Here there be spoilers. You were warned, folks.
When we last saw our teenage crew in Lakewood, lesbian couple Audrey and Rachel were secretly filmed kissing in a video that went viral due to mega-bitch Nina, who was promptly slaughtered along with Tyler, her boyfriend. Bad girl Brooke was busy trying to rekindle the illicit romance with her teacher, Seth Branson. 90210-haired loner Kieran made out with good girl Emma Duvall, who got a phone call from a mysterious someone.
Arrogant jock Will revealed to girlfriend Emma that he had knocked boots with freshly murdered Nina… and Maggie Duvall, town medical examiner and mother of Emma, who turned out to be Daisy, the blonde high school girl who accidentally triggered a massacre 20 years ago.
So if you’re not keeping score at home, that’s two dead and one shady loner with superbly gelled locks. It must take him like an hour in the morning, just for hair alone.
As we open on the second episode, fragile Rachel is pretty bummed out about the YouTube comments beneath the now removed make out video. One particularly disturbing image shows a decapitated human body awash in blood with the suggestion to “Kill Urself.” Kids type the damnedest things!
As a means of coping, Rachel cuts herself with a razor blade until she gets a phone call from Audrey. Sounding strange and distorted, Audrey directs Rachel out onto her balcony, where she literally hangs out with Ghostface. You might even say she gets some really bad noose.
Does every character have to have an awesome house and a sweet pool?
Movie geek Noah talks to the local sheriff about the possibility of a connection between deceased town legend Brandon James and the death of Nina. We learn that Noah has been in online communication with Troy James in regards to what really happened to his younger brother Brandon, and has an obsession with the case and murder in general. He is a huge follower of “Autopsy Of A Crime,” a mystery solving podcast voiced by blogger Piper Shaw.
Shaw, who serves as a kinder, gentler Gale Weathers, soon turns up in town to get to the bottom of Nina’s murder. Particularly after a GIF is sent to all the cell phones of the student body showing Ghostface looming over Nina’s corpse with the words “Payback’s a bitch” in the background.
The police, the mayor and medical examiner Maggie all believe that Tyler killed Nina and then went into hiding. We learn that Emma’s absent father Kevin was one of the survivors of the so-called Brandon James Massacre, as is her mother.
Meanwhile, Audrey is still angry about the kissing video. I get that it must be humiliating, but you’d think the violent death of the bully responsible would take the edge off your fury. Get with it, Audrey. People are dropping like flies. A phone call informs Audrey that Rachel was found hanging from the ceiling fan in a suicide attempt.
So the killer is framing Rachel for her own death? Or is this a twisted message to the local medical examiner?
While working at the Groundhouse, a local coffee joint, Emma considers forgiving Will for screwing Nina, meets Piper Shaw and has a strange encounter with a freaky looking homeless man who ducks down behind a dumpster and rises up again in familiar hooded cloak and mask.
Fleeing the scene, Emma runs into Will, who has come begging forgiveness. She agrees to attend his school basketball game. At the game, Emma’s Asian pal Riley puts the moves on Noah.
They spread out a picnic blanket and drink basil cucumber martinis on the darkened football field, talking about movies and being awkwardly adorable.
We like Riley. Please don’t kill her, Mr. Ghostface.
Kieran, upon hearing about Emma’s encounter with the killer at the coffee shop, tells her that Will most likely intentionally scared her by appearing in the costume so that he could pretend to rescue her.
Rather suspicious comment to make, in my opinion. Suspect!
Home again, Emma chillaxes on the couch until the burglar alarm goes off. She finds the back door open and gets a call from the alarm company technician. While they wait for a driver to check out her house, the tech begins casually asking Emma about her favorite TV shows and what genre of movies she enjoys. She begins to catch on that things are not right. As she closes and locks an open window, he asks: “The question you’ve gotta ask yourself is, did you just lock me out… or in?”
I loved this tense little scene as Emma checks the doors and windows. The dialogue crackles and for a few moments the joy of “Scream” is back. Before ending the call, Ghostface informs Emma that her mother started this nightmare and that her friends are keeping secrets from her. Dun Dun Duuuun!
On the preview for next week, Brooke shows some skin as her affair with Seth heats up. She looks to be the next one going under the knife, so to speak.
But enough plotty nonsense! The film franchise this series sprang from is famous for its pop culture references. In this episode alone, “Game of Thrones,” the original “Terminator” and “Terminator: Genisys,” “The Walking Dead,” “21 Jump Street,” Will Graham of “Hannibal” are all mentioned. There’s also a really fantastic song which plays as Audrey puts together a video tribute to Rachel. It’s called “There’s A Ghost” by Fluerie aka Lauren Strahm. Not only is the song beautiful in a mournful sort of way, it’s perfectly suited to “Scream.”
Listen to the lyrics. I downloaded it during the show.
Here’s my biggest issue two episodes in: everyone, including allegedly hard-nosed amateur detective Piper Shaw, is so damned nice. Gale Weathers was a total bitch and proud of it and Stu Macher (the hilarious Matthew Lillard) publicly made fun of his recently butchered ex-girlfriend Casey Becker in the original film, whom he helped kill. This show needs an a-hole. It needs someone to storm in with a brash attitude and start pissing people off. No one even seems all that upset that three people are now dead in the space of four days. We cry out for some spice in this sleepy broth.