Scott is going to come off this way. In fact, as written, Derek is the Angel to Scott's Buffy.
    • Any scene between Derek and Jackson. Namely when Derek forces Jackson against walls and intimidates him. All of which while Jackson is COMPLETELY naked, except for one flimsy towel around his waist. Did I mention that all of the above takes place in a locker room?
    • Stiles using a shirtless Derek to get Danny to help him.
    Stiles: You may bat for the other team, but you still play ball, don't you, Danny?
    Danny: You're a horrible person.
    • Actually, this happens a lot. Scott pins Danny down and smells him during lacrosse practice, Derek really enjoys pinning Stiles to walls, and the males in this series are just really really touchy-feely.
  • Honey Trap: Used repeatedly, by both female and male characters.
    • Prior to the series, Kate Argent insinuated herself into Derek's life by seducing him for the sole purpose of gathering enough information to murder his entire family.
    • Erica took on this role a couple of times, notably with Stiles and Jackson, with a somewhat low success rate.
    • Ethan and Aiden in Season 3 are also serving as this, seducing Lydia and Danny because one of them might be used as a lever against Scott. Subverted, as both end up falling in love with their mark.
    • Lydia turns the tables, luring Aiden away from Ethan so that Scott and Stiles can ask him some questions. Aiden is surprised that Lydia is willing to have anything to do with him after he helped murder Boyd, but it doesn't prevent him from accepting her advances.
    • Jennifer does this with Derek, both to get his help and because she is infatuated with him.
  • Hotter and Sexier: In comparison to the movie. Sex scenes, gorgeous actors and shameless fanservice out the wazoo.
  • How Many Fingers?:
    • Used by the coach during a particularly brutal lacrosse game.
    • Used again in season 3B to see if someone is dreaming or not.
  • Human To Werewolf Footprints: Except as photographs of a beast-like figure in one, and then a human-like figure in another.
  • Hypocritical Humor: "Can someone in this town stay dead?" Said by Peter, who managed to come Back from the Dead in Season 2, about Kate Argent, who was Not Quite Dead all along.

    I-J 
  • I Am a Monster: Discussed in "Monstrous" when Satomi says that werewolves are inherently violent creatures. Chris Argent agrees, and she retorts "Aren't we all?". Meredith also believes this about all supernaturals, including herself.
  • Idiot Ball: For some unknown reason, Deucalion plans his confrontation with Jennifer to occur right around the time of a lunar eclipse that will render him and all the other werewolves powerless, raising serious questions about his tactical skills.
  • In Name Only: Aside from the title and a few character names (protagonist Scott, best friend "Stiles" Stilinski, coach Bobby Finstock), the series goes well out of its way to be completely different from the original film, specifically tone wise and going for a style similar to The Vampire Diaries.
  • In-Series Nickname: Stiles calls Derek a sourwolf. The fandom took it and ran.
  • Inconvenient Itch: Scott's mom and Sheriff Stilinski while tied up by Jennifer.
  • Intimate Healing:
    • Jennifer has sex with a badly-injured Derek and his wounds begin to miraculously start healing, because by this point she has acquired the power to heal.
    • Lydia kisses Stiles to stop his panic attack. Combined with Artistic Licence Medicine, because that's really not how it should be done in Real Life.

    K-L 
  • Kill It with Fire: The assassins in "Perishable" attempt this with their targets. Deputy Parrish survives it, while Scott, Malia, and Liam are rescued.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Courtesy of Kate Argent, who does not approve of her stooge's lame jokes.
    Kate:A dog joke? Really? You're gonna go there and that's the best you got?
    • Of all the cars in the school's parking lot, Derek stumbles in front of Stiles' in "Magic Bullet".
    Stiles: You've gotta be kidding me, this guy is everywhere.
  • Left the Background Music On: A rare serious and even creepy example in 3.04: Lydia discovers an audio recording of the high school's band teacher being attacked by the killer, and after his body hits the piano keys, the chanting swells seemingly as part of the soundtrack... and then Lydia lowers her head to the speaker, indicating that it's part of the recording she's been listening to.
