If you were pleading for more of MTV’s Scream series, you’re in luck! MTV confirmed that the show will return for a third season but also provided us with a Halloween-themed two-parter that gave new direction for Scream. We begin nearly eight months after the conclusion of Season 2, where Kieran is sentenced the maximum sentencing for murdering roughly a dozen people with the help of Piper. Kieran is taken into the court holding cell while waiting for the press to leave; however, a killer in the Brandon James mask strikes and nearly twists the head off an officer and slices Kieran’s throat — before stabbing him once more. As an opening scene, we are already being granted more bloodshed for this Halloween-themed installment. We find out that Brooke is prepping to apply for NYU, Stavo and Noah have co-written a graphic novel on the Lakewood 6, Audrey has a girlfriend from the theatre and Emma has avoided deciding on her future or even college in general.
Beginning with enough time for the characters to have gone through change, it’s a great starting point for the series in reminding us that they are trying to move forward when their lives have been repeatedly in danger. When Brooke shares the news of Kieran’s murder, reporters begin to follow the selected survivors for comments. Noah and Stavo are given an opportunity to write another story after finding success, so they get an invitation to visit an island where a girl was said to have murdered her own family in a burlap mask with garden shears. They ask for the others to join them in an escape from the media, not disclosing the truth behind the trip. The group consists of Stavo and Noah, their editor Jeremy, Brooke, Emma, and Audrey (her girlfriend was unable to join them). By the time they realize why they are on the island, it’s too late, and they can only hope to enjoy the brief vacation from Lakewood to “Murder Island” and the Whitten legend.
As Noah and Stavo are informed on the history of the Whitten family (there was a hole in the tale that doesn’t explain how the young girl could have committed the murders), Emma and Audrey stop for Emma to look at potential tattoos. Emma admits to feeling like she’s labeled as the girlfriend of the killer, so this is her version at finding something expressive to feel like she has control. A young man notices, and Audrey plays into it by asking him to provide her with his own thoughts — leading him to suggest ‘Carpe Diem’. She declines for the moment, and the two briefly exchange names while lightly flirting, as they both leave seemingly happy. They come across him later, coincidentally, and she finds out he is the heir of the Whitten family after he invites her to go out on his boat together during their vacation. The two bond over being cast in the shadows of their family name, making Emma feel like someone could actually understand the rationale behind her persona.
Stavo, Noah and Jeremy track down the caretaker of Whitten property, a girl named Billie who enjoys flirting with Stavo and offers to talk all things Whitten with them later. That evening, they all meet for a bonfire, and Billie seems territorial over Alex when she hears about Emma’s possible date and proceeds to flirt with Stavo in front of Brooke before better detailing how Anna Whitten killed several family members. The story still doesn’t sit well with Noah, and the kickback is broken up after Jeremy tries to prank them, but Emma uses her new jujitsu skills to take him down with ease. Stavo offers to walk Billie home and passes up her flirtatious gestures but is killed by the time she enters her home by herself. (A nice cat-and-mouse scene from Scream.)
The next day, Stavo and Brooke feud about him going to New York (she resists him joining her), and he tries to apologize for his mannerisms towards the female caretaker. It isn’t a successful reconciliation, so he leaves with Audrey and Noah to get that tour of the property — finding a bloody scene and no sign of Billie anywhere. A storm seems to appear, and, after Jeremy’s stunt (and now disappearance, too), they aren’t allowed to leave. Emma is still on a date with Alex when the storm hits, and they share a kiss before he drops her off at the rental property. When Emma enters the dark home, the phone rings, and the voice of the Brandon James-masked killer tells her to look out the back porch. When she turns on a light, she sees the body of Billie, and he tells Emma she’ll never get away from him.
As the officer is headed to check on the Lakewood group, he finds a body in the middle of the road with major loss of flesh, and he’s attacked by the Whitten masked killer, who cuts his fingers off and slices him open with the shears. Like I mentioned before, the gore factor of Scream has hit a high, and it feels like they wanted to amp up the horror as best as they could. Brooke, Emma, Audrey, Noah and Stavo group up to talk about the best course of action while in disbelief they could be going through this — again. I enjoy their awareness of the situational horror they find themselves in, making you root for at least one of the survivors of the Lakewood murders. They are soon joined by Gina (a new character and Audrey’s girlfriend), who finds the head of the sheriff and claims to have arrived to surprise Audrey. She’s definitely in shock but hilariously addresses the more alarming deaths going on around them — yeah, I could say I’m enjoying Gina already. The only thing left to do for the group? Track down Alex and ask for help getting off the island.
