TV Review: Scream (1×08) “Ghosts”


Riley’s death has nothing on Will’s in terms of a turning point for Scream’s first season; the horror wrought by the Killer last episode for Emma’s benefit was vindictive and excessive. Let’s see how events continue to spin out this week.

As Coroner, I Must Aver

The opening scene of “Ghosts” is their most impressive yet, stylistically; shots of Will’s eviscerated body and his mother discovering the murder site are interspersed with Maggie’s clinical coroner’s report. Will’s horrific death has left Emma catatonic and compulsively playing the tape from her dad’s PTSD project. Noah and Brooke are left to break the news to the hospitalized Jake, inciting a lot of terribly-acted tears.

The Jig Is Up for Mayor Brooke’s Dad

With Brooke’s help, Piper Shaw brings the blackmail footage of Mayor Brooke’s Dad into the Sheriff’s office. Hudson is curious about why she isn’t just podcasting this instead of bringing it to the authorities. “Because I don’t want to tell this story until I know the truth,” she explains. “And I don’t want anyone else to die, including me.” That’s some pretty responsible journalism right there, but it is also the perfect way to throw suspicion someone else’s way if you happen to be the Killer. I’m just saying.

Sheriff Hudson brings Mayor Brooke’s dad in for questioning, but he won’t explain what happened until he makes things right with his daughter. However, his daughter won’t talk to him until she can confirm that her mother is okay, so the Sheriff connects Brooke with her mother. More crying ensues.

Mayor Brooke’s dad gives his daughter the story: he came home to find that a “friend” of her mother’s had overdosed in their bedroom and he took care of the body. I don’t care if you’re the Mayor, that’s an awful plan. Brooke isn’t too thrilled with what she hears either.

I See Dead People

While Emma’s popping pills in the bathroom, she sees a vision of Will split right down the middle and bleeding profusely. Yuck. She’s trying to diagnose herself with the help of the internet (NEVER a good idea), but Noah and Audry put the kibosh on it. They explain that she doesn’t need the internet telling her how paranoid she is, she needs to give herself time to process.

Emma enters the school’s hallway, where the lights are starting to flicker like crazy and the next vision of Will appears. This time, he squashes a heart in her direction and comes after her. Kieran intercepts Emma mid-run, pulling her out of the vision. While trying to calm her down, he compares Emma’s current state to the numbness he experienced after his mother’s death. Thanks Kieran, but I think these situations might be different.

Do We Now Have Prophetic Visions?

The third Will vision gives Emma a full-blown panic attack at work, so she ends up in the hospital for observation. Maggie exits Emma’s room, leaving her to sleep. I would insist that Maggie stay in my room with an armed officer guarding my door if it were me, but Emma seems to have less care for her personal safety. Kevin walks in, explaining that Sheriff Hudson called his boss to alert him to Emma’s current state. He apologizes for her having to hear that tape, but she throws him out, unwilling to have him act the hero after eight years of silence.

After Piper Shaw convinces her that second chances are rare, Emma remembers her parents fighting over Maggie’s decision to have a baby many years ago. Emma always thought they were arguing about her, but her father confirms that it was about another (secret) baby. Emma asks Audry for the video she took inside of the abandoned hospital and finds that there’s an ultrasound picture on the wall.

Emma confronts Maggie with the picture of the sonogram, and Maggie doesn’t hesitate to spill the story. When she found out that Kevin had slept with her best friend, she turned to Brandon for comfort. She gave the baby up for adoption at sixteen, after which time she slipped into her old life. Emma considers the possibility that this child has come back. I personally think this child’s name rhymes with Smiper Paw, but I’m just over here reviewing.

It Could Be…Branson

With the malware gone from the homework software, Audry and Noah need more evidence in order to rat on Branson. They discover that Branson changed his name after an affair with an eighteen-year-old student at his old school, one that ended when the girl died under mysterious circumstances. They also find a giant knife in an air vent, but that looks totally planted.

Brooke meets up with Branson to “forget everything,” i.e., hook up in a public place like the stage in the school auditorium. Branson leaves to investigate a strange noise, showing his pedestrian knowledge of horror films. Curtains open on a scantily-clad Brooke, who is attacked by the Killer. He slashes her arm, but she manages to get away. Branson returns just in time for the Sheriff and what looks like the entire police force hauling him off in handcuffs. I don’t really think that Branson is a killer, but I also don’t think he should be sleeping with his underage students, so my sympathy for his arrest is lacking.

Random Facts Noted:

  • Somehow the Killer managed to miss every major organ in the attack on Jake, which is very suspicious.
  • Emma’s father Kevin was working on an oil rig nearby, but went off the grid about three weeks ago (right around the beginning of the murders, of course). The Sheriff put a trace on his credit cards and he was in the area recently.
  • Piper encourages Emma to find the answers herself, which seems like shit advice.

This week’s episode took a good look at PTSD and the consequences of having affairs with your students. Thank god for one show that doesn’t glorify that sort of thing (Pretty Little Liars, I’m looking at you). We’re back to our regularly-scheduled non-deaths, but after Will’s horrific demise, a break is probably a good thing for our heroes. Scream continues to disseminate information about the Maggie’s and Brandon’s pasts well, but is still being fairly mum about any Kieran/Piper specifics. The pacing is quite good; let’s see where things go with only two episodes left until the finale!

Best Line: “Pick one, slay one, console one, then repeat.” – Noah on Branson’s possible motive and the idea that he might be killing off horror movie archetypes.

Killer Calls Per Episode: Zero.

Body Count Per Episode: Zero.

Cumulative Body Count: Five.

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 Twitter: @bri_lockhart