We are approaching the ending of Scream, and my paranoia is at an all-time high. With Seth Branson (or…Seth Palmer) in custody, everyone assumed they could return to their daily lives and begin to find some semblance of safety, but in Scream it’s never that simple. Episode 9, a Halloween themed episode titled “The Dance” begins with a flashback of over a year ago, when the present day killer broke into the Lakewood County Municipal Records. The killer, wearing all black, sneaks his/her way through the building that also integrates the killer’s POV (courtesy of director Ti West.) where they eventually locate a box of evidence from the Brandon James case. What is this hooded figure looking for? The original Brandon James mask, which put the murders in motion, and was clearly planned out by the killer. Sheriff Hudson begins to question Seth, and as expected he claims to have no connection. When the sheriff pulls out a picture of the deceased and young ex-girlfriend of the teacher, he decides he’ll hold off on answering questions until his attorney is present. Good call Seth!
A conversation takes place between Emma and Brooke, where Emma admits that she believes that Seth could easily be the killer, but Brooke isn’t as open to the concept. She defends his name, and clings to hope that he isn’t the monster everyone assumes he is. Emma questions why Brooke could have kept her secret relationship with the teacher from her, and she explains that she felt Emma would have judged her for their unlikely relationship. Sheriff Hudson tells Piper that the town can resume some normalcy and will move forward with their Halloween dance (used as a benefit for the victims’ families.) Piper shares her justified concerns with Hudson and he becomes agitated, telling the reporter that he’s trying to keep the peace, and asks what she has done to help. That had to sting a bit Piper (if you aren’t the killer…)
With her family either in rehab or prison, a stitched up Brooke is taken to Jake’s house, where he graciously welcomes her to stay for the time being. The two share scar stories and Jake does his best to make Brooke feel as beautiful as ever. Before Jake leaves her room, he asks her why she would return to Seth with a hint of sadness to his voice. Brooke tells him that she felt she had no one else, and Jake informs her, “You had me. And FYI, if I ever caught Branson hurting you, he would be dead.” They are the one true pairing of Scream, in every capacity and I continue to ship the ongoing quirky relationship between the two. With Emma trying to determine what comes next, she decides that she needs to speak with the teacher/accused killer and understand his motives (As would I!) When she sits down with him, she hopes to attain answers about his involvement, or a connection to her family, but Seth sticks to his story. When Emma asks in closing if this is finally over after the killer claimed it ends with her, and he ominously responds, “I have no idea what you’re talking about, but considering I’m stuck in here I guess you’ll find out soon enough.” In the meantime, Brooke prepares to shower and notices her webcam turn on by itself, which only means someone (who isn’t Seth Branson) has their eyes on her.
Emma decides to clue in Noah and Audrey on her half-sibling fathered by Brandon James, and her theories on it being Seth. Noah is simply astonished and intrigued by the news, while Audrey remains skeptical because of his lack of connection to Rachel’s murder. Piper interrupts and offers Emma a lead she’s come across, involving the mother of Brandon James which she can’t afford to take lightly. The two arrive to her home, and the woman (who is struggling with her memory) recognizes Emma’s relation to Daisy, and begins to confuse the two. While talking to Emma thinking she’s Daisy, she tells her own version which she claims Daisy is responsible for her sons death, and it doesn’t seem like she’s wrong. Mama James becomes more emotional over the memories flooding, and begins to sing the Daisy tune, telling Emma and Piper, “He loved that song, and so did his boy.” Emma pushes for more information, and she says he visited days earlier, and was a handsome man with the looks of an old Hollywood star. Piper asks if the mans name is Seth, and Brandon’s mother agrees, but it doesn’t seem 100% solid. Piper takes Emma home, and Emma feels completely at ease for the first time as if she can finally breathe easy. Kieran (who was waiting outside of her house) walks into Emma’s and they share a brief kiss with Emma hoping to make up for lost time. They decide to attend the Halloween dance together, and Emma has him over for dinner with things beginning to look somewhat optimistic for Emma. (Poor girl has no clue she’s still doomed for a crazy finale.)
As they prepare for the evenings festivities, Audrey tells Noah she has access to Rachel’s iCloud account after noticing all of her previous footage was erased from her documents. She tells Noah she has the password, and they decide to do some lurking for a Branson connection. Jake greets Brooke at his house, and she tells him how panicked she was about being watched yet again. Brooke says it can’t be Seth, which in turn agitates Jake who is vying for her attention. Brooke tells him that she has faith and he sarcastically says “And that is really working out for you and the fam right?” Brooke grabs her belongings, and decides to return to her own home, not seeking anyone’s companionship. When Sheriff Hudson and Maggie/Daisy look at the source of the killer’s calls, they determine it’s a distance from Seth’s location which will help his justification of being falsely accused. Hudson tells her he’s going to knock on doors in the area seeking information from surrounding residents, and comes across an isolated home. As he knocks, the door creaks open, and Sheriff Hudson stops to read off the license plate of the car in the driveway to determine the owner. While waiting, he enters the premises and notices multiple security cameras set up, and hears a startling noise. Before he can figure out the killer’s whereabouts, he strikes, knocking Hudson unconscious with a fireplace poker.
