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Scream - Revelations - Review

“You’re gonna pay for the life you stole from me, Sid. For the mother, and for the family, and for the stardom and – goddamn it, everything you have that should’ve been mine!” – Roman Bridger, “Scream 3”

The season finale lets “Scream” go full-on slasher as “Revelations” spills blood, tears, and the identity of the masked murderer who’s been terrorizing Lakewood.

But let’s start with who it’s not, beginning with Sheriff Hudson. Picking up where we left off last week, panic has spread through the Halloween dance thanks to the streaming video of Hudson beaten bloody by nuGhostface. The game is back on when Emma gets a taunting, meta-laced call from the killer (“Tonight’s the big finale, Emma. Gotta make sure everybody’s watching the horror show.”). Off Maggie’s comment that the scene at the sheriff’s station seems staged, they find a clue – the carved heart Brandon James gave “Daisy” crammed down the dead cop’s throat – pointing them to Maggie’s childhood home. And they do discover him there, delirious and mumbling, tied to a tree. What they don’t realize is that he was doomed to die before they got there, and as a relieved Maggie frantically tries to cut him free, his intestines come spilling out Steven Orth-style once the restraints are removed.

I was pretty surprised they killed off Hudson. I’ve been predicting (and still am) that Emma’s dad Kevin will be a bigger part of season two and a triangle with him, Maggie and Hudson seemed like a no-brainer. And the show barely scratched the surface of Hudson and Kieran’s strained relationship, or Hudson’s own dark past, which he briefly spoke of when Detective Brock showed up. But it makes perfect story sense. The killer has been drawing parallels between mother and daughter since the beginning and now has tricked Maggie into dropping the axe on her paramour just like he did to Emma. Additionally, Tracy Middendorf was really wonderful playing Maggie’s reaction to his death; in fact, I thought she was the acting MVP of the entire episode.

Once the most obvious suspect, Jake is also not nuGhostface. And even more surprising, both he and Brooke – in Noah speak – make it to the survivor girl’s ambulance! In plot setup I thought was so smart, it turns out that nuGhostface can use the malware to basically disable peoples’ cell phones, which prevents the characters at the Halloween dance from warning those at Brooke’s party. So Brooke is blissfully unaware that Branson is in the wind while she’s bemoaning Emma seemingly blowing her off, cutely bonding with Audrey, and getting all huffy when Jake shows up uninvited with his bunny babe (who, is it just me or did she look kinda like a young Lisa Kudrow?). Two can play that game so Brooke starts macking on some dude in board shorts. Both clearly jealous, they attempt to clear the air, but then Jake admits he was the one spying on her, claiming he was trying to uncover why the spyware was still working and that he was worried about her. Brooke bitches him out and Jake storms off.

While I was wrong about Jake’s date being a dead girl walking, she does stumble across a redshirt with his throat sliced open, this douche Grayson who tried to scare Brooke with a knockoff Brandon James mask earlier in the episode. It’s another clever move on the killer’s part as it clears out the party, like when Principal Himbry’s body was hung from the school goalpost in the original “Scream.” Audrey is also ambushed and left for dead. So Brooke is all alone when she is yet again attacked by nuGhostface. It’s a classic slasher movie scene as Brooke is chased through her house and eventually ends up trapped, ironically, in the freezer she feared her mother’s corpse was in. I highly doubt the killer’s knife could actually pierce the sides of the metal container, but it’s a claustrophobic and creepy setpiece, especially when nuGhostface plugs it back in and leaves Brooke to freeze to death. Jake later leads the charge to rescue her and, as she thaws, so do her feelings about him.

The killer is also not Kieran. When a determined Emma and a nervous Noah arrive at Brooke’s house to save their friends, they come across Kieran, who’s brandishing that gun of his we knew would show up in the season’s third act. He claims he went to the woods to blow off some steam after his fight with Emma, but that he got a text (faked by the malware) to meet her at the party. Emma and particularly Noah (John Karna is awesome in this sequence playing Noah’s jittery fear without being over the top) aren’t sure whether to trust him, but Kieran’s reaction to hearing about Sheriff Hudson’s death (…not a particularly great moment from Amadeus Serafini, I thought) convinces them. He does disappear at one pivotal juncture, but no, not him.

And then there’s Branson. Right before Brooke gets attacked by nuGhostface, he scares her by showing up at her house. Through a series of locked doors, Branson begs her to believe his story, that he was set up by the killer and, knowing how the scene at the sheriff’s station would make him look, he ran. His case isn’t helped, though, when – in the show’s best jump scare scene to date – the outside lights go off, plunging the backyard into darkness juuust long enough that it could be Branson when they snap back on and nuGhostface charges the door. But it’s instead revealed that the killer zeroed in on Branson as the perfect plausible scapegoat to frame.

So who’s left? Who kidnaps Maggie and lures Emma to a final showdown on the dock where Brandon James was killed? Say it with me – Piper Shaw!

It’s a theory many (including me) have been taken with the past few weeks. And there are hints threaded through this episode too. Piper is suspiciously on the scene both at the Halloween dance when the video of Sheriff Hudson was streamed and then when he’s discovered at Maggie’s childhood home. Emma also conveniently finds her broken glasses and phone in a pool of blood outside of Brooke’s house, but no body. But I still found the unmasking super satisfying. I much prefer a culprit that makes sense based on what we’ve seen opposed to something pulled out of thin air to maintain absolute surprise.

As you might have guessed from the pull quote at the start of the review, Piper’s motive is rather similar to Roman Bridger’s – she’s enraged that her mother tossed her away and envious of the perfect life her half-sibling got to lead. She’s also not thrilled that Maggie let everyone think Brandon James was a monster all these years (a possible story engine for season two, reinvestigating the 1994 massacre/clearing Brandon’s name?). I do wish we’d gotten more of Piper confronting Maggie as most of the scene was focused on the sisters. I also thought Amelia Rose Blaire was, at times, a little broad. Certainly not in Rebecca Gayheart – or even Emma Roberts – territory, but she was better in the moments she played a bit pulled back.

Long story short (too late), the three women throw down on the dock. Emma’s life is saved by the timely arrival of Audrey, who spotted Emma going into the woods and brought along Kieran’s gun. And Emma takes her place in the survivor girl pantheon by putting a bullet in Piper and intoning the classic “They always come back” line. Piper’s body disappears into the lake, but aside from that, case closed.

Or is it? Just prior to her death, Piper claimed that she had one final surprise for Emma. And Noah (who takes over Piper’s podcast for the closing narration) asks the question we all were left with – if Piper was nuGhostface, who was wearing the mask when she and Will were attacked? We then see Audrey looking at that same picture of Brandon James from the pilot…and then taking out letters she received from Piper and the papers stolen from the county records office. She burns them all, an inscrutable look on her face. Ooooh. Whaaa?

So that’s a wrap on season one of “Scream!” What did you think of the Piper reveal, the Audrey twist, and the finale as a whole? What do you want to see in season two? Come share your thoughts in the comments section.

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