Scream: 2-Part Halloween Special (Recap/Review)

Scream
MTV

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.

Advertisements

Scream: 02×08, “Village Of The Damned”

Scream
MTV

It’s Lakewood’s 100th birthday on episode eight of Scream! So how does the town with a murderous reputation celebrate you might ask? An poorly timed carnival to make the likelihood of trouble even higher of course.

Before any of the carnival goodness can begin, Audrey wakes up to blood dripping on her face with a message on the ceiling – “12 dead” along with an implication she won’t be forgiven. As it is pointed out, there are 11 known dead unless the last is reference to Brandon James or an incident from the past, the most likely scenario (creepy photo, Troy, etc.) Still included in the “Lady of the Lake” pageant, Brooke asks for the accompaniment of her friends with everything that’s gone on. At the Sheriffs station, Sheriff Acosta goes through some of Ms. Lang’s belongings which includes some unusual recordings of the Lakewood residents including his own family. Shortly after, the sheriff is sent to the scene of the fire from the previous episode and finds the burnt up bodies of Eddie the motel clerk and Seth Branson.

Not wanting to have any secrets, Emma cops to the truth about breaking in, but is sure that the two of them weren’t the start of the fire. The sheriff clues her in to Eli’s creeper past about breaking into a girls room as well as other places, saying Kieran only had her best interests at heart. When Eli sees her he wants to make amends, but Emma doesn’t seem to think it’s a good idea after everything. The final preparations for the Lady of the Lake pageant continues, and Brooke comes to the conclusion that though she doesn’t want the title – she will help her new friend Zoe achieve success in her endeavor. At the Acosta house, the sheriff has lost trust in his son and ransacks his room seeking the mask with an upset Stavo protesting the situation (I do like you Stavo – but you are creepy!)

Emma and Kieran are given a chance to reconcile, so Emma shares that she found out some of his past which sends Kieran off the deep end (someone’s keeping secrets!) around that time, Audrey gets a threatening phone call from the murderer telling her that everything ends for her if she includes the police or tells the truth to Emma. Audrey decides to disregard the warning and asks Emma to the carnival with her to share her “truth.” When they arrive, we discover that this used to be tradition for them as children with an idea that their friendship is the best it’s been in years (until things are bound to take an awkward turn.) Brooke glams out Zoe in pink, while donning her own dark vampy look with a black dress and dark lipstick – Brooke is always such a queen in attitude and appearance of course. Zoe shares some of her alcohol with Brooke to take the edge off when Noah also arrives (because of Brooke’s doing) to be with his date.

Stavo sneaks back to the area Brooke is waiting, asking her to leave with him because of the ill-timed carnival but she refuses by saying she has her reasons. He decides to leave feeling frustrated with her, so Brooke takes another large swig of the flask getting a little more than tipsy. Eli pursues Emma at the carnival grabbing her arm when she tries to leave, queuing Kieran to do some face-punching on his troubled cousin. “I’m not the one you should be afraid of” Eli tells Emma with a bloody mouth, but still isn’t really entirely trustworthy. Zoe and Noah find some time to kill, walking the carnival together before entering a photo booth. It appears as if they are looking to go further, but the pageant is about to begin and the contestants must take their place. Audrey hears the story about Eli breaking in to others’ property which prompts her to suggest he may have been the one who entered her house repeatedly.

As Brooke prepares to give her speech, it’s evident that she’s hit the drunk state – stumbling onto the stage with a giggle and a message she wants to make loud and clear. “I was supposed to be here with my boyfriend Jake Fitzgerald, but I guess you all know what happened with that right?” She says with a forced laugh before the tears start rolling. She says that this carnival is a reminder of how oblivious the town chooses to be, saying that Jake isn’t here with her – he’s left in the abyss of nothing, something that they’ll all know soon if people don’t wise up. “And we’ll all deserve it, but he didn’t.” She says a a closing statement that is enough to cue some major feels. This is yet another spectacular Brooke scene, and her best emotional performance/dialogue of the series – that’s more success from Carlson Young and Scream!

When her friends surround her, they tell Brooke her speech was necessary and incredible, with even her father not finding it plausible to stay upset. “Jake would have liked it” she reminds them to ultimately stab us in the heart once more. Emma then gets a call from Kieran and when she answers, sees him tied up in the funhouse – so Emma bolts to save her boyfriend from a bloody death. By the time she enters its a cat and mouse game, dodging laughing clown mechanisms and other fun (spooky) carnival inclusions. The deputy sent to tail Emma follows her in, but he’s found by the killer and thrown through a thick layer of glass where Emma finds his body. She thinks she spots the killer and uses the officers gun to shoot, but it penetrates glass instead and he makes an escape. Someone barges out of the entrance in the killer’s costume, with Emma behind by a few feet and holding a gun. They are surrounded by police, and by the time they intake a knife from his hand and remove the mask, we see Kieran is under it with his mouth taped shut. (I actually still believe this could be Kieran, without a doubt.)

