Scream finale postmortem: EP Jill Blotevogel on plans for season 2, the killer's partner
Warning: This story contains major spoilers from the season finale of Scream. Read at your own risk!
In Scream’s season finale, the killer was revealed to be the Sarah Koenig wannabe Piper (Amelia Rose Blaire), who is actually the daughter of Brandon James and Daisy, a.k.a. Emma’s mother Maggie (Tracy Middendorf). Why? She blames Daisy for the loss of her father and is vexed that she was given up for adoption while Emma (Willa Fitzgerald) got the perfect life.
However, she had a partner! Though Scream didn’t outright reveal said partner’s identity in the finale, it was heavily insinuated that it was Audrey (Bex Taylor-Klaus), who had received letters from Piper and lived with a mere flesh wound after coming face-to-face with the killer in the finale. Also, Audrey killed Piper right before she planned to tell Emma some big twist — maybe that Emma’s BFF was in on the whole thing? Though that still doesn’t explain why Jake (Tom Maden) ultimately had control of the malware. To get some answers, EW turned to executive producer Jill Blotevogel, who offers up a few hints about season 2. (The killer also speaks out here.)
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How early on did you know that Piper was the killer?
JILL BLOTEVOGEL: There was a lot of discussion about possibilities. I always said from the start that I hope there’s a giant board in Vegas with every character and every combination of characters on it where people can place bets the entire run of the show. Truthfully, for the first couple of weeks in the writers’ room, we were playing a lot of possibilities and looking at individual killers, looking at potential combinations, looking for the most interesting ways to really figure out who would be taking on the Brandon James persona.
When we came up with the character of Piper, she wasn’t in the pilot, but there had been talk of, “Is there going to be a Gale Weathers [Courteney Cox] counterpart?” When we came up with the idea of what that would look like in 2015, I just kept going back to Serial and Sarah Koenig, and saying that these kids don’t watch the evening news, they listen to podcasts. We thought how fun it would be if the killer in 2015 is going to be a podcaster. She says she’s going to be objectively telling the story of what’s happening in Lakewood, and you jump into her shoes with her. You become the person who’s listening to her story and she lulls you into this sense of, “Oh, well she’s the one telling me the story, she can’t be the one acting it out. She can’t be the killer.” It was just a really fun way to take a voice that we’re told is objective and realize later that she was manipulating what we were thinking, what we were seeing. We see that to some degree in what she says to Emma, because she was doing it to Emma, but in a sense, she was also doing it to the audience. It was irresistible to make our narrator our killer.
Who else was a heavy contender to be the killer?
We put everybody is that spot. There were things we liked about Kieran (Amadeus Serafini). He’s a fun possibility because he is such a dark horse from the outset. You have this instinct that it can’t be him because it’s too obvious. Am I falling for this too easily or is that the perfect cover that he is the perfect suspect? He’s got some things going on in his past that we can dig into more. There’s potential for darkness in these characters. I don’t want to talk too much about what we considered because the great thing about doing a series is you can keep moving forward, and you can keep scratching the surface of these kids’ lives. If we found something juicy, I have to hold onto it.
They couldn’t find Piper’s body. Can you confirm Piper is dead?
Piper is dead. I will put a period at the end of that sentence. The body being found or not being found was a bookend to the Brandon James of it. Yes, Piper is gone.
You heavily indicated that Piper’s partner was Audrey. Why did you not outright reveal it?
Because Audrey is a character who is such a touchstone for the audience. There are so many things about her that we can relate to and empathize with. If she has done bad things, we want to empathize with her and want to understand. To some degree, from the very first scenes of the show, she is a victim, but then as we watch the show, we realize that she doesn’t let herself be a victim. What we’re going to explore with her is how much did she do in the past? Why did she do it? What is she going to do in the future? And is she going to be discovered? If we made it too obvious that she was as dark or as psychotic as Piper, you’re going to lose some audience attachment to the character.
In the same way that you don’t know throughout the whole of season 1 just how much Audrey has done, I think going into season 2 we’re hoping she hasn’t done anything unforgivable, but we’re also curious to see what she was given the freedom to do. I think everybody relates to that character who has been picked on or belittled. It’s human nature, we’ve all been in situations like that. She’s a great surrogate for the audience.
The way you’re talking about her, it makes it seem like she’s definitely the partner.
I’m saying the possibility is there. I’m saying that there is undeniable evidence at the end of the finale that she was in contact with Piper. I can’t say too much about what she has done, but we do know that she was complicit in something. I will neither confirm nor deny, but hopefully it did what it was supposed to do in telling you there’s much more to come.
Will the season 2 story be about whoever the partner may be?
