Scream: 02×03, “Vacancy” (Review/Recap)

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This week’s episode titled “Vacancy” brings Audrey face to face with the consequences of her actions… The loss of the beloved Jake. Moments after, the killer calls an anxiety riddled Audrey and she is forced to remove the pins from his body with notes attached saying the killer finished her job. Emma informs her mother that she has encountered her father after years of being missing from their lives. While Maggie doesn’t want her to have that chance to talk, Emma can’t promise she’ll keep her distance. Emma calls Audrey (being the only friend who knew her father) and Audrey’s suspicions of him given the timing. Emma on the other hand has decided that they should be able to relate to his traumatic experiences after going through a similar tragedy, meeting up with him to get some of the answers she needs. When they meet, he tells her that Maggie didn’t want him to return or contact her (shocker) but he can’t give her answers as to why he left in the first place.

Audrey goes to the storage unit with Noah and expects to find Jake again, but the scene is cleaned up so Audrey is more on edge than ever. Noah locates a camera set up in the unit and decides to take it to see what he can figure out – so Audrey’s cover-up continues. Brooke (feeling abandoned) calls Jake again and leaves a message to inform him she’s made so many steps to bring them closer so she can’t understand why he’s avoiding her. (With Zoe and Stavo lurking in the distance.) At school, Emma catches Kieran up on her father’s return with his cousin Eli awkwardly staring and standing nearby. Emma takes it upon herself to show him around the campus, also giving her a chance to figure out more about the mysterious new student.

Noah is starting to feel like he’s getting closer to the truth but doesn’t quite have anything from the camera to shed light on the killer. As Audrey leaves, she gets a GIF (so meta) from the killer that had her pulling pins from Jake’s body and saying “don’t worry partner, I covered for you.” Emma’s father decides to show up at Maggie’s home, telling her Riley has been emailing him to come see Emma (but Maggie reveals the news about her murder) which means the killer has a larger role in his return to Lakewood. Brooke and Zoe semi-bond over guy trouble before she receives a call from her former flame Seth Branson. He tells her he has missed her but Brooke hangs up and wants nothing to do with the pervy/sexually frustrated teacher. A “girls only” moment occurs with Audrey, Brooke and Emma when Brooke divulges Brandon’s mysterious call and Audrey reveals the news about Emma’s dad. After referring to him as a deadbeat, Emma grows agitated and claims she wasn’t ready to share that – thus upsetting Brooke who already deals with feeling solitude. It begins to turn into an argument with Audrey saying some insincere comments that she doesn’t have the authority to say given her role in the murders.

Emma’s parents take the evidence to sheriff Acosta (who has a history with her father) and they decide to not tell Emma which makes Maggie feel uneasy. When Emma goes to check her schedule for work she’s given a note from her father (with Eli present too) telling her to meet him at the Crescent Palms Motel for info. At the motel, the young man who was Noah’s lead goes to check on a room lined with plastic and the killer appears to smash a bottle over his head with music used to hide the screams. The murder becomes more brutal when he stabs the clerk with a corkscrew and drags him away for more slasher villain madness. The masked murderer calls Audrey and forces her to go to the motel, making her possibly do his/her bidding. Unaware of what’s going on, Brooke sets up Noah and Zoe (with Stavo randomly appearing to say some oddly timed comments about the murders) and the four go to a movie where Branson happens to be seen. Brooke confronts him for calling and arriving back in town which he says is purely coincidental. More than anything she wants him to know she doesn’t trust him. Noah makes a remark about Branson’s shady past, and Stavo pretends to be Brooke’s placeholder boyfriend to keep him away (which he uses as an opportunity to make a move.) As she leaves, Brooke finds out the flowers were from Branson and not Jake – so she texts him, getting a cold response from the killer to make her less suspicious.

Emma finds her father’s room at the Crescent Palms where she locates a series of newspapers clippings that she discovered in the season opener. Audrey is on her way to the location as well, when the killer FaceTime’s her to prove he’s in the bathroom of the room Emma is waiting in. Audrey calls Emma’s phone (which is ignored) and decides to call the police to save her if possible. Right before Emma opens the door where the killer awaits her, she hears a struggle outside with her dad fighting someone in a drunken stupor. An enraged Emma realizes he wasn’t the one who left her the note or clippings, but he planned on fleeing without telling her. He does admit that part of why he left was he ended up arguing with Maggie and fracturing her jaw – so Audrey appears to comfort her (using the fight as her reason for calling the police.) Emma now feels like she understands everyone’s disdain towards her father so as she leaves, Audrey feels a sense of relief… Until the killer texts the accomplice to show her that the murder weapon is in her car and now has Audrey’s fingerprints all over what was used to kill the motel clerk. Good luck Audrey, you’re going to need it.

Overall Grade: 8/10
The new characters are become more integrated into the group with equal suspicious scenes dispersed to keep viewers guessing. Bringing Emma’s father back (even if briefly) was a piece of the Brandon James puzzle that continues to create interest. Each character, other than a somewhat missing Kieran, has their own things going on to complicate the dynamics of the Lakewood 5. For being 3 episodes in, Scream is giving us a lot to look forward to in a sophomore season of horror – and the psychological impact of these events.

Aedan’s Final Thoughts:

-The season feels like it should be building to an Audrey showdown where she will pay the ultimate price for her association with Piper.

-I’m glad to know they weren’t willing to disregard Jake’s untimely demise and use it as a major plot to the season. (Gone too soon.)

-Brooke is queen. No need to explain, it’s simply a well known fact.

-Emma’s father is still struggling to cope with the murders 20 years ago, so I hope to see more of what made him the anxiety stricken man he has become.

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