  • Ley Line: Beacon Hills has unusually strong telluric energy currents running through it, making certain locations appropriate for magical rituals. Unlike traditional ley lines, these currents are not straight lines. Their presence may explain why the city is a Weirdness Magnet.
  • Lightswitch Surprise: A frequent occurrence in Scott's bedroom in the first two seasons. Initially, it's Derek waiting in Scott's chair for Scott to turn on the lights, but eventually Gerard, Isaac, and even Scott manage to surprise someone coming into Scott's bedroom by waiting patiently in the dark.
  • Little Dead Riding Hood
    • Scott is wearing a red hoodie the night he's bitten.
    • An inversion, where the wolf is the one in danger: In Season 2, Scott wears a red hooded shirt the night he's almost killed by Mrs. Argent.
  • Lock and Load Montage:
    • Season 1: Chris Argent and his associates preparing to hunt down Derek, Scott, and the Alpha.
    • Season 2: Allison's preparations to hunt down Derek for the death of her mother.
  • Locked Out of the Loop:
    • Most of the parents and friends are initially locked out of the loop, but are eventually let in on the secret, usually by necessity: by the end of Season 4, all parents except Lydia's parents and Scott's father know, and Agent McCall has figured out something is up and has demanded an explanation.
    • Subverted with Danny, who has been aware of the supernatural for an unknown period of time, and even knows about Beacon Hills being a Weirdness Magnet.
    • Kira used to be Locked Out of the Loop about her mother's true nature, until her own kitsune powers manifested.
    • Deputy Parrish figured out that something was going on, but came to the wrong conclusions, believing for instance that Lydia was psychic. He also didn't know he was supernatural himself.

    M-N 
  • Made of Iron: Justified for werewolves and other supernatural creatures. Their bodies naturally have a much more powerful Healing Factor than humans.
  • Magic Pants: Zigzagged. Aiden and Ethan need to take their shirts off before merging, but their pants aren't a problem. On the other hand, werewolves who can turn into a full animal form have to take off their clothes before transformation and change back completely naked.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Subverted with Coach Finstock when he gets shot in the abdomen by an arrow. His first response is a deadpan "aw crap". Then he begins to freak out about dying.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The entirety of "Motel California" thrives in this. Throughout the episode, a couple of people including Scott, undergo visions of their haunted past and present and hearing voices as well, making some of the others to believe that the hotel is haunted since it was site a few grisly murders. As it turns out, the werewolves were purposefully poisoned with wolfsbane, while Lydia experienced a surge of her burgeoning powers.
  • Meaningful Echo:
    • Scott said it to Allison at the formal, then after the fight, the exchange is reversed.
      Allison: Why did you do that?
      Scott: Because I love you.
    • Allison echoing Kate by shouting "COME ON!" to goad an unseen adversary foreshadows how very like Kate she'll become under Gerard's influence after her mother's death.
    • In "The Benefactor", Scott reassures Liam after he's been changed into a werewolf by telling him "You're not a monster, you're a werewolf. Like me." In "Smoke and Mirrors", Liam repeats the same words to Scott to change him backafter he's been turned into a Berserker by Kate.
  • Meaningful Name: The town's name, Beacon Hills, is revealed to be entirely descriptive. When active, the Nemeton acts as a "beacon" drawing energy from telluric currents, which attracts supernatural creatures.
  • Metaphorically True: A lot of the lies and half-truths that Scott and Stiles have been using to hide the werewolves would fall into this category. Stiles even gets caught in an Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap! moment by his father when the alibis start blending together.
    Sheriff Stilinski: So you lied to me?
    Stiles: That depends on how you define lying.
    Sheriff Stilinski: Well, I define it as not telling the truth, how do you define it?
    Stiles: Pff...reclining your body in a horizontal position.
  • Mistaken for Prank Call: The Alpha in Season 1 makes sure this will happen. The call—someone is breaking into the high school—would not normally have been ignored as such, except there was an anonymous tip-off telling the Sheriff's office that there would be prank calls on that very topic.
  • Mr. Fanservice: All the younger male characters - with the exception of Stiles - seem to spend an oddly significant amount of their time shirtless, but Derek is heading into Taylor Lautner territory.