Kieran is next shown in the back of an ambulance talking to Emma – telling her that he was so afraid Emma wouldn’t know the truth, saying he was in the car and the reason for the accident that killed his parents. His rivalry with Eli has to do with the fact that he says Eli tries to take everything he loves, but he refuses to lose Emma to him. Zoe is shown to have won the pageant, feeling it doesn’t matter too much for the moment, but Noah admires her fighting for what she wants and the mood seems to strike. Back at his house right as things pick up, Audrey calls and Zoe decides to wait (yet again) but not out of anger or irritation. At Brooke’s house, someone enters her room (revealed to be Stavo) and she thanks him for coming, and the two just lie in bed together with Brooke not wanting to be alone. In the final moments of the episode, Audrey heads to Emma’s to share the truth about Piper – but someone (Zoe) beat her to it and sent the audio confession to Emma, who finished listening right as her “best friend” enters the room.

Overall Grade: 8/10
Scream is absolutely thriving in its second season, brining us the emotional toil and high stakes horror viewers deserve. They’ve really fleshed out the characters’ friendships which only makes it more crucial to the importance of survival. Brooke’s speech was the most iconic moment from this installment, making it difficult not to feel a deep sympathetic feeling for the broken-hearted teen. I also have come to appreciate the different ways Scream has embraced different ideas (carnival, murder hotel, farms) into the horror dynamic to change the setting from time to time.

Aedan’s Final Thoughts:

-Kieran still resides at the top of my suspect list with Noah, and maybe even Zoe taking the top spots.

-Drunk emotional speeches are apparently my new favorite thing – courtesy of Ms. Maddox

-There has to be a large twist at play that includes Troy James and some of the Lakewood 5 that could throw another sibling into the fold.

Scream: 02×05, “Dawn Of The Dead” (Review/Recap)

scream
MTV

Last week’s episode ended on a massive reveal for the survivors of the first season, proving to them that another killer is waiting to make their move.

The episode begins with a school undergoing a lockdown to try and locate Jake’s killer, with chaos causing everyone a sense of fear. Emma and Audrey find their way to Brooke as she’s being photographed by Maggie for evidence of the scene. Brooke is seemingly numb and in a state of shock after being drenched in her boyfriends blood with his mangled corpse being dropped at her feet. The only words she can manage are her regret about her last moments with Jake – so nobody is in a place to make her feel anything other than grief. An officer finds them and insists Audrey and Emma are questioned, but agrees to let Audrey stay with Brooke while Emma speaks with sheriff Acosta. When Emma arrives to the office they are using, she waits in the library where other contained students have resorted to dirty looks towards the girl with a tendency for bringing death.

Emma finds at least one person who is happy to see her – Kieran. The quiet and kindhearted on/off boyfriend offers his support which is something that is needed during a crisis with potential death looming. Brooke is finally allowed to use a shower and wash off the horror of what she experienced, but it is apparent that the trauma will stick. She begins to piece things together with Audrey and realizes that Jake’s killer must have been the one texting Brooke from his phone for the last few days. Audrey uses Brooke’s phone to text the killer back with a message suggesting they will rot in hell – and the notification alerts Emma, ultimately proving the killer planted his phone on her at one point during the day.  Haley (the unkind prankster from the first episode) along with others watch Brooke being walked into isolation with all eyes on the distraught queen of the Lakewood 6. Haley is quickly asked to speak with the sheriff next, despite her frustrations that she could even be pooled into a list of suspects.

Emma shares the phone reveal with Audrey before wanting to take it to the police, so a nervous Audrey stops her from involving them for the time being. Brooke’s father is allowed into the school, letting her emotions show to the only family she has around. Noah approaches Zoey after their awkward conversation and even though she isn’t sure about romantic involvement, she offers herself as someone to talk to about the return to a murderous rampage. During the discussion, students overhear that lockers are being searched and an anxious Kieran says he has something he needs to deal with before it’s found by police. The others don’t appear to happy with the ambiguity, but agree to help by creating a diversion so him and Noah can make their way into the halls. They narrowly make it but Kieran is caught with a bag that as it turns out – carries his father’s gun. Instead of making Kieran’s life too complicated, he tells him that he can overlook things as long as he provides him with insight in what the Lakewood 5 are aware of moving forward.

