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Scream has already established itself as a successful series in my eyes, but this week’s episode delivered its best installment thus far. From the increasingly unnerving encounters with the killer, to creating constant paranoia regarding the well rounded characters, Scream is ready to raise the bar with each episode – leading to yet another emotional death. Before we get to that let’s go back to the beginning of the episode accurately titled “In the Trenches.” After Piper and Will were attacked in last week’s final moments, Piper awakens in the dark abandoned building with signs of head trauma, but is soon distracted by a trail of blood. Will on the other hand, awakens to a dim lit room with his hands and legs bound, where the masked killer is shown to keep him captive for the time being. Emma finds her mother preparing for diner with Clarke Hudson and his son Kieran (oh the awkward potential.) Maggie/Daisy shares her joy of having had more open conversations about Brandon James, and Emma takes the chance to pry about her father’s departure. Of course, Maggie isn’t ready to show all of her cards and evades any further conversation from proceeding. A newly paired up Kieran and Emma arrive to school and exhibit some slight signs of PDA when Emma receives a text from Will’s phone (the killer) that reads. “Tried to make things right last night. I failed. So sorry.” Not the best scenario for Will right now.

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Audrey and Noah see each other for the first time since he’s viewed Audrey’s hidden video that showcased some possible killer qualities, and they begin by doing what they do best – brining the humor to Scream by likening Audrey to Shawshank Redemption and incorporating prison terminology. At the same time, we see Noah sporting a “Free Audrey” shirt with her face plastered across it (reasons to love Noah.) Noah updates Audrey that he can’t find anything with Seth Branson’s identity or finger prints and she recommends turning him in for his malware. Noah informs her that the programs have vanished and no evidence exists, raising a red flag for them. To complicate things more, Mr. Branson is missing with a substitute teach filling in and it doesn’t sit well with Audrey and Noah. We find Brooke and Jake wandering their school halls, and Brooke confirms that the sheet found in the freezer was in fact from their guest bedroom, and she can’t shake a feeling of concern. Emma finds the two and asks if they’ve seen Will, but they say they know anything; while Brooke discloses Will’s blackmail attempt against her father. A nervous Piper finds the friends and tells Emma she has something to show her, with Jake and Brooke tagging along.

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When she takes them to the warehouse where everything occurred, Jake admits to having a role in the blackmail efforts which makes Brooke and Jake begin to bicker. “We’ve all done bad things.” Emma says, jumping in to the discussion to regain attention, the line best describes these characters – but I love them all anyways. Piper takes them slightly further and shows the trio a wall she awoke to that reads “No Cops Emma.” Piper begins to sway as if she will pass out, and Emma tells the other two to take her outside and give her a minute alone. Almost instantly her phone rings, and she answers to hear Will’s voice in a panic. She asks what he wants her to do and the killer hopes for a game of hide and seek – like Daisy and Brandon used to play. Obviously the killer(s) has major access to information on their relationship, and Emma says she knows everything from her mother. The killer snaps for the moment and responds yelling “Your mother is a lying whore!” This really leads me to believe my early prediction on a possible half sibling of Emma being the killer is a huge possibility, but that could just be me…

Emma’s next solo mission has her seeking out Noah’s assistance in tracking Will’s phone, which she has to do by explaining her concern for his life. An emotionally overloaded Brooke confronts her father, telling him that she knows about the blackmail as well as the video. He claims that the video isn’t what it appears to be and Brooke additionally questions if he has any involvement in Will’s disappearance, and he claims to have none. Brooke exits his office, still clearly uneasy, meeting up with Jake, Emma, and Noah, offering their assistance in finding Will. Noah manages to discover a location on Will’s phone, and the unexpected foursome (that I really enjoyed) headed out to an abandoned/massive bowling alley. When they arrive, Jake informs them he’s come prepared with a few (rather large) knives as self defense. Noah doesn’t seem too thrilled to see him with weapons but the conversation is interrupted when Kieran calls Emma’s phone. He asks where she is, with the planned Hudson/Duvall family dinner commencing, and she plays coy about the situation, but prompts him to cover for her while the others search the premises for entry to the old bowling alley. Emma and Noah (the first pair) search on their own but Emma can’t help but feel like this is different from his previous MO. Noah begins his accurate rant, explaining the killer wants her to think she is on to something but everything they’ve discovered so far seems intentional.

