Episode 2 Recap, Thoughts, and Theories - Spoiler Warning.
The episode picks up where the first left off, with Emma screaming in the creepy room while a hooded person appears in the next room of Troy James’ home. That person quickly runs away, and Emma returns to Brooke, who was standing outside the home and had no idea what was happening. Emma decides to confide in her mom, who doesn’t want her daughter to keep living in fear. She offers to take Emma back to the house to investigate, but when they return Em is devastated to find the room is empty. No chair. No television. And definitely no pictures of Emma.
Still upset, Emma seeks solace with Kieran, who suggests she tell the police what she saw. Since it would be embarrassing and probably useless to show the cops an empty house, she quickly shuts that idea down. She admits that she is worried she is hallucinating, since she did that a number of times during the first killing spree, and wonders how Kieran copes with everything, especially the gruesome death of his father. Kieran reassures Emma that she is just trying to cope, and that she shouldn’t even think about going back for more treatment. But it seems like Emma might have more to worry about than her possible hallucinations, as an older blue car follows her once she leaves Kieran’s.
Noah, who may or may not know more about Piper’s killing spree, tells Audrey he has a lead on the internet troll, who goes by the name Eddie Krueger. Even though he could be part of the reason Audrey is being tormented, the humor in his name is not lost on Noah. Audrey immediately starts to worry when Noah claims that Eddie saw Piper’s accomplice.
At their lockers, Brooke admits to Em that she’s worried about her. Since she didn’t enter Troy’s house or see anyone fleeing it besides Emma, she confesses that Emma just wasn’t making any sense after she left the house. She is also quick to remind Emma that she previously hallucinated both her father and Will (after his death) before, so she definitely adds to Emma’s concern that she is once again seeing things and people not there. Noah and Audrey approach the rest of the group and Noah cheers for the Lakewood 6 before quickly noting that right now there are only 5. That’s when the group finally realizes that none of them have had any contact with Jake in 2 days.
Scream: The TV Series
Jay Beattie, Jill E. Blotevogel, Dan Dworkin
Audrey doesn’t have much time to ponder Jake’s absence, as she gets an ominous text at the same time she sees Haley staring at her. Haley was one of the pranksters from the movie theatre, and when Audrey notices Haley is texting, she assumes that she was sending her the message. Unfortunately for Audrey, she finds out Haley was just texting her boyfriend.
Emma doesn’t seem to have any better luck making new friends, as she realizes she missed her tutoring session with Zoe. While Zoe seems to be a bit annoyed, she tells Emma she understands going through pain, which is reminiscent of Piper’s heart-to-heart with Emma in the first season, when she admits that she suffered through the loss of her father.
Back in Cool Teacher’s class (which is just Psychology with Ms. Lang, but I digress), Ms. Lang is discussing zebras and nightmares while Brooke and Emma discuss Jake. Brooke decides to text Jake and tells Emma that she will probably get a response from him if she offers to send him a boob pic. Ms. Lang notices the girls are having their own conversation, so she asks them to respond to the topic du jour. Brooke makes a joke and then Zoe and Noah eagerly blurt out the answer. Stavo (which, apologies to Gustavo Acosta, whom I incorrectly nicknamed Gus in my first recap, but goes by this much cooler nickname) adds to the conversation (proving he is better at multitasking than Brooke and Emma, since he was listening to both Ms. Lang’s lecture and their conversation), but Emma is already distracted by something else. After class, Emma returns Ms. Lang’s sticky note and asks if she is still willing to talk with Emma. They agree to meet later that evening at the same coffee shop Emma used to work at, which means Em will likely have to balance mixed emotions.
Noah is also in a balancing act. He is definitely worried about Audrey, but he is incredibly excited that Eddie is going to reveal Piper’s accomplice on an upcoming podcast. Audrey has likely been thinking about how to stop Eddie while not looking too suspicious to Noah, which she seems to do rather well when she offers to film that podcast.
In the almost deserted halls, Emma runs into someone she assumes is a new student—one who seems awfully interested in Lakewood’s upcoming festivities. She is surprised that he knows her name, but he reminds her that pretty much everyone knows who she is. (Aside: This mystery student admits he is actually not yet a student there, but he has no identification on him. I subbed at a very small high school a few years ago where students had to wear ID cards on lanyards. I had to wear a visitor badge on a lanyard. If you arrived after the first bell, you had to go to a designated entrance and click a doorbell that was hooked up to a camera and wait for a secretary [administrative assistant?] to unlock the door. I am not really sure why a larger school in a town where some of their very own students were murdered just months before is so easy to access.)
