Recap and Reactions

by Bethany Rose

Spoiler Warning.

Illness and vacation might have kept me from recapping the last few episodes of this season, but I’ve still been watching and theorizing. Early in the series, I thought Maggie was the sure killer. She had motive to torture Audrey, and throwing her ex-husband in the mix allowed her to get revenge on two people who hurt her and Emma. She was featured enough to factor in as a suspect, but not too much to make her reveal as killer seem implausible because it would have negated a past action.

But midway through the season, the killer seemed to add Emma into the mix. At first, it seemed as though there were two separate killers: the one focused on Audrey was the initial killer, but then when Jake’s corpse was revealed another person took that as an excuse to start stalking Emma. Yet, the tide turned again when the end of the season featured the killer focusing heavily on both women at once.

By this time, Kieran seemed like the only likely suspect, except that I didn’t understand why he would set his sights on Emma. Even though she was friendly with Eli for a while, I didn’t see that as enough motivation for him to torture her, so while the perpetual sleepwalker eventually moved up on my suspect list, I still wasn’t convinced. Why? Because I wasn’t focused enough on the past.

After Brooke was stabbed at the movie theatre and Audrey went missing, Emma decided she could no longer risk the lives of her friends and would meet the killer alone in a final showdown. After telling Kieran her plan, but not telling him her location, Emma talked to the killer and was ready for battle. She found Audrey, passed out and chained up, and just when it seemed the killer would swoop in, Kieran entered the room and said he pinged the phone to find her. The two were just about to free Audrey when a wounded Eli joined the party and accused Kieran of stabbing him and leaving him for dead. The two bickered, and the scene played out very much like the finale of some Scream films, so you knew that one of these guys had to be the killer, the other telling the truth. Emma believed Kieran and shot Eli, but a slip in Kieran’s consoling words made Em realize she made the wrong choice.

Kieran snapped out of his trance (which was foreshadowed by his hair’s fierce arrival) and busted out one creepy laugh. Now, at this point I was thinking, “OK, it is Kieran, he definitely went off the deep end,” but I was also still thinking, “Why did Emma become a target?” That’s because I was sure that Piper’s killing spree from the first season had caused someone to snap. I soon found out how wrong I was. Kieran put any questions about Audrey’s connections to Piper and the first (second, if you count the Brandon James story) murder spree to rest. It seems that even though Audrey wrote those angry letters to Piper, she wasn’t lying when she said she was not Piper’s accomplice and did not know Piper was committing the murders. That’s because Piper’s accomplice was her boyfriend, Kieran.

Hold. The. Phone. I immediately started thinking back to the first season, particularly Kieran’s creepy entrance at Brooke’s Halloween party and Brandon James’ grandma claiming that Kieran came to visit her. Now while I wait for the second season to be released in its entirety, I have to go back and watch the first season for a third time.

So Kieran lamented over the death of his beloved Piper and was ready to avenge it when Emma and Audrey teamed up and trapped Kieran. They both knew the police were on their way, as Eli called them before surprising Kieran, so all they had to do was make his escape impossible. Audrey had him chained and Em had a gun to his head. The moment could have been just like every other Scream finale (films included), but Em decided she wouldn’t kill him. This marks the first time in a Scream that the known killer/s did not die. Instead, Acosta and Company arrived at the scene and took Kieran away.

At the end, Noah was continuing his Podcast tradition, Brooke was fully recovered and spending time with the Acostas, Stavo started drawing happier things, Em and Audrey were enjoying movie time together, Maggie was returning to the tree she used to exchange notes at with Brandon, and Kieran was shuffling through the halls of prison, looking almost back to his normal level of sleepiness, when he was informed he had a phone call. It was the voice of the killer, asking Kieran why he used his mask.

I’m not going to lie. I am still processing Kieran as killer, particularly the fact that Kieran was in on things from all the way back when Nina and Tyler were murdered. A lot of it makes sense, but I am still left with some questions.

What Makes Sense:

It was definitely clear Piper had an accomplice, as she was bopped in the head by someone in a Brandon James mask when Will was dragged away back in the first season. So proving that Audrey wasn’t the accomplice but Kieran was definitely works. After all, he mysteriously entered town the same time the killings started and Piper arrived in Lakewood. One thing that bugged me about Piper being the killer as I watched the first season was that she was not in the first episode. The way the Scream films were set up, each movie was a mystery, every character a suspect, and while Scream 2 might have taken a bit to introduce Debbie Salt (aka Mrs. Loomis), it introduced her accomplice earlier. So I had the feeling even before Piper got knocked out that if she were the killer she had to have an accomplice who was shown in the first episode. It just wouldn’t have been right otherwise.

