WOLF PACK: EP# 101 -- “From a Spark to a Flame” -- Sarah Michelle Gellar stars as Kristin Ramsy in WOLF PACK on Paramount+. Photo: Paramount+ © 2022 MTVE All Rights Reserved. *screengrab*

‘Wolf Pack’ season 1, episode 1 review: ‘From a Spark to a Flame’

Thursday saw the launch of Wolf Pack, the new supernatural drama from Teen Wolf creator Jeff Davis. With the first episode now streaming now on Paramount+, read on for a breakdown of Wolf Pack season 1, episode 1 “From a Spark to a Flame.”

If you’re in the market for a new collection of teen werewolves, a raw look at adolescent mental health issues, a gory paranormal horror fix, or just all things Sarah Michelle Gellar, Wolf Pack on Paramount+ has got you covered.

Unrelated to the world of Teen Wolf but from the same creator, Wolf Pack stars Armani Jackson as Everett Lang, Bella Shepard as Blake Navarro, Chloe Rose Robertson as Luna Briggs, and Tyler Lawrence Gray as Harlan Briggs as our core teenage werewolf “pack” — Luna and Harlan are born wolves who were found as babies (or rather, cubs) after another massive forest fire, whereas Everett and Blake obtained the bite in the Wolf Pack pilot’s opening scenes and are newly discovering their transformation.

The key adults of Wolf Pack include Rodrigo Santoro as Garrett Briggs, the park ranger who discovered the pair of wolf puppies who would become Harlan and Luna and adopted them as his own, and of course, Sarah Michelle Gellar as Kristin Ramsey, an arson investigator looking into the current wildfires.

The official synopsis of Wolf Pack reads: Based on the book series by Edo Van Belkom, Wolf Pack follows a teenage boy and girl whose lives are changed forever when a California wildfire awakens a terrifying supernatural creature and drives it to attack a highway traffic jam beneath the burning hills. Wounded in the chaos, the boy and girl are inexplicably drawn to each other and to two other teenagers who were adopted sixteen years earlier by a park ranger after another mysterious wildfire. As the full moon rises, all four teens come together to unravel the secret that connects them — the bite and blood of a werewolf.

In the Wolf Pack pilot, we meet both Blake and Everett amidst the crisis of a Los Angeles wildfire, when their school bus is caught in a traffic jam as the fire begins to encroach on the freeway. Everett is immediately established as someone with ongoing mental health issues, as we meet him when he’s on his phone with his doctor while on the bus, hoping to get the okay to take pills instead of working through the anxiety in other ways. Blake, begging to borrow a phone when she hears on the radio that her neighborhood is at risk, is set up as someone very antisocial who has burned a lot of bridges with the other kids, and who sets herself aside from the crowd by avoiding the use of personal technology.

Tension rises as some kids argue with the driver about being let off the bus, but when other people start getting out of their vehicles to escape on foot, many are violently injured or killed as flocks of different animals flee the forest areas in panic and wreak havoc on the road. Amidst the chaos, Everett and Blake both sustain a mysterious animal bite, although we do not witness the actual act of them being bitten, and in the aftermath of this disaster, we follow Everett to the hospital, where we meet his cruel mother and his ineffectual father, and Blake back to her home, which is in the evacuation zone.

At the hospital, Everett experiences a number of strange dreams or potential hallucinations, and realizes that his bite looks a lot worse to him than it does to the people looking at treating it. He also ends up answering a ringing phone by his bed, and a man with a voice modifier tells him to leave the hospital, because the thing that bit him will keep coming after him until it kills him. He’s told that it can’t move as easily in the daylight, but it’s not impossible, and that it has to kill him before the next full moon.

