MTV’s Scream decided to do something a little different this year and provide us with a two-hour Halloween Special. So, how did it measure up?
The Scream Halloween Special opens up on Kieran’s trial. To everyone’s shock and disbelief, he’s found guilty for his crimes and is sentenced to 10 consecutive life terms.
Once he’s brought to his holding cell, a person dressed up in the Brandon James mask and cloak murders the guard before turning on Kieran, slicing his throat and stabbing him in the back. The next gen Lakewood killers are now both officially dead.
The shock of seeing Kieran killed lasted only a brief moment. In hindsight, it feels anti-climatic. I understand wanting to move on to another aspect of the story, but because the situation was so far removed from Emma and because the threat of Kieran is now permanently out of play, it feels more like a missed opportunity than anything else.
Speaking of Emma, we find her unsure of her future plans and itching to get out of Lakewood for the weekend. Luckily, Stavo and Noah, now bestselling authors, are getting an all-expenses-paid trip to Shallow Grove Island in order to come up with inspiration for the next story.
Brooke and Audrey (who, unfortunately for the Audrey/Emma shippers, is now dating a girl named Gina) join the expedition, though Stavo and Noah may not have told everyone their true intentions for visiting the island. Too late to turn around now.
Stavo and Noah are joined by Jeremy, their editor, as they learn about the island’s violent past. Anna Hobbs is the star of the show here. According to legend, she was prone to violent fits of rage. One night after finding the wealthy Reginald Whitton having an affair with her mother, who wanted to institutionalize Anna, the young girl killed both of them, as well as her brother.
All of this is told in a flash back made to look like old movie footage, which pairs well with the story but doesn’t necessarily match with Scream’s usual aesthetic. I get wanting to make this feel like a spooky Halloween story you tell around the campfire (which they literally did in the show), but it seemed cheap and out of place.
— SCREAM (@MTVScream) October 19, 2016
Jeremy, who I’ve known for a grand total of five minutes and already hate, pretends to attack the group while wearing Anna Hobbs’ creepy mask and sporting a pair of shears. It takes two seconds for Emma to take him down and the same amount of time for Audrey to say what everyone is thinking: “You don’t do that to survivors of multiple murder sprees!”
This is like Haley Meyers all over again.
But the fun is just getting started because legend is coming to life as people around town begin to get murdered. This was another major problem I had with the special. We meet a series of new characters, the sheriff, Billie the caretaker, Sid from the museum, and even Jeremy, and they’re cut down one by one.
But these aren’t people we’ve cared about for an entire season. They’re not even people we’ve connected to over the course of what is essentially another Scream movie. Aside from Billie and Jeremy, they’re introduced for the sole purpose of being killed off. And in the other two characters’ cases, they weren’t even likable before they were brutally murdered. So why should we care?
I hate to say it because I know the Scream franchise began in film, but the stories told on the television show should stay episodic. I found myself thinking everything was moving too fast, that the mystery was too formulaic, and that the whole thing was too predictable.
— SCREAM (@MTVScream) October 19, 2016
Noah even rags on the idea that this is a classic horror situation — a group trapped on an island because of a storm. The interesting twist here is that it’s a Freddy vs. Jason situation, as Noah also points out, because someone is combining the Anna Hobbs legend with the story of the Lakewood Six.
I am glad they decided to go down this route. A new story is a great way to infuse fresh ideas into the show, but you can’t take Lakewood out of a series such as this, and luckily, the writers chose to incorporate aspects of Emma’s origin story into the Halloween Special.
The Anna Hobbs copycat murderer did not kill Kieran, and Emma gets a phone call from someone using the same voice modulator that played such a large part in the first two seasons. He tells her, “You’ll never get away from me, Emma,” and later finds the word, “Never,” written in blood on her bedroom wall.
Unfortunately, the Anna Hobbs story really does negatively affect the special. Early in the episode we meet the mysterious but kind Alex, who is obviously the Whitton heir. If you didn’t