Season 1, Episode 10:
***IF YOU DON’T WANT TO BLOW THE SURPRISE THE ENTIRE SEASON HINGED ON, STOP READING NOW. SERIOUSLY. STOP. DON’T READ FROM HERE. YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.***
You know “Revelations” is all in when the duct tape holding Sheriff Hudson to a tree is pulled off — and all his intestines spill out like a giant pack of filled-up water balloons falling out of a torn plastic bag. None of this tripwire-activates-buzzsaw Mousetrap bullshit. The killer basically cut Hudson open, taped him back up and made it look like he fled the scene. The problem is the same one that has persisted throughout the series: I don’t actually care. I mean, the murder was pretty gruesome stuff and it actually made my jaw drop so hard, I scared my cat, but everyone on this show is so uninteresting or undeveloped, that I feel nothing when one of them are put out of their misery.
This, of course, is the big season finale for MTV’s ill-advised TV reboot of the late Wes Craven’s Scream, which means blood will spill, bodies will drop, and knives will make that physically-impossible grinding metal sound as they zing through thin air without touching anything. And, of course, we finally get our villain reveal which (I know you’re gonna be shocked to read this) is not only really boring, it also feels like a cheat.
When we last left our heroes, they were at the school’s Halloween dance. After sufficiently embarrassing themselves by imitating Pulp Fiction and the famous “Twist Contest” scene, GhostMcMeltFace hijacked the school’s projector feed (look, just believe it; I’ve had to sit through ten episodes of this stuff and I am convinced that this version of Ghostface could hack a pencil and make it write on a nearby piece of paper at this point) to reveal that he’s kidnapped Sheriff Hudson and tied him to a tree. Of course, if you read the first paragraph, you know what ends up happening to Hud, so we’ll just skip ahead to Brooke.
Brooke is having a party. You know, the one where she’s 18, but she still managed to buy enough Tequila to sanitize a children’s playground? Anyhow, Audrey’s there and so’s Jake. All that’s missing is the rest of the main cast to complete the murder mixer. But that’s not happening. Lakewood’s Finest are blocking the exits so that “no student leaves the gym”. Emma and Noah plot and scheme to get by this impenetrable line of defense. They have no choice: Noah’s “good equipment is back at the comic store”. Hey, pop quiz, readers! How do Emma and Noah make it past the cops?
- They ask, then leave.
- They tell the station to call Emma’s Mom with their idea, then leave.
- They ask for a police escort to the station to meet Emma’s Mom.
- They — fuck it.
You picked #1 and you’re right. I wish I had video of this scene because if you told somebody about it, they’d look at you like you just told them you saw Elvis having lunch with Bigfoot.
Meanwhile, Brooke’s party has predictably gone south for the decade. Impossible to believe, I know, what with a kickin’ party soundtrack featuring Jake Miller’s wholly original-sounding bump-and-grind, “Shake It”. At first, she pseudo-flirts with Audrey, teasing some sort of “relationship” between the two (and I’m game at this point; this show needs a fresh, new relationship), then gets angry when Jake makes out with the goofy bimbo he just happened to meet a couple episodes back. There’s nothing remarkable about any of this, save for the fact that Brooke is still shallow and predictable as ever. The little bonding scene between Audrey and Brooke over Jake’s indiscretions is cute — until the show reminds you how capable it is of producing the worst dialogue known to man. Gotta love this exchange in her Dad’s wine cellar:
Jake: I am sorry for what I said about your family.
Brooke: Ok…well, then…I’m sorry I accused you of spying on me.
Jake: Full disclosure: I kinda was.
Brooke: See?! I KNEW IT!
Jake: I was looking out for you!
Brooke: You mean, looking out for my boobs?!
This is the kind of banal bullshit Craven’s epic franchise used to parody. Anyhow, the party goes straight to hell when a body’s discovered in the poolhouse. What’s worse: Audrey gets caught by the killer and stabbed. For what it’s worth, Audrey faces her death with all the bravery in the word, asking the killer what it is they’re waiting for. It’s a nice change of pace to see in the horror genre and it’s true to her character who seems to have a virtual suit of armor on her 24/7.
But what still remains irritating is the complete lack of emotional depth from the rest of the cast. The little Jake/Brooke wine cellar confrontation aside, Kieran’s father was gutted and when Noah and Emma drop that little token of information on him, Kieran looks stunned, puts his head against a wall and hides his face, then recovers and basically says to Emma, “Here’s my gun and you should probably use it to kill that little knife-wielding rascal.” If that’s “method acting”, I need a little bit more than “You just got rear-ended in commuter traffic and your tail lights are all smashed.”
