Emma reels from Will's brutal murder and learns a huge secret about Maggie's past.

By Keertana Sastry
August 19, 2015 at 04:54 AM EDT
Credit: MTV
S1 E8

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

In the meantime, Emma’s exhaustion and other trauma-related symptoms cause her to have a hospital stay for the night. After her mother leaves, her father finally shows up. This is the same father whom Sheriff Hudson has been looking for for weeks, apparently Emma’s father went on vacation from work three weeks ago, around the same time that Maggie received the heart in a box (not nearly as fun as the Justin Timberlake/Andy Samberg box-related surprise). Maggie seems offended by the insinuation that her ex has anything to do with these murders, so Hudson takes it back rather quickly. Emma asks her father how he found her and he explains that Hudson called his boss and he came as soon as he heard. Emma confronts her father about abandoning and ignoring her, especially in her time of need. She also tells him that she found his psych session after the Brandon James attack. He apologizes that she had to hear that and explains that he’s here for her now, but Emma is not having. She sends her father away and later regrets it, especially when Piper visits her and tells her not to squander chances to reunite with her father. Now here’s a question readers, were all of the scenes between Emma and her father hallucinations, or just the one at the Obstetrics and Pediatrics ward?

But Emma’s hallucinations have something more important for her to focus on: a huge family secret. Emma dreams of the night her father left her and Maggie, and then hallucinates seeing her father once more in the hospital. She tells him that she understands that he left that night because he didn’t want her, but he explains that he wasn’t talking about her. Then things start to click, Emma realizes that her hallucinations about Will and her dad are pointing her to a huge secret that she has yet to uncover. She asks Audrey to send her the video recording of the abandoned hospital; and when watching, Emma sees a photo of a sonogram labeled “Margaret Anderson.”

Emma confronts Maggie, who finally tells her everything. When Maggie was 16, she was dating Emma’s father and she discovered one night at the bowling alley that he had cheated on her with a friend. Brandon James, who was working at the bowling alley that night, saw Maggie crying, and offered to take her home. He was so kind to her that in a moment of weakness and sadness she slept with him and she got pregnant as a result. Her parents set up a closed adoption and after giving birth, she never saw the baby again. She married Emma’s father and that was that… until now. Emma wonders if the child is back and committing these crimes. It’s not a bad theory.

Finally, we end on Branson and Brooke as they’re about to get busy. When the music starts to skip, Branson offers to check out the problem, and of course Brooke is attacked during Branson’s absence. Miraculously, the killer fails to murder Brooke again and Branson shows up as the killer escapes. Brooke asks where he’s been and he states that he got locked out right as the police finally find and arrest him. But things can’t be that easy can they? Let’s go to the murder suspect board!

11. Emma

She’s totally traumatized over accidentally killing Will in last week’s episode. There’s no way she’s secretly a killer.

10. Maggie

Maggie is back on the side of less suspicion now that we know her secret and the reminder that she’s been victimized in this whole murderous ordeal just like Emma (though not nearly as much). Her secrets keep getting uncovered and that’s got to be pretty traumatic itself.

9. Audrey

Audrey and Noah definitely didn’t have much of a creepy vibe in tonight’s episode. They were too busy trying to nail Branson to the wall and at the moment, they’ve succeeded. I’m not convinced things will be so easy in the Scream finale that Audrey or even Noah will be unmasked as the killer.

8. Noah

Think about it, if the killer could potentially be whoever was Maggie and Brandon’s child back when Maggie was only 16, it stands to reason that someone of the same age as Emma probably can’t be the killer. Of course, Maggie’s baby could be a red herring and all of the characters could still be suspects.

NEXT: Friends, guilt is a hard thing to determine

7. Brooke

This girl keeps getting attacked. I’m not sure if she’s planning it out this way, or if she really is just on the killer’s hit list and he or she just keeps failing to finish the deed. I’m going to go with the second, especially because Brooke is too preoccupied with her own family drama to be fully mixed up with Emma’s, too.

6. Jake

It is suspicious that Jake’s stab wound missed every major artery and organ considering the killer supposedly stabbed him. But the guy did look genuinely distraught over Will’s death. Jake is looking less guilty right now, especially after the Maggie/Brandon James baby reveal. Being relatively incapacitated will do that to a guy.

5. Mayor Maddox

As stupid as I am, I actually believe Mayor Maddox’s story about the dead drug dealer in his guest room. I think that the guy has one too many of his own problems and is probably much more invested in saving his own skin than killing a bunch of teenagers and uncovering secrets about Emma’s family.

4. Sheriff Hudson

The guy really does seem to be doing his job and that’s it, the more and more I watch this show. I don’t like that most of my suspects are feeling less suspect-y. I’m feeling a little self-conscious and paranoid now.

3. Emma’s Father

Is he back? Isn’t he? Why did he leave work and disappear all while these murders were occurring in Lakewood? Maggie’s ex could still be suffering with the sins of the past in a bloody, deadly way.

2. Kieran

I actually believe that it’s possible Kieran is still the killer here. Sure, if Maggie and Brandon’s kid is the killer, Kieran might be too young to be that person. Plus, if Kieran really is Maggie and Brandon’s kid, that means Kieran slept with his half-sister and that’s a little too icky for my taste. So maybe Kieran is just someone who discovered the truth about Maggie (maybe he was the friend of Maggie and Brandon’s kid), and is now looking for revenge.

1. Piper

Maybe our theory was right, folks! What if Piper is the daughter of Maggie and Brandon that Maggie’s parents gave up for adoption? What if she learned what happened to Brandon and investigated his life and death, only to determine all the pain Maggie caused him? Maybe she was so hopped up on revenge and having the truth be uncovered that she’s killing her half-sister’s friends so she’ll discover these secrets? Piper is looking more and more guilty by the second.

What do you think guys? As some of you have suggested before, is Piper a red herring? Or could the podcaster/TV version of Gale Weathers be the real killer? Who else can’t wait for the final bloody reveal in two more episodes?

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