At the coffee shop, Brooke meets with her dad, who thinks he can regain the town’s favor if he and his daughter are highly involved in the upcoming Lakewood festivities. But Brooke isn’t really paying attention because she is still waiting to hear from Jake. When she leaves, her dad also tries contacting Jake, but only gets “The Jake’s” voicemail. (Major Aside: I know I am just slightly over the desired MTV demographic age. I’ve lived much longer without texting than I have with it, and I do have to wear contacts because my eyesight isn’t exactly what it used to be. But enough with these incredibly difficult to read texts. I even paused the episode when Brooke’s phone was shown and still couldn’t read the screen. I know that a show like The Mindy Project is a quirky comedy, so when the texts show up larger and more colorful on the screen next to a character, it doesn’t seem out of place, but if texting is going to be a big part of this season something needs to happen. Back in the olden days when letters were a more common form of communication, if epistolary narration wasn’t used to relay the written message to the audience, then the letter was shown in close-up for long enough of a time to read. I also understand that this isn’t the best idea either, but the point is that filmmakers knew it was important for the audience to read those messages and made sure that they could. Maybe at least make the font bigger? I don’t know. But I really hope no major clues are shown in any of these texts without at least one character repeating the message out loud.)
At the Hudson house, Kieran is somehow not terribly shocked to see Sheriff Acosta standing in the living room. Acosta offers condolences to Kieran and then Kieran’s aunt Tina enters the room (so happy to see Karina Logue in this part). Kieran learns that his aunt’s infrequent check-ins with him are not enough, since he is only 17. If his living situation isn’t fixed soon, he is going to have to move to Atlanta (which, um, is that where his aunt lives? Because if so, then I can’t imagine her traveling too often to check on Kieran [The show is filmed in Louisiana, but the license plates look like Colorado, but it never gets cold in Lakewood. I cannot find any mentions of what state the show is actually supposed to be in.]). Tina seems pleasant enough when Sheriff Acosta is there, but almost as soon as he leaves she scolds Kieran for having a party and leaving the trash brimming with beer containers. Kieran calls Emma and tells her he has to move. Em shares the bad news with Maggie, and then laments that her mom probably doesn’t understand (You know, because it’s not like Maggie had a tryst with Brandon James that resulted in his shooting and necessitated she change her identity, or had her husband abandon her for delivering Brandon’s child, or inadvertently killed her boyfriend by untying him and watching his guts spill out all over her. Nope, Maggie probably wouldn’t understand this situation at all.).
Brooke finally decides it is time to alert the police regarding Jake’s absence and happens to run into Stavo at the station. They end up discussing Jake, whom Stavo describes as the 6th of the Lakewood 6, explaining to Brooke that he has ranked all of them by either how much they were impacted by the attacks or how much of an impact their stories have on others. He then tells Brooke she ranks 4th at best, noting that she doesn’t appear to have many scars from all those knife attacks, while he considers Noah 3rd. I’m assuming the rest of the rankings are Kieran 5th, Audrey 2nd, and Emma 1st, but perhaps there is a reason we didn’t learn their exact rankings just yet. Brooke is called back right when she gets a text from Jake asking for the pic. She turns right around, relieved to hear from Jake and hopeful that this flirtation means he wants to make up (her reactions to the texts and interactions with “Jake” make it seem like she is not a suspect—but I’m still suspicious of her, especially of how quick she was to call Emma’s exit from the James house weird and similar to her previous meltdowns). Later, Brooke is even happier when she discovers flowers and an apology note from “Jake.”
Maggie meets Tina at the Hudson house at the same time Em meets with Ms. Lang. Her teacher says hallucinations are commonly linked to PTSD, providing a moment of comfort for Emma. That comfort is first disrupted for the audience, when Em goes to fetch their order and Ms. Lang pulls a working recording device out of her bag (how very Gale Weathers of her), then for Em as she turns from the counter and sees Piper on the couch, just like the moment they first met. Of course, after she drops the cups and draws attention to her fear, we see that there is just a random girl sitting there. Em tells Ms. Lang she trusted Piper and worries that she will freak out every time she sees a “brunette drinking a non-fat mocha,” but Ms. Lang assures her she won’t. She promises that Emma is a survivor, not a victim.
