“Unless we wake up and stop acting like this isn’t Murderville, we’re going to end up like Jake. And we’ll deserve it.”
The writers of Scream really don’t know how to utilize that carnival setting, do they? “Village of the Damned” marks the second episode of the series to feature a large chunk of the episode at the local carnival only to completely botch the attempt. The entire episode built up to the carnival and all we got was the kidnapping of the worst character on the show (leave him, Emma!). No major deaths. No chase scene. Zilch. It would be unprofessional of me to criticize Scream for not doing what I wanted it to do (and even more unprofessional of me to criticize it for not killing anyone, as that does not determine the quality of a television series). After all, I’m not the one writing it, am I? If only anything else in the episode made much of an impression.
Let’s talk about Audrey for a second. Her arc this season has been tedious. The cliffhanger at the end of last season was intriguing, but it was never likely that she was going to actually be Piper’s accomplice. She has spent the entire season (poorly) trying to hide her secret that ended up not really being all that sinister. It’s getting more and more difficult to criticize this plot line because it’s making me sound like a broken record since nothing changes. There was a glimmer of hope when Noah found out a few episodes ago, but her reluctance to tell Emma, while somewhat understandable, is beyond justifiable. Yes, she has recently repaired her broken friendship with Emma and yes, Emma probably won’t be thrilled when she finds out that Audrey is responsible for bringing Piper to Lakewood, but to think that she would forever lose Emma over something that she didn’t intend? It’s a bit of a stretch, especially since Emma has never revealed herself to be particularly vindictive.
That is why it was so disheartening to see Audrey once again tuck her tail between her legs and seek an alternative to telling Emma the truth. She was so close to confessing her role in Piper’s arrival to Emma, but the second she realized that Eli may be the one who has been tormenting her for a week or so (remember, as of episode 6, only five days had passed since the premiere), she decided to try to corner him and convince Emma that he was behind all of the mysterious phone calls and, presumably, Jake’s death. All this just so the episode could give us a cliffhanger that, quite frankly, no one should care about. Audrey had every chance to come clean about what happened, and when it seemed like she was finally about to tell Emma she backed out. She has lost the goodwill of the audience. Hopefully, Emma crucifies her now.
Noah has been having some trouble in terms of , forever defined by the women in his life (last year it was Audrey and this year it is Zoe). It’s a humorous role reversal, considering that it’s usually the female characters who are wrongfully defined by the men in their lives in television (see: Brooke), but it doesn’t make it any less superficial. Who is Noah? Other than a Randy stand-in, he has rarely been given his own subplot that really lets us know him. His entire arc this season has been about his wooing of Zoe, and because Zoe is the worst, it hurts Noah as a character.
The more and more Scream features Zoe, the more likely it is that she’s the killer. She intentionally got Brooke drunk. Of that there is no doubt. We already know that she’s kind of a goody two-shoes, so why did she have booze on her? Sure, we can go with the idea that she’s a secret bad girl, but I’m not buying it. We know she was gone last year for an as yet unspecified reason that she doesn’t feel comfortable sharing. Would it be too obvious if she was revealed to be Piper’s accomplice? Maybe, but I wouldn’t put it past Scream to pull that out of its bag of tricks. The one positive that would come out of that is that it would give Noah a substantial arc next season (if we get one). Still, Zoe is a problematic character simply because she exists for no other reason than to make Noah go all googly-eyed. Yes, that is my educated analysis of the character of Zoe.
Brooke’s journey has been the most captivating this season, but even that is not without its flaws (though in an episode filled with them, she was once again the sole bright spot). In her drunken stupor, she pisses off Gustavo, essentially reads the entire town of Lakewood and loses the pageant. It’s unfortunate that Brooke is spending so much time moping about an emotionally abusive boyfriend. One could use the excuse that she’s a teenager. That same excuse could be said for all of the characters’ poor decisions), but that doesn’t excuse lazy writing.
On to this carnival nonsense, it is important to realize that you cannot really have suspense unless you care about the characters that are in peril (as Noah so wisely pointed out a few episodes ago and in the pilot). Kieran has had nothing to do all season other than be worried about Emma. We do finally learn why he was so protective of the information surrounding his parents’ death which adds depth to his character, but it comes as too little too late in an attempt to make us care about him when he gets kidnapped. His kidnapping did give him a fantastic glimpse of an unhinged Emma, even if it was a little obvious that it was Kieran in that cloak.
“Village of the Damned” wasn’t able to dig Scream out of its rut, but Season 1 saw a similar rut at the midway point of last season (though we are just past the midway point of Season 2), so there is still hope that it will pull itself out of it. Now that Audrey’s secret is out in the open for real this time, her storyline may finally get interesting.
- Scream Thinks the Audience is Stupid Moment: So many characters were talking to themselves in order to spell things out for us tonight. This can be hard to pull off, and it doesn’t work multiple times in “Village of the Damned”. Acosta going “Okay Stavo, what have you been telling this lady?” to let us know he was listening to the interview tapes and Brooke saying that she didn’t have any din-din to foreshadow the fact that she was going to get drunk very quickly. Trust your audience Scream. We’re smarter than you think.
- Audrey cockblocks Noah again via incessant phone calls. Dammit Audrey!
- Audrey hasn’t seen The Prowler. Coincidentally, I just saw The Prowler for the first time two weeks ago. It’s pretty good!
- “I wouldn’t follow a boy I barely knew to an isolated location.” -Preach, Acosta.
- Maggie does ID Branson’s body, so at least his death is out in the open. Can’t wait to see how Brooke handles that one.
- Is there only one mortician in the town? Can Acosta not go to anyone else besides Maggie?
- “Wait, the winner of this competition has to pick up trash?”
- That cotton candy kiss was gross.
- “Some of you know that I was supposed to be here today with my boyfriend Jake Fitzgerald. But I guess we all know what happened with that, right?”
- “I liked your friend’s speech. A real knife to the gut.”
- Next week’s episode is titled “The Orphanage“. If you’ve never seen that movie, go find it and watch it post haste. It’s really good.
- While we didn’t get any real Brooke Bitch Face™, we did get to see her literally drop a mic.