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

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The cat and mouse game between the killer and the Lakewood 6 continue on this week’s episode of Scream, picking up where we left off when Emma discovers the former home of Troy James. She notices an array of old furniture arranged along with numerous childhood photos and newspaper clippings, right before she notices a hooded figure that runs a different direction as Emma lets out a scream and makes an escape out the front door. A very smart Brooke makes the decision to stay away from the screams, grabbing Emma and speeding off hastily. When Emma fills her mother in on the discovery, Maggie confirms that they have both been to the James family farm which proves she can’t easily be trusted (still.) Maggie decides to return with Emma to the property and figure things out together – but unfortunately the house was cleared out with no evidence to back up the fragile lead’s claims.

The first person she seeks out to discuss the issue (as well as her sanity) is Kieran who remains the supportive and stand-up gentleman he’s been from the beginning. Meanwhile, Noah tells Audrey that a commenter on his podcast with Emma works at a motel and claims to have seen Piper’s accomplice with his own eyes and Audrey becomes uneasy about her stability as being viewed as a survivor/bystander. By the time school commences, Kieran asks Brooke if she can vouch for Emma’s claims, but she admits that she didn’t actually witness anything and mentions Emma does have issues in the past with hallucinations and lapses in mental stability. To change the subject, Brooke tells Emma and the others that Jake seems to be ignoring her (now on day 2) which worries the girl in love who is still unaware of his heart wrenching demise. Everyone else thinks things must be ok, but Brooke expresses a genuine concern from not having talked to any of the other Lakewood sixers. Audrey becomes distracted on her own when the killer messages her about her truth being at risk as she notices Haley (the prankster from the movie theatre) also texting nearby and making brief eye contact. Audrey follows and intimidates the girl who as it turns out was only messaging her boyfriend, but Audrey is clearly on edge given her major predicament.

With everything going on, Emma sees a slightly frustrated Zoey, then realizing she missed their study session to catch her up on everything she’s missed. Zoey tells her that she’s been through her fair share of rough times and knows that Emma is an extremely intelligent girl who has to be willing to commit to get her life back on track (in other words.) In psychology with a handful of the characters we know, the brain’s instincts for survival is a topic of conversation that Stavo chimes in on and shows his perceptiveness (total red herring.) Noah tracks down Audrey, noticing her paranoia with Haley, but she diverts to what Noah intends on doing with his lead that could reveal Audrey’s partnership with Piper. He informs her that he has an interview planned with the man who supposedly saw the interaction which prompts her to offer herself as a videographer. Emma finds herself alone in the hallway near her locker when she first encounters a very unusually creepy new character who makes an instant attempt to talk to her, even knowing her name (while also admitting he’s not even enrolled at their school.)

Brooke has a short visit with her father and when he leaves, we see recent texts with him and Jake that doesn’t provide us with all the answers, but does suggest some sort of agreement which he hinted at with his “plan” before he was killed. As Kieran arrives to his home, the new sheriff is already present and makes note of him living without a legal guardian present. His aunt is there for the time being and insists he relocate with her to Atlanta as the only other option. When Emma hears the news, she opens up to her mom about how he was the only person she felt like she could completely open up to (a little Maggie dig!) Brooke grows extremely concerned about Jake’s safety and arrives to the police station to file a missing persons report, running into Stavo. When he finds out why she’s there, he refers to Jake as number 6. Stavo then admits he has done a ranking of the Lakewood 6 in terms of importance and involvement and tells Brooke she is ranked as number 4. “I was stabbed and left in a freezer!” she protests, but he says that spot is Noah’s for his investigation successes. When Brooke is called in to meet with the sheriff, she gets a text from Jake’s phone which eases her mind. Stavo, who was also texting at the same time, tries to comment on her relationship until she tells him everyone may think they know the Lakewood 6 but they actually know nothing about them or their lives.

Emma casts her trust issues aside and meets with the psych professor who offered her help at the coffee shop she used to work at and encountered Piper. Emma is triggered by a girl with similarities to her and has a mild anxiety attack that catches everyone’s attention. The teacher (now counselor) tries her best to comfort Emma and stresses that being vulnerable with Piper doesn’t mean she made a judgmental error – stating that it’s brave to trust and open yourself up to people. All of this would be much sweeter if it wasn’t for the fact that the woman has a recorder in her bag and catches every word Emma is saying, opening up again to someone who can’t be trusted. She follows up by saying Emma needs to do whatever she can to come to terms that Piper is gone and can’t take anything else from her, something that is a necessary statement to initiate moving past her turmoil. At the same time, Brooke decides to text Jake and arrange a meeting for the two of them which is yet another hard moment to watch while Brooke is so devoted to her boyfriend who she still doesn’t know is deceased.