    • The scene in Season 2 when Derek hallucinates himself naked in the big empty white space for no apparent reason? It was literally added because Tyler Hoechlin had bulked up for the second season and he was surprised he didn't have any shirtless scenes.
    • The characters are actually aware of it in-universe. Stiles manages to get Danny to trace a text by making Derek go shirtless in front of him.
  • Muggle Born of Mages: Lycanthropy runs in families, but it's confirmed in the fourth season that werewolves can also have human children.
  • Muggles Do It Better: Werewolf hunters can be extremely effective and deadly in their usage of modern weapons and technology. Season 4 proves that human assassins are pretty good, too.
  • Never Mess with Granny:
    • Araya Calavera, the iron-fisted leader of the Calavera hunters.
    • On the werewolf side, we have Satomi Ito, who not only dispatches gun-toting assassins, but taught herself how to control her rage through mantras and playing go.
  • Never My Fault: Isaac's father, the swim coach of Beacon Hills High, takes this Up to Eleven. It does get him killed in the end.
  • Nothing Exciting Ever Happens Here: In the pilot, this is what motivates Stiles and Scott to go into the woods looking for half a body in the middle of the night. This, of course, leads to Scott getting bitten.
    Stiles: You're the one bitching that nothing happens in this town.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Unsurprisingly happens a lot. For instance, Sheriff Stilinski catches Stiles and his girlfriend Malia with chains in the fourth season and gets the wrong idea, a Call Back to a similar scene with Scott.
  • No Ontological Inertia:
    • The Darach's magical storm and earthquake immediately cease when she is killed.
    • The magical wounds inflicted by the Oni begin to heal as soon as the Nogitsune is defeated.
  • No Periods, Period: Averted with female werewolves.
    Peter: Don't feel bad. If she lives, she'll become a werewolf. She'll be incredibly powerful.
    Stiles: Yeah, and once a month she'll go out of her freakin' mind and try to tear me apart.
    Peter: Well, actually, considering that she's a woman...twice a month.
    • A dialogue in Season 2 gives us this lovely exchange:
    Derek: There's a price you pay for this kind of power. You get the ability to heal; but tonight you're going to want to kill anything you can find.
    Erica: Good thing I had my period last week, then.
  • Nobody Poops: Averted. Erica admits that she's wet herself during a seizure at least once. And this one is not Played for Laughs, though her classmates didn't seem to agree.

    O-P 

  • Off with His Head!: One of the assassins hunting supernatural creatures in season 4 (Violet) uses a thermo-cut wire that can burn through necks while choking someone.
  • Our Banshees Are Louder: Lydia. Season 3B introduces Meredith; Season 4 reveals that Lydia's grandmother Lorraine was also a banshee. Being a banshee comes with the ability to sense death and a piercing scream. In this universe, banshees scream to drown out noises that might distract them from listening on a psychic wavelength only they can hear. They can also use their scream to purposefully hurt other supernaturals.
  • Our Werebeasts Are Different: While werewolves are the primary focus of the series, more shapeshifters have appeared as the series progresses, all of which have ties to werewolves and many of the same perks.
    • The Kanima that is created by a mutation of the werewolf bite, with quite a few differences:
    • Werecoyotes, such as Peter Hale's daughter Malia, seem to be more similar, if not identical to werewolves.
    • Werejaguars like Kate Argent - due to being scratched by an alpha - are introduced in Season 4. They have black spots and blue skin, as well as glowing green eyes.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: So much that there is a whole separate page with tropes for them.
  • Overcrank: The show abuses slow motion to an almost criminal degree, not only applying it to scenes where it would normally be necessary, such as super-fast werewolf battles, but to almost every moment with even the slightest dramatic significance that does not use dialogue for emphasis instead.
  • Parental Issues: Each and every one of the main characters has this to varying degrees.
    • Scott's dad left when he was very young; when he returns in Season 3, Scott takes quite a while to warm up to him.
    • Stiles' mom died, and he seems to blame himself for it.
    • When Lydia's parents divorced, her father forced her to choose which one of them she wanted to live with. She does get along well with her mother, though.
    • Derek, obviously, since most of his family were killed by rogue hunters.
    • Jackson was adopted and has never met his birth parents, leading to an almost pathological need to prove himself.
