The killer was finally unmasked in the series' least-shocking twist yet

By Price Peterson
August 17, 2016 at 04:37 AM EDT
Credit: MTV
S2 E12

If you’re anything like me, you’re currently hospitalized with shock from Scream‘s season-finale twist. Can you believe who the killer turned out to be?! It was the kind of reveal that makes one question the very fabric of reality. If that person could’ve been the killer, then anything’s possible in this crazy, mixed-up world!

Just kidding about all that. What a bad finale (marking a truly bad season of television) this was. I am honestly sorry to tell you this, but in my correct opinion, Scream is not a great show. The movie series was great. Even the one that wasn’t super great was great compared to this TV series — which again, I feel it must be pointed out, is not great. Would it even be worth explaining why? Would that make anybody happy at all? To put it mildly, the people who decided to cash in on the title of a hit movie franchise didn’t seem to have any understanding or respect for what made the movies special. None. Zero. Every creative decision from beginning to end has been a disaster, and the wholesale replacement of writers in season 2 simply revealed these disastrous creative decisions were a top-down type of thing. Because holy moly. Just a dispiriting exercise all around.

Still, despite living in a world where The Walking Dead is TV’s highest-rated show, horror fans remain starved for frightening television. In that respect, Scream offered a handful of cheap (very cheap) thrills along the way. “When A Stranger Calls” had the advantage of being a season finale (I think? I’m obviously not an authority when it comes to episode numbers), so we were provided with an exciting unmasking (LOL) and some good, old-fashioned violence. That certainly helped. Let’s talk about it!

We began in the cop car, right where last week’s episode left off. Were Emma and Audrey really about to get thrown in jail for murdering the mayor? No, because they were almost immediately in a car accident!

In what I’m guessing was an homage to the (very good) scene in Scream 2 involving the crashed cop car, the ladies suddenly found themselves helpless and alone when their cop escort was gutted by the killer! Except the killer was in a great mood this night, so he decided to give them the key to their handcuffs and then take off. Whatever his master plan was, it was, uh, wheel-spinny. But at least they were now free! (Or, on the lam.)

It wouldn’t be an episode of Scream without checking in with the most consistently incorrect expert in town! So this idiotic high-school psychology teacher informed the Sheriff the prime suspects were definitely Emma and Audrey, because they, uh, were both crazy? It was a great theory. Except for the fact that this lady was thrown down the stairs by an obvious man in a mask. Like, I don’t mean to be sexist, but I can tell the difference between a teenage girl in a hoodie and a man in a hoodie, especially when I’m being thrown down the stairs. I guess that’s just me, though.

Then Emma received a phone call at the gas station, but despite the killer’s increasingly lame threats, all I could think about was the gas station’s great candy selection. Forget the whodunit, gimme a Whatchamacallit! Now AND Later. I gotta go.

That’s when Emma and Audrey noticed they were now wanted women. Suddenly, Scream the TV series was Thelma & Louise for millennials — ironic, considering this show drove off a cliff a long time ago.

Kieran handled his girlfriend’s arrest like any concerned boyfriend would: by taking a pleasant shower. Now he was feeling clean and refreshed and was ready to help Emma however he could. (Sure, guy.)

Meanwhile, most of the characters had come to openly suspect Eli of being the killer, probably because they’d never seen or read a mystery story in their lives. Guys, don’t you know the most suspicious character is never the killer? Wouldn’t it be weird if Scream the TV series had characters who were savvy about horror in a meta sense? Dare to dream.

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Brooke was slightly sad about the fact her father had been brutally murdered the night before, mostly because she missed the fresh-squeezed orange juice he used to make. Other than her father’s brutal murder, she seemed to be having an okay day. Nothing too cray.

NEXT: The kids hatch a plan, any plan

So, Emma and Audrey decided their best course of action was to go to that second-run movie theater where Audrey works and, uh, hang out? But before they knew it, Brooke, Noah, and the killer Kieran showed up to hang out as well. Luckily, the lobby display contained tons of very real, sharp weapons, so they were pretty safe in there. Well, you know, except for the part about the killer already being in there with them.

