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Scream - The Orphanage - Review

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“Maternal abandonment causes serious deviant behavior. It certainly fucked you up, it made you have sex with a psychopath.” – Billy Loomis, “Scream”

Everyone’s playing the blame game on “Scream” this week as Emma turns on Audrey, Audrey accuses Zoe, and the killer reveals his reasons for targeting the former best friends by leading them to “The Orphanage.”

Disappointingly, the episode doesn’t pick up right where last week’s left off, with Audrey begging a stunned Emma to let her explain about her connection to Piper. Instead, after a pointless sleepwalking nightmare Emma has of stabbing her friends (though I suspect this, like her other dreams and hallucinations, will end up tying back to the secret Maggie and Sheriff Acosta are keeping from the kids), we jump to the next day. It’s a real shame as that is a conversation/confrontation I really wanted to see. Also, Kieran and Brooke find out about Audrey’s deception off-screen, robbing us of their initial reactions, another choice I didn’t love.

What I did like was the three of them confronting Noah at school, about how long he’s known Audrey’s secret and why he kept it. It was an interesting reminder that, before Piper, the “Lakewood Six” were two very separate social groups. And I was shocked, in a good way, by Emma angrily shoving Audrey into a locker when she tries again to apologize (and sidebar – I think the show wants us to be taking note of Emma’s increasing violent outbursts, and possibly comparing them to her father’s). I believe Audrey when she says she didn’t mean for what happened to happen, but I can’t fault Emma for being furious at her. And that should make for some good drama, these two at odds while nuGhostface is out to get them.

Anyway, rebuffed by Emma and looking for someone to blame, Audrey turns her attention to who sent Emma the audio file. And after a shouting match with Noah, she levels an accusation against Zoe, the only person besides Audrey and his mom to have access to Noah’s unhackable computer. Zoe insists she’s innocent, but it certainly doesn’t look great for her when, not only does Noah learn she e-mailed the recording to herself, he traces the e-mail to Emma back to Zoe’s IP address. But despite this evidence (which, to be fair, could totally have been manufactured by nuGhostface), Noah stands by Zoe and sternly reminds Audrey that she’s ultimately responsible for the situation she’s in. Part of me wonders if there’s some subliminal anger in play here considering Audrey’s actions got the last girl he liked – Riley – killed.

In any case, Zoe is touched by Noah’s defending her and they end up having The Sex. I was a little surprised the show played this with a lighter touch (I chuckled when an overstimulated Noah crumpled up a movie poster for “The Virgin Stabbing”), but it did add some levity to the episode. And I’ll also add here that, for me, John Karna has emerged as the acting MVP of the cast this season. He has done a great job with all the notes he’s been asked to play as Noah – meta comedy and realistic terror, the dramatic tension with Audrey and the romantic sweetness with Zoe.

Meanwhile, nuGhostface spends the episode setting the stage for a nasty surprise, starting with Emma and Kieran. Emma opens her locker to find one of Ms. Lang’s tapes, creepily hanging from a chunk of the teacher’s hair. Learning that Ms. Lang had been secretly recording their conversations prompts Emma to visit her in the hospital (she’s conscious, but in rough shape) and she’s shocked by how scared Ms. Lang gets when she sees her. Kieran ends up swiping her keys so they can take a look around her apartment. And what the killer leaves for them to find is a nifty piece of the puzzle – Ms. Lang knew Piper! They spent time together at Blessed Sisters Children’s Home, a former insane asylum turned group foster home that was shut down ten years ago amidst scandal.

In a classic TV contrivance, the orphanage is just outside of Lakewood so Emma, Kieran, Noah, and Zoe head there to investigate. What they find is a raging fiesta, most of the partygoers wearing white masks, with the few Brandon James ones dotting the crowd making for a cool visual. And who appears to have organized it? The horrible Haley, who smugs to Emma about the “very special friend” she’s helping out. Too bad for Haley that Noah’s observation that “accepting an invitation to a mysterious party practically ensures a grisly death” is correct as nuGhostface turns on her, stabbing her to death, her screams muffled by the music. Yay! I, poor Haley!

Once Audrey arrives (having been lured to Blessed Sisters by a threat on Noah’s life), the killer’s agenda becomes clear. He had something he wanted her and Emma to see, and see together. It’s Piper’s rotting corpse, the holes from the bullets they shot into her still visible. Audrey blames herself, but Emma breaks down what’s really going on – nuGhostface holds them both responsible for Piper’s death, and now, he wants revenge. Again, this conflict should make for great TV, as Emma and Audrey can’t truly be a team right now, even as they have to be to stay alive.

Finally, somewhat weirdly, Brooke is mostly siloed away from the main action this week. She enjoyed her sleepover with Gustavo, but, in the light of day, feels she can’t move forward with him until she knows what happened to Jake. So Gustavo takes the initiative and goes snooping in his father’s office, finding a printout of the texts between Jake and Mayor Maddox. The discovery that Jake was doing her dad’s dirty work the night he died devastates Brooke. And between that and Audrey’s betrayal, she clings to Gustavo as someone she can trust. But we can’t sleep on Gustavo, not after hearing about his sociopathic response to his friend’s accidental shooting back in Phoenix, and seeing him creeping around the “Face the Mask” party.

Those are my thoughts on “The Orphanage.” Now share your “Scream” theories and speculations in the comments section.

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