Brooke and Jake (the second pairing) search for a point of entry, and Jake attempts to cause Brooke to question if Noah could be the killer. “9 times out of 10, that guys the killer. He’s usually sweet and funny and uber smart.” Which Brooke claims eliminates Jake as an option. He shares that he could hold those qualities, and proceeds to awkwardly struggle with a door. I live for these Jake and Brooke scenes; I really enjoy all of them. When they all find a way in, they meet up near the bowling lanes and Emma can’t figure out why he’d bring Will to this specific location. Jake implies they should split up to save time, and Noah sharply retorts “Said no one who survived a horror movie…ever.” However, they split back into the pairs they’ve been in. At the Duvall residence, Maggie tells her company that she can have Emma come home, but Kieran (having made up a story about helping Audrey study) pulls a stealthy save by offering to just go and pick her up. At the bowling alley, Jake tries to get Brooke to dismiss his actions, while using his typical Jake tactic of attempted flirting which as usual, doesn’t phase Brooke. Much like what Jake did earlier; Noah shares his thoughts on Jake being the masked killer with a few valid points to briefly make Emma rethink who she trusts. When we return to Jake and Brooke, he lets it slip that he is aware of her fling with Mr. Branson. The two have another scene where they begin to share their perceptions on each other, but in a mysterious and creepy approach (also in a charming way!) but leaves her momentarily in need of a restroom. While she waits, Brooke hears a noise and begins to look around her in a panic. She turns just in time and sees the killer standing over her staring intently and she lets out a scream – running away as fast as possible, and meanwhile Noah and Emma discover a room with a bloody and strung up Will.

The two cut Will from the rope he’s tied to, and while running from the killer, Brooke discovers them. She tells them that Jake is out there as is the killer, and a tearful Emma finally manages to help Will regain consciousness after fearing he was already dead. The two embrace and share a heartfelt moment that the chemistry is clear, along with their love for each other – regardless of the long list of their issues. Audrey calls Noah (and is supposedly taking make up exams) but can only make out fragments of the conversation including their current location and that Will is bleeding. Not sure what to do, she arrives to Emma’s house which instantly blows the cover story from Kieran. She relays what she heard, and they all begin to make their way to the building, with the sheriff calling in backup. Emma finds a knife wound along Will’s ribs, and uses duct tape to act as a temporary way to stop bleeding until they can get him medical assistance, but Will is clearly injured. He tells her that he wished she hadn’t tried to find him for her safety, and she says that despite their issues she couldn’t let something happen. Will complains of a pain on his back, and Emma finds that the killer has carved something on his skin. A short distance away, Brooke takes Noah’s makeshift “knife stick” away, and shows off some unexpected survivalist methods to create a spear. Don’t mess with Queen Brooke! The two begin to both panic and impart their suspicions of each other, while Emma finds a small box labeled “b4” the same thing now carved into Will’s upper back. When she opens it, she finds a cassette tape (and discovers Brandon James worked at this bowling alley.) The tape is labeled PTSD Project, with her father’s name written on it. Right after, the intercoms begin to play the song from episode one that is an instantly recognizable eerie tune written for Daisy. Emma realizes that it must be a stereo playing, with the intention of using it for her tape and quickly heads out for it, despite her friends concerns.