Emma discovers the mystery man she met in the hallway is Kieran’s cousin Eli. Maggie offered for Kieran to stay with them, but Tina and Eli decide life is no peach in Georgia and figure that living at the Hudson house is their most hopeful prospect in a long time; however, before they can deliver the news to Kieran, Emma tells him that she needs to do something with him before it is too late.
Brooke and her dad once again argue, but her possible reconnection with Jake finally gives her the courage to admit to her father that Jake is her boyfriend. She thinks the relationship is far more important than a “stupid political campaign.”
Emma and Kieran drive out to the dock where Brandon and Piper were both shot and left for dead in the water. The night of Piper’s murder replays in Emma’s head as Emma gazes in the water. She looks up and spies the killer standing in the grass. Instead of screaming, she closes her eyes. After a moment, she opens them and discovers nobody is in the grass. Amazingly, this is all Emma needs to feel better again. Since she now feels in control of her hallucinations, she decides that now she is ready to have relations with Kieran again, and she doesn’t freak out when he gets to her scar like she did only a couple of nights before (so three months of therapy accomplished nothing, but a quick trip to the dock made everything better).
Noah meets Eddie at the Crescent Palms, the hotel Piper stayed at sometimes and where Eddie works the front desk and spied Piper’s accomplice. Eddie tells Noah that the accomplice was a female, which surprises Noah. When asked to describe “her,” Eddie ends up describing Piper. Before he can actually describe the accomplice, he gets a call from the Killer, but it is really Audrey, who has been watching the conversation from the steps. She warns Eddie to not say a word about the accomplice to Noah, and as soon as he hangs up he tells Noah he has nothing more to offer him.
Noah is slightly surprised to bump into Audrey, but is more interested in telling her about his encounter with Eddie. At first she seems relieved because she knows her trick worked, but then she finds out that Noah learned about a possible storage unit Piper had that the police likely didn’t know about.
After Emma and Kieran’s romp, they return to the Hudson house and learn Kieran gets to stay in Lakewood, but once again Em’s moment of happiness is threatened when the same car from before once again follows her. Emma still hasn’t noticed though, and she calls her mom to tell her the great news and wants to talk more over dinner (Does she mean that night? Isn’t it like 10 pm by this point?). The car is still right behind her, and suddenly the headlights come on and the car picks up speed. Emma tries to run but cannot lose the car. The driver stops and exits, and then (much like I predicted in the last article) Emma discovers her dad has returned to Lakewood (I am very happy to see Tom Everett Scott again). He knows everything she went through and wants to be there to support her if she is OK with that.
The final moments begin with a montage of actions. Noah works on his podcast; Audrey is breaking into the storage unit (not sure why she didn’t do this when she was busy burning all her letters to Piper before. I mean, hasn’t she heard of storage unit auctions? Or was she the one paying the monthly fee?); Brooke goes to Jake’s and is upset to find an empty house, unaware that Stavo is watching; and Em tells Maggie about her dad’s return.
Finally, in a shot similar to the sloth scene in Seven, the storage unit is filled with tree-shaped air fresheners that are barely able to mask the stench of death. Audrey creeps to the back of the unit and discovers Jake’s corpse. On it is a message made out of clippings from Audrey’s letters to Piper. It reads: See how I finished the job for you Audrey?
Episode Grade: B
In a lot of ways, this episode seemed lackluster. Eli and Tina don’t seem necessary, and Noah’s musings that some people don’t seem to appreciate a good thriller anymore almost felt like a plea to please stay tuned even through bloodless episodes. But I think that some important plots are being developed here, and I am confident that at the season’s end this is going to be an episode that, upon re-watching, comes to life.
For me, the most exciting part of this episode was the reveal of Jake’s corpse, not because it added some blood and guts but because of how it has firmly differentiated this season from the last. In the first season, the deaths of Nina and Tyler in the opening scene fit in so well with the Scream movies that the show immediately felt like it belonged as part of the franchise. And while Tyler was used as the scapegoat for a few episodes, Nina’s death was quickly discovered and the town immediately was thrown into a mix of panic and despair. The killers were quick to contact other Lakewood residents, too, making the threat seem more intense for them almost immediately. After the end of this season’s second episode, Audrey is still the only Lakewood resident to have contact with the new killer (if you don’t count Brooke’s communications from Jake, which right now just seem to serve as decoys so she doesn’t contact the police). Now she is also the only person to know that the contact isn’t just another bad prank. That this killer is still more interested in torturing Audrey and remaining hidden from everyone else immediately sets him or her or them apart from Piper and Audrey. This difference means that not only could much of this season be spent trying to piece together who is doing the killing, but there is the added suspense of not knowing when more people will find out.
