Poor Emma (Willa Fitzgerald) is having a rough day. Not as bad as Will (Connor Weil), of course, but survivor’s remorse still totally sucks.
Let’s bitch it out…
After last week‘s gold star / most impressed episode, I was hoping that Scream had reached a turning point. Alas, it’s not to be as ‘Ghost’ proves to be a mostly hum-drum affair. I’d love to applaud the writers for handling Will’s death in an appropriately somber way, but in the world of Scream that basically only translates into Emma giving a crap (Tom Maden’s Jake gets momentarily upset, but that’s a very brief reaction. Guess Will wasn’t very popular at school).
Unfortunately focusing on Emma’s admittedly well-earned grief and anger means that the focus is on Emma, who remains the series’ worst character (so milquetoast!). An hour dedicated to the poorly acted emotions of our shrill and bland heroine? It’s hard to get excited.
Emma passes the time listening to her father’s voice on the tape recorder and pushing away all forms of human kindness and support. She angrily decides that she won’t be placated by people’s concern (pshaw!) and stalks off to school with a bag-o-pills in hand. Obviously Miss Sad & Angry lasts all of five seconds before suffering an emotional breakdown, mostly because she returned to school the day after slicing her ex-boyfriend in half with farm equipment. It’s barely a hop, skip, and a jump before she begins seeing Will – or rather Will’s split-in-two corpse – in all kinds of fun places: the bathroom, the corridor, the coffee shop, her dreams (ohhhh so spooky). What’s amusing is that everyone around Emma knows that she’s completely flipping out, but no one does anything about it, as though there’s an unspoken agreement that this sixteen year old girl should just be allowed to work through her issues by going to school and work the day after unintentionally killing someone. Instead the writers use this as an excuse to lovingly pile on the cliches: pills will help! hospital rest will help! motivational posters and “hang in there” cats will help! (alright, maybe not the last one, but it wouldn’t have been a stretch). It’s as though Maggie (Tracy Middendorf) decides that the best course of action is to let her completely effed up daughter ride out the storm solo instead of tossing Emma into her bedroom and throwing away the key for a few days.
After the third hallucination, Emma winds up in the hospital where she’s visited by her estranged father, Kevin (Tom Everett Scott). It’s an odd role because Kevin essentially shows up to get kicked to the curb by his daughter and then reappear in her dreams, wherein she magically recovers an integral plot point (convenient but we’re two episodes away from the finale, so let’s go with it). Following one of the most ineptly filmed dream sequences I’ve seen in a long time, we come to the revelation that barely warrants a hiccup, much less a gasp. As many of us suspected, Maggie had a secret child that she gave up for adoption. The only surprise in this development is that it happened before she had Emma (cue the excruciating #DaisysFirstborn hashtag <vomit>). Baby adoption + relationship problems with Kevin – sadness x oopsie sex session with Brandon James = viable murder motive for Emma’s step sibling. Presumably the killer is Maggie’s firstborn and “has returned” to slice and dice, even if that should hypothetically eliminate all of the young characters as suspects because they should be too young.
Funny how old Kieran (Amadeus Serafini) looks, no?
- Piper (Amelia Rose Blaire) brings down Mayor Maddox (Bryan Batt) when she hands over the incriminating body/trunk footage to Sheriff Hudson (Jason Wiles). The Mayor winds up in jail (so he’s totally not the killer) and Brooke (Carlson Young) celebrates the fact that her mom is still alive by hooking-up attempt with Bobby Campo’s Branson on the set of the school play (classy girl). Naturally Brooke is attacked in such a way as to incriminate Branson, who is then arrested. Gosh, no one saw this coming.
- One reason Branson falls under suspicion is because Noah (John Karna) and Audrey (Bex Taylor-Klaus) continue their investigation into his past. They magically find a bloody knife in the classroom at the same time as his real ID turns up; turns out Branson is really Mr Palmer, a guy involved with a dead underage girl who. Sounds like a winner.
- Sidebar: Of course they’re reading The Crucible in Branson’s English class. Books that perfectly match the current theme of the series (in this case trust and tolerance and paranoia) drive me batty. See: every teen film/series ever.
- Piper’s voice over narration (aka her podcasts) are made of “no.” Contrived dialogue, purple prose, mediocre in every way. Just…no. If this is indicative of her podcast content, I can’t begin to imagine how she has any subscribers. And if she’s legitimately tainted by her involvement in the story (and therefore no longer objective), why not leave town? No, really: WHY IS THIS CHARACTER HERE?
- Just to clarify: Emma argues that she has no fight left because the last time she fought back, the killer cut Will in half in front of her. That’s…not exactly true. Technically she cut Will in half when she tripped the wire. So, she actually killed Will. Just sayin’
- What kind of bougie school do these kids go to? Flowers in the girl’s public school bathroom? So fancy!
- Finally, what’s with the giant dance floor in the middle of the Duvall kitchen? Seriously, you could drive a truck through that space.
- Noah (to Brooke, as Jake lays sleeping): “I don’t think I’ve ever seen him with his mouth shut.”
- Sheriff Hud (after Piper shows him the tape): “Why are you podcasting this?” This is your question?!
- Noah (to Audrey, comparing the Branson situation to The Faculty): “There are worse ways to go than being body snatched by Famke Jansen” 14 year old me totally agrees!
- Emma (after a really poorly staged dream sequence involving her father): “Oh my god, it wasn’t real.” UGHHHH
Your turn: were you disappointed by the follow-up to last week’s episode? Did you feel that Emma’s grief was well-handled? Does Branson’s sordid history surprise you? Does Piper have a function on the show? Does Kieran? Sound off below.
Scream airs Tuesdays at 10pm EST on MTV. Next week: Sheriff Hud is totally convinced he’s caught the killer which means he has totally not caught the killer.