It’s the end of the road for Scream‘s freshman season, which can only mean one thing: murder house party!
Let’s bitch it out…
Well…that was a thing that happened. As feared all along, Scream ended with a whimper as the killer reveal proved to be anything but and no one of any consequence ended up dying. Better luck next year, I guess?
The finale picks up in the immediate aftermath of Sheriff Hud’s (Jason Wiles) abduction. Mom (Tracy Middendorf) runs off to check on the crime scene at the police station, and Piper (Amelia Rose Blaire) does the same, immediately earmarking her as one of the main suspects (unfortunately proving that despite all the time spent on red herrings, the writers were unable to disguise how obvious their killer is). With most of the adults gone, the Halloween dance dissipates as the episode shifts to the alt-party at Brooke’s (Carlson Young) place. Naturally, because we live in a world devoid of nice things, Emma (Willa Fitzgerald) figures prominently in all aspects of the finale.
It’s not long before Emma and Maggie are forced to play amateur detective in order to uncover Hud’s location. A clue at the staged murder scene at the station leads them to Sheriff Hud and the tree in their backyard. Alas the killer follows through on her threat to “break Daisy’s heart” when the rope holding Hud up is revealed to be the sole element keeping his insides in. It’s a mildly gory death that’s quickly addressed and then dismissed after a brief “Like mother, like daughter” chat about being forced to kill their lovers.
The next clue is discovered by Noah (John Karna): the malware that has been propping up the C-plot all season also has the capacity to block texts and phone calls. Naturally they track it to Brooke’s place where the finale will seemingly take place (paging Tatum’s blow-out circa end of Scream original flavour).
While Emma plays inept Nancy Drew, Brooke chats up Audrey (Bex Taylor-Klaus). They sneak in some “chicks before dicks” time that confirms – once again – that Brooke is an interesting character when she’s not saddled with the tired hot-for-teacher story line. Naturally once the killing begins, things immediately go to hell* and everyone scatters, which leaves us with the usual red herrings and bait and switches.
*One element that I really liked is that as soon as the first body is discovered, the partygoers disperse immediately. In 80s slashers, the teens inevitably assume that the first body is a joke and end up getting slaughtered as a result.
All of my sympathy for Brooke disappears the moment that she hides in an overturned freezer. On one hand it’s a great urban legend considering how many kids lock themselves in empty appliances and die each year, but it also seems like a really stupid decision for a smart girl like Brooke. The claustrophobic stabby bits (filmed from the bottom corner of the unit) don’t do quite enough to maximize the claustrophobia and danger Brooke must feel, although Brooke’s sequence ultimately proves to be one of the better chase scenes in the show’s run.
When Emma and Noah arrive at the party, they discover an (obviously staged) handprint on Piper’s car door and Kieran (Amadeus Serafini) shows up with a gun. At this point it remains entirely plausible that he or Seth Branson (Bobby Campo) are killers, though the writers try to spice things up by showing Audrey clearly not being stabbed and Jake (Tom Madden) spends most of the episode MIA.
Following in the tradition of stupid moves, everyone splits up, thereby making it easier for the writers to string out the red herrings as long as possible. Eventually the group comes back together after Audrey and Brooke have been discovered, then – if the most misguided moment of the episode – Emma immediately leaves everyone to go to the lake for the final showdown. It’s frustrating because all of the tension created by the attacks at the party are completely diffused, leading into a weak #KillerReveal that lands like a wet-blanket. As soon as Piper is revealed to be Emma’s step-sister and Maggie’s daughter it feels like a huuuuuge disappointment – the choice is completely bland and predictable. Even worse Rose Blaire demonstrates absolutely no talent for delivering threats and malice so her entire long winded rant comes off as incredibly hokey and campy. Audrey’s last minute rescue of Emma and the cliched “they always come back” bit doesn’t win the show any favours either, proving that the writers simply don’t understand how to adapt their source material or what made the films so successful.
Noah’s summation – “Classic showdown at the lake, tying the past and present together” – feels like another desperate attempt integrate a meta commentary into a series that never truly understood what the term meant. The final “twist” (if it can even be called that) is that Audrey was Piper’s accomplice*. While the reveal is clearly intended to generate more questions than answers, here’s hoping that we’ve turned a corner on the way that Scream tells its stories. When the show returns next summer, here’s hoping that knowing who our villain is will force the writers to move beyond simplistic red herrings and develop genuine storytelling capacity. The only scary thing about this series this season was the writing and the acting.
*We know she wore the Brandon James mask at least once when she attacked Will and Piper in the warehouse. It’s possible she also killed Nina in the pilot and her own girlfriend before Piper came to town, though it would be just as easy to explain that Piper was committing the murders before she publicly revealed herself.
- Kudos to the series for acknowledging Wes Craven’s sad passing earlier this week. Best part of the episode.
- Who the eff is Grayson (the murdered kid in the backyard bathroom)? Have we even met this character before?
- Anyone get the impression that Maggie’s outfit was specifically chosen to emphasis the blood? I mean, who wears white pants after labour day unless they’re outfitted by a costume department interested solely in covering it in boyfriend blood?
- Love that Brooke, emerging after everyone leaves, calls out for Jake, Audrey and “board shorts”, the random she puts the moves on to make Jake jealous earlier. Lol. Here’s hoping he’s the killer next season.
- Would the fridge still work after the killer repeatedly stabbed it? Wouldn’t some or most of the cold seep out through the holes?
- Piper (warning Emma): “Be careful. And don’t trust anyone.” I think she forgot to say “especially me“
- Brooke (surveying the party): “Where the hell are my actual friends?”
- Brooke (after Audrey confesses her suspicions): “Kieran can’t be the killer. He’s too pretty.”
- Jake (trying to warm Brooke back): “CPRs always a good idea.”
- Brooke (after being rescued): “Oh my god I hate this freezer.”
- Piper (to Emma, in what has to be a meta joke): “Oh you’re so predictable.”
Your turn: how disappointed were you when Piper turned out to be the killer we all knew she was back in episode two? Did you suspect Audrey as well? Are you happy that Brooke survived? Disappointed that the rationale was as predictable as we figured it would be? Sound off below.
Scream has finished its first season. It returns next summer on MTV. If you’re hungry for answers, here’s TVLine’s postmotem interview with EP Jill Blotevogel.