Welcome back Scream fans (and haters)! Many of us were on pins and needles last year waiting for a Season 2 renewal for everyone’s favorite hate-watch Scream, and we were finally “gifted” with this latest season. While I found quite a bit of enjoyment out of Scream’s first season, it certainly had its flaws. That being said, I’m still quite looking forward to the series’ second season. The premiere may not have been the creative overhaul we were all hoping for, but it at least showed that the creators are listening to some of our complaints (looking at you, Jake). While not groundbreaking by any means, Scream’s second season does seem to be course-correcting ever so slightly. Let’s just hope it does it doesn’t hit an iceberg before it’s too late.
***This will be a SPOILER-filled review. For the non-spoiler version, check out my pre-air review here.***
The premiere’s cold open was a direct callback to the opening scenes of Scream 2 and Scream 4 (set in a movie theater and involving a movie-within-a-show). Although it was nowhere near as clever as those scenes, Audrey was able to get a decent chase scene out of it. Said chase scene was just from a prank by a couple of classmates, which was disappointing. While silly, one has to wonder if teenagers today really are that malicious. The female prankster believing that her partner-in-crime was the victim was an especially malicious attack on today’s youth. Not that Scream is trying to make some kind of statement about teenagers or anything, but it was refreshing to see the new sheriff shut that girl down.
While that opening scene did toy with audience members who were expecting an opening death, the rest of the episode played things out a little more straightforwardly as we played catch-up with all of the characters three months after the events of the season finale. It is nice to see the main cast of characters (dubbed “The Lakewood Six”) getting along now, with even Brooke and Audrey being civil to each other. It’s a great dynamic for these characters, and their newly defined relationships make for much more intriguing character dynamics.
Emma and Kieran have broken up but quickly rekindle their relationship by the episode’s end (yawn), though Emma is understandably having some trouble readjusting to her “normal” life after spending three months in therapy. The episode sees her suffer from multiple post-traumatic stress episodes (including one really gnarly pig intestine set piece). You would think that delving into Emma’s psyche would make you care more about her character, but she’s still just as dull as ever.
After Audrey’s attack in the opening scene, she begins receiving texts and phone calls from the real killer(s), who seem to know everything about her secret pen-pal relationship with Piper (this also gives the episode its namesake: “I Know What You Did Last Summer”). Are we really supposed to believe that Audrey had some secret relationship with Piper beyond a written one? Noah believes Piper had an accomplice and Audrey is noticeably worried about his suspicions, but it’s difficult to believe Scream will have the guts (sorry) to make Audrey a villain. As for the killer, at this point all he/she has done to Audrey is taunt her verbally and tape paper inside a bathroom stall. It’s not exactly the most menacing thing a serial killer can do, but whatever.
Scream struggles with the introduction of its new characters, specifically Zoe. Her introduction had Emma greeting her as if they’d been friends for a long time (she was mentioned briefly in Season 1 but that’s about it), then shoehorning her in to a few of Emma’s scenes as well. It didn’t feel natural at all and was handled fairly clumsily. The new sheriff had a stronger introduction with his takedown of the female prankster in the opening scene but his son essentially takes on the creepy new kid role. The episode rightfully focused on our core group of characters though so you can’t entirely fault it for failing to fully establish three new characters so soon.
The big reveal of the episode was, of course, the fact that Brandon James had a brother named Troy. Correct me if I’m wrong, but was there ever a mention of Brandon James having a brother last season?* It’s not the most unrealistic thing that can happen, as long-lost siblings are becoming more and more popular in the television and video game mediums nowadays, but it still felt like a bit of a stretch. Then Lakewood genius Emma drags Brooke to Troy’s farm, walks inside and just starts calling for Troy, as if he’s been secretly living there all along and will just come out and say “Hey Emma! Good to see you.” Did she learn nothing from last season?
*It has been brought to my attention that I am wrong. Brandon’s brother was indeed mentioned last season. Whoops!
One of the weaknesses of the first season was Scream’s reluctance to kill off any of the main cast (outside of Will, anyway). “I Know What You Did Last Summer” shows that Scream is now willing to make a ballsy decision. Jake’s death was the episode’s saving grace, though the episode took its sweet time to get there. It is unclear as to why the killer kept Jake alive for the duration of the episode. There was no extensive torture. He/she just kept Jake tied up for the whole episode before finally stringing him upside down and slicing him up (down?) with a scythe. Why the episode didn’t open with his death is puzzling, as that would have trimmed some of the fat from the episode. All of Jake’s scenes post-abduction up until his death were unnecessary filler. MTV must have figured that if they were going to pay Tom Maden for an entire episode then they would get their money’s worth and make him stick around for the whole damn thing.
Scream Season 2 won’t win over any people who were skeptical after the first season, but at least the premiere shows that it’s making an effort to improve upon the series’ multiple shortcomings. There is enough here to merit a season pass from viewers, so here’s hoping it improves with every episode. I may not love the series, but I want it to be good and do find plenty to enjoy about it. “I Know What You Did Last Summer” is a step in the right direction.
- Welcome to Bloody Disgusting’s coverage of Scream Season 2 everyone! I know many of you will come here just to bash the show and that’s alright, but please be respectful of those who actually are fans of the series and come here for insightful discussion.
- After all of my bitching last season about Tom Maden’s atrocious facial acting and line deliveries, he’s finally gone. I can’t say that I’m upset about this death, but I wish Maden the best in his future endeavors.
- That movie theater is a great setting. Here’s hoping for more set pieces there!
- Unless I’m mistaken, Emma has never mentioned this Zoe girl in the past. Her introduction was so incredibly awkward.
- Fun fact: this episode was directed by Brian Dannelly, who also directed the brilliant 2004 teen satire Saved! He also directed the two episodes that followed Riley’s death last season.
- “Why are you doing this???” “Why?! Because I’m so sick of your slut-shaming!” – Those Murderville movies sure do sound fun!
- “Never read the comments section.” – I can’t tell you how many times I get told this about my own writing.
- “Ladyballs? Ew.” – Not Brooke’s best retort, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss her.
- “Do we actually need horror movies like we need our dreams?” – What was up with this classroom sequence? The entire scene Would anyone like to put money on the psychology teacher being the killer?
- I forgot how much I hated Noah’s signature movie monologue score. They feel so staged to the point that it just takes you right out of the show.
- “Ignoring anything is certain death. We should go to the cops. Immediately.”
- “Yeah, but we couldn’t have done this in the daylight? Or tomorrow? Or never?”
- One of the posters in the movie theater was for a movie called Virgin Stabbing. Nice.