Scream’s finale begins exactly as it should in light of the recent tragic death of a legendary master of horror. A photo of a smiling Wes Craven fills the screen with the words “In Memory Of Wes Craven. 1939-2015. Thanks for the screams.”
Major spoilers below!
We’re back at the Halloween Dance, where the celebratory spirit has left the building. Sheriff Hudson is alive but bleeding on the video monitor overhead. Maggie gets a call that Branson has escaped and that the crime scene left behind looks staged. She leaves Emma with police officers at the dance and heads off to do her job.
Piper follows Maggie to the station to get information, but not before advising Emma not to trust anyone. Good advice. Emma calls moody bad boy Kieran, who ignores the phone as he is busy loading a revolver in the woods. She leaves a message about Seth’s escape and Hudson’s injuries.
Noah can’t reach Brooke by cellphone at her big party. He is concerned that Branson may show up. At the Maddox house, party-goers get wasted and jump in the pool while a slightly tipsy Brooke wonders why her phone is silent.
Emma is texting and calling from the dance, but nothing goes through to Brooke. Ghostface calls Emma and promises her an all expenses paid trip to Cancun. Just kidding. Actually, he explains that this is the big finale and things are gonna get “gut wrenching.”
If Emma can’t put the pieces together in time, he’s gonna break Daisy’s heart. The maniac then appears in the video feed, filling the screen with his mask. The feed cuts off.
Noah drives Emma to the police station, where Maggie is photographing the dead officer. Emma explains that there may be a clue on the officer’s body like the way Will had one carved into his back at the bowling alley. Inside the officer’s throat is the wooden heart necklace given to Daisy decades ago by Brandon inside the tree in her backyard. A tree like the one Hudson is now tied to. They head to Maggie’s childhood home.
At the Maddox house, Brooke is scared by a prankster in a Brandon James mask. He bought it on Etsy. Brooke confiscates it, and notices Audrey drinking alone by the firelight. They meet.
“Nice mask. Big plans later?”
“It’s tempting. Some psycho puts this on and murders our friends and people think it’s a joke.”
“That’s because people generally suck.”
Audrey tells Brooke about the video of Kieran and Nina. Brooke laughs it off.
“Kieran can’t be the killer. He’s too pretty.”
Brooke and Audrey begin to connect in a way they haven’t all season. Then The Jake shows up, drunk and acting the fool with arm candy Ava.
At Maggie’s childhood home, Hudson is found. Maggie cuts the ropes binding him to the tree, which rip through duct tape holding his torso together. The Sheriff’s internal organs spill out and Maggie tries to shove them back inside. Now that’s true love. He quickly dies.
Afterwards, Emma tells her mother that they can’t let the killer win. Maggie agrees.
Piper pops up begging for something to do to help. She is horrified by what is happening and brimming with warmth, empathy and support. Emma asks her to go out to the Maddox house near Wren Lake and check on Brooke. Piper heads out.
At the party, Jake is making out with Ava by the pool. Brooke picks out some random idiot and begins making out with him. Jake looks pretty pissed as Ava obliviously kisses his neck.
Brooke assigns Audrey guard duty to keep party-goers out of the house while she descends into the wine cellar to bring up a 50-year-old Bordeaux. As she walks away, Audrey casts an approving glance at Brooke’s ass. This is shaping up to be an interesting night.
The prankster in the Brandon James mask tries to use the house bathroom, but Audrey takes her role seriously and directs him to the pool house facilities.
At the station, Emma’s phone rings. Noah has located the source of the malware programming that is controlling phone ringers, texts and notifications. It’s Brooke’s house!
“Tell the cops we’ve got him,” Noah says.
A text pops up on Emma’s phone. “No cops or they’ll all be headline news.”
Noah picks up Emma at the station. They head to the Maddox house without police backup.
On the drive, Noah compares the situation to a horror movie.