Emma goes to see Kieran and the mysterious young man from her school answers, who is revealed to be Eli, the cousin of Kieran. She pulls him away from his family and tells him she needs to do something that only he can accompany her for before he possibly leaves Lakewood. When they drive away, his aunt and cousin admit to possibly wanting to stay in Lakewood to shed their struggles back home with an option at living in a new home rent free. In what is possibly one of the saddest scenes of the episode, Brooke prepares for a special date with Jake and faces her father’s disapproval by admitting that she wants to be with Jake and truly cares for him, regardless of how her father may feel after the complicated past. This was a huge declaration for Brooke and makes it hard to prepare for when she hears what has happened to him.

Emma and Kieran arrive to the dock where everything took place with Piper and relives the moment but immediately seeks solace in her on/off boyfriend. They begin to sleep together but pause when her scar is shown to him that she deems “ugly.” Kieran being Emma’s Mr. Perfect says that it only makes her more beautiful to him which is enough to keep the passion alive. Noah finds his way to the hotel where someone claims to have seen the accomplice but Audrey is nearby as well and calls with the voice modulator to threaten him to stay silent – which works when Noah gets too close to learning more. She then pretends to show up late and Noah implies he got a little information about a storage unit that could have some of Piper’s belongings because the hotel wasn’t one of her known locations to the police. They agree to check it out in the morning which only means Audrey will have plans later in the evening.

When Emma and Kieran get back to his house, his aunt says that Maggie offered to house him but her and Eli decided to stay in Lakewood with him for her brother’s sake (lies.) Emma now is beginning to show signs that she is better, even deciding to walk home and call her mother to thank her for offering to be his guardian. As she hangs up, she sees a car pursuing her that could be problematic, so she screams at the driver to find out what he or she wants – her sense of security is a true roller coaster of emotion. The driver slowly steps out of the car and Emma realizes it’s actually her father, who tells her that he’s now back in Lakewood because he wanted to be present for her – respecting her decision regardless of whatever it may be. Audrey goes to this storage unit alone to see if there is any evidence against her, while Noah begins to conduct his podcast as the closing monologue about suspense, truth and mystery that leads to nothing good. He tells his listeners that he knows that when he discovers his big reveal, he won’t be happy with the end results. As he says it, Audrey opens it up and finds the mutilated corpse of Jake with words pinned to his body that stated they finished the job for Audrey. At the same exact moment, we see Brooke hopelessly waiting outside of his house to catch a glimpse of the man she loves.

Overall Grade: 8.5/10

The killer didn’t strike in this episode because it was still taking the time to explore the complex relationships of the Lakewood 6 with the new characters as well. Jake’s current absence is only going to make his death that more impactful when everyone learns about his murder in the coming weeks, setting Brooke up for a devastating season. Audrey seems impossible to redeem at this point and I can actually say that she doesn’t really deserve to make it out alive over the other survivors. Eli, Stavo and Zoey are each interesting and suspicious in their own ways, which makes each an intriguing new character to follow (and add to the potential death toll.) Scream is definitely taking the steps to bring their insecurities and hindered mentality to the table, adding a broader psychological struggle to the Lakewood 6 as a group.

Aedan’s Final Thoughts:

  • Even with Jake being gone, his loss hasn’t become any easier to stomach with a fragile Brooke on the verge of a downward spiral.
  • Emma is going back and forth between slightly recovered and still ready to snap on anyone, so I can’t help but wonder how she’ll react to more death.
  • Kieran is definitely a kind hearted man, if he is the killer it’ll be a sad discovery for the group and viewers.
  • As far as Stavo’s rankings of the Lakewood 6 goes, Brooke is 100% deserving of being in the top 3.

American Horror Story Hotel: 05×09, She Wants Revenge (Review/Recap)


courtesy of: hypable

The ninth episode of American Horror Story Hotel showed us just what the Countess could be up against, and it looks worrisome for the femme fatale.  This week’s installment opens with the Countess reflecting on her poor choices and people in her life (mostly men) while finding evidence that Valentino is still very much present after escaping the cemented hallway of the Cortez. Later she continues to plan a wedding with Will Drake where she forces him to choose a public spectacle or her love – and Will clearly chooses the timeless beauty. She asks Liz Taylor for help, which she laughs at the notion after taking away her only shot at finding true love. The Countess’s monologue explains she’s adapted to noticing this resentment develop with those she infects, and claims with everything going on – she’s very much on edge and ready to wreak havoc. Refusing to be disappointed again, she tracks down Valentino at a dingy motel and the two greet with a lip lock, but we next see her at the Cortez that evening sleeping with Donovan. He hopes to win back her heart, and she is now open to the idea and explains she will be married to Will on Wednesday and a wealthy widow by Thursday. The Countess is weaving quite a web of passionate love affairs that are intoxicating to the men, but potentially dangerous for her own safety… 

A guest by the name of “stormcock” checks into the Cortez (yes a porn shoot is preparing to commence) which has occurred multiple times before, but the newly turned Iris is both drawn to the activity and upset, so she “checks on the guests” which actually involved her murdering the adult film stars except for one. Donovan stumbles across the bloody aftermath and is impressed by his mother’s bloody tirade, but she tells him the more pressing matter is that she had to disclose Ramona was the reason Bartholomew escaped. Iris doesn’t want the Countess to connect the dots about their initial involvement, and Donovan assures her he’ll take care of things himself. 

