Scream is finally back horror lovers! After learning that Emma's half sister Piper Shaw was behind the murders of season 1, we pick up three months later to discover how the survivors (known as the Lakewood 6) have managed to overcome the trauma of being targeted by a psychopath. The episode opens with a nod to Scream 2 and 4, showing a slasher movie with a motive derived from "slut shaming." We find Audrey has gotten a job as an usher at a Lakewood theatre, and things begin to get dicey when she gets a series of text messages from an unknown number promising to see her soon. Noah calls his best friend and says he's going to pick her up so they can arrive to Emma's welcome home party together. It seems as if the stressors took a toll on Emma, and her friends aren't quite sure how to approach her without brining up harsh memories. As Audrey prepares to close the theatre, a girl appears and is seemingly star struck by the local hero who helped stop the rampage of Piper Shaw. She proceeds to walk the girl out, but she is gone by the time she turns around and the theatre screen turns on before she sees the familiar mask appear in the booth. Audrey tries to make a quick escape and ultimately stabs the masked man - revealing that he and the girl she just encountered were pranking her.
A new sheriff (who returned to Lakewood) advises the girl and her partner to leave things alone with evidence proving they were at fault for this mock-assault. Once Audrey goes viral (yet again) they arrive to Kieran's where the group of friends await Emma's return. We discover that Jake and Brooke have become a couple but Kieran and Emma weren't able to make things work post season 1. Jake makes a reference to Emma as "Girl Interrupted" that upsets the others, however Emma informs them she wants to get back to normal - cue an adorable group hug that indicates some losses are sure to occur soon. Kieran and Emma share a moment which hints at a possible romantic reconciliation, but it's cut short by Noah unsuccessfully begging Emma to participate in his podcast. She tells him she wants to close that chapter of her life, shutting down the notion of an open discussion about her life story.
As the others begin to leave, Audrey receives a call from the new killer - claiming he/she knows about her involvement in the murders of the others... Audrey is certainly in for a season of trouble. Jake and Brooke break into the school for a late night swim session where the chemistry is evident, but an argument about their secrecy from her father leaves them both upset and Brooke makes her exit, missing Jake's endearing confession of love. Emma pushes herself away from Kieran after they begin to get intimate and he touches a scar, and later in the evening her mental struggle is shown with a nightmare of a rundown farm and a young Emma playing with the intestines of a pig. Emma obviously could have used some board games or something to keep her entertained as a child.
Jake makes a trip in the middle of the night to an unknown location, only with the intent of proving something to Brooke - but he steps in a bear trap and is knocked unconscious by a killer donning the Brandon James mask and trench coat. The next morning, Emma makes it clear that she isn't too trusting of her mother (rightfully so) and she arrives back to school after a lengthy hiatus. We learn that she had a meltdown at school, so her friends surround her for morale support as Emma becomes slightly anxious by the large amount of people and looks from people passing by. She has a brief flashback of dropping to the ground and crying uncontrollably, snapping back to reality with Audrey taking her hand. In class, Brooke is obviously sad about her argument with Jake and Emma shares that she feels it's possible Kieran doesn't feel the same way about her. When their teacher arrives, we find two new characters: Zoey, a brainy girl with flawless hair and Gustavo, the sheriff's son with a passion for horror and comics. A discussion begins that links psychology regarding dreams to horror and its necessities, sparking an interesting approach to the genre itself as a highlight similar to the pilot episode.
After class, Emma approaches Zoey to ask for her help in catching up on what she's missed - also noting she's one of the only people who treats her like a regular person. Elsewhere, Noah and Gustavo have a conversation about perspectives of horror that enlightens Noah unlike anyone else (shipping potential? Seems likely.) At the same time, Audrey shows him a series of text messages from the same unknown number which he takes to the police. When she is alone in the sheriff's office, she gets another text that states she needs to dismiss it or else her involvement will be revealed to the world very shortly.
Brooke goes home with Emma and her Jake-induced sadness continues as she tells her best friend that he became her rock after everything that went down. Little does she know Jake is being kept in a barn, discovering a scythe that reads, "see what you can do with this 'boy interrupted.'" In an attempt to learn more about the killer without shedding light on her treachery, Audrey asks for insight on Noah's current "murder board" suggesting the same person who ignited the prank against Audrey is the person texting her. He believes it's Piper's accomplice, but as far as we know - that's actually Audrey. Emma finally has the chance to share a more meaningful talk with Kieran where they agree they will try to overcome the obstacles of their losses and potentially get back to where they were before - leading Emma to agree to be a guest on Noah's podcast. She offers a brilliant notion that they are all the so called "final girls" (and boys) for picking up the pieces of their lives after the life altering crimes in their town - showing us Emma is really doing her best to cope. When she catches a glimpse at Noah's murder board, she sees the same barn she has dreamt of which as it turns out belonged to Troy James, the brother of the original Lakewood murderer.
Jake is shown to be locked in a similar barn, finally busting down the door only to see the killer was awaiting his exit, locking them both inside together... Poor Jake. Emma convinces Brooke to go to the James' family property, but when she checks the barn there is no sign of Jake - just a glowing light from the house beside it. In another location at the same time, Jake is hung upside down in a this mysterious barn, painfully yelling "it's not my time to die!" Yet the heartless murdered cuts him open and lets him bleed out - I seriously can't deal with this loss, Jake was taken far too soon. Audrey receives a text from the killer to check a bathroom stall at work where she finds all of her handwritten letters to Piper hung up that say things such as, "we'll make them pay." This killer has an axe to grind and he/she is ready to cause some ripples for our lead characters. Emma enters the house on the James' property, realizing nobody has lived there but someone has at least been present recently with a series of childhood pictures of Emma on a mirror. Just as she tries to process what's going on, a shadowy figure approaches her from the doorway and she lets out a scream in the final moments of the episode. The final act of the premiere raises the bar for what horrors and intensity we can expect in the future for Scream... prepare yourselves for a long season Scream fans!
Overall Grade: 9/10
The return to Scream brought a blend of character development, drama, horror and plenty of new mysteries to enthrall us back into the world of Scream for a second season. It avoids traditional horror tropes, even acknowledging them from time to time as it throws curveballs into what we thought we've known about these characters. This season looks like it will take a deeper look at the psyche of the Lakewood 6 and it will be a major help to creating a fuller narrative as it progresses. Jake's demise was very impactful from my perspective, yet it did feel like he was used as the first scapegoat of the group and I wish it could have been someone else to show how much Jake had grown - or how much he had to offer to the series.
Aedan's Final Thoughts:
-Jake was one of my top two favorite characters, his presence is going to be truly missed. Tom Maden has been an excellent addition to Scream and I can't wait to see what the charming actor has planned next in his endeavors - RIP Jake!
-Brooke has such potential to really take the reigns of the series with how involved she's become and the pain she is sure to experience.
-Audrey can't be trusted and I feel like her character is setting herself up for a certain demise with her involvement.
-As of now, my main suspects of the new killer are torn between Kieran and Noah - with a potentially insane Emma as a frontrunner too.