This review contains spoilers.
The sad thing about the ninth episode in SCREAM Season 2 is that it is becoming more obvious than ever that its writers were given twelve episodes to tell a story that could have been better told with eight or nine. This entire episode needlessly extended subplots while glossing over new bits of information that get lost in all the filler. It’s not that the show is becoming lazy or the writers haven’t been able to find a direction to take the story in. I really like the killer’s strategy this season and the mind games he or she has been playing with the characters. It’s not often that an antagonist has been able to pull at tiny threads and watch the entire carpet unravel itself. But the longer things get drawn out, the less we care about the big reveals and the more frustrating it becomes to tune in every week.
Last week’s episode ended with Emma finding out about Audrey’s involvement with Piper. Naturally, Emma would want to distance herself from her. But other than a single scene of Emma throwing Audrey into a locker, the episode doesn’t linger on much of why Emma has reacted so strongly negative to what she has learned about Audrey. Kieran, who usually has a very interesting perspective on the situation, is regulated to being little more than Emma’s cheerleader. It goes to show that the writers have found very little to do with Kieran this season.
Much of this episode is wasted on Audrey trying to find out who sent the email to Emma. Audrey accuses Zoe, which Noah outright denies could have had anything to do with it, despite that the IP trace linking directly back to Zoe’s email address. It is strangely out of character for Noah to dismiss so much crucial information, but the episode takes a lot of time to cram it down the audience’s throat that Noah is googly-eyed for Zoe. A needlessly drawn out and out of place sex scene occurs between Noah and Zoe, which only serves to either divert attention onto Zoe as a more suspicious character or waste screen time.
Three subplots that should have been given a lot more weight are the reveal about Gustavo’s past in accidentally killing his friend, Brooke learning about Jake and her father’s dealings, and the discovery that Kristen Lang and Piper grew up in the same orphanage together. Learning that Gustavo showed very little emotion while watching his best friend die is a big deal, and should have been given more dramatic heft than just a simple exposition scene where Sheriff Acosta talks to Maggie Duvall. The growing closeness between Gustavo and Brooke should be more believable, and the way Brooke finds out about her father should have been given better treatment than Gustavo breaking into his father’s office and conveniently finding everything she needed to know in a single folder. It would have been more exciting if the last shot of the episode ended on the revelation about Piper and Lang. But alas, the overarching mystery of the season isn’t given much attention to.
Instead, the final shot is the death of yet another character we don’t care about: Haley. Despite the season’s earlier half suggesting Haley would play a substantial role in the narrative, the character has been inexplicably sidelined. Her usefulness has been limited to merely showing up to make a few jabs at Emma and then disappearing as quickly as she arrives. While at a party that was staged to look like Emma and Audrey had thrown it, Haley is murdered in a vicious and cruel stabbing by the killer. The unexpected part here is that Haley has been unknowingly dating the killer. But because we know so little about Haley, nor do we care much about her, the twist has little dramatic heft, and her death is nothing more than another throwaway character biting the dust.
With three episodes left in SCREAM Season 2, we can only hope that the show will be able to make up for the last three mediocre weeks. At this point, the show is also battling audience fatigue, which is the worst place for it to be in. No writer wants his or her audience tuning in out of sheer obligation to get it over with. But this season has too many episodes and not enough story to create a consistently entertaining experience.
What did you think of the episode? Post on the comments below and let me know your thoughts. You can also watch all current episodes of SCREAM on Netflix.
Season 2’s strong start has lost its steam
The Orphanage does little to bring SCREAM Season 2 out of its mid-season draught. Too much time is spent dragging out needless subplots while glossing over what should have been major reveals. The last three episodes have only proved that a longer season doesn’t necessarily mean a better one if the course of your story hasn’t been better planned and executed.