While in preparation for the wedding, Will’s son questions his decision which provides opportunity for an open discussion about him identifying as bisexual and that the Countess is the person he’s found love with. The discussion is cut short after Miss Evers appears to warn Will not to marry her and save the life of himself and his son. She tries to tell him that nobody can survive the Countess, but he kicks her out and ignores her warnings. She agrees to exit, but tell Will he will soon ask for her help to which she’ll smile and watch him suffer. After an ominous statement, she exits which is something that worries Will. The Countess seeks out a contractor to modify a floor used for captivity, but Mr. March appears to try and appease the Countess – she’s not so into forgiveness at the moment. Donovan takes the male pornstar (only survivor of the 3) to Ramona and tells the Countess’s former lover that he sees through her promises, now ready to make a move if Ramona can make the final blow herself. (He admits to loving her but knowing she’ll never belong to him.) He tries to find something to ensure she’s trustworthy and shares a story from 1992 when she went to her father after losing the man she loved. When emotionally devastated, Ramona stayed with her family for months and slowly watched their health deteriorate before her own eyes.

 Sometime after her mother passed away, her father only begin to downward spiral (truly heartbreaking scenes) until one day men broke into his home and killed him during a robbery. Ramona found his body and cut into her veins to pass the virus to her father and possibly cling to the hope he could live. Unfortunately, the mental damage done from before couldn’t be repaired and though he was still living, his quality of life diminished exponentially. She fed him on her own for 20 years hoping something may change, but little to nothing happened. One day Ramona came home to find that he had killed two men who attempted to rob their home again, but still maintained his vegetative state afterwards. Eventually Ramona chose to end his life on her own as a chance for him to finally find peace, and vowed to get vengeance on the Countess for ruining her life in more ways than one. With Ramona resenting what she is, I feel like her death will be something that is sure to happen before the end of the season. 

Alex returns to her home and finds a large amount of bloody corpses sprawled across the floor and a group of children (the virus infected children from an earlier episode) so she tries to explain to them that if they don’t start trying to be discreet they will get themselves killed. Some of the kids don’t want to kill anymore (they all murdered their families to stay hidden longer) and others thrive in the bloodbath. In the end, they aren’t keen on listening to Alex, and they leave together, sure to cause more conflict in the near future. Donovan tells Ramona he had drugged the Countess, giving them a chance to make their attack – but as it turns out he’s sided with the Countess and we discover it was a trap all along. Donovan locks her up in the blood cage and Iris realizes she’s been played. She begs him to recognize that they must stop her while they have the chance, but he ignores both women and insists their love will triumph. 

The Countess meets with Valentino again at his discreet motel and he tells her that ever since Natasha was given a credit card by the Countess, her interests lie in shopping and convenient ubers. Aside from the financial difficulties she presents, the Countess hints at attaining his approval if something were to happen to her.  Natasha enters with many retail bags in hand, and she’s invited to a “girls night” at the Cortez with the Countess. So far anyone who gets in her way hasn’t had the best luck so Natasha’s days are seemingly numbered. Will and the Countess commence with their (extremely) private wedding ceremony, and Liz Taylor is the only guest as a witness – and shows little enthusiasm about the nuptials or the Countess in general. Liz tells her she can make arrangements on her own, and the Countess tells her she still hopes that perhaps one day she’ll get to experience something real (and that the relationship with Tristan wasn’t real.) 

Will celebrates his wedding with a private moment at the Cortez bar until Mr. March appears to him for the first time, initially pretending to play nice. March explains that he views blended families as a bit of an issues – and reveals baby Bartholomew to the newlywed. He is shocked by the “thing” he sees in the bassinet and the Countess reveals herself, disgusted by his comments about her only child. After she strikes him, he is awoken in a room with Ramona (still bound in her cage) and he frees her while trying to comprehend everything he just experienced. We see that the two are actually cemented on the floor from before, with no way to escape. Ramona takes the chance to feed as a last potential meal, (or maybe infect him as a new ally?) and we see the Countess sitting comfortably from her suite watching the murder of her new husband on surveillance cameras. The Countess has successfully dealt with her foes thus far, but I have a lingering sensation that things will be getting complex for the devilishly entertaining character.

Overall Grade: We were privy to fireworks this week, with the Countess’s conflicts becoming more prevalent to the plot of the series. Even though she’s known for her acts of cruelty, I am drawn to the character (like those she manipulates) and most certainly enjoy her plot. Evan Peters continues his reign as an AHS professional, continuing his committed and unsettling performance of the original hotel owner and psychopath. AHS episode 9 receives a ‘B’ 

Aedan’s Final Thoughts:

-Ramona will present a major problem in future episodes; I just hope Bartholomew can avoid getting hurt in the process.

-The division of character in every other episode has proved to work on a weekly basis, giving other characters a chance to equally share the spotlight.

-I wholly admire Lady Gaga’s direction with the Countess, and she has proven to be a talented addition to an award winning series.