This week gave us easily the best episode of Scream: The Series so far. While the show’s Ghostface has been following tradition in their stalking of the regular characters and in the kill sequences themselves, there hasn’t really been anything that rivaled the killers’ work in the film series until now. The death in this episode, even though pretty much everyone predicted it, is devastating.
The opening kill is done a little differently in this episode and that proves to be a wise choice. It gives us a flashback to the Brandon James murders and at the same time draws the suspense out throughout the running time. The killer seems as self aware of this for the characters as the writers are for the audience and so there are a lot of red herrings not only to possible killers but to possible deaths.
Brooke becomes to look less and less like a candidate for the killer, but of course that just might mean she’s really good at it. She’s becoming more sympathetic in her friendship with Emma, but her relationship with a teacher is still an obvious disaster that is going to blow up in her face, assuming she doesn’t die first. Either way, it’s definitely clearer now that she’s genuinely happy about the fact that Nina is dead. Whether or not that makes her a likely candidate for the killer, it at least works to humanize her in a twisted way.
Will is much more sympathetic than he has been in the previous two episodes. He’s becoming a genuine, good guy—except for that thing he’s covering up. Still, he’s making strides. He’s at least something close to likable at this point even if he’s not quite there yet. This makes him a much more likely candidate for the killer, but that would definitely give us a been there, done that feeling. Even though this show has been described as a reboot, I think the boyfriend would be a little too expected at this point. Of course, the jury’s still out on exactly who the boyfriend is going to be in the long run, so you never know.
Kieran, at the same time, is much more sinister in this week’s episode than he was in last week’s. But that seems naturally. Both of these guys probably won’t be likable at the same time, at least not for awhile. And both of them are hiding things from Emma so that doesn’t make either of them great boyfriend material. Emma’s number one relationship in this episode, though, is with her mom. I was worried that they were going to keep teasing the talk between Emma and her mother throughout the season. It was a surprise to do it so soon and I’m glad they did because it allows the plot to move forward instead of just running around in circles.
The heart of this particular episode, though, is the relationship between Riley and Noah. And it is so well done. They move past their awkward conversations and start getting into it. They become a couple and start, erm, coupling. Everything between them is handled so sweetly. And that makes her death so much more painful to watch. I think most of us saw it coming. The fans online were definitely calling it early on. But that doesn’t make it any less well executed. In fact, the inevitability of it only makes it more dramatic. She is such a sweet character, she’s the only one who isn’t hiding something.
But then the killer makes Emma choose between her friends. Who is going to live and who is going to die. She thinks that Riley is safe because she’s at the police station. And Riley almost gets away. It looks for a moment like she is going to. After Ghostface stabs her, she appears to be recovering. Her phone call with Noah, at the beginning, makes it look like she’s out of the woods. That single shot of the blood pooling out around her tells us everything. And then Noah is forced to watch her die, staying on the phone and refusing to leave her side because he knows she only has a few moments left. It’s a heartbreaking moment. The most emotional moment of the show so far and I hope it sets the template for how seriously the series is going to treat the stakes and the characters as it continues to develop.
The episode is decent all around but the death scene is its crowning moment and on top of just being very nicely done, it is pure Scream. If it all continues at this quality as it unfolds, this show could prove to be an unexpected gem. I’m also starting to think at this point that there’s probably more than one killer, which would also just be following franchise tradition.