Few things kill horror more ruthlessly than modern technology, which is why many of the best horror films of recent years have actively omitted it. It Follows featured a grand total of one (dated-looking) cell phone, and The Babadook felt like it took place in a storybook rather than the real world. House of the Devil was a straight-up ’80s period piece and who even knows when each of the Insidious sequels or prequels take place. Point is, the fact that we all carry pocket mainframes with the capability of contacting thousands of people at once definitely undermines the sense of isolation and vulnerability horror requires to thrive.
Scream the TV series tries to have it both ways. These teens constantly text, Snapchat, and drop social media lingo, yet they still casually show up unannounced on each others’ doorsteps (which is a TV trope, sure, but still something from Andy Griffith times). In this week’s episode “Psycho,” a character decided to contact another character by nearly running her over with a car. It was a completely ridiculous moment, sure, but so much more effective than sending a DM, you know? What I’m trying to say is, Scream‘s technophilia is a brave burden to undertake, but at least it knows when to drop it.
Oh right, the episode. Let’s talk about it!
We began in the empty, abandoned house owned by the brother of Brandon James. Emma had been stalking around inside by herself for some reason (because she loves adrenaline?) and a hooded figure had appeared and spooked her right out of there! But honestly, she was technically breaking and entering so that was her bad.
After explaining the situation to Chill Mom™, Emma brought her back to the house only to discover that all the creepy childhood photos of herself that had been pinned to the wall were now GONE. Had she imagined the whole thing? And more importantly, was Scream going to pull a Jaws 2 and force its hero to wonder if the killer was even back or not? Unfortunately yes.
Meanwhile Audrey was still stressing about Noah’s investigation into whether or not Piper had had an accomplice last season. But to be clear, Audrey wasn’t necessarily an accomplice, she had just written letters to Piper and now someone was sending her text messages accusing her of being an accomplice. And to be even clearer, Audrey is not even a suspect in the current killings, because why bother suspecting her when there were so many other new faces to suspect?
Let’s be real, this girl is probably gonna be murdered soon. That “prank” last week was very lame on her part and now she’s standing around staring at Audrey while texting? She’s gotta go.
This girl is way too big of a fan of Emma’s, which is not a good sign. Cool hair, bad intentions.
Meanwhile Brooke was trying to reach Jake for some steamy good times, but it had been two days since he’d responded. Not even the promise of a “boob pic” could elicit so much as an emoji. What was going on? Murder was going on.
Even though he is dead, credit where credit’s due: Jake really had a way with emojis. He will be missed sorta.
This guy was just loitering around Emma’s locker at night even though he didn’t go to that school. Probably doesn’t matter, forget about it.
The thing was, Kieran’s father had been disemboweled by a podcaster last season, so now Kieran is an orphan. This meant he needed a “legal guardian” and she arrived in the form of his aunt. But because she lived out of town, the new sheriff was being a real jerk to Kieran about it. Was Kieran going to have to move away now? Stay tuned, folks.
NEXT: Nothing ruins a hangout like PTSD [pagebreak]
This guy. What is his deal even? He’s the new sheriff’s son, but he really just sits around staring creepily at the Lakewood 6. Honestly, if he wasn’t so handsome, he’d probably be in jail by now.
Brooke wasn’t a fan, but isn’t that how great romances always start? With outright contempt? Rooting for ’em.
Oh, this psychology teacher is really something. I’m still trying to wrap my brain around the existence of a high school psychology class, let alone a teacher who offers free therapy to her most damaged student. Here she and Emma got together for a coffee date and the teacher told her in no uncertain terms that the scary things she’d witnessed lately had been all in her head. Thanks lady, what a productive session!
I loved that only seconds after this “breakthrough” Emma had a meltdown because a girl in the coffee shop was wearing glasses.
PTSD is no joke. Unless it is a plotline on Scream, in which case sure.
Oh, guess who that mysterious locker loiterer ended up being? Kieran’s cousin! Not only that, but Kieran’s aunt and cousin were going to move in with him starting now. So no, Kieran was not actually going to move away. Also add one more creep to the creep list. It was definitely a two birds one stone sitch.
Remember Brooke’s dad? He’s still walking around like a shady politician, but lately he’s been pretty apologetic about it. In this scene he really needed Brooke to take off her hooker dress and accompany him to a political event, yet she declined on account of the fact that she was now in love with his blackmailer and was Team Blackmailer in general.
You know, typical father-daughter drama. Touching stuff.
At some point Emma decided to deal with her PTSD head-on by going back to the dock and staring into the water and into the woods for any sign of Not-Ghostface. Obviously she immediately spotted him/her but then closed her eyes and the killer went away. Which was reason enough for her to immediately celebrate that she’d beaten her PTSD finally!
And the only way to celebrate the end of PTSD is to have hot megasex in the car with your orphan boyfriend. Everybody knows this.
Be safe, kids!
NEXT: Storage locker of horror [pagebreak]
Noah, on the other hand, was still using all his spare time to track down a lead in his Piper-had-an-accomplice case. He was able to contact a knowledgeable internet commenter (are there any other kind?) to this motel where the dude claimed he’d seen Piper with a “girl accomplice.” (To which Noah replied, “Holy plot twist,” which is a strong argument for Noah to get murdered soon). Anyway, just as the guy was about to spill the beans, he received a phone call from a familiar vocoder!
It was Audrey, threatening to kill him if he didn’t change his tune. So, great. Even though we know Audrey isn’t the killer, she’s acting like she is. That is one satisfying whodunnit red herring! Just kidding, but I do want to say that I really like Audrey as a character and wish this thing could get wrapped up so she can do more than just pretend to be shady. Praying for ya, girl!
So, this was the scene that was highly ridiculous yet still worked. First of all, just the sight of Emma walking home alone through empty streets was more suspenseful than a thousand menacing text messages. Just a cool spooky feeling, and filmed really well. So when the idling car without headlights began stalking her, we knew it wasn’t the killer’s m.o. but it was effective nonetheless. Especially when the car started chasing her!
But guess who it was? It was Tom Everett Scott! (Also, her father.) So yeah, that’s how Emma’s father decided to make an entrance: By scaring her nearly to death.
No wonder they were estranged!
Our final scene was a good one: Noah had received a tip that a local mini-storage might contain clues as to Piper’s mysterious accomplice. So Audrey snuck in before he could get there and she found a Se7en-esque room full of air fresheners and…
A corpse named Jake! I’m guessing Audrey was not thrilled to discover the body of one of her semi-friends, but that journey will just have to continue next week. But yes, this is still Scream the TV series, so that meant no murder this week, only a corpse discovery. Tune in next week when the big scare is Jake’s corpse falling off a gurney? Anything could happen.
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“Psycho” deserves points for turning a simple horror scenario into an exploration of PTSD. While it’s certainly organic and justified for Emma to be dealing with her trauma from last season, there’s a slight chance this season might be overdoing it. It’s not like she was that traumatized while she was experiencing it in the moment. And while I wouldn’t wish PTSD on anyone, I would wish effective horror on anyone, and that’s not really what we’re getting here. I’m in the camp who did not particularly care for the whodunnit element of the Scream movies (or in horror in general; monsters should be mysterious and random!) so this series’ emphasis on that stuff is probably a mistake. Still, the tone and atmosphere of this show remain compelling and we’ve now spent enough time with these characters to actively hope they’ll survive. Including Emma. Even Emma. Hang in there, girl!
What did YOU think about “Psycho”?