Definitely. You have to find your new mystery for season 2 and keeping our kids at the heart of that. Noah (John Karna) asks a very simple question that’s going to kick it all off, which is, “Who was the person behind the mask when Piper and Will [Connor Weil] were attacked?” Yes, we’re definitely pointing you down a path, but the characters don’t know that. It’s such a fine line to balance. I’m just going to throw it out there: If you care about Audrey, you’ll care about what happens in season 2 and her mystery will definitely be the jumping off point.
Audrey burned those letters from Piper, but do you plan to explore their contents in season 2?
They’re definitely the bedrock to the mystery. With a movie of Scream, it would end with Piper’s death, the wrap-up and we’re moving on. But of course with a TV series we thankfully have a lot of our main cast still alive. This is our connective tissue between season 1 and season 2. One thing that we’re really excited about creatively is being able to dig deeper into these characters and actually see the repercussions of what happened. Even in Scream 2, you pick up however much later it is and the world has settled down. What’s nice is we’ve gotten to know these characters and we’re going to pick up with new relationships. Kieran’s getting over the death of his father, Jake (Tom Maden) and Brooke (Carlson Young) have this completely unexpected burgeoning relationship happening. It’s an opportunity that the movies never really had, so I’m excited to see where it’s going to go.
How much time will have passed between season 1 and season 2?
We’re not sure yet. It’ll be less than a year. We’re not going to be sending Emma off to college. It’s still going to be in Lakewood High. It’ll be a year or less, but that’s at this point. We’re still very early on in the creative process for season 2.
Will all the surviving characters appear in season 2?
Mostly likely, yes.
Is there a possibility that Piper could’ve had more than one partner?
Because Jake had control of the malware.
Yeah, that’s the fun of doing this as a multi-season story. We see darkness in these characters and we see their dark subplots. Just because season 1 ends and a killer is caught doesn’t necessarily mean the bad things our kids have done go away or are reset. They’ve all participated in bad things. Just like the Kieran and Nina [Bella Thorne] video that came out, we might discover more things through the collection of blackmail videos or through flashbacks. Anything we’ve seen characters do can certainly be explored in season 2 and beyond.
Will you get into Mr. Branson’s (Bobby Campo) past and why that girl was killed before he changed his name?
Mr. Branson is going to be a really fun character moving forward because we’re all dying to know what the heck happened with that girl in the past. What were his intentions with Brooke? It’s definitely a possibility to dig into in season 2.
Noah seems to be the only one who can be trusted. Is that really the case?
Noah was a tricky one. From the start, he himself says in the pilot, “I’m the perfect suspect. I’m obsessed with Brandon James. I’m way too smart.” He’s seen every horror movie. He is someone who was a little irresistible in the sense of, “What if he was the killer?” Kind of like Kieran, he’s obvious in one way, and then after spending 10 hours with him, you fall in love with Noah. You risk a certain heartbreak if you reveal that he’s the killer. He was a tough one. I like to never trust that character. I always like to have a character like that who you so bond with, you so empathize with as an audience member. I don’t think anyone is ever off the table. With Noah, he was actually a favorite possibility from early on, but we realized he’s just way too fun, you can’t get rid of Noah.
If the first season was about getting justice or revenge, at least in Piper’s mind, what would you say the second season will be about?
There’s a lot of mystery where the past is concerned. If season 1 was powered by this immediate fear of a killer being on the loose and the killer is looking for revenge, season 2 is going to be Emma being activated a bit more, trying to talk to her mom, no more lies about the past and what happened and why my dad left, and her being more proactive in terms of digging into her past. We’ve seen a lot of hints of the dark sides of our various characters. I think it’s going to be digging into that and uncovering what’s within our characters.
Did you have any alternate endings for the finale? Or did you have to change the finale when the show was renewed?
No, actually. The ending was always going to be on that dock. The story started with Daisy and Brandon on that dock and we just really felt like whoever our killer was, he or she was channeling Brandon James in terms of getting their revenge, and it just felt like the perfect bookend to end it there at the dock and the lake, because that lake haunts this whole story. No matter what, we knew our killer and Emma would be drawn back to it. We always knew the setting, we just had to figure out the details.
The finale was always going to be what it was. It was shot before we knew about the renewal. We always felt like we wanted to give a satisfying ending, but create enough anticipation for a season to come, because we don’t have the anthology aspect of American Horror Story. We have these characters that are ongoing. It was a tricky line to toe, but I hope everyone fell in love with these characters the same way that we did, and you care enough about them that you want more answers. A lot of people talk about how The Killing ended their first season and how it was unsatisfying, so we knew we had to give a big, strong finale answer. We were trying to split the difference. You get the answer that definitively gives you that great Scream encounter between the heroine and the masked killer, but then you also have your more ongoing teen drama mystery element in Audrey. It really worked out. We did find that balance that Noah said was so hard to find.
Scream is expected to return for season 2 in 2016.
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