“But you could say that Kieran’s just covering for his murderous alter ego by acting that way,” you’re saying. That could very well be. There’s a lot of that in this episode, too. The show, even this late in the game, continues to tease us with red herrings. Seth Branson actually gets to the party after everyone’s left and he confronts Brooke, apologizing. This whole scene is actually fairly well-executed with Branson standing outside the house, panes of glass between him and his little blonde prize. Even the moment when Branson realizes he’s lost Brooke for good and backs off is eerily terrifying and mimics a kind of “transformation”. The lights outside go out. Brooke tries to peer through the inky darkness — and when the lights pop back on, the Killer stands in Branson’s place. Even the ensuing chase and attempt on Brooke’s life is suspenseful thanks to her claustrophobic (albeit highly illogical) hiding space.
In small bursts, the episode actually feels like Scream — or, at the very least, a nice homage.
The big reveal, of course, is the killer’s identity. If you haven’t been reading any spoilers and haven’t seen the show, leave right now.
If you’re ready to get the reveal, just highlight the invisible text below:
The killer is Piper.
Color me disappointed and underwhelmed. Her character (who appeared out of thin air almost halfway through the first season) was so phony and pretentious, many viewers had already pegged her as the killer. In fact, she’s Emma’s sister, Maggie’s illegitimate child from when James knocked her up. The whole angle is reminiscent of the final twist in the final chapter of the Scream film franchise where Roman is revealed to be Sidney’s brother. It’s not a terrible route to travel but it feels tired and cheap. That, and she “monologues” instead of just doing Emma and Maggie in. What I can’t understand is why she couldn’t just use a gun to finish the job instead of spewing five minutes of expository, then taking a swing at Emma with a knife. But, hey, we got our reveal and, as much as of a let-down as it was, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
I mentioned red herrings and, holy shit, even the reveal is a red herring. If you’ll remember, Piper was at Will’s side when Will was attacked by the Killer…so, Noah, like every last one of us, would like to know how that’s possible. At first, he dismisses as part of Piper’s act. She was behind it all, so she could have lied about it — but even Will confirmed Piper’s story. So, just who was wearing that mask that night?
Cut to Audrey, going into a well-hidden lock-box and pulling out letters addressed to her — from Piper. She puts them inside of a pail and begins to light them on fire. The camera slowly zooms in on her face as she watches this incriminating evidence go up in smoke as Noah asks the audience, “Is it finally over or is there more to come?” Obviously, this little tacked-on extra bit helps to answer Noah’s question and also serves as MTV’s kicker to keep what little viewership they have left for the second season. Even that annoys me. I don’t want to hate Audrey. She and Noah are the most entertaining portions of this show and now we’re being told that she probably aided Piper in her bloodlust.
Thanks, MTV. That’s just what we deserve.
There is a silver lining to all this: the first season of Scream saved the best for the season finale. This episode, while it was still “meh” actually felt like some care was put into it. That’s fitting — and the very least that the writers could have done. MTV was even good enough to run a short but sweet memorial for Wes Craven, the director of the entire franchise, before tonight’s episode began (forgive the lack of video; MTV’s been pulling down every single YouTube cap of this and all I got were these lousy screen caps):
We’ve made it through an incredibly frustrating first season of Scream. By “we”, of course, I mean the viewers, the loyal bunch who stayed with this taxing series even though the writers and showrunners threw us all the cheap teen melodrama, terrible dialogue, and non-stop pop-culture name-dropping they thought we could handle. The series, unbelievably enough, has been granted a second year. While I may return to cover the second season of this show (it beckons my inner snark), I know there will be many a viewer who won’t be.
While MTV may point at their ratings for the finale as proof that their lack of viewership is just a myth, let’s not forget that Craven’s death most likely contributed to the 21% ratings bounce. If MTV (and the remaining fans of this show) want a third season and beyond, they’d be wise to address the overwhelming flaws this show has. Unfortunately, the writing, lousy acting, flat characters and self-aware references really dampen any hopes that this show might improve.
“You see, it’s not just that people want to be scared; people are scared,” Wes Craven once said. “Horror movies have to show us something that hasn’t been shown before so that the audience is completely taken aback.”
How frighteningly ironic is it, then, that MTV’s Scream turned out to be just plain boring?