    • Allison's parents are Happily Married, but also werewolf hunters, who prove dangerous to her new friends. And then her mother commits suicide after being bitten by an alpha werewolf, which her grandfather uses to turn her against werewolves in general.
    • Malia appears to have accidentally killed her mother and younger sister, and her father seems shattered from years of believing his whole family had died. Then it turns out she was adopted, and she's actually the biological child of Peter Hale, and an unknown woman who calls herself the Desert Wolf and seems to be an assassin hunted by the US government , leading to a whole new level of this.
    • Kira stands out as the lone aversion among the protagonists; while her mother is a nigh-immortal kitsune who is responsible for the events of Season 3B and her dad is an amazingly embarrassing teacher, they're obviously quite a stable family.
  • Place of Power: The Nemeton. Activated, it works as a beacon, that draws supernatural creatures to the town and county of Beacon Hills.
  • Police Are Useless: The Beacon Hills Sheriff Department is rather ill-equipped to deal with the massive surge of supernatural crime in the first few seasons. It gets a little better after Sheriff Stilinski - and later on Deputy Parrish - is brought into the fault.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Invoked in-universe in Season 2: Scott claims that the main reason why all of the characters are having so many problems is that nobody trusts anyone else, and keeps vital information from others, which will end up in someone dying eventually. He is certainly proven right, too: Allison falling under her grandfather's thrall and becoming obsessed with hunting down Derek and his betas after her mother's suicide likely wouldn't have happened, if anyone had told her that Victoria had only been bitten because Derek tried to keep her from killing Scott.
  • Precision F-Strike:
    Allison:I thought you were psychic, bitch.
  • Product Placement: Everyone in Beacon Hills shops at Macy's. Everyone. They also really like Canon cameras, Apple computers, Samsung phones, Adidas clothing, and Pandora. Cool Alpha werewolves favor Ice Breakers as a way to combat dog breath. Occasionally they are subtle, but often fairly obvious, making sure to show closeups of the products and their labels.
  • Professional Killer: Season 4 sees a bunch of assassins arriving in town.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!:
    • "Give me...the bottle...of Jack."
    • "We. Are. Closed."
    • "I! Am! The! DEMON WOLF!"
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: Arden Cho (Kira) and Shelley Hennig (Malia) in season 4.

    Q-R 
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Every member of Derek's pack was a confirmed misfit before being turned into a werewolf. Scott's "pack" counts as well, containing at various points werewolves, were coyotes, kitsune and banshees, as much as nerdy outsiders and werewolf hunters.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Stiles always gets up to some serious shenanigans like stealing police property and kidnapping one of his fellow students... which then causes his dad, the town Sheriff, to lose his job.
    • Scott always misses out on school due to being a werewolf... which causes him to have terrible grades and risk being held back a year.
    • The Beacon Hills police, specifically Sheriff Stilinski, have a lot of trouble closing cases due to most homicides having to do with the supernatural - which the police obviously have no experience with. At the start of season 3B, Agent McCall is looking to impeach the sheriff due to his seeming inability to do his job.
    • In "The Fox and the Wolf":
    Sheriff Stilinski: I don't know how you guys do it. You're all so strong. You're fearless. Hell, you manage to keep your grades up.
    Allison: Well, I'm failing Econ.
    • Thanks to all the damage it took in Season 3, the hospital is starting to have money issues.
    • Likewise, Sheriff Stilinski is having trouble paying off the debt he owes to Eichen House in Season 4 after Stiles was placed there in the previous season.
    • Lydia's mother is getting a job as a teacher and plans to sell off her mother-in-law's weekend house due to money issues caused by her recent divorce.
    • An assassin is poised to shoot Stiles, and Agent McCall is forced to shoot him first. In the next episode, we see him going through the procedures to prove that lethal force was necessary in that situation, and he has to leave town for review.
    • All the supernatural dangers take their toll on newly turned werewolf Liam, who suffers from anxiety and nightmares as a result.
  • The Red Baron: Season 4 introduces several professional assassins that mostly go by monikers like The Mute, The Orphans, and The Chemist. They are apparently so well known that even the FBI has heard of some of them. Peter told Meredith about them as well. The Desert Wolf deserves a special mention, given that she's Malia's mother.
