This installment has the best opening scene since the pilot.
We pick up in the afterglow of Emma and Kieran’s woodland lovemaking. Emma asks Kieran to take her to the old Brandon James house at night so she can face her fears. The pair break into the decaying abode and discover perfectly expected creepiness; a newspaper detailing the 1994 massacre, a noose, and a single fresh daisy in a vase; a reference to Emma’s mother’s name. In the gloom, the two lovers become separated and Emma gets a call from Ghostface, who confirms that Kieran is not such a great guy after all. While trying to escape, Emma is stabbed by the killer and removes the mask to reveal her own face looking back at her. Bad Emma says: “It ends with you.”
Emma wakes up as the knife stabs into her dream self again. She’s safe in her bed.
This entire sequence reminded me strongly of the 1980 science fiction masterpiece “Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.” Maybe you’ve heard of it. In that film, Luke Skywalker trains under the Jedi master Yoda on the swampy planet Dagobah. During his training, he battles a vision of Darth Vader and shatters Vader’s helmet to reveal his own face beneath.
Could this mean that Emma’s father (like Vader) might be behind the current slayings? Maybe.
On her way downstairs, Emma runs into Hud and her mom making out. Awkward!
Will and Piper meet at the Groundhouse to discuss Nina’s manipulation of virtually everyone in town. Piper wants Will to guest on the podcast and talk about her as a means of redemption for his part in her schemes.
Noah explains to Audrey that teacher Seth Branson did not exist before coming to Lakewood.
During class, Jake suggests looking for the dead body of Brooke’s mom at the Maddox home. Audrey apologizes for smashing Will into the gym mat during self defense class. Emma and Kieran flirt.
Detective Brock discovers DNA evidence implicating Audrey Jensen in the killings. It seems the inside of the surgical mask found on the decapitated head of Tyler was rife with Audrey’s DNA. Audrey is hauled out of class by the cops.
During the interrogation focusing on the night of Nina’s murder, Hud intervenes on Audrey’s behalf.
Her father arrives as Brock points out that Audrey loves recording everything, just like the killer. During a moment of privacy, Audrey phones Emma and asks her to go to the Jensen house and remove the SD card marked September 30th from Audrey’s collection of digital recordings.
Will discovers that Jake made him the blackmail culprit.
Emma rocks a daringly short blue skirt. I thought she was the good girl? That’s an awful lot of exposed thigh, lady! After politely breaking into Audrey’s house using a ceramic bird, Emma and Noah retrieve the card as the police pull up with a search warrant. They flee out Audrey’s window. Back at Noah’s video game hideout, the pair can’t destroy the SD card without watching it. Emma gets a phone call from Brock asking her to come to the station for an interview about a possible break in at the Jensen house. Emma lies and is backed up by her mom. Both are free to go.
After a shower at school, Jake discovers that Mayor Maddox’s $10 grand is missing from his duffel bag and locker. He confronts Will and threatens to kill him if Will tries to destroy him with knowledge of the blackmail scheme.
Will offers Piper a big story if she’s willing to trust him.
Emma and Noah watch Audrey’s digital video. It shows her furious at Nina the night the popular bitch was murdered, and prepared to drive over to Nina’s house and settle the score. It was recorded by Rachel.
Home again, Emma is conflicted. Her mother decides it’s time for her to learn a shocking town secret that probably would’ve helped to know a few episodes ago. She takes Emma to her childhood home in a rural area of Lakewood. After the murders, she moved away with her family to escape the media frenzy and returned to town years later with a different name.
Her best friend as a kid was next door neighbor Brandon “Bran” James, who left her carved toys and drawings of herself. They exchanged letters and remained confidants throughout high school. We learn that Brandon went to the high school the night of the 1994 Halloween dance to tell Daisy that she deserved a better man than her current boyfriend and future husband, Emma’s father. Her friends informed Daisy’s boyfriend and the violence began.
Maggie, who once was Daisy, explains that Brandon did not kill anyone during the Brandon James Massacre. He was a peace loving, shy fella with no interest in violence.
So not only was Brandon murdered via misguided vigilante justice, the townsfolk of Lakewood spent the last twenty years demonizing his name for a massacre he had no part in. The account of the massacre’s events was warped as it passed down to the next generation. It brings into focus the claims of deception Ghostface made over the phone in the first episode: a town with dark secrets concealed behind lies.
If Brandon James didn’t murder four people that Halloween night in 1994, who was really behind the mask?
Maggie wishes she had stood up for Brandon the way Emma can choose to stand up for Audrey now. And she does. Emma explains to Brock that she told Audrey about her own part in Nina’s video and was not murdered in a rage by Audrey. Audrey is released.
In the gripping final scene, Mayor Maddox shows up at the mysterious warehouse of mystery and meets Will, who gives him the blackmail money back and the cell phone containing the dangerous video. After Maddox exits, Piper steps out of the shadows and agrees that this could be a juicy story.
They are frightened by a sudden noise and then attacked by Ghostface, who stabs Will and knocks out Piper. Will is dragged off by the masked fiend.