Dylan O'Brien Teen Wolf

Performer of the Week: Dylan O'Brien

THE PERFORMER | Dylan O’Brien

THE SHOW | Teen Wolf

THE EPISODE | “A Novel Approach” (July 20)

THE PERFORMANCE | In the world of MTV’s Teen Wolf, an “anchor” is something the werewolves focus on — it can be a person, a feeling, or even a memory — in order to retain their humanity. After Monday’s episode, it finally hit us that Teen Wolf has an anchor of its own: Dylan O’Brien’s Stiles.

Besides the fact that Stiles is literally the only human character left among the drama’s regular stable, he’s also played a vital role in keeping his friends on track, at times even drawing them back into the light. But something changed this week. Accidental though it may have been, Stiles tasted his first kill, effectively pushing him over a line he was not prepared to cross, one from which there’s no turning back.

The harrowing first 10 minutes of Monday’s episode, in which Stiles was hunted by Donovan — who blamed Stiles’ father, Sheriff Stilinski, for his own father’s paralysis — contained some of the most thrilling, horrifying sequences in the show’s five-season history. And as any fan can attest, the one thing Teen Wolf does best is horror. Frankly, if the Stiles-Donovan confrontation had been stretched to cover the entire length of the episode, it would have been a satisfying hour.

O’Brien has always demonstrated an incredible, seemingly effortless, ability to turn Stiles’ exploits into shared experiences with the audience, an ability which was in full-effect Monday. When he wrestled free from Donovan’s clutches, it felt like we were gasping for air and fighting for our lives; when he hid behind the bookcase in the library, unsure of whether to confront his attacker or keep running, it was like we were battling our own internal fight-or-flight response; and when he sat breathless in his car, spying on the police as they investigated what was now a murder scene, it was like our whole world was closing in around us.

We can’t say for sure how Stiles will deal with the fallout from his actions, but if history is any indication — we’re thinking back to Season 3’s stellar nogitsune saga — it’s safe to say that O’Brien will anchor the experience with the same vulnerability and authenticity we’ve come to expect from a performer of his caliber.

RELATED Teen Wolf Recap: If Books Could Kill

halt-lee-pace-hmHONORABLE MENTION | Halt and Catch Fire‘s Joe MacMillan has always manipulated those he respects most while trying to live up to what he thinks it means to be a man. In “Limbo,” that behavior finally caught up with him. Though he wasn’t directly responsible for WestNet’s takeover of Mutiny, it wasn’t something he could make Cameron believe, given his former deceits. Lee Pace did an excellent job exuding Joe’s wordless realization that he would always be viewed as damaged goods. The character might have been hopped-up on Ecstasy, but Pace saved his most dazed and confused performance for the moment he recognized he was seen not as a man, but as a machine.

RELATED AMC Renews Turn for Season 3

Falling Skies Moon BloodgoodHONORABLE MENTION Oh, what a smorgasbord of emotions Falling SkiesMoon Bloodgood got to play in the final season’s fourth episode. With Volm ally Cochise ailing, Anne alternately was crestfallen and then very comically astounded, as she realized that she would have to perform the alien doohickey transplant. Afterward, Bloodgood found new ways to surface Anne’s maternal mourning of Lexi, first by quietly admitting to Ben her crazy notion of an eventual happy reunion, and then by sweetly “seeing” her daughter during her “shared silence” with Cochise. Lastly, the actress reiterated Anne’s grit under pressure, during an intense face-off with wild man Pope. Seeing the series vet shine in this showcase was just what the doctor ordered.

RELATED Does Falling Skies‘ Pope Have a Point? Is Suits Looking Extra Sharp? And More TV Qs

Which performances knocked your socks off this week? Tell us in Comments! 

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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30 Comments
  1. Sarah_ says:

    Dylan is a great actor and Stiles is one of the main reasons I watch teen wolf and his performances over the years still leaves me impressed and excited.
    I hope all the best for Dylan in his career he deserves the best.

  2. Ditty D says:

    After watching the first 10 minutes of Teen Wolf on Monday, I just knew he had to be performer of the week. Dylan knocked it out the park without even saying a word. Looking forward to see where he takes us next.

  3. Pedro says:

    Funny how his character started as mostly comic relief and he turned into the cast’s strongest actor and probably the show’s strongest character

    • DL says:

      Yup it’s no surprise he’s already becoming a breakout film star. I was really hoping he’d be picked as the new Spider-Man, but alas…

      • Kat says:

        I’d actually kind of like to see him considered for the young Han Solo movie that’s being made. He’s got the charm and humor down, and we know he can do action scenes.

