TV Review: Scream (2×13-14) “Halloween Special”

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Previously on Scream: Piper had an accomplice, and sadly/predictably, it was Kieran. Womp.

Eight Months Later

Kieran, with slicked back hair of evil, gets the maximum sentence he can during his trial: 10 life sentences. The heckling cops put him in a holding cage, but surprise! There’s a new killer in a Brandon James mask hovering above the cage. Killer #3 kills the guard, frees Kieran and then proceeds to VICIOUSLY SLIT HIS THROAT AND STAB HIM! Way to surprise me, Scream–I definitely thought Kieran was going to be sticking around for a little while.

Now, let’s catch up with everyone else. Emma is having an existential crisis and doesn’t want to go to college anymore. Girlfriend, if you’re looking for a way to leave Lakewood–this is it. None of this is helped when Brooke comes over with the news of Kieran’s death. Speaking of Brooke, she’s applying early decision to NYU, and isn’t sure she wants Stavo to move with her. Stavo and Noah became bestselling authors, thanks to their graphic novel about the horrific murders in their town. However, according to the David Boreanaz lookalike/publishing professional named Jeremy who is hanging out with them, they owe him a second book, one that’s delayed because of Noah’s writer’s block. “My writer’s block is my own sleepless hell, it’s private,” Noah says.

This Episode’s First Big Bad Idea

The solution to his writer’s block? Writing about the legend of Anna Hobbs, of course! Who’s Anna Hobbs, you ask? Stavo was kind enough to infodump about her for us: Anna Hobbs’s parents were caretakers on Shallow Grove Island for a wealthy rumrunning family. For no reason whatsoever, Anna went crazy one night, stripped down and murdered both her family and the Wittens. Now, the publishing professional is taking them on an all-expenses-paid trip to the all-but-abandoned island to do some research. Great! NOT. I cannot believe Noah doesn’t point out how classic horror movie this situation is, because DAMN. They’re bringing Emma, Audrey and Brooke along with them, because professionalism, I guess?

Over at the historical society, Jeremy asks to see Anna’s mask. He is brutally rebuffed by a historian. It’s revealed that Anna always had some sort of mental illness, and that her mother tried to heal the madness with her love. Besides that, Noah thinks the legend is still ridiculous, and their venture is fruitless. Next stop: the Witten estate, to go back to the scene of the crime. After they leave, someone breaks into the case to steal Anna’s mask and shears. Oh, and also to kill the historian.

Oh Look, Some Random Strangers are Introduced

After Emma meets island townie Alex, Audrey and Brooke decide that he’s the perfect rebound for her. Turns out Alex only lives on the island during the off season. That’s not suspicious at all! Also suspicious: the fact that he fishes in a leather jacket. He’s part of the Witten family, i.e., descended from Anna Hobbs’s victims. With hair close to Kieran’s, I’d be willing to bet that he’s the killer.

Noah, Stavo and Jeremy head over to the Witten estate in the hopes of a tour from the caretaker. “Caretakers aren’t helpful. They are old and curmudgeonly. At most they’ll try to force us off the property with a rake,” Noah argues. Turns out Billie the caretaker is actually a young woman, but she’s still not willing to give them a tour. Stavo invites her to hang out with them at the beach that night in the hopes of more answers and the ability to make Brooke jealous.

At the bonfire that night, Billie shares more details about the legend of Anna Hobbs: the rumor was that Anna’s mother was sleeping with Admiral Witten. They planned to take Anna to a psych hospital on the mainland, but Anna heard them plotting and killed everyone and then herself. Noah points out that the constable’s journal explained that there was no rainwater in the house and that Admiral Witten’s body was moved post-mortem, but no one is interested in logic at the moment.

Jeremy then busts out of the forest wearing the Anna Hobbs mask, scaring the shit out of the kids and getting a beating from Emma in the process. “Dude, you do not pull that prank on survivors of multiple murder sprees!” Audrey yells, saying what we’re all thinking. Jeremy is then shunned from the group.

Stavo walks Billie home. She kisses him, but he pushes her away–the idea was to make Brooke jealous, not actually cheat on her. Billie goes into her house, which appears to have been broken into. She goes in (no), doesn’t turn on a single light (also no), and proceeds to get killed by the new Anna Hobbs killer.