  • Red Herring: A plot necessity for this kind of show. Red Herrings for the Alpha in Season 1 included Deaton and Mr. Harris, the chemistry teacher, who was also a Red Herring for the kanima's master in Season 2. Season 3 had a handful of possible Darachs and possession victims, while Season 4 had a whole slew of characters act as Red Herrings for the Benefactor.
  • Rule of Three: Appears at various points throughout the show.
    • Derek's Triskelion tattoo, which specifically represents the three types of werewolf: Alpha, Beta, and Omega.
    • The Stilinski saying about incidents: "One is an accident, two is a coincidence, three is a pattern."
    • Invoked by Lydia in the Season 3 premier, after she has been attacked by two animals in just as many days:
    Lydia: What's that thing you say about threes? One, two -
    [Bird crashes into the window, followed by an entire flock]
  • Running Gag:
    • Baseball Bats.
      • In Season 1, both Scott and Melissa almost hit Stiles with one when they mistake him for a burglar at different occasions;
      Stiles: Seriously, do either of you even play baseball?
      • In Season 3's "The Overlooked" Stiles brings it to the hospital and shatters it when hitting Ethan and Aiden in their merged alpha form. Then, in "Lunar Ellipse," he uses a new (aluminum) bat to keep a root cellar from collapsing.
      • In Season 4, Lydia is convinced early on that baseball bats are useless weapons against supernatural creatures - mirroring her feelings that her own powers are less useful than the were creatures' claws and fangs - only to storm a monster with one in the finale, figuring that she should use everything at her disposal to help her friends.
    • Stiles wanting to know if gay guys find him attractive.
    • Coach Finstock yelling at Greenberg, a member of the lacrosse team who may only exist in his head
    • From Season 3, people trying to explain Lydia's powers as her being psychic. Deputy Parrish is especially fond of this in Season 4 (which makes sense, since he's at that point unaware that supernatural beings exist).
    • In Seasons 4 and 5, Kira and Scott's makeout sessions keep getting interrupted by enemy attacks or inconveniently arriving allies.
  • Running on All Fours: The fastest way of travel for Betas and Alphas.

    S-T 
  • Samus Is a Girl
    • The Darach is Jennifer Blake.
    • Same with Meredith Walker, the Benefactor.
  • Scooby-Doo Hoax: Zig-zagged in "Motel California", the most suicide-heavy motel in California. Shortly after the kids arrive, Lydia starts hearing voices, apparently belonging to the people who killed themselves, while the werewolves start behaving first aggressively, and then suicidal (except for Isaac, who seems virtually catatonic). While it turns out that the werewolves weren't behaving strangely because of the motel, but because the Darach poisoned them with wolfsbane, Lydia is later revealed to be a banshee who hears the dead, making it possible that there were ghosts after all.
  • Secret Relationship: Scott and Allison tried this in Season 2, using Stiles as their liaison. It didn't work.
  • Self Deprecating Humour: In the third season episode "Galvanize", Barrow is talking about Village of the Damned and specifies that he means the original, not the remake, because nobody likes crappy remakes.
  • Serial Killer: Every season had at least one of these.
    • Season 1 had Peter Hale first kill his niece to become an alpha and then all of the people responsible for his family's murder.
    • Season 2 had the Kanima's master, Matt Daehler, who used the Kanima to murder the swim team who had watched him almost drown and then did nothing while their coach bullied him into keeping quiet about it.
    • Season 3A had the Darach, Jennifer Blake, a former emissary, whose alpha Kali was meant to kill her whole pack in order to join the Alpha pack, but only disfigured and severely wounded her druid out of pity. Jennifer swore to avenge herself and kill the Alpha pack to prevent them from causing more harm; to gain the power to do this, she sacrifices twelve people.
    • Season 4 reveals Eichen House Orderly Brunski to be an Angel of Death.
    • In Season 4, there is also a Wendigo family who keeps a whole bunch of corpses in a meatlocker.
  • Shipper on Deck: In Season 1, Stiles for Scott/Allison and Allison for Lydia/Stiles, in Season 2, Jackson for Danny/Matt and Matt for Derek/Stiles, and in Season 3, Lydia for Allison/Isaac. The Sheriff seems generally very happy when girls are interested in his son.
