“Hello Kieran. Who told you you could wear my mask?”
– Brandon James
After all that, it was Kieran. He was Piper’s accomplice in the first season and he was the sole killer this season. About 90% of you in the comments were right. I chose not to believe it because it seemed too obvious (especially when MTV releases images like this one ahead of the finale’s release), but I was wrong. While the end result may have been a bit predictable, the episode as a whole was much better than most of the episodes in the latter half of the season and was on par with last year’s finale.
It would be easy to say that Kieran’s reveal was disappointing, but the truth is that Scream made it so that any character could have reasonably been the killer (with the exception of maybe Brooke and/or Noah). Because of this, the reveal was bound to be disappointing no matter what. Think about it: had Gustavo, Eli, Emma, Audrey, Aunt Tina, Ms. Lang, Acosta, or even Maggie been the killer, would anyone be saying “I didn’t see that coming.”? Okay maybe Maggie would have been a surprise, but the point is that even though Kieran’s reveal could be seen as predictable it would have been equally as predictable had it been any other character. That is the problem inherent to the whodunit sub-genre though. When you think about it, it actually is sort of clever because it almost makes you want to go back and watch Amadeus Serrafini’s scenes from the first season to see how he behaves around all of the other characters (especially his dad). Maybe that’s why Kieran has always been so dull and lifeless for the past two seasons. He was trying to stay under the radar. As bland as Serrafini has been for these two seasons, he did a commendable job channeling his inner Skeet Ulrich for his unmasking.
Whether or not the explanation holds up is up to the viewer. We are meant to believe that Kieran and Piper dating before he came to town and that Eli (RIP) knew he was crazy the whole time (maybe not a killer, but certainly crazy). There are plenty of questions one may have about it. For example, why didn’t Eli ever tell Emma about all of the shit that Kieran pulled back home? We he worried that she wouldn’t believe him? At the very least it would have planted the seed in her head that would force her to start looking into him, but that’s neither here nor there at this point.
The most exciting prospect of Kieran being the killer isn’t what takes place in “When a Stranger Calls”, but rather what it means for the show going forward (if it goes forward). Having Emma spare his life and send him to prison is one of the boldest (and smartest) moves the series has ever done. First, it adds an extra dimension that Kieran that the character so desperately needed. Since he’s still alive, Serrafini will finally get the opportunity to show off the acting chops that Scream‘s writers have prevented him from showing in the past. Second, it actually makes you root for Emma. Sidney Prescott killed (or had a hand in killing) every single Ghost Face that came after her. She never spared one. It’s not that she should have, but having Scream: The Series’s final girl make a different decision with her Ghost Face is the most compelling thing Emma has ever done. Her journey has been a rocky one this season and her sparing Kieran was her way of showing she was moving on.
There was so much that happened before the reveal though, as we got a major set piece in the middle of the episode The entire sequence inside the movie theater was Scream at its best. We saw its five main characters working together, barricading themselves in the theater in order to catch the killer, not realizing it was one of their own. Of course, it would have helped matters if they didn’t keep splitting up like the Scooby Gang (Seriously, have they never seen a horror movie? Noah should know better.), but it was a great scene nonetheless full of suspense and (here’s the key here) fun. Too often Scream takes itself so seriously that it’s a breath of fresh air when it just has fun with its premise. Scream‘s main weakness is that it falls too often on the melodramatic side of the dramatic spectrum, but it takes itself far too seriously for that to work. If it were a better show this would be alright, but the fact of the matter is that Scream is a teen soap opera. It doesn’t need to be brooding. It needs to be entertaining. This entire sequence was golden. It even nailed the suspense and shock of the situation. I can’t be the only one who gasped out loud when Brooke got stabbed, right?
We also got some actual emotion from Santiago Segura’s Gustavo. ‘Stavo (yes, I’ll finally start calling him that), has been nothing more than a red herring all season. It was painfully obvious that he was never going to be the killer because there were too many signs saying that he was the killer. Watching him break down while Brooke was in surgery was something that needed to happen to his character, especially if he is going to be sticking around next season, especially since it looks like Acosta adopted Brooke.
“When a Stranger Calls” is not a perfect episode of television. No one would accuse any episode of Scream of being perfect, but it is Scream at its best so far. The initial reveal of Kieran may be disappointing at first, and that is understandable. I took a few days to let it sit with me before I wrote this review. I watched the episode again to let it sink in. If anything, this episode shows such promise for where the writers could take Season 3 (if we get one) with the return of Brandon James. Let’s just hope they don’t botch that plot development liked the botched Audrey’s this season. Bring on Season 3! #RenewMTVScream
- My interview with Amadeus Serafini (Kieran) will be posted tomorrow morning. Be sure to check back for it!
- Tons of references to the Scream films tonight. A few of my favorites:
- Kieran being the killer is an homage to Billy being the killer in Scream (Kieran’s hair even looked like Billy’s hair).
- “Piper taught me that killing people is way more fun than therapy” is mighty similar to this line from Bitch # 1 in Scream.
- The car crash in the beginning featured a shot of the cop car scraping a barrier just like the cop car in Scream 2 scraped another car.
- Kieran’s line “He was obsessed with that girl and now he’s obsessed with you!” is highly reminiscent of this Parker Posey line in Scream 3.
- The entire bit with Brooke not letting Gustavo into the theater mirrored the scene where Kirby wouldn’t let Charlie in the house in Scream 4. It even borrowed some dialogue and blocking from that scene.
- I may be one or two off, but I believe the body count this season was 7 (Jake, Eddie the hotel clerk, Branson, Zoe, Mayor Maddox, the cop driving Audrey and Emma, and Eli).
- If that cop would have just driven straight into the killer all of their problems would have been solved. That would have been a nice twist, wouldn’t it?
- Is it just me, or does it sound like the killer has some nasal congestion issues sometimes?
- Ms. Lang was pretty pointless, wasn’t she? Maybe she’ll stick around next season and give us Scream’s version of Scream 2‘s post-fame Gale Weathers. We did see her writing her book, after all.
- Noah is a boxers guy. Who knew?
- “Mmmmm if it isn’t daddy’s little girl.”
- “You know half of those are fake, right?” “Yeah, well, the other half are real.”
- “Hey, I heard Brooke’s hurt. She okay?” – SOUND MORE DISTRESSED WHEN YOU ASK SOMETHING LIKE THAT STAVO.
- Emma is a terrible shot. Kieran’s body practically took up the entire stairway and she didn’t hit him once.
- Plenty of plot holes in the Kieran reveal, but I want to know why he didn’t just shoot Audrey. He had multiple opportunities to after his cover was blown.
- Here is a summary of all of my episode grades for Season 2 of Scream. Perhaps I was too forgiving of all of its flaws (and there are many), but at the end of the day I do enjoy the series for what it is. It averages out to a 3.25/5, so I’ll round it up to a 3.5.
- That’s it for Season 2 of Scream everyone! It’s been a rocky road, but I’ve had a lot of fun with this season. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my reviews as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them.