The Next Day Devolves

“There’s nothing better than catching your own lunch,” Alex says as he and Emma eat on his boat the next day. I strongly disagree, and hope that Alex won’t be with us much longer. He and Emma bond over their unfortunate parent situations–Emma’s absentee father and the parents Alex lost in a plane crash, to be specific. Alex explains that he got lost, and the only way to find himself was to travel. He walks her back to the house, where they kiss. No one is home, so Emma is the one to pick up the phone when it rings. Killer call! “You’re dead,” Emma says. “Someone is. Turn on your porch lights,” the killer’s voice says. Billie’s body is on the porch. Also, throwback to the first scene of the Scream movie!

Meanwhile, Stavo and Noah discuss the fact that Jeremy is missing on their way over to Billie’s. They stumble on Billie’s murder scene, which inspires Audrey to immediately call the cops. Points for learning something over the course of two seasons. The sheriff thinks it might just be a prank. Listen, I get that they get this sort of thing a lot, but there’s a lot of real blood on the floor? Maybe test it? He also drops the knowledge that Anna’s mask and shears have been stolen.

The sheriff finds the historian’s dead body in the road. Unfortunately, that was a distraction so the Killer could come up and murder him in cold blood. Is this killer slitting their throats or decapitating the victims? I can’t tell, and gardening shears are a clumsy weapon.

Next Steps: Foiled at Every Turn

The gang’s all here, and they’re not happy about the body of the dead girl on the porch. “It’s like the killer is combining the two legends into one murder spree. Call me crazy, but I think we’re in Freddy vs. Jason territory here,” Noah says. A scream comes from outside. Turns out it’s Gina, who came to surprise Audrey and stumbled on the sheriff’s decapitated head for her troubles. Well, my question has been answered.

They go see Alex for help, which is a shame, considering I’m pretty sure he’s the killer. They all head over to the dock in what looks like the Mystery Machine, but his boat has been stolen! They probably would have died at sea in this storm, so maybe it’s not the worst thing. They all head back to Alex’s house, AKA the Witten Murder Mansion. LOL, because of course. The phone is dead! You guys, this couldn’t get more cliched if it tried. Stavo and Noah want to go fix the radio on Alex’s boat to call for help. I assume this is a different boat, then? Brooke would prefer that they stay together (probably the smart choice), but Noah thinks they’re all sitting ducks there and references And Then There Were None as proof. I don’t for a second believe that Noah, horror movie rule expert extraordinaire, would vote for splitting up. The boys go off to fix the radio.

Alex asks Emma about Kieran, so she starts the story at the beginning. Like way beginning. Brandon James and Maggie beginning. “You’re such a survivor, Emma,” he says with so much emotion that I’m rolling my eyes at how obvious it is that he’s the killer.

Audrey checks on Gina, who’s regretting ever coming to the island. That’s fair. Audrey becomes suspicious that she took the ferry over in the morning but didn’t come to find them until nighttime. Oh, also that she magically knew where they were staying. Gina freaks out about being accused. “That hair trigger feels like a way to keep me at arm’s length,” she says. Sounds more like PTSD from experiencing two murder sprees and almost dying multiple times, but okay. I’m not a Gina fan, everyone.

It Could Be… Jeremy

Time to see if Audrey’s number one suspect is guilty! He’s not, but let’s go on the journey with her anyway. Jeremy reappears at Brooke’s window. Audrey, Emma and Brooke debate letting him in, when Alex comes in with a gun “just in case.” Alex is the killer, but let’s pretend he’s not. Jeremy claims that he passed out on the beach and was scared away from the house when he saw the Killer wielding the mask and shears. Which, while the delivery was a little calm, seems pretty legit to me. They bring him inside and lock him in a closet.

In the midst of all this murder-y nonsense, apparently Alex had the time and frame of mind to set out wine and elaborate cheese platters for everyone. He prattles on about seizing the day and all this garbage. Audrey happens to peruse Gina’s phone, where she finds stalker pics of her and Emma hanging out the day before. Gina explains that she actually showed up the day before and got scared off by seeing the intimacy of Emma and Audrey’s friendship. She’s uncomfortable with the fact that Audrey goes running whenever Emma needs her. I’m uncomfortable with the fact that we don’t know where Gina stayed last night.

Meanwhile on the boat, Noah is blaming himself for his writer’s block putting everyone in jeopardy. Stavo basically rolls his eyes at Noah’s self involvement and explains that this writer’s block is actually survivor’s guilt. But they fix the radio! Of course, the person they’re contacting thinks it’s a prank, but they get the truth through in the end.