    • Chrissy j says:

      The sexiest too

  4. Winter says:

    There is definitely a reason O’Brien is the break out star of that show. He’s clearly very talented and that sequence to start the show was really stellar.

  5. Skittles&Bits says:

    O’Brien is the only reason I’ve stuck with this show. He’s growing into such a phenomenal actor; one that slips effortlessly between drama and comedy and everything in between. He’s really carrying this show, especially with such shoddy writing. I still think his turn as villain in the 3A arc was the best. That scene where Nogitsune!Stiles advances on Stiles and Lydia shouting: “I’m a thousand years old! You can’t kill me!” still gives me chills.

    • tyranthraxus says:

      Personally I view 3B as the Best Teen Wolf can do. It would be very very hard to top Season 3B. They might come close but I think that was the season for Teen Wolf. From the spitting out bandages scene, to the MRI scene to the Inside Stiles head scene.

      I was actually half expecting Stiles to strike out at Donovan when h e started to clench his fist under the bookcase.

  6. spindae2 says:

    Well deserved, he nailed it last Monday, I hope they continue to write good stuff for Dylan and give him more space to show off

  7. Sara says:

    Mads Mikkelsen had a stellar and wide-ranging performance in the Hannibal episode “Digestivo.” I was hoping to see an honorable mention for him this week. That last scene with Will, wow. And his last little dig at Will when he was “caught?” Perfection.

  8. Beth says:

    My vote was for Joseph Sikora .. he was amazing in Power this last episode!

  9. aunt_deen says:

    It’s worth mentioning that for the entire, riveting sequence in question, Stiles never uttered a single word. It was one of the most brilliant pieces of silent acting I’ve seen.

  10. Mary Kate says:

    Excellent choice! He’s an amazing actor and I know his career is just getting started. He and Holland Roden are the bright stars of that show in my opinion.

  11. I would add Ruby Rose’s Wendy from last night’s Dark Matter as an honorable mention.

  12. I would add Ruby Rose’s Wendy from last night’s Dark Matter as an honorable mention and I hope she makes a return appearance.

  13. caitlin says:

    Dylan O’Brian was absolutely amazing as Stiles in “Novel Approach” .. In the whole 10 min scene he didn’t say a single word. Yet we felt every single feeling with him, as if we were experiencing it with him.♥♥♥♥ we love you Dylan.

  14. Emanuel says:

    I was captivated by Dylans work in season 3. The whole nogistune saga was fantastic. He was my favorite tv actor during that time. Glad hes gotten recognition and hope to see evil stiles again :-)

  15. kirads09 says:

    I know it just aired last night. Is that still considered within the week? If so my honorable mention is Tony Curran as Datak Tarr in S3.E7 My Name is Datak Tarr and I Have Come to Kill You. I don’t want to spoil, but if you watched, you know. He was fricken awesome in everyway. Also there were flashbacks where we learned a little bit about what made Datak who and how he is.

  16. Álvaro says:

    Dylan is amazing, the show will die if he ever leaves, and i’m surprised he haven’t done it yet.

  17. Judy Barry says:

    Ditto on Dylan O’Brien. I hope he gets many opportunities to in & out of Teen Wolf to expand his acting horizons.
    On the 30 shows canceled too soon, I still lament my Firefly. Loved that crew. Have the DVDs. And I have Terminator/Sarah Connor Chronicles programmed in the DVR. (sigh)

  18. Diane says:

    Dylan O’Brien’s work as Style’s is always amazing. He is always there when Scott or any of his other friends need him. He is helpful with his father. It is good that his radar is up this season with not trusting everybody like Scott does it just might save some people. Dylan can play funny or serious and he is excellent at both.

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  20. Max says:

    Well, Stiles Stilinski is quite versatile…from the nerdi-tude to negitsune mode…then taking down Don…
    Nothing short of…
    Keep on loving Stiles!

  21. Bradley Cook says:

    Very very true, but that ain’t news…he’s carried the show since season 1 and if it wasn’t obvious in season 1, then for sure in all of season 3 Part 2. Dylan O’Brien is awesome…it’s almost bazar to watch him in something where he isn’t playing Stiles like in The Maze Runner. He transforms into whichever character he’s playing so completely you forget all about about Stiles or Teen Wolf. Not many actors have that kind of talent. If he’s not in the top 5 and in possession of an Oscar by the age of 30, I’ll be shocked. Keep up the awesome job Dylan!

  22. Attila says:

    I wonder if people have heard of “Rectify”? in the current season’s third episode (“Sown with Salt”) which aired on the 23rd, Abigail Spencer gave a breathtaking performance as Amantha. I’m curious why isn’t she on the past week’s performers’ list.