Earlier I mentioned that Brandon James’ grandmother swore Kieran came to visit her, and I am still not sure why I was able to dismiss that so quickly. Plus, there was the crash that killed Kieran’s mother and stepfather, the strained relationship with his father (which, strained as it was, he still didn’t have the most convincing reaction of anger or sorrow upon discovering his father died), and the fact that he set his sights on Emma almost immediately, even though she was Will’s girlfriend, was a tad suspicious. So it is not like the reveal at the end of the second season comes out of nowhere. What’s funny is that, much like Eli and Stavo this season, many thought Kieran was the red herring of the first season.

There were definitely clues to his guilt in this season, too, though I have to admit I ignored most of them. I just didn’t think George Michael had it in him. The first clues were in the first episode. Jake made the “girl interrupted” quip at Emma’s Welcome Home party, and then the broom at his death scene referred to him as “boy interrupted,” but I wasn’t convinced it was one of the Lakewood 6, even though they were the only ones at the party. Since it seemed like this season’s killer planned on filming things, I assumed Kieran’s house had a camera in it. That’s what happens when you make assumptions. That same night, Emma stayed with Kieran, but there were those dreams and I can’t remember but either Kieran wasn’t there when Em woke up or they were in different rooms. Either way, he definitely had time to sneak out after she fell asleep.

Also, Kieran definitely got the “Piper edit” this season. What’s the Piper edit? Well, while Piper was featured throughout the first season, she was rarely in too many scenes. She would show up for a scene or two and then not be mentioned or seen again. With Will dead and Kieran on his own (because Tina had about ten seconds of screen time and Eli was always creeping around in other people’s houses), Emma’s return should have meant more time with Kieran, and I assumed that with Noah the only other surviving male after Jake’s death, he would definitely have more screen time, but it seemed like he was featured far less than he was last season.

What Doesn’t Make Sense:

OK, I’ve seen enough mysteries to know that there is often one occurrence that happens to throw viewers off the scent of the real killer. In the first season, that was Piper’s bop on the head. In this season, it was Kieran’s attack at the carnival. But that wasn’t just a bump on the head. After Em talked to the killer on her phone, she sees him and both she and the killer run out of the building. Em holds a gun out to the killer, ready to shoot, but the surrounding crowds, and the appearance of the rest of the police changed her mind and she put the gun down. The killer is revealed then as Kieran, but he has duct tape on his mouth and his hands are taped around a knife. So, while this scene is more elaborate than the Piper head bop, it seems that, much like that misdirection, this one takes two people. Right? I can see how Kieran could duct tape his hands by using his mouth to tear it (it would be tough, but I don’t think impossible), and he could easily duct tape his head, but only if his hands were free. Am I misremembering how duct taped he was? If not, I just can’t see him pulling that off by himself. Even if he could, that was a huge risk. Piper’s misdirection scene left her with a small wound and a great alibi. Kieran’s could have ended in his murder.

I’m also not sure about the Zoe/Noah death chase. Burying Noah and having Audrey and Em chase after him makes sense, since he is Audrey’s best friend. His death would have definitely hurt both of the girls. But Zoe? It’s not that the girls didn’t like her (well, actually Audrey wasn’t a huge fan), but of all the people in Lakewood who died this season, Zoe’s death makes the least sense. The first season had a similar, but much less elaborate scenario when Emma was given the choice of picking between Riley and Brooke, but both of those girls were Emma’s close friends. Zoe seemed so random.

What makes the least sense to me, though, is how Kevin Duval factored into Kieran’s plan. When I suspected Maggie, Kevin’s appearance made perfect sense. Maggie wanted Emma to suspect her dad and distrust him, and she wanted the police to see them argue so that he would factor into their suspect list as well. That’s what I thought. Even when Kevin left town, I thought the story would play out much like the first Scream film, when Sid’s dad was kidnapped by Stu and Billy. Maybe Kevin would show up at the end when Maggie was ready to pin the murders on him. Nope. None of that happened. I can see how Kieran would know that Kevin’s return would stir up things in the household a bit, but it didn’t really do that much. Em discovered a bit more of the truth about her dad’s past, but the whole storyline dissolved as soon as he left, very early in the season. Kieran already had plenty of things he could do to make Audrey and Emma’s lives miserable. Using Em’s computer to send emails as Riley just to lure Kevin back for two days doesn’t seem worth the effort.

I’m looking forward to revisiting both seasons, now focusing on Kieran’s actions, and I am also excited about the new killer in the third season. Will one of this season’s main suspects be the new killer? Will a season 2 red herring pull a Kieran and wear the mask? Or will another James, possibly Troy, show up in Lakewood? I can’t wait to come up with some more theories, even if they are wrong, and see how Kieran’s revelation affects the teens and adults of Lakewood.