With Alex now joining them, they get to the dock and discover his boat is missing — so they must go back to his mansion for safety. Brooke points out that it’s a major hindrance that they are cut off from the world (cell towers), and Audrey is more concerned that Jeremy is the killer because of his absence. (Jeremy is Noah and Stavo’s editor, in case you aren’t following.) Emma is generally worried that this is the same killer who murdered Kieran, who has proven to be resourceful thus far. Confused by the Kieran reference, Emma fills Alex in on her past, and he says he admires her for being a true survivor; at the same time, Audrey begins to question Gina’s arrival’s timing, and she becomes defensive for being suspected when she only tried to do something nice. Emma and Brooke try to talk about what teenage girls usually would (boys), but a panicked Jeremy hits the window in the midst of the storm, begging for them to let him in. They agree (but end up locking him in a room), while Noah and Stavo work on repairing a vehicle radio and Audrey searches for Gina. Emma and Alex take the time to flirt and tell stories, as Brooke enjoys wine and food, doing her own thing (Brooke is still as queen-like as always!).
When looking for her girlfriend, Audrey finds her phone with pictures of Audrey and Emma from the day before — so she confronts her, which is explained as her looking for them and being suspicious of being cheated on. Gina feels like Emma is her biggest priority, which is given weight when she leaves the conversation after Emma summons her to look at the blood smeared on her wall as a taunt from the killer. Noah and Stavo bicker about Noah having writer’s block because of guilt regarding telling the stories of the deceased (survivor’s guilt), but they stop when he finds a signal and calls for help. The others learn that Jeremy has escaped, and we see him coming across Gina (who runs away from him), and he’s stabbed by the killer when he finds some incriminating evidence — this time, we see who the killer is without the mask, and it’s revealed to be the supposed Alex Whitten. Sorry, Jeremy, but at least you gave us insight on the killer’s identity with your death.
With everything going on, Brooke realizes how much Stavo means to her and insists he comes to New York with her, finally moving past their life-path struggles. They are interrupted by Noah and Audrey, who all find photos that suggest the man murdered in the past had secrets. It leads them to find out that the same bookshelf the album was on is a secret pathway that eventually leads them to the quarters that Anna lived in, adding to the theory that she was innocent and the girl killed him after he murdered her entire family. When the others get to the end of the tunnel and into the room, they see Jeremy has been murdered and that the real Alex Whitten is someone entirely different — making them wonder who the man is who claims to be Alex and romancing Emma.
Emma is attacked by Alex (in the mask), and she uses her new skills to fend him off again, throwing some kickass survival tactics. He escapes and comes back without costume through another entry point when she accidentally finds the real body of Alex Whitten, cueing Emma in on who the real killer is. He admits he isn’t him, but he was overtaken by a media-influenced persona as a child who was locked in a room with his murdered parents for days. He wanted to be Emma’s savior and felt like, when he saw her on television, he could understand her pain — wanting to be with the girl who survived brutality. Emma (who will lure psychos for a long time, clearly) pretends to buy into the idea of running away together, getting info from him — like the fact that he didn’t kill Kieran — and attacks him to escape. The fight is taken to a balcony where she has a realization she doesn’t need to run from her identity. She’s her own hero. She’s Emma Duvall. She pushes him off, making one more killer who has fallen at her hands.
In the Halloween special’s closing moments, Audrey and Gina move past their doubts and agree to give it a shot romantically. While I still don’t care much for Audrey, Gina could be a great character inclusion for the third season. Brooke and Stavo agree to stay together, regardless of location, and Noah’s voiceover insists he has cured his survivor’s guilt by deciding to tell the stories of fallen friends. We also see Emma has begun to find herself and decided on her tattoo — her last name on her wrist to remind her of the fact that she’s a strong final girl who is capable of overcoming anything. In addition to that, Emma applies for Lakewood University, making another decision to give her direction in her future. The last two scenes show Emma’s father standing over Kieran’s grave (he killed him, perhaps?), as well as a man arriving to Lakewood and checking- in to a motel, referred to as a Mr. James. Is Brandon back for more horror? Or is his brother Troy ready to join in on the action? We’ll have to find out when Scream returns for Season 3 in 2017!
Overall Grade: 8.8/10
The horror in the two-part Halloween special showed a major increase in blood and gore, as well as actual deaths, making it a great addition the the series. This Halloween installment also teased the third season’s plot, creating more mystery around the Lakewood horror stories. Still not as much focus on Brooke as I would have liked, so hopefully they can utilize her in the third season as the final girl she truly is. Lastly, the character development and survivors’ struggles took center stage on multiple occasions, making it more understandable to root for our core cast through the traumas they face.
Aedan’s Final Thoughts:
– I seriously can’t wait for the third season.
– The idea of a Halloween special worked rather well for the Scream series.
– If Brandon James is back, you can bet there will be much more to the story we haven’t been privy to.