Scream has trust issues on the brain and no one is certain who to trust, especially with all of the animal related game metaphors flying around.
Let’s bitch it out…
It’s two steps forward and three steps back as ‘Wanna Play A Game?’ proves to be a fairly predictable and bland outing for Scream. At this point we still know next to nothing about these characters, aside from the killer’s threat that they’re all lying (which is a gimme for a slasher or else we’d be able to spot the killer a mile away). Unfortunately the lack of investment in these characters means that even when the nicest one of the bunch is – predictably – killed off by the end of the hour, it doesn’t really make much of an impact.
Just to shake things up, here’s a stream of consciousness review to walk you through the developments and my nitpicks with the episode:
- We open with a cheesy Toga-party murder that I pray is a scary movie someone is watching. I guess in a way it is. It’s actually a re-enactment of the first two Brandon James murders back in 94, as reenacted in Noah’s (John Karna) imagination (because don’t forget he’s a creepy geek/loser who spends all his time thinking this stuff through). Side bar: Shouldn’t Piper Shay (Amelia Rose Blaire) already know all of this if she’s a journalist? Oh right, she’s a blogger, which apparently doesn’t mean much in this world.
- Also, I know he’s meant to be TV-Randy and therefore a fan favourite, but I find Karna’s line delivery absolutely terrible whenever he’s dishing out these meta-reference soliloquies.
- Thank goodness Emma is there to overhear her mom (Tracy Middendorf) and the Sheriff (Jason Wiles) deliver a metric-ton of exposition about Rachel’s murder and Maggie’s shady past. Very convenient.
- Why does Brooke’s (Carlson Young) 5 star hotel room look like a poor man’s bedroom?
- Will (Connor Weil) and Jake’s (Tom Maden) peeping tom antics with Nina from the pilot were apparently part of a larger lucrative money making venture that also involved Tyler (Nina’s dead boyfriend who I can’t remember). The only thing that’s shocking about this story line is that Will somehow didn’t consider the idea that someone could trace the business back to them even if Nina hadn’t been murdered…bro, seriously?
- PS. Part of me totally wished Jake would trip and fall into the farm equipment Will was driving just for a chance of pace. Were all of those close-ups of spinning instruments of death just to foreshadow how Jake will eventually meet his end?
- Who wants to tell Audrey (Bex Taylor-Klaus) that if she had of been wrong about testing Rachel’s suicide method that she, too, would have died? PS. It’s totally possible to strangle yourself with a ceiling fan.
- Yes, DMing the serial killer (through the “open line”) is a super great idea, girls. Also: Emma, please use proper capitalization while texting. It’s not like this is an emergency or something – you can take the extra second.
- Why doesn’t Mr Branson (Bobby Campo) wait until after class to remove the incriminating picture of Brooke she’s hidden as part of her “game”? Wouldn’t it make more sense to hold off until break considering the picture isn’t readily visible and hiding it while teaching is really obvious?
- The only pairs we hear for the English project are our leads – which confirms that if you don’t make the opening credits on a teen, the faculty literally do not even know your name.
- I love that Kieran (Amadeus Serafini) casually brings over the Brandon James case files to Emma’s house. Even if his dad wasn’t at home, I doubt he’d just leave murder files kicking around.
- Also: nothing said “let’s get it on” quite like looking at crime scene footage. Hot, hot, HOT!
- What is going on during this conversation between Brooke and Jake? 1) I can’t even figure out their relationship and 2) I understand that the point is to cast doubt on Brooke’s certainty of her power standing with Mr. Branson and continue the theme of being uncertain who to trust, but the shark/bobcat viral vid reference totally doesn’t work. This whole conversation honestly just feels lackluster and unconvincing.
- Now that Emma has connected her mom to the ‘Daisy’ in the old murders, I’m glad that the secrets are coming out. Alas, it seems like ‘Wanna Play A Game?’ just substitutes this answer for a new mystery about Emma’s dad, which thus far doesn’t merit the intrigue Scream‘s writers are trying to drum up.
- How does Noah “get” Riley (Brianne Tju) if he’s pitching video games that are incredibly popular and she doesn’t know them? That’s not exactly a panty dropper (or maybe it is considering they proceed to nearly get it on)
- #IsBrandonJamesBack? Nope. This is neither clever nor catchy Scream. Try harder
- Emma proves her Final Girl mettle by being the only person to make the stalker text connection. Her dumb friends actually all agree that they should go to the police…which may be the first smart thing these characters have done on the series thus far.
- Legitimate question: Why does Riley assume the text is from Tyler? All it says is “Help Me” but, as Emma asks the Sheriff, it’s incredibly easy for someone to use his phone. Honestly, that text could not be more generic, but Riley is ready to run into the dark? THERE IS A KILLER ON THE LOOSE AND YOUR FRIEND IS BEING STALKED.
- Love Jake’s strut with the shovel when he arrives at his clandestine meeting with partner/potential murder victim, Will. I’m finding the false conflict over these bros’ enterprise hilariously overwrought. Not only do we not know anything about how damaging their secret is, we’re honestly meant to believe two ordinary teenage boys would just casually murder each other? Regardless of the use of a dutch angle when Jake accuses Will of trust issues, there was very little suspense in this supposedly dramatic confrontation.
- Brooke and Emma wait at the police station: OMG scariest text message sound ever. Oh wait, no – it’s just normal. #NotScary
- Scary is how gullible these girls are with text messages. Did everyone tune out when Emma warned them that she’s being cyberstalked? I mean, I get it, as soon as Emma opens her mouth the sad sounds of tiny violins begin to play, but still…Are we sure that these people are even friends?
- Shocker: Emma’s DMs with the killer puts her in a compromised position. Unfortunately since Emma tells the killer who to go after, there’s literally no suspense in the Brooke scenes with the lingerie and the handcuffs. The editing on this is all wrong – if we were genuinely meant to care, we needed to see Brooke put on the sexy costume before Emma told the killer not to go after Brooke.
- Obviously this means that Riley is deadsville.
- Oh good – a skylight over the police station. I’m sure no one will go plummeting through that. Wait, really? Riley just dies on the rooftop so that Emma sees the body when she calls? Forget deadsville, this murder sequence is dullsville.
- Points for trying to make us care about Riley’s burgeoning relationship with Noah, though.
- Admittedly pinning the crimes on Tyler, including blowing up his car for police to find, is reminiscent of Scream 1 and Sidney’s father, so…that’s kinda a homage?
- Brooke (applying Nina’s product): “Someone’s got to fill the lipstick power vacuum” Who talks like this about someone who died two days ago?!
- Audrey (to Will, when they’re paired to reenact a dramatic romance scene): “If you suggest the pool scene from Wild Things, I will end you.” Holy dated reference, Batman! Also: I wish she had of said from Showgirls. Far more entertaining
Your turn: was this a step in the wrong direction? Are you sad that Riley is dead? Happy that Emma is more aware of what’s happening? Do you care at all about Jake and Will’s “business”? Any bold predictions about the killer’s identity? Sound off below.
Scream airs Tuesdays at 10pm EST on MTV. Please note that there will be no review next week.