For a show called Scream, the MTV series is a surprisingly gentle show. Yes, there are occasional murders (too occasional if we’re being honest), but after a season and a half of nice-seeming teens having conflict-free conversations about love and life, Scream has staked its claim at being one of the more relaxing horror shows in TV history.
Like, who wouldn’t want to hang out in these nice kitchens with all these generally kind, fresh-scrubbed teens? Even the “mean girl” Brooke actively wing-mans for the self-proclaimed dork Noah, and the mysterious newcomers have all proven helpful and considerate toward our heroes. Yes, some of these kids might be harboring dark secrets and ulterior motives, but heck, we’re almost halfway through the season and everyone seems pretty copacetic so far? What a bunch of nice kids.
At this point Scream‘s only streak of cruelty is how cruelly boring it can tend to be, as though it derives sick pleasure from denying us entertainment value that its source material never did. Yet “Happy Birthday to Me” contained some of the weirdest and most wildly entertaining moments in its run so far. First of all, this episode contained a mass ayahuasca trip (complete with insane hallucinations) and concluded with a character doused in human blood ONSTAGE in front of a crowd. THERE WE GO. Yeah, we need to talk about this episode.
We began in an open field where Audrey was attempting to dispose of the bloody corkscrew that had been planted in her car. Now, Audrey is a lot of things, but she is not an expert at disposing of evidence. First off, a shallow hole in the middle of grass is not exactly inconspicuous. Secondly, maybe don’t illuminate your entire process with blazing headlights? Get it together, murder accomplice!
Meanwhile, Kieran and Emma were kissing each other using their mouths and the killer ran in the room and killed Kieran finally!
Was this really happening? Did Scream just dispatch another one of its main hunks?
No this was not happening, and no Scream did not. This was just a dream sequence, which as any horror fan knows is one of the biggest cardinal sins of bad horror (unless a fedora-clad boogeyman is involved). Oh, Scream.
So then Audrey woke up from a restful night of post-evidence-disposal slumber only to find that something in her bed had given her a puncture wound! As a helpful phone call from a vocoder revealed, the killer had dug up the corkscrew and placed it in her bed along with a handful of dirt. Which, rude.
Whichever way Audrey was or wasn’t involved in last season’s killings, it was enough for this new person to spend all of his or her time tormenting her over it, which was rich considering this person was a killer also. Ever hear of the term “glass houses,” you rude killer?
Emma was still steamed at her dad for getting in a bar fight and also for the time he abused Chill Mom™. She was also steamed at Chill Mom™ for, I don’t know, doesn’t matter.
Sometimes it’s hard to fill up 41 minutes, so at least these parents sometimes appear and say stuff. You know? That’s the least parents can do sometimes.
This episode was centered around Kieran’s birthday, and how he really just wanted to spend it hanging out with Emma and not doing anything special. So that meant that his creepy cousin Eli immediately set about trying to throw him a surprise party, which, as we all know, surprise parties are a great idea when you live in a town plagued by serial killers.
Speaking of creepy: Audrey caught Stavo leering at her during study hall, so she did what any rational high school girl would do: She pulled the fire alarm so she could go through his sh*t. His tablet contained tons of drawings he’d done of the Lakewood 6, and for the most part they were flattering portraits! Except for the Emma one, which for some reason involved a knife through the head, like one of those novelty accessories you can buy at the Halloween superstore. This definitely made Stavo seem like a creep, but probably just in a horror fan kind of way. Stay tuned!
NEXT: Surprise, you’re high! [pagebreak]
Noah and Zoe are still a thing, and this episode got a lot of mileage out of Noah attempting to not be a nervous mess in front of her. In this very cute scene he attempted to invite her to Kieran’s surprise party, but then forgot to actually invite her.
Luckily Brooke walked up and helped him seal the deal. Phew! It’s a good thing she had been listening in from across the yard.
So then Eli and Emma teamed up to plan Kieran’s surprise party. They decided they should throw it at Emma’s house because what was Chill Mom™ gonna do about it? But it was weird that Eli immediately started giving Emma strong vodka drinks, which, coupled with the fact that he had schemed this whole thing AND applied to work at Grindhouse, meant he was definitely trying to get next to her if you know what I mean. Then this scene happened: He asked her for “help” putting up the banner but then they accidentally almost bopped mouths. Classic accidental almost mouth bopping move.