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Emma discovers an old stereo placed in front of the speaker and removes the current cassette, replacing it with the tape about her father. In the brief moments she listens, she overhears that her father just couldn’t quite forgive Maggie for sleeping with “that monster” while acknowledging he’s done things to betray Maggie in the past. (This additionally adds to my half-sibling killer theory!) Will, Brooke, and Noah all prepare to exit their somewhat safe room to locate Emma and aid a shrieking Jake, but as Noah opens the door, the killer is right outside ready to attack. They all try to hold the door, with Brooke being the first to make a run for it towards another exit. Noah (whose weapon was snagged by the killer through the slight door opening) is the second to run, leaving an injured Will holding his own to buy them time. These constant life or death attacks and traps are giving me the best Scream nostalgia in every way possible. Brooke gets to the bowling lanes and discovers Jake with his own knife sticking out of his chest, and slumped over. (He was stabbed off-screen, so I’m sure the speculation is running rampant.) Brooke cries over him, hoping he can hang on, and he wakes up muttering “you weep for the Jake.” Without much thought, she plants her foot on his chest and pulls the knife from his large wound; I’m just glad he didn’t bleed-out because I’d also weep for the Jake.

Emma hears his scream, and begins calling Jake’s name while running through the building. Brooke calls out from the opposite side, and the killer makes another surprise attack by darting towards Emma – and we are given a chase between her and the killer (one of the best aspects of the Scream franchise are these chase scenes.) He comes alarmingly close to making his move, with one arm around her when Will tackles the killer to the ground ultimately saving Emma’s life. The masked murder takes off into another hallway of the building and the police rush the deteriorated establishment in full force. She informs them the killer is still near, and coincidentally Kieran arrives at the same moment, but Emma doesn’t seem to completely trust his timing. Brooke helps carry an injured Jake out of the bowling alley as well and the group has managed to make it out wounded – but luckily alive. They show the scene with Jake and Brooke heading to the hospital together (and as happy as one could be given the circumstances.) everyone else takes the second to bask in the moment, simply thankful to have survived. After creating such a high-stakes episode, this moment feels authentically needed to remind us how attached we are becoming to these individuals.

Sometime later, Emma, Maggie, and Sheriff Hudson discuss putting Emma under protection, which she dismisses. Emma realizes at this point that although dangerous, she can’t accept what she’s being told by people and the killer does seem to have something worth learning. Kieran interrupts, and the two discuss their current dynamic, with Emma basically saying that she can’t say that her feelings for Will are gone. Her history with Will is a major factor, and she does also admit she likes Kieran, adding to the complex love triangle at play. Before he leaves he explains that he isn’t mad at her, he just knows what he wants unlike Emma. Within moments, Will calls Emma’s phone and she questions how he can confirm it’s actually him this time, so he reminds her of their second date of eating Indian food and watching The Maze Runner. The two have a flirty conversation that leads him to ask for her to visit and spend time together with the distraction of a movie. Emma agrees, and arrives to his house bearing candy and a genuinely happy smile, when she receives another call from Will. She tells him she’s arrived, and he says there has been a change of plans, asking her to find him. Emma realizes that there is something amiss, asking a question about their date which he suddenly can’t remember. The voice changes back to the killer’s voice, and he states that their game is still on after telling Emma, “I wanted you to have a little pride. Instead you forgave his lies just like Daisy did all those years ago. I don’t forgive so easily.” And tells her she needs to run. Emma dashes towards a noise near her calling out to Will, and sees him tied to a chair with a trencher machine running behind him. While running, she trips a wire the pulls the lever for the machinery and Will is butchered off camera, drenching Emma in his blood from hear to toe. An emotional episode like this with perfect critical horror traits epitomized the essence of the Scream films, and with only 3 episodes left, who knows what will happen next!

Aedan’s Final Thoughts:

-Leigh Janiak’s work as the director for this episode was perfection and contained all of the best moments of horror in the time frame of a single episode.

-I need to seriously continue to credit the writers for giving us such different characters that are all worth rooting for. Even as a horror fan, I don’t like thinking of losing any of these characters they’ve thoroughly fleshed out.

-I always note every week that I have adoration for Brooke and Jake, and it only increased during this episode. In a perfect world I’d like to see them both make it out alive for season 2, but it’s the horror genre so that’s highly unlikely.

-I believe the killer has some connection to Emma’s mother after a few comments that riled up the killer regarding Maggie/Daisy.

-Random side note: The Daisy tune played by the killer featured a light piano in the background, and a few episodes back Emma mentioned her father used to play. Am I just being paranoid and speculating? Absolutely.

-Top 5 Suspects at this point in no particular order:
    Sheriff Hudson

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