In the library, Eli offers Emma a few suggestions on how to leave the phone behind and act unaware, but they are stopped when Noah calls to share what just happened with Emma. She then prepares to hand the phone to Eli so he can deal with it, but the sheriff walks in (with Kieran) and its clear that he sold her out to maintain his own safety. Noah, who is now locked outside in the hallways, calls Audrey to inform her that Kieran was taken for questioning and Audrey fills in the rest with him returning but Emma being taken. When Emma meets with sheriff Acosta, she states that she is being targeted once again – but the sheriff mentions her being in treatment for PTSD and a visit to the psych ward. For the time being, he lets her rejoin the others with some doubts about Emma but not enough to make any hasty decisions.

Emma briefly confronts Kieran for turning her in, with Eli stoking the fire and tensions appear to build between everyone. Haley makes a comment about Emma that she overhears so Emma feels it’s best to confront her (and anyone else) with these same sentiments. Haley exclaims that everyone around Emma dies yet she is always unharmed – before saying there’s always a crazy Duval family member standing. Emma isn’t to pleased by the remark and slaps her which leads to an altercation until faculty can break it up. Now that Brooke is joined by her father, the sheriff begins to question her about Jake so she admits that they had been together the last time he was seen by anyone. She becomes emotional and tells them everything that had gone on between them, suggesting that Branson must have done this to get to Brooke – leading her to say she wants to go see Jake one last time.

The oddly untrustworthy psychology teacher takes Emma from the library and locks her in an office, telling her she’s having a ptsd flashback moment. At the scene of the crime, Maggie begins to cry over the body of Jake until Brooke walks in to ask how long he’s been dead (so she now knows that he wasn’t the one texting her.) Emma receives a call from the killer who says they are coming for her, but she can’t escape the room she’s locked in. She pulls the blinds open to see the masked killer and picks up a chair that she uses to smash through the window. By the time she climbs out (cutting her arm on broken glass) nobody is around and we’re left wondering if she’s losing it once again. The sheriff also noticed Maggie’s moment with Brooke and has her officially removed from the case, having an officer escort her from the building to her dismay. In the library, Audrey begins to slip up with her stories about multiple murders as opposed to one and decides to confront Stavo in front of the entire group of students. Audrey shows his gory artwork to everyone and they become enraged, leading to him being jumped by multiple people with a mob mentality. The only person who tries to stop the attack is Kieran, until Emma shows up and steals the focus with her arm bleeding profusely and others not too excited to see her.

Once the lockdown is lifted, students are reunited with their families but there are still plenty of problems to deal with for those involved. Emma stops to have her arm bandaged and chooses not to disclose what she just witnessed in fear of them labeling her crazy. Kieran apologizes for turning her in, but she is more focused on having some alone time to cope. Audrey sees Stavo and attempts to apologize (also offering to fix or replace his broken tablet) but he wants nothing to do with her which is his smartest decision thus far. Noah takes the distraction as a time to pocket Audrey’s phone, not completely trusting she’s been 100% open about what she knows. In what is the saddest and best scene of the entire episode, a fragile Brooke walks to the pool her and Jake had their last moments together – offering a slight smile at the memories until she walks in and immerses herself in the water, letting out a scream as well as a heartbreaking cry for what she’s going through.

In the final scene, Noah hacks into Audrey’s phone and discovers the killer has been in contact with her – also finding the gif of her removing evidence from Jake’s body… Let’s hope Audrey’s days as an accomplice are put on blast.

Overall Grade: 9/10
This was a solid follow up to one of their best episodes, and every Brooke centric scene made the episode even more enjoyable. Carlson Young delivered an exceptional performance with the ending pool scene becoming one of the most memorable moments of the series for her portrayal of a layered character facing serious trauma. The anxiety amongst the group was another nice inclusion of what should occur now that they are aware they will once again be targeted. I cannot wait to see how the remainder of the season unfolds!

Aedan’s Final Thoughts:

– Carlson Young is one of my favorite actresses on television, partially due to her nuanced performance in the most necessary moments.

– I’m starting to wonder if Emma is fairly insane after all… Killer material perhaps?

– Audrey continues to dig herself a bigger grave and her actions against Stavo have me hoping she gets what she deserves (hint: it’s not good.)

– I have a suspicion that one of the new kids could be assisting one of the Lakewood 5 as the new murderer