Back at the house, Jeremy is wandering around like the house isn’t full of people who think he’s a killer. He discovers an old photo just before Alex comes in and stabs him. SEE? TOLD YOU. When you’re in a horror show/movie/book, don’t trust strangers to become love interests. Please see I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, which also takes place on a murder-y island.

Cliches Everywhere, Including a Legit Secret Passageway

When Noah and Stavo are reunited with Audrey and Brooke, Noah starts waxing on about why the Admiral’s body would have been moved in the Anna Hobbs case. “Can we worry about the murders that are happening now? In this century?” Audrey asks. Noah discovers the secret passageway and they take what could be quite the ill-fated trip. I feel like they’ve completely thrown Noah’s caution out the window–the second season brought us a more subdued, cautious Noah, considering how many of his friends and loved ones he’s seen murdered. It seems ridiculous to bring him back to the happy-go-lucky horror fiend we were introduced to in the pilot.

The secret passageway leads the gang to the caretaker’s house, thus unraveling the entire mystery for Noah. Or at least his latest theory, because there’s literally no way to prove that he’s correct unless someone left a confession behind. Noah believes that the Anna Hobbs murders actually took place at the caretaker’s house. Admiral Witten and Anna’s mother were lovers, but Noah believes he went for Anna one night. When her mother intervened, Witten killed her and then the son for witnessing what happened. Anna then theoretically killed him in vengeance and died from her own wounds. Mrs. Witten then arranged the bodies as necessary in order to save her family’s reputation. I think this is taking some leaps and bounds, but sure. The gang then finds Jeremy’s dead body and the photo he had been holding. The photo features Billie and the real Alex Witten with a love note. Uh oh…

Over at the main house, Emma is attacked by a masked killer. Alex then comes in to check on her, which is a pretty genius move on his part. Now seems like a great time to say I cannot believe she trusted someone so fast considering the past two murder sprees, executed by her half-sister and her boyfriend. She discovers Alex Witten’s dead body, identified by his monogrammed shirt, and realizes that Alex probably isn’t really Alex. By the way–I don’t think the free-spirited traveler Alex Witten of no parents would be wearing monogrammed shirts, but a lot of these details have been convenient, so.

The jig is up, but Alex doesn’t try to kill her immediately. Alex is really Tom Martin, and he’s the man she’s meant to be with! Tom saw his parents die as a child, and considering experience and media attention, believes them to be soulmates. He created the buzz around the Anna Hobbs legend and staged the murders and calls so he could play hero for Emma. This plot is SO THIN, it hurts. They normally do better work than this. He explains that he didn’t kill Kieran and doesn’t know who did. Emma lulls him into a false sense of security before attacking him. “I don’t need a hero. I’m Emma Duval. I DON’T NEED YOU,” she shouts. He launches himself at her and she throws him over the balcony.

The Wrap-Up

Audrey apologizes to Gina, who’s understanding about it. Meh. Not a fan. Maybe she’s next season’s killer! Brooke and Stavo agree that he’s going to New York with her. Emma gets a tattoo of “Duval” on her wrist and looks at it as she fills out an application for Lakewood University. Noah podcasts about Anna, exploring how she’s really a final girl. “But I have a feeling our story isn’t over and there’s another sequel in the works,” he says, very calmly considering all the murder. We then see Mr. Duval looking at Kieran’s headstone and a man checking into a hotel under the name Mr. James. Until next season, Scream!

While it didn’t hurt to watch, I’m disappointed by the Scream Halloween Special. The plot wasn’t well thought out and there were so many holes and assumptions going on, it was ridiculous. Points for the girls’ character development, but they seem to have forgotten who Noah is. Hopefully they get back on track for season three.

Best Line: “Can we worry about the murders that are happening now? In this century?” Audrey takes this one.

Killer Calls: 1

Body Count Per Episode: 6 (this is only one less than the entirety of season 2)

Rating: 5/10

Bri is a 25-year-old born and raised in the swamps of Jersey. Just kidding, she lives at least twenty minutes from those swamps. She’s a publishing professional that moonlights as a writer. She enjoys going to concerts (anything from Rooney to Springsteen to NKOTBSB), roadtripping, and complaining that she truly belongs in the 1950’s, the 1920′s, or the 1980′s depending on her mood. She definitely owns more books than she should and reads every chance she gets. If you stop hearing from her, it’s because the book piles have fallen over and smothered her to death in the night. You can contact her at Twitter: @bri_lockhart