Last week I examined two potential killers: Noah and Brooke. This week, in honor of the episode title “Psycho,” I will examine the mother/daughter suspects.
Serious But Disappointing Candidate 3: Emma
I already mentioned that the person/s after Audrey clearly suffered the most from the last series of killings, and Emma certainly tops that list of sufferers (even Stavo agrees). At the end of Piper’s killing spree, Emma learned that none of the murders would have likely happened if Maggie hadn’t had/raised her, that she had a half-sister, and that this sister was responsible for killing a lot of people Em cared about. The events left her with enough emotional scars to necessitate months away at an institution, along with a large physical scar as a daily visual reminder of her trauma. If you add to that her discovering that a lot of it also had to do with her abandonment of Audrey for Will and Company, that would likely be enough to push her over the edge. And if we go with this episode’s title of “Psycho,” then we should probably take into account a possible dissociative identity disorder. This could explain why Emma is seeing things others aren’t and starting to wrestle more with images from her subconscious.
While there is definitely a major case for Emma as the killer, the result would be disappointing. One of the major twists of last season was that the first character we are introduced to, Audrey, is immediately portrayed as a likeable girl and innocent victim. So discovering she was Piper’s accomplice was a fantastic way to end the season. Having the other likeable innocent victim turn out to be guilty would be the worst form of recycling.
Serious and Not-at-All Disappointing Candidate 4: Maggie
I am very excited at the prospect of Maggie being the killer. This killer’s M.O. seems to fit much more with Maggie’s personality than some of the other suspects. Emma’s mention of Maggie not being able to relate shows one of the many reasons why Maggie could have turned sinister. At least Emma finally had the decency to ask Kieran how he copes with the loss of his dad, but it doesn’t seem like she’s too concerned about how her own mother is dealing with the loss of the first man since her father that really seems to make her mother happy. And I think it bears repeating that Sheriff Hudson wasn’t just murdered, but that Maggie watched him suffer on camera and then had the honor of finishing his suffering when she attempted to help him and instead ended up wearing his intestines. Maggie’s relationship with Brandon James caused so much unnecessary heartbreak and death, but a lot of that could have been avoided if Audrey never contacted Piper.
Maggie as the killer could also explain two of this episode’s plot points. The first was the seemingly minor plot of Kieran’s residency. I know Maggie wanted to support Emma (because suggesting that there is always Skype did not go over well), so assisting in the Kieran situation might be nothing more than her attempt at helping her daughter. But her interaction with Tina wasn’t shown, only mentioned, and so I definitely am curious to see if this seemingly minor moment becomes more later on.
The other point is Audrey’s discovery of Jake. I knew that the method and witness of Jake’s discovery would be important, and the reveal to only Audrey definitely solidified that theory. The other question that would be answered if Maggie is the killer is why Jake was the first to go, something even Audrey doesn’t understand. He would certainly be on the Lakewood 6 bottom rankings of who Audrey is closest to, and honestly killing off Ms. Lang or Zoe or another new character would have nearly the same impact on Audrey as Jake’s death. However, if Maggie is responsible, then Jake as the first victim makes sense. It had to be one of the Lakewood 6 to get the message across to Audrey. Audrey and Piper didn’t attempt to kill any of the other remaining Lakewood residents, so it could only be one of the group if the killer wanted to finish the job for Audrey. Even so, the killer could have killed Noah, Kieran, Brooke or Emma, all (except maybe Kieran) deaths that would have been far more devastating to Audrey. Audrey’s surprise at discovering the killer picked Jake makes that clear. Kieran and Emma couldn’t be killed because Maggie wouldn’t want to hurt Emma. Noah and Brooke’s disappearances would raise too many red flags. So the only possible victim Maggie could choose would be Jake.
If Maggie isn’t working with any of the other Lakewood 6, then I assume she has already set up recording devices at the Hudson house and that is how she knew to make the boy interrupted reference on that broom.
No matter what, I think Jake as the first victim has to mean something, and since this killer’s game is developing differently than Piper’s, I think that the next victim will also be incredibly important in helping the audience figure out who the killer is.