As Everett is being treated at the hospital, the Navarro family struggles to reach a shelter and instead takes cover at a local motel, the expense of which Blake and her father argue about in quite a shocking way. It’s clear that Blake does not have a good relationship with her father Roberto, but she seems to be close with her autistic little brother Danny, and is more adept at caring for him than their father (or presumably their absent mother) is, and once she gets him settled watching the news, Danny notices that her skin, which was badly affected by cystic acne, has begun to clear up almost entirely. While looking in the mirror, Blake also sees Everett and his parents in the hospital, and he turns to look at her as well, with the show swiftly implying that the pair are somehow now supernaturally linked. On Everett’s end, after his mother berates him for attention seeking wasting the hospital’s time, he sneaks out just in time to avoid facing Kristen Ramsey, the arson investigator assigned to the fire who wants to talk to everyone who may have been on the school bus.

Unsettled by what is happening, Blake leaves the motel and begins to run, discovering that she now possesses an unreal level of speed. She ends up back at her house, which has been badly damaged by the fire passing through. It’s here that Everett finds her, desperate to discuss what is going on with both of them, and while Blake is not interested whatsoever in engaging with it, they’re both forced to run together when a giant monster of some kind comes to attack them.

It’s only at this point in the episode that we meet the other two teenagers who will play a big part in this story — Harlan and Luna. We find Harlan dancing the night away at a rave and using his enhanced hearing to seduce the hot DJ by complimenting his mixing techniques. He’s been ignoring texts from his sister Luna about their father, a park ranger, still not having arrived home, and eventually she shows up in person and interrupts his hook-up to insist that he help her track him down. Luna’s heightened speciality is scent, and it turns out that both twins feel like their sensory powers are stronger tonight than ever before, even though it’s not a full moon.

When Harlan eventually agrees to go with Luna, they receive a message that their dad’s truck was found without him in it. When they see it for themselves, it’s also been slashed down the side by what must be a monster. They start to get the feeling this might be connected to the fire — the one worst in 18 years, and very similar to the one in which they were found — and while Harlan is quick to reject Garrett as their “real” father on principle, Luna is more worried about what the thing that’s out there might want from them, if it is in fact their biological father returning to track them down. They go to look for Garrett down in the forest but can’t find him, but we cut to him as he weakly tries carry on through the fire zone, and, after leaving a recorded message for his kids, uses the thought of them to give him strength to keep going.

After Everett fields a call from Kristin, one that makes it clear she suspects him or another teenager on the bus was the one who lit the fire, all four teens hear a growl seem to experience pain — is their alpha calling to them? They didn’t feel anything like this when the beast attacked, but now all of them have their eyes roll back and glow, and they immediately turn around and run into the woods. They’re drawn together to a clearing, and the siblings meet the newly bitten kids properly for the first time. Though Harlan encourages his sister to keep quiet, Luna shares that despite being aware of her own condition, what’s going on tonight has never happened to them before, and they’ve never met anyone “like them” before either. Keen to connect with these two newcomers that she recognises as kin, she confirms what Everett has been suspecting — they are all werewolves.

We’ll be breaking down the events of every Wolf Pack episode in greater detail on Not Another Teen Wolf Podcast, now expanded to include all of Jeff Davis’s wolfteens.

A few key points in this week’s discussion include:

  • Would you be talking with your therapist on the school bus? Because we definitely wouldn’t.
  • How important are the kids on the bus gonna be to the rest of the story?
  • What is the show trying to say about having online friends?
  • Why doesn’t Blake have a phone? What’s the big deal with this?
  • Who bit Everett? Is it possible that it was Luna?
  • How big of a role will Danny have in the series once Blake enters the pack?
  • Why are Harlan and Luna so focused on the fact that this monster could be their father, and not their mother?
  • Do we really know for a fact that the arsonist is a teenager?
  • Will fans of Teen Wolf like Wolf Pack?
  • Do we have any predictions for episode 2 or the rest of the season?

You can listen to our chat about “From a Spark to a Flame” now on Subjectify Media or subscribe to Not Another Teen Wolf Podcast on all major podcast platforms.

New episodes of ‘Wolf Pack’ drop Thursdays on Paramount+.