TV Review: Scream (1×02) “Hello, Emma”

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The Scream series premiere was fairly underwhelming, but we carry on. On to episode two! For a character guide and plot refresher, click here.

Suicide or Murder?

Nina might be dead, but her reign of terror isn’t—the video of Audrey and Rachel is raking in unfortunate comments. After perusing them, Rachel reaches for a blade on her nightstand, pulling up her sleeve to reveal several scars. She’s interrupted by a garbled call from Audrey, who tells her to come outside. Unfortunately, the person waiting for her is actually the killer, who throws a noose around her neck and tosses her over the railing. There was far more tension in this death scene than in Nina’s, so good job, Scream!

Rachel is found hanging from her ceiling fan. Her prior self harm convinces the police that this was a suicide and not a murder. Emma visits her mother at work, where Maggie is examining Rachel’s body (reminder: she’s the town coroner). Emma tearfully breaks down, explaining Nina’s video and taking the blame for Rachel’s “suicide.” She runs out before Maggie makes the discovery that Rachel didn’t hang herself from the ceiling fan; her neck snapped, meaning that she would have had to fall from a further distance. Something sketchy is afoot!

“Payback’s a Bitch.”

The killer sends out a mass selfie text with Nina’s dead body in the background. Apparently the killer aspires to be Gossip Girl; who knew? When everyone sees the photo, they recognize the killer’s mask as the same one Brandon James wore to the Halloween party all those years ago. The mayor understandably freaks, wondering how this will affect the economic development of the town. We learn that in addition to questioning our happy-go-lucky serial killer expert Noah, Sheriff Hudson’s chief person of interest is Tyler O’Neill. His foster parents are convinced that he could never do it.

Noah shows a very obvious understanding of social media culture in class. He explains, “Well, murder’s a lonely game, you know? I mean, say you’re the killer, okay? You sneak into Nina’s house. You skulk around and scare her. And then you kill her. Boom. But then what? You take a victory lap around the pool? You just stand there watching the blood spread in the water thinking your crazy guy thoughts? It’s the age of Instagram and YouTube and Tumblr! I mean, we need to share the things we do or it’s like it never happened.” This is basically the concept behind Scream 4, only more realistic.

Introducing Piper Shaw

Piper Shaw, host of a true crime podcast, makes her first appearance at Nina’s vigil. She’s attempting to get a real picture of the deceased. Audrey is more than ready to give her one: “Nina was a stone-cold bitch who got what she deserved.” I understand where Audrey’s anger is coming from, but it’s probably ill-advised considering the murder investigation.

Piper’s next stop in town is the café that employs Emma. She expresses interest, as Emma is the child of the sole survivor of the Brandon James attack. Emma firmly tells her that she doesn’t discuss this topic: “Respect my privacy and I will keep you caffeinated. “ Piper respects her wishes and backs down. I’m surprised at how much I’m starting to like Emma; I originally figured her to be cookie cutter boring good girl, but she has a surprisingly strong backbone. Good job again, Scream.

The Love Triangle That Shouldn’t Be

When Will tries to justify his sleeping with Nina, Kieran steps in to tell him that Emma doesn’t want to talk to him. As happy as I am that someone is telling Will to go away, I rolled my eyes when Kieran stepped in like Emma didn’t have a voice. Hey, she did too! I’m impressed, Emma. I’m less impressed in how she tries to get rid of him: “I don’t usually kiss guys who clean houses.” Ugh, just tell him not to step on your toes.

Will scares Emma in the alley outside her work, nearly earning him a 2×4 to the head. He says that she texted him to come, but she did not! They move past that pretty quickly, discussing their relationship instead. Will says that hooking up with Nina was a one-time thing. Well, now it certainly is. It’s really easy to say that when the other party is no longer with us. Emma takes the opportunity to inform Will that she hooked up with Kieran at Brooke’s party. Giiiiirl, I’m starting to like you! Now dump this bozo for good. He’s no Billy Loomis, and we all know that Billy had his shortcomings. Will gives up apologizing and plays for sympathy instead: his father is “out of control,” he’s under a lot of pressure, etc. etc. He pleads with her to come to his game the next day.

Yuck, Emma goes to the game. Kieran suggests that Will scared Emma at the café himself so he could rescue her. He inquires as to if Will asked for a favor afterwards. We also see Brooke and Branson being SUPER OBVIOUS about their teacher-student affair in the concession stand line, along with Riley and Noah’s stargazing date.

Scare Tactics

Emma’s alone in her house when she discovers the kitchen door open and the alarm going off. The “Alarm Company Representative” on the phone (seriously?) assures her that a patrol will be there soon and that she should stay inside—whoever broke in probably ran away. This is awful advice, and I can’t believe that Emma actually thought this was someone from the alarm company and not our resident psychopath. Eventually the voice slips, telling Emma she looks tired instead of sounding tired (throwback to “I want to know who I’m looking at…I want to know who I’m talking to,” from Scream). Emma’s frantic door locking inspires an important question: “What you should be asking is, did you lock me in or out?” All right, that line had some creep factor. The Voice explains their motive again: they want to show Emma the truth about who she really is, reveal all of the lies, etc. Then he brings her family into it: “It started with [your whore of a mother]. It’s gonna end with you.” So, either this has something to do with Brandon James, or someone REALLY wants us to think it does.

The second episode of Scream did see some improvements over the first. The scare factor is creeping up a bit, though I’m having trouble taking a serial killer obsessed with social media seriously. And I watched Eye Candy, y’all. While we’re still suffering through Noah’s supremely obvious attempts at being subtly meta, Emma is coming along as a stronger character than I had expected.

Best line: “According to my cousin, Rachel was just a train wreck looking for a station.”

Killer Calls Per Episode: 2.

Body Count Per Episode: 1.

Cumulative Body Count: 3.

Episode Rating: 7/10.

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 bri@theyoungfolks.com. Twitter: @bri_lockhart