Even though Brooke’s love life was currently very sloppy and confusing, she still seemed amused by Emma’s burgeoning love triangle. Which, sure. Love triangles involving cousins can be pretty fun sometimes. Less so when one or more of them is a killer (I think they are both killers but don’t quote me on that).
The gang found a mysterious and allegedly very expensive bottle of tequila on the front porch with a card from Jake, which meant they immediately began doing shots, no questions asked. And I probably don’t need to tell you that this didn’t go so well.
For one thing, everyone began puking. Everyone!
Usually that’s the sign of a party gone wrong. But then Stavo pointed out that the puking was probably only Phase 1 of what was almost certainly a mass accidental ayahuasca experience. Which meant… You guessed it: Hallucinations!
At this point we were treated to a genuinely fun and unsettling series of hallucinations tied in to each character’s current mental state. For example, Brooke’s glass of water started burning with a green flame, which was a metaphor for, uhhhh. Ask me later.
Stavo’s eyes were glowing with firelight, which I think means he’s the devil. Or he just had cool eyes. Either way.
Ayahuasca trips are also a great time to bring back dead characters, so suddenly Jake was hanging around being snarky and hey… Why was everything suddenly letterboxed?
OH. Okay, that was genuinely freaky, Scream. Into it.
NEXT: Brooke’s Carrie moment [pagebreak]
Meanwhile Audrey saw her dead Ex, and when they began to make out, this was what was going on IRL:
WHOOPS. That’s an awkward mistake. Zoe didn’t seem to mind, though, as she made out with both of them also. In other words, accidental ayahuasca trip or not, this party ended up pretty well!
Emma had a much less fun time in that she chased her childhood self out into the woods where she encountered the masked killer. What made things even worse was that the killer seemed to be REAL.
But since she was (a) alone and (b) high, nobody believed Emma that the killer was back. Not even her Medical Examiner mother, who has lived through at least two serial killer sprees in this town. Yeah, it’s still frustrating that we’re in episode 4 and the knowledge that another killer’s on the loose seems so far out of everyone’s grasp at the moment. What a bunch of Sherlocks.
At least the Sheriff was slowly starting to believe something was up with his son Stavo, especially when he found a perfect replica of the Brandon James mask in his bedroom. But, again, the son is just a weird horror fan and that’s too easy when it comes to suspects in a whodunnit. So I think we can all pretty much relax when it comes to Stavo.
Of course, Emma now thinks she’s losing her mind again, and she openly wondered whether she should probably just go check herself back into the mental ward. In my opinion? Yes. That will at least keep her safe, and it would probably thwart whatever master plan the killer or killers have. Or maybe she could actually use the psychological help? Either way.
Audrey did not seem too shaken by the fact that she and Noah had made out, but the once chill-seeming Zoe was suddenly very wary of getting involved with a guy who might be in love with his best friend. So just as their flirtation seemed to be taking off, Zoe and Noah were now dunzo. Aw, poor guy.
Faring slightly better in the unexpected romance department was Stavo, whose rakish good looks and unsettling leer were finally getting Brooke hot under the collar!
Unfortunately, just as Brooke took the stage as a nominee for something called the Lady of the Lake pageant, guess whose corpse fell out of an unfurling banner above her head? Jake’s! And though he’d been dead for days, he was basically a leaky blood balloon based on the mess it made.
But at least Brooke got to have her Carrie moment. And Scream even one-upped Carrie by drenching its starlet in HUMAN BLOOD instead of some dumb pig’s. Yes please.
Though I can’t help but be critical of Scream overall, even I have to admit that there were some really great moments in this episode. That last scene was everything I want from a show like this, and I always love hallucinations (which are different from dreams in that people are still moving around and interacting with real life). The very concept of an entire teen party suddenly tripping on ayahuasca is a great one, and it felt like this was the first time the writers truly got creative with it. Credit where credit’s due: Scream is capable of memorable moments!
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Good episode. Let’s keep it that way?
What did YOU think of “Happy Birthday to Me”?