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Scream - Heavenly Creatures - Review

“Well, if I’m a suspect, you’re a suspect.” – Randy Meeks, “Scream 2”

“Heavenly Creatures” is a bit of a comedown from last week’s stellar “Scream,” but there are some clever bits in here as the show frames things for the finale.

For example, there’s the creepy cold open that starts the episode. It sees nuGhostface breaking into the Duval home – both deactivating the security alarm and picking the lock – and slipping around in the shadows as mother and daughter sleep unawares. He makes it all the way to her bedside before Emma is startled awake and realizes she’s not alone, but by the time she spins around, he’s already gone. All that’s left from his visit, hanging from the cracked-open front door, is a carved heart on a chain, just like the one Brandon James made for “Daisy,” only it has Emma’s name on it. While Maggie wonders to Sheriff Acosta whether it’s some kind of response to her trying to make contact with Brandon, this latest home invasion has Emma, Audrey, and Kieran zeroing in hard on a suspect – Eli.

This theory gains further support after – in a nice show of solidarity and friendship – all the surviving “Lakewood Six”-ers pay a visit to Noah at the hospital. Traumatized by Zoe’s death and his own ordeal, Noah insists that he’s done with his macabre obsessions and asks his friends to take down the murder board. While they’re doing so, they make a very interesting discovery. A newspaper clipping of Will’s funeral (and sidebar – I wonder if these workings in of last season’s victims, a la Riley’s name being used on the e-mails to Emma’s dad, mean anything) shows that Eli was in Lakewood during last season’s murders. This spurns Kieran to search his bedroom and he finds some damning evidence – Audrey’s letters to Piper and the pictures of Emma she saw at the James family farm.

While his cousin’s digging up dirt on him, Eli’s busy getting the goods on someone else – the mayor. When his mom (and sidebar – I’m a little bummed the show didn’t do more with Aunt Tina because I really liked Karina Logue in “Terriers”) tells him that Mayor Maddox wants them out of Lakewood pronto – and also intriguingly notes that they risk people “finding out everything” about them if they stick around –, Eli angrily insists that they’re not going anywhere until he says so and heads to the mayor’s manse to find some leverage. And he hits paydirt with files showing that Maddox ripped off half the town, and even “played the Jameses” (is that why Maggie asked Sheriff Acosta if he called Quentin when they first met up at the pig farm?). They’re apparently so damning that, when a later scene sees Brooke returning home after her fight with her dad, I thought for sure she was going to walk in on him having committed suicide.

Instead, both plot threads become entwined at the James family pig farm. While Emma and Audrey are searching the farmhouse for more evidence against Eli and stumble upon the hidden room, a texted blackmail threat (whether it’s from Eli and/or nuGhostface is unclear) brings Mayor Maddox to the barn on the property. There, in a clever sequence, the chirps of the texts he’s sending to the unknown phone draw him deeper inside until he’s finally attacked by the killer, who drives a pitchfork into his chest. Poor Quentin, he’s obviously not a good guy, but Bryan Batt is such a huggable actor that I’ve always kinda liked him. Anyway, the girls try to help him, but they only end up with literal blood on their hands, just in time for the cops to show up.

What Emma and Audrey don’t know is that, earlier, nuGhostface hijacked Noah’s uploading a tribute episode of his podcast and replaced it with a video file. Mashing together excerpts from Emma’s dream journal (which he stole from her house), Audrey’s confession about her connection to Piper, and the footage he’s been shooting (I really liked the moment of Brooke watching the clip of Audrey with Jake’s corpse in the storage unit, and her almost absent-mindedly trying to call her friend in anger and disbelief), the video paints a pretty damning picture. It’s only when they are handcuffed in the back of a police car do Emma and Audrey realize that not only does the killer hold them responsible for Piper’s death, he wants them held responsible for all the murders he’s been committing. And that’s when we get the “To be continued....”

Now, Eli’s certainly looking guilty of being the new nuGhostface, but we could have said the same about Mr. Branson in last year’s penultimate episode. So let’s talk about some other suspects still in play.

Starting with Gustavo. The show has backed off his oddballness in recent episodes, in part through his relationship with Brooke (and sidebar – while I kinda buy that Brooke is the type of person who distracts herself from her problems with men/sex, it’s a little weird how cozy she is with him considering Jake’s been dead, like, two weeks, and especially after she relates Noah’s grief about Zoe to her own). But he’s definitely still acting shady, and he’s the one who gives Noah the final push to finish his podcast episode.

Then there’s Ms. Lang, who attempts to implicate Emma when she is questioned by Sheriff Acosta. I’m not really buying her story that she barely knew Piper from their stays at Blessed Sisters Children’s Home. Also, like the sheriff, I rolled my eyes at her haughtily defending her secretly recording her students as an “informal case study.” Still, nuGhostface sending her sailing down the stairs makes her more of a longshot.

Finally, there’s Kieran. His involvement in nuGhostface’s games has been a popular theory in the comments section for a while now, but one I personally wasn’t sure about. But a couple of odd moments in this episode gave me some food for thought. During the break-in, the killer makes a big point of dragging his knife across a picture of Kieran. Kieran’s the one who conveniently finds the evidence hidden behind Eli’s bed. And he’s off-screen at a critical time, making a call to Maggie that ends up sending the cops to the James family farm. Might mean nothing, but it might mean everything.

So did you find “Heavenly Creatures” heavenly or hellish? And, as we head into the finale, who do you think is behind the Brandon James mask? Come share your final “Scream” killer theories in the comments section.

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