I gotta hand it to this episode… For most of the season, Scream barely even tried to make us think Kieran wasn’t the killer. The regular process of elimination simply ruled out almost every character but him, and he never truly had an arc of his own. But this episode, at least, pretended to hide his schemes by having him quickly appear and disappear from scenes as misdirection. At one point, he was using two phones and called Emma from one phone while still speaking to her with the other. Clever! If only the kids ever learned to stop answering calls from UNKNOWN. Then there wouldn’t be a show, but whatever.

Just to make us sort of suspect Stavo at the last second, he showed up to bang on the glass and Brooke wouldn’t let him in. This hurt his feelings and he left. OR DID HE? (He did.)

The theater wasn’t exactly pitch-black, but it was dark enough for nobody to notice the killer walk directly up to Brooke and stab her! It happens. But don’t worry, it was a non-life-threatening stab wound, just like last season. She’ll be fine. But Emma chased the killer around the theater, firing the handgun she’d stolen from the dead cop. And wouldn’t you know it? The killer got away! Just in time for Kieran to appear and help Brooke with her wound. Rascal!

Unfortunately, Audrey went missing during all the chaos (after Kieran had gone to keep her company in the lobby, coincidentally) and Emma received a threatening text message: Come rescue Audrey or else. The killer was very bossy and Emma did not appreciate this.

Next thing we knew, Emma was attempting her best Linda Hamilton from Terminator 2 and was snooping around that old orphanage with a gun and a sneer.

Immediately after Emma found Audrey, Kieran arrived to help out — tailed by Eli, who claimed he’d been stabbed by Kieran himself! This was obviously a fishy story and when Eli lunged at Kieran for revenge, Emma shot him!

So there you had it, folks. Emma was not only the most clueless final girl in horror history, she was an actual murderer of innocents. Okay, fine, Kieran himself delivered the killing blow, but still. Emma was responsible for Eli’s murder!

NEXT: An admission of obvious guilt

It was only after Kieran accidentally repeated a line the killer had just uttered to Emma over the phone that she realized the person she’d most trusted and been most physically intimate with all season had been part of the plan to destroy her life for the past year. Call it women’s intuition, but Emma certainly didn’t have it.

Then we were treated to the usual “this was why I was doing it, and here’s what I’m hoping will happen next” speech, and it was even more boring than you can imagine. Kieran used to be friends with Piper and then got steamed at Audrey when she killed her. Nothing more complicated than that. Also, he was hoping to frame both Audrey and Emma for all the murders and then kill them, I guess. Okay? Either way, the reveal had the unintended effect of making all of our heroes look like stone-cold idiots. An audacious twist? Sure. But very unfortunate writing.

After a few minutes of shouting and running around and stray gunfire, the two girls eventually overpowered Kieran and he dared them to murder him. Emma declined and Kieran was arrested by the Sheriff, who’d been called by Eli. Even in death, Eli was smarter than Emma or Audrey. Though he probably should’ve brought up Kieran’s psycho tendencies sooner? That could’ve been helpful.

Another job well done! The killer was neutralized and the kids could return to high school. Or could they?

They could. Because all of a sudden, it was three months later and we knew everything was fine because Stavo had drawn a cute group shot of them all. Also, Noah had returned to recording his podcast, which for some reason still had content to address three months later. Being single again was clearly taking a toll on him.

Unfortunately for the characters (and us), we got a few teases about there still being a killer on the loose, like this note Chill Mom™ had left for Brandon James! It had been returned to her via a tree stabbing, which made me feel very bad for that tree.

Also, Kieran received a phone call in jail from a familiar voice who was mad at him for wearing “my mask.” Sigh. Can’t wait for that one.

Guys, the second season of Scream is over. Let’s not do the Roger Rabbit on its grave TOO hard, because, God, what if there’s another season? That would be the most shocking twist of all. But anyway, depending on how many hands you have, you can count all this season’s good parts on them. That’s gotta count for something, right? Thank you for going on this journey with me. May Executive Producer Wes Craven have mercy on us all.

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