Emma can’t sleep, and who can blame her? After watching her ex-boyfriend and presumably her first love get his head cut in half, thanks to a tripwire she accidentally set off herself, I would be surprised if she could move, let alone sleep. Despite having some trauma-induced insomnia and hallucinations of Will’s bloody, mutilated body, Emma decides to still go to school with the rest of her friends who survived the abandoned bowling alley trip and almost massacre. Maggie gives her some pills from the doctors to help her “take the edge off,” but they’re no help, just like constant attention and worry from her schoolmates and everyone around isn’t going to make things magically better.
The episode begins with Maggie reliving the aftermath of Will’s murder with Emma walking away from the barn covered in Will’s… everything, and his mother screaming at the sight of his body as a voiceover from Maggie explains that Will’s mother was able to identify him through the clothes he was wearing. Emma in the meantime is still not sleeping, but she is listening to the recording of her father’s admission over Maggie and Brandon’s one night of romance, trying to figure out what it all meant. Obviously the killer is trying to reveal all kinds of secrets that Maggie is hiding and now it’s time for Maggie to come clean. Maggie tries to convince Emma not to head to school, but Emma tries to explain that being questioned is only going to hinder her from moving on with a normal life. When Maggie argues that normal is going to take awhile, Emma responds bluntly: “Will’s dead. Time’s not going to change that.” Emma shakes off Maggie’s displays of concern and compassion and heads to school, where the gawking and memorials for Will are just making everything worse.
Despite Noah and Audrey both trying to comfort Emma, Kieran seems to be the only person who is making Emma feel any better by not asking questions and just being there for her. But that’s not going to help with her hallucinations, especially the ones with Will and his chopped head squeezing a heart into mush and then handing a heart keychain to Emma as she (understandably) freaks out at the sight of him. Obviously Emma realizes dead Will/her subconscious is trying to tell her something, but what? A visit from her father helps her figure that out.
Speaking of Noah and Audrey, the two friends are still on the hunt to find evidence against Mr. Branson. After Noah explains that it makes perfect sense for Branson to hide in plain sight as the brutal murders were being carried out and that he might be “keeping the tools of his trade handy,” Noah and Audrey sneak into Seth’s office and finally get a hit on Branson’s real identity. They call Sheriff Hudson, who finds a bloody knife in a bag in Branson’s office, and explain that Branson, a.k.a. Seth Palmer, used to teach at a small liberal arts college where he had an affair with an 18-year-old who then turned up dead. Palmer/Branson went missing, changed his name and showed up in Lakewood. Noah has to explain their suspicions of Branson way too long before Hudson finally puts out an APB on the creepy teacher, but the call is made and quite a bit of evidence is certainly pointing in Branson’s direction.
Meanwhile Jake wakes up from his stab wound and is told by Brooke that Will is dead; he does not take it well. But that’s not the only bad news that Brooke has to handle. Piper decides that it’s time to go to Sheriff Hudson regarding Mayor Maddox’s blackmail video. She shows Hudson the footage of Mayor Maddox pulling the body out of the trunk of his car and explains why Maddox is also a pretty strong suspect. The blackmail, the body, and the secrets all look extremely suspicious, but when Maddox is picked up, he promises he can explain everything. He also says that everything he did was for his family, but obviously he didn’t want his own reputation ruined from the scandal this would cause, a scandal that could still break any minute now that Piper has all of the information she needs to pull the news trigger. Maddox states that he will only tell Hudson everything he needs to know if Maddox will be allowed to talk to Brooke first.
Brooke of course wants confirmation that her mother is alive, which she receives once Maddox gives up her location to Hudson. Brooke finally visits Maddox at his holding cell, where he explains that when her mother began using again, she got help presumably from a dealer who would hang around the house with Brooke’s mother. This man apparently turned up dead in Maddox’s guest house and the mayor decided to hide the body to “protect” Brooke’s mother. He states that he had nothing to do with her friends’ murders and that their family will survive this together. Because Brooke is not a total idiot, she doesn’t forgive her father, but she does pull a rather unintelligent move by running to Branson for comfort.
NEXT: Maggie’s Night of Regret