Emma, Audrey, and Noah launch their own serial murder investigation after Riley's death shocks Lakewood.
Riley’s murder is not taken lightly at Lakewood in this week’s episode of Scream, and thank goodness for that, because it’s time for some answers and some incompetency to be pointed out within the Lakewood Police Department. The episode picks up right at its title: The “Aftermath” of Riley’s death as her body is taken to the coroner and as Tyler’s car is being examined after the explosion. Emma’s mother comforts her as she cries silently, and Noah yells at police officers passing by for doing basically the opposite of “protect and serve.” Seriously, I still can’t understand how anyone let Riley out of their sights. Emma’s mother makes her way to Tyler’s burned car and tries to reassure Sheriff Hudson that none of this was his fault, which is an inaccurate statement. As Hudson says himself, he let Riley die on his watch at his station. But in his eyes, there’s a silver lining, the case is basically closed now that they’ve found Tyler dead with a Brandon James mask in his car. Things don’t come that easy, Sheriff.
At a town hall meeting put together by Brooke’s dad, the mayor, Sheriff Hudson explains that the case is now, for all intents and purposes, closed. But Emma’s not buying it, and neither is Audrey. Obviously both girls state that they’d like to believe Tyler is the monster that killed off two of his friends and Rachel, but the motive doesn’t track (at least not for Rachel’s death) and why would Tyler send Emma torturous texts and phone calls about her family’s past with Brandon James? How does any of this make sense? But Audrey’s not the only person who is giving Sheriff Hudson a hard time about his epic screw-ups during the investigation. He’s definitely feeling the town breathing down his neck, and now he’s about to realize the case is most definitely not closed.
Thankfully, Scream chose to show how much Riley’s death affected each of the people close to her, but the person to arguably take it the hardest is not Emma, who essentially chose one friend to die over another, or Noah, who had real feelings for the sweet girl. No, it’s Brooke, who believes that her selfish behavior is what caused Riley’s death in the first place. She left the station to answer a booty call that never showed up, and in her mind Riley was killed because she wasn’t there to protect her. Again to be fair, that’s the police’s job, protecting and serving. I’m just going to keep going back to that.
While Brooke is online shopping for the perfect “funeral nail polish” (Is this a thing nowadays?), she receives a notification on her phone. Looks like someone, most likely the killer, has started an online poll of which girl from the most popular clique should die next, and Brooke is by far the leader over Emma. In fact, Emma only has two votes against her to Brooke’s ever-growing tally. Could the new Queen B at Lakewood High be next? It seems likely, though I would appreciate at least Will or Jake getting a nice scare from the killer, if they are not the ones doing the murdering that is.
Piper, is still hanging around and makes her way to the police station as Riley’s body is taken out, but instead of being a creepy paparazzi/tabloid-style leech, her podcast episode pays tribute to the girl and attempts to comfort her friends during their difficult time. Piper tells Emma the sheriff and many others are likely to become scapegoats in the way the killings have been investigated, but she’s about ready to pack up and get out of Lakewood now that things are wrapping up. Nevertheless, Emma talks her into staying longer without giving away any specifics, and it doesn’t take much to convince Piper. A good investigative journalist probably wouldn’t want to leave given the Swiss cheese amount of holes in this case.
At home, Emma receives a creepy package, the 1994 Lakewood High yearbook, a.k.a. her parents’ yearbook, with the photos of Brandon James’ murder victim cut out and Emma’s father’s face scratched out with a pen. There’s also writing in the book: “The truth lies where the mask was made.” Emma takes the book straight to Audrey and Noah, whose mourning has taken the form of drinking on the job and who reacts the most appropriately to the book than anyone else ever could: “Holy Manson family album.” I approve Noah, I approve. Noah explains that it’s unlikely Tyler sent Emma this message as it’s much too “analog” a tactic, but he does reveal that the mask Brandon James wore was a surgical mask to protect sutures on his face done at a hospital that has been closed down for six or seven years. Emma tells the gang that they can’t go investigating the hospital by themselves as it’s probably a trap. But Audrey knows the truth: Emma is going to investigate herself so Audrey goes with her to get the answers they so desperately need. Noah’s out because in Audrey’s perfect words Noah would be like “a 4-year-old at Disneyland, [they’d] have to put a leash on him.”
NEXT: Noah throws shade on PLL & the gang finds killer new information
But of course Noah shows up, and the gang discovers the killer’s lair, which leads to Noah excitedly regaling Emma and Audrey with the inconsistencies of fictional serial killers. He throws shade at “A” from Pretty Little Liars in particular (which seems strange as I’m assuming their fan bases overlap). Emma finds a dead pig with its heart cut out… it’s likely the animal whose heart her mother received. They also find little souvenirs the killer took including Nina’s laptop, which has files and files on pretty much all of the biggest suspects in Lakewood. Emma attempts to copy the files onto an SD card and the gang flees, but not before trying to take a Brandon James mask they find in the lair and seeing that Tyler’s decapitated head is behind the mask. Unfortunately the gang runs right into the hands of Sheriff Hudson who received an anonymous tip about the group’s location.