“If this is the final showdown, the killer’s gonna try to take out all of your friends, one by one, until you’re the only one left, because you’re the survivor girl. Which makes me the know it all sidekick. Aw, crap. I’m gonna die.”
In the wine cellar, Brooke inspects varietals until Jake scares her. He reveals that he had been using the spyware to check on her to make sure she was okay. He meant well. They fight.
In the pool house, bimbo Ava discovers the dead body of the prankster in the bathroom. She screams and everyone flees the party. Confused, Audrey checks it out. She sees the puddle of blood staining the patio stones outside the pool house when Ghostface sneaks up and grabs her by the neck. Face to mask, Audrey grits her teeth and hisses, “What are you waiting for?”
Brooke, now carrying wine, finds an empty party. She is startled by a strange noise and retreats into the house, locking the glass door. Seth Branson appears on the pool patio.
He says a masked intruder killed the cop at the station and then opened his cell. Scared of being labeled a cop killer, Seth ran for it. He does not know who is behind the mask. As they talk, Brooke is racing through the house locking various doors as Branson almost beats her to each one. It’s a tense, well orchestrated scene.
Seth tells her that she’s special to him and he would never hurt her, but Brooke hardens her heart and refuses to let him in. The lights outside the house go out. When they suddenly come back on, Seth is gone and Ghostface is at the door. Brooke runs deeper into the house. In a workshop off the garage, she climbs into the same horizontal freezer that she and Jake searched for her mom’s remains several episodes ago. Worst hiding place ever.
Ghostface padlocks the freezer, flips it over and begins stabbing it. Brooke, trapped in the narrow space, screams her head off until the knife finally jabs her in the side, spilling blood. The killer plugs in the unit and freezing vapors begin to circulate. Brooke is left to die.
Emma and Noah arrive to find Piper’s jeep covered in blood. Her glasses and phone are laying on the driveway. It doesn’t look good. They are confronted by Kieran, armed with a revolver. He got a fake text from Emma telling him to be there. Emma accuses him of being the son of Brandon James. He is actually the biological son of Sheriff Clark Hudson. After his parents split up, he came to live with his father and has court documents to prove it. He learns that Hudson is dead. The trio sets off to find Emma’s friends.
Inside the house, music is blaring but the place is empty. They decide to split up. Noah is sent to check the back porch and pool area. Amongst plastic devil pitchforks, pool floats and discarded beer cans, Noah finds Audrey’s bag and video camera.
In the workshop, Brooke pounds on the freezer lid.
Jake pops up, scaring Kieran and Emma. After the wine cellar fight, he went for a walk by the lake and returned to find the place deserted. They hear Brooke making noise and track it into the workshop. Brooke is pulled from the freezer and watched over by Jake, while the others continue the search for more survivors.
Noah finds the dead prankster and Audrey stumbles out, cut up but alive. She says the killer attacked her and she blacked out and woke up still alive. She doesn’t know why. There is a jagged wound on her arm. Emma explains that cellphones are under the killer’s control, so Brooke suggests using the landline in the kitchen. Jake laughs.
“A landline? What is this, 1996?”
The very year “Scream” came out in theaters!
In the kitchen, Emma reaches for the phone to call Maggie but it rings before she can get to it. Guess who it is? Freddy Krueger! No, no, it’s just ol’ Ghostface. He’s at the dock at Wren Lake, where Brandon James was shot and fell into the water 20 years ago. Maggie is with him.
Emma races off into the woods without her friends. At the dock, Maggie is bloody and tied to a chair. Emma begins freeing her when Ghostface shows up.
“I’m here, just like you wanted. No more games, no more masks.”
The killer drops the black hood and pulls off the Brandon James mask to reveal the smug face of Piper Shaw.
“So when we were bonding over your dad being murdered, you were talking about Brandon James?”
“Yes. You were so easily convinced that it had to be his SON that was swinging the knife, but it’s 2015, Emma. Sexist much?”