  • Ship Tease: Lydia and Stiles.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Batman:
      • Stiles feels like the eternal sidekick in Season 1:
    Stiles: Why is it starting to feel like you're Batman and I'm Robin? I don't wanna be Robin all the time!
    Scott: Nobody's Batman and Robin ANY of the time.
    Stiles: Not even some of the time?"
    • Star Wars:
      • Stiles saying he would make a better Yoda than Derek.
      • Deputy Parrish claiming that Chris' tazer has roughly as much power as a lightsaber.
      • Stiles lamenting at various points that Scott still hasn't watched Star Wars; also the fact that nobody besides Stiles and Parrish (and maybe Chris) seems to have watched Star Wars.
    • Scott comparing himself to the Incredible Hulk.
      • Also, in Season 4, Stiles asking an especially hirsute member of the opposing Lacrosse team if he's on gamma radiation.
    • To the werewolf classic The Wolf Man (1941):
    Stiles: Haven't you ever seen The Wolf Man?
    Scott: ...No
    Stiles: [sighs] You're so unprepared for this.
    • The original Teen Wolf:
      • In Season 1's episode Lunatic, with Scott asking for "the bottle of Jack" back, instead of a kegger.
      • Peter saying that when he was in high school they played basketball. Derek was also on the basketball team.
      • In Season 2, when the lacrosse team they're playing against is the Beavers, the name of the team from the original film.
    • Another Michael J. Fox film gets a Shout-Out when Melissa says the next town over is Hill Valley.
    • Jackson moved to London before the beginning of Season 3, leading Lydia to explicitly give a shout out to An American Werewolf in London.
    • In Season 5's "Condition Terminal," two characters enact a version of the "match trick" scene from Lawrence of Arabia.
    • To The Manchurian Candidate: The card Parrish keeps seeing in relation to Lydia is the Queen of Diamonds - the same card that was used as a trigger to activate a sleeper agent in the movie.
    • In Season 5, there is the Nightclub "Sinema," which shows old horror movies: Night of the Living Dead and The Phantom of the Opera (1925). The former turns out to be Foreshadowing for the midseason finale, where several dead characters are resurrected.
  • Silver Bullet:
  • Social Services Does Not Exist: Seriously, Beacon Hills apparently has nobody keeping track of wayward teenagers, even if they are attending public school seemingly without any parents. The sheriff's department might notice if they go missing, or turn up dead, but that is about it.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Both have a bunch of high school kids living in a town where weird crap happens constantly, who have to solve these supernatural occurrences themselves, start off normal (minus the Chosen One), but end up either Badass Normal or with powers themselves, and engage in Snark-to-Snark Combat throughout. Confirmed by Word of God.
  • Spotting the Thread: How Stiles can tell if he's awake or in a dream during season 3B (which are also real ways to tell). In dreams you can't read anything (the letters scramble or become unrecognizable) and people have too many fingers. The first one becomes an issue when he begins hallucinating it while awake, but Scott manages to bring him down from a panic attack by making use of the second method. These come back in the 3B finale, when Derek can't remember if he's dreaming or not and grabs Stiles' hand to check the fingers. It turns out, he's dreaming.
  • Standard Female Grab Area: In the season one finale, Peter does this to Kate, rendering her pretty much helpless in seconds. Justified in that he's a werewolf with superstrength.
  • Super Cell Reception: Zig zagged. The cell phones that almost every teen carries have never fallen into any of the usual dead battery or no service cliches. It would be completely implausible, seeing as how they are in the middle of the suburbs. Oftentimes, the phones worked into the plot without breaking it, with missed and interrupted calls taking the places of complete silence.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
    • Cora seems to be this for Erica, from being the one seen trapped in the vault with Boyd to her relationship with Stiles (similarly part snarky, part flirtatious) and her connection to Derek.
    • Season 4 saw the addition of Mason, a gay male high school freshman who's a POC and Muggle Best Friend of cocky jock Liam. It does sound a little like former character Jackson's best friend Danny started out, though given that Liam is a Generation Xerox version of Scott and to some degree of Jackson, this might actually be on purpose.