Will, meanwhile, is back to working with Jake to come up with some fast cash so he can go to Duke after graduation. Here is where we finally learn a little about what in the world has been going on with Nina, Tyler, and the boys. It turns out Nina and Tyler were blackmailing someone for cash with the threat that they would release some kind of incriminating video that Nina stored on her laptop, the very laptop that we know is tucked away in the killer’s lair but that Jake and Will can’t seem to find. Jake states they can still carry out the blackmail scam as he has some backups of Nina’s files, because of course he didn’t delete everything. We don’t know exactly what Nina had on the townspeople of Lakewood, but we do find out who Tyler and Jake blackmail: It’s Brooke’s father, Mayor Maddox. And he’s about to get taken for $100,000.
Back at the station, Sheriff Hudson states that they swept the hospital already, but Emma tells her mother and Hudson about the package she received and then throws down major criticism saying she didn’t bring this new information straight to the cops because of the bang-up job they did last time she revealed something to them. Now that Sheriff Hudson knows that Tyler’s head was clearly removed before his “car crash,” he realizes that this case is far from shut. The nightmare and scrutiny lives on.
After leaving the station, Audrey and Noah attempt to decrypt the files from Nina’s computer that they copied on the SD card, but they discover everything didn’t fully download. They only have one file, and after breaking through the password protection, they discover it’s a video of Emma’s first sexual experience with Will. Some kind of automatic upload is triggered and now the whole town has access to Emma’s most private moment. Question is, is this a video trigger that was created by the killer or by Nina herself as a way to protect herself from Will and Jake, or someone else, potentially stealing her computer and her files? You guys ponder that and comment below as we visit our suspect breakdown!
She’s the one getting tortured, I still don’t see her doing this to herself, especially when no one seems to be around when she’s getting these messages.
Rachel’s death still affects her, and while we still don’t know why she had a picture of Brandon James hiding in her room, her suspicion level has diminished quite a bit over the past few weeks.
We know for sure that Noah wasn’t there when Riley was murdered. Sure it could have been a second killer working with Noah, but his mourning is real. He might be a weird dude who is obsessed with serial killers, but he doesn’t seem to be a weird serial killer who is obsessed with serial killers.
Brooke is clearly having a tough time dealing with Riley’s death. She puts the blame squarely on her shoulders and this vote saying she should be murdered next really isn’t helping. I don’t see someone going through this kind of psychological trauma as a serial killer, plus she’s actually starting to become likable. I’m not comfortable with her being this murderous psycho.
Getting Piper to stay in Lakewood despite Sheriff Hudson essentially trying to wrap up his investigation was just too easy. At the moment I’d like to attribute that to Piper just being a nosy person, much like most journalists, but you never know about her true intentions.
NEXT: A ridiculous theory about Maggie that I had to get off my chest and a new addition to the list
I’ve had a bad thought. Maggie’s torture stopped rather quickly in the series, and it’s all being transferred to Emma. Now I’m not saying this is totally plausible, but someone has to come up with the theory so here it goes: What if Maggie is the one sending Emma these terrible messages about Maggie’s past? What if Maggie is secretly a crazy person? Yes, I know. It’s completely unlikely, but Maggie has been mysteriously without a plotline in the last three episodes, aside from being the woman Brandon James loved and being Emma’s mom. I feel like she at least still has some skeletons in her closet that she has yet to reveal. And it’s likely that the killer will do that for her soon enough.
Will is about to get into a world of hurt now that Emma knows he most likely taped their first time together. But that’s not all that should have him worried. The resurrection of the Mayor Maddox blackmail scheme is definitely not going to end well. I’m on the fence about the idea of Will being the killer, but I do know he’s a scumbag and Emma deserves better. I’m getting highly invested in some of these characters now folks.
5. Mayor Maddox
I’ll start by saying I don’t actually think Mayor Maddox is the Lakewood killer. It just doesn’t seem plausible and I can’t think up a theory or a motive that would make this reveal be juicy enough for us viewers. But he clearly did something terrible that warrants being blackmailed and I definitely want to know what that’s all about as soon as possible.
4. Sheriff Hudson
His incompetency could be just that, or maybe he’s doing a bad job at catching the killer to hide his identity as the killer. If Hudson is the murderer, it’s likely he has a partner due to sheer timing of the murders. That’s where this next person comes in…
Where has Kieran been all episode? Did he conveniently disappear right as his dad is dealing with an insane amount of scrutiny? Not really the best son in the whole wide world now, is he? Or could he be planning some more murders while (almost) all suspicion is safely on Tyler?
He’s a creep and a scumbag, and he’s the only person in the episode that isn’t overtly mourning for his close friend Riley. Sure he made one nice comment about her while comforting Brooke, but I don’t buy that short but sweet act for a second. Jake is clearly the Devil resting on Will’s shoulder (though Will probably makes many of his own scumbag-y decisions) and he’s also the most overtly physical. The only issue is he might not be smart enough to pull off the things the killer has done so far, and his motive to torture Emma is unclear. But he’s still a huge suspect, and I’m not taking my eyes off him for a second.
1. Mr. Branson
Another no-show for this week’s episode. Where is Mr. Branson? The guy started out as one of the sketchiest people on the show (boinking your students gets you that title really quickly), but it’s possibly more than that. I could see Mr. Branson offing his students one-by-one, and it does seem strange that he isn’t around trying to comfort Brooke at the moment. Jake might seem like the biggest suspect, but Branson is smarter, older, and could easily be one step ahead of everyone.