Emma perfects her Mia Wallace outfit (Pulp Fiction) when Brooke calls her to inform Emma of a change of plans, and now Brooke is throwing her own booze fueled party at her empty house. (Yes, you know this will be the location of the finale, because it always ends with a party.) Emma tells her she needed to meet with Kieran for awhile at the dance, but she will bring him with her afterwards. Emma can tell something is off with Brooke, and Brooke informs her that she’s just decided she’s no longer a victim, getting back to her old Brooke ways. While scouring through the footage, Audrey reminisces on her relationship with Rachel and how much she misses her girlfriend. Just when she is about to close the investigation for the time being, they notice a specific bar video that features Nina and Kieran from the night before Nina was killed. This obviously sparks a few questions and major suspicion towards the newcomer, but I won’t jump the gun – yet.
At the Halloween dance, Jake continues to operate from his hacked security cameras to eavesdrop on Brooke, but notices she isn’t home. I’d like to think it’s a genuinely decent gesture to worry about her safety, and not at all creepy… Emma (who was talking to her mother, a chaperon at the dance) steals Jake away, and asks how he could have messed things up with Brooke after only a few hours. He credits it as "some Jake ass thing" and she tells him there will be an after party at Brooke’s, so you can guarantee there will be more tension in the near future. When Kieran arrives, the two of them (as their Pulp Fiction characters) create their own version of the memorable dance scene in the cult classic while Audrey looks on unsettled. Audrey decides she will share her information with Emma despite Noah advising against it, and reveals the video of Nina and Kieran’s interaction from weeks prior. Audrey forces her opinions of Kieran on Emma, and Emma retaliates by saying she’s overlooked incriminating evidence against Audrey as well; a very valid and point from Emma. When Kieran returns to dance, Emma decides to ask him about knowing Nina which he dismisses as a brief bar meet-up. He says nothing happened between the two, but Emma is still unsure of how to process the connection and timeline of events. Kieran tells her that if she can’t move past her trust issues, Branson has actually won, and leaves the dance upset. Audrey spots Emma alone again and continues to push her theories; however Emma stands her ground and a pissed off Audrey exits stating that she’ll be crashing Brooke’s to get drunk.
Jake has found a girl to flirt with at the dance, but amusingly can’t seem to remember her name. She asks if he will be appearing at Brooke’s later, and he offers to have her arrive with him – which you know won’t sit well with Brooke. Piper sneaks her way into the dance (girl, you super suspicious too) and tells Emma that she went back to the home of Brandon James’ mother, with photos of Seth which were unrecognizable to the woman. However, she did recognize photos of Kieran. Yes, Kieran is the man she claims to be the real son of Brandon James. When they realize he has left, the lights go out, and the projector displays the sheriff tied to something with excessive blood loss. In the final scene, we overhear the police scanner put out an APB for Seth, saying he’s escaped and is armed and dangerous, panning to a police officer brutally slain near the holding cells. With only one week left, I can’t wait to find out who is behind the mask, and who will survive the bloody season finale earning a survivors role for season 2! Overall, this felt like an episode used to push characters to their limits and forcing them to question their individual connections, which was a major success, and I have a sinking suspicion the finale will be a bloodbath. What were your thoughts on this weeks episode?
Aedan’s Final Thoughts
-Jake and Brooke (despite hiccups) seem to have an authentic companionship, and I hope that they can move forward into season 2, with the hopes of exploring unseen qualities to their characters.
-There was a time where Branson seemed like he could be the killer, or somehow related to Brandon James, but at this point I truly don’t feel he’s the killer – just super creepy!
-Now with the killer being revealed, this will be my last opportunity to make final killer predictions so I’ll provide my main suspects with a few notes as to why below:
Audrey: Ever since the first episode, I’ve been uncertain of if she’s trustworthy. Rachel’s death only seems plausible if she was behind it, or Noah (but that’s another theory) The episodes where evidence was stacked against her gave a major weight to Emma’s decision to cover for her, and Detective Brock’s statement about Emma being responsible really had staying power in my mind. Let’s not forget she could have been behind numerous attacks because of her convenient absence!
Noah: Noah is possibly the most unsuspecting character to the casual viewers. The goofy movie geek, similar to Randy, has already been poised to return as a survivor in fan theories, but I believe there is a major chance that our horror-buff could be behind the mask. Noah has the tech savvy skills, connections, and is always quick to pin the blame on someone else. Episode 9 gave Noah even more suspicion around him when the dance that he was DJing is replaced with footage of the sheriff.
Piper: Oh, Piper. From her mysterious Gale Weathers appearance, to her age gap with Emma, Piper Shaw is a suspect in more ways than one. She has been conveniently overlooked by the killer, held evidence and knowledge of peoples whereabouts that could mean her involvement is possible. (Mayor Madoxx and Will’s meeting) She also has taken the time to strategically place herself in Emma’s life, which to me means that she could be Emma’s half-sister and/or the killer.
Brooke: Now I know this seems like a stretch to many, but that’s part of why it would be so brilliant. Brooke has been in a position to setup her father, Jake, Seth, and cause people to shift their attention elsewhere. Brooke has been attacked by the killer but was interrupted every time, so it is in the realms of possibilities she forced it to cover her tracks. I wouldn’t at all be shocked if we find out Brooke is our Apex Predator of Scream.
Kieran: A huge part of me doesn’t believe Kieran is the killer because it should be so apparent, which is why it actually has some momentum. Kieran has been on the peripheral, taking in each character, and keeping a lot about his life internalized. We still don’t know his relationship with his deceased mother or his story of getting arrested, so I feel like a reveal of his involvement could return us to those moments similarly to Billy and Stu, where it’s sometimes the clear choice. He's just so likable that i'm not ready for him to be the killer!