Branson is in Piper’s trunk. When Emma and Maggie are dead, Piper will kill Branson with the kitchen knife that Emma brought with her and tell the authorities that Emma bravely killed Branson and then succumbed to her injuries.
“I’m gonna stumble out of this bloodbath and broadcast to the world that the Lakewood Slasher is dead.”
“You’re right. She will be.”
They battle it out. Piper injures Emma. Maggie frees herself and is immediately stabbed.
Piper drags Emma down and stands over her, looking all sorts of crazy. She’s about to drop a bombshell.
“So, I have one more surprise for you before I open you up. You will NEVER see it coming!”
Her supervillain monologue is cut short by a bullet to the back. She falls into the lake, just like her father two decades before.
Audrey is holding Kieran’s gun, which is smoking. She leans down to help Emma as Piper bursts out of the water to kill again. Emma shoots her between the eyes and she vanishes into the depths.
In the aftermath, Maggie is loaded into an ambulance, Emma and Kieran reconnect and Audrey explains that she saw Emma head into the woods and followed her. Police drag Wren Lake, but Piper’s body is not found.
Noah replaces Piper Shaw as the host of the “Autopsy Of A Crime” podcast. Back at the Jensen house, Audrey examines two photographs in her desk. One of her and Emma in happy times and one of Brandon James without his mask on.
Jake destroys the malware network from his laptop.
Branson is released from the police station.
Noah muses on the whole crazy story:
“Piper Shaw confessed to her crimes in true villain fashion, but she didn’t explain who attacked her and Will Belmont in the abandoned building. She could’ve banged up her head and made up a story, but Will confirmed it later.”
As he speaks in voice-over, Audrey opens a faux book to reveal a locked security case. Inside are a series of letters from Piper to her and the Brandon James case documents that Audrey stole from the Lakewood County Municipal Records building the year before. It was the same night she first tried on the mask.
“As much as I love a good Hollywood ending, I can’t help but wonder who was wearing the mask that night.”
Audrey burns the letters and case paperwork in her backyard.
“Am I just over-thinking this, or is there more to come?”
The finale leaves us with burning questions.
Piper’s motivation is clear as glass. But why would Audrey not just stand by and let her friends and her girlfriend get slaughtered, but also play an active role in these crimes? I don’t believe she had anything to do with Rachel’s death.
At her wake, Audrey tried hanging herself from Rachel’s ceiling fan to see if it were even possible to hold the weight of a suicidal person. She was investigating. If she were in on the murder, she would’ve let it go. On the other side of the coin, she knew perfectly well what Piper was doing to her victims, so how mystified could Audrey really have been by the fake suicide murder? How many other costumed serial killers ARE there in Lakewood?
Audrey stabbed and kidnapped Will in the warehouse. She then took her makeup exam the next morning while Piper fought Noah, stabbed Jake and terrorized Emma and company at the bowling alley.
The meaning of “What are you waiting for?” when Audrey is attacked by the pool house is clear now. Audrey is connected by DNA to the mask used in the murders. She has to look innocent this time. So just like Billy and Stu in 1996, Piper had to stab her non-fatally to undo potential suspicion. Audrey knew pain was coming and wanted to get it over with.
It’s worth it to go back over the series and look to see which girl was behind the mask.
Did Audrey kill Nina while Piper beheaded Tyler?
Why was Rachel killed? She wasn’t Emma’s friend.
Why did Audrey ultimately relent and shoot down Piper?
Is there a connection between Brandon and Audrey?
If Brandon is so peaceful, who really killed four students in 1994?
As a big fan of Audrey, I was definitely surprised. She’s tough, cynical and funny. She stands up for her friends. The characters on Scream are layered and well acted. There is an emotional attachment you form. I was horrified when Audrey was about to die, and that rarely happens to me while watching a slasher. Now I’m just confused and curious for Season 2.
Excellent first season! Horror television series that are serialized as opposed to an anthology approach are rare, and taking a popular film series and creating a brand new story line inspired by it is basically unheard of. More, please!