  • Teens Are Monsters: Pretty much the whole point. Lycanthropy and similar conditions are a fairly obvious metaphor for adolescence. (Weird physical changes; destructive and frightening urges and impulses one can barely control; feeling alienated from one's parent(s) [even if one loves them still]; mood swings; etc.) Derek's gathering the disaffected and dysfunctional kids into his pack is like the leader of a gang or cult. The way Scott's mother reacts to him the first time she sees him as a werewolf. The list goes on.
  • Title Drop:
    Stiles: Be a man. Be a werewolf. Not a teen wolf, a werewolf.
    • This actually happens quite a few times with episode names: "Abomination", "Fury", "Currents", "The Overlooked", "Galvanize", etc.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • By default, anyone who doesn't watch their step on this show, there being at least one serial killer throughout each season, not to mention other supernatural killers, werewolf hunters, and even mountain lions and other wild animals. Starts out with Scott and Stiles, who go into the woods at night to look for a mangled corpse in the pilot.
    • Lampshaded by Coach Finstock when he notes the idiocy of the lacrosse bonfire: a bunch of teenagers getting drunk around an open flame. Ironically, that is not what endangers them in this situation.
  • Total Eclipse of the Plot: A key event in the season three finale, appropriately-named "Lunar Eclipse".
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Beacon Hills is just full of them.
  • Two-Teacher School: Averted. We've seen the economics teacher/lacrosse coach, chemistry teacher, English teacher, French teacher/guidance counsellor, math teacher, English teacher, music teacher, history teacher, and biology teacher. Several have appeared multiple times. And whenever one of them gets killed, they are quickly replaced.

    U-V 
  • Urban Fantasy: Werewolves, lizardmen, druidic rituals, and magic all taking place in a modern-day California town.
  • The Unreveal: "Hey look! They're showing us the Alpha transforming into a human— ...Oh wait. You can't tell who it is with that shadowy silhouette."
  • Unreliable Narrator: Used by name in-universe. When Gerard Argent and Peter Hale each tell the events surrounding Deucalion’s origin story and the death of Derek’s girlfriend, they both distort facts or outright lie to make themselves look better and/or more sympathetic. The audience knows they’re lying through the use of Unreliable Voiceover and the other characters at least suspect this to be the case.
  • The Virus: One of the assassins of Season 4 uses a modified form of canine distemper to kill off supernaturals.

    W-Z 
  • Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World: Pretty much the case for Scott and his friends (although occasionally some of them are involuntarily the threat themselves, like Jackson in Season 2 and Stiles in Season 3B).
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: All of the male werewolves have their shirtless moments, but Derek really seems to be competing for the grand prize of shirtlessness.
  • Was Once a Man: Scott, Isaac, Erica, and Boyd were all humans before receiving the bite. Derek, Laura, and Cora are confirmed to have been born as werewolves. But for any other wolf, either one is possible until otherwise stated.
  • Weirdness Magnet:
    • Beacon Hills definitely draws some interesting people to it. Part of it is due to the configuration of telluric currents around the city, as well as the presence of the Nemeton (a magical, sacred oak tree stump). The Nemeton is restored to full potency halfway through Season 3, and according to Deaton will cause the city to literally become a beacon drawing in the supernatural.
    • Stiles often laments his tendency to be a human form of this as well.
  • Wendigo: In "Muted", a family of Wendigos briefly appear before being murdered. From what was shown, they are usually nice people as long as they're able to regularly eat human flesh. Otherwise they gain Horror Hunger, a bad attitude, and some new teeth.
  • Wham Episode:
    • "Insatiable": Allison dies. This marked the first death of an official main character.
    • Followed immediately after by the Season 4 finale, "The Divine Move": Aiden dies, Danny reveals he was never really Locked Out of the Loop like everyone assumed, and Kate Argent is back from the dead.
    • In "Muted", Scott gives Liam the bite. It's the first time he's bitten another person as an Alpha, and now he not only has a beta to look after but also knows that the Calaveras will be coming after him.
    • "Status Asthmaticus" in Season 5: Scott refuses to give Hayden the bite, which leads Liam to attack him; Braeden returns to warn Malia that her mother is coming back to town; it turns out Malia is planning to kill her mother; Lydia figures out that Parrish is a hellhound connected to the Wild Hunt; Theo reveals his true colors, briefly killing Scott, and severely wounding Lydia and the Sheriff; Hayden dies, but then she, Tracy, Corey, and Josh get resurrected by Theo to become his pack; and the Dread Doctors succeed in creating the "perfect" chimera, apparently a replica of the beast of Gevaudan, the first werewolf the Argents killed.
  • Wham Line: In "Alpha Pact," Stiles continually talks to an FBI agent investigating the disappearance of Sheriff Stilinski. Stiles is very frosty towards him. At the end of the episode, Stiles says to Scott, "If I don't make it back... Your dad's in town."
    • Another one in "Echo House," when Deaton reveals that the only way to extract a nogitsune from a human is to permanently change the host's body.
    Scott: So, turn him into a werewolf.
    • In "The Divine Move" Danny drops one, revealing he knew about the supernatural goings-on all along.
    Danny: I just don't think I can do this.
    Ethan: Date me?
    Danny: Date a werewolf.
  • Wham Shot:
    • Stiles putting his hand into one of the Oni, taking out its firefly and thereby effectively destroying it in "Silverfinger", indicating that he is the one possessed by the spirit it was hunting.
    • Lydia reveals another part of the supernatural deadpool in "I.E.D." One of the names is Jordan Parrish. As in, Deputy Parrish. And it's implied that he himself doesn't even know that he's supernatural.
  • "What Do They Fear?" Episode:
    • Season 2: Everyone hallucinates their greatest fears after consuming Lydia's wolfsbane-laced punch in "Party Guessed." Jackson secretly fears that he has no real identity due to never meeting his biological parents; Allison, who is convinced that being frightened means that she's weak, hallucinates a tougher, but cold Allison killing a vulnerable one (foreshadowing her shutting herself off and turning fully to her hunter side after her mother's death); Stiles fears his father blaming him for his mother's death, and Scott, who still doesn't have much confidence in himself, fears losing Allison to Jackson in kanima form.
    • Season 3A: In Motel California, Boyd, Isaac, Scott, and Ethan all have hallucinations about the things they regret or fear most. For Boyd, it's his sister's death; for Isaac, it's his abusive father; Scott is afraid of his mom dying; and Ethan horrifically imagines his twin being forever trapped inside Ethan's body.
    • Season 5: In "Strange Frequencies," the pack tries to protect Hayden from the Doctors, while also attempting to catch one of them. The plan backfires spectacularly due to the Doctors being forewarned and using distorting sounds to invoke deep seated fears in the characters. Scott hallucinates being stabbed by Kira and then getting choked by her with the bloody leash of his childhood dog, who was killed in his presence; Lydia sees Tracy asking for her help, and then ripping out her tongue, leaving her helpless and mute on the floor; Malia is caught in her adoptive father's coyote traps; and Parrish imagines burning up Lydia while making out with her.
  • Where Everybody Knows Your Flame: The Jungle, the hottest gay club in Beacon Hills. Scott and Stiles wander into it in "Frenemy," while following the Kanima. (Who in turn was pursuing Danny.)
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Beacon Hills is located somewhere in California, but pinpointing the exact location is complicated by mutually exclusive clues:
    • The local flora and geography would put it somewhere north of Sacramento and with its 95921 zip code, Beacon Hills would occupy the same location as Inskip, California.
    • But its 925 area code would place it in either Alameda or Contra Costa Counties near San Francisco, 200 miles away.
    • In the episode "I. E. D." the sheriff says the town has a population of 30,000 people and is located in the equally fictitious Beacon County, which itself has a population of over 500,000 people. These numbers don’t match any real world demographics in California.
  • The Wild Hunt: Mentioned in-universe by Noshiko Yukimura in episode 5x01, and referenced again by Lydia in episode 5x10. It helps her figure out what Parrish really is: a Hellhound.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: To a fairly egregious level. The timeline in the first two seasons was fairly easy and straightforward to follow, but the third and fourth seasons have contradicted ages, birthdates, past events, and school years on numerous occasions, leading to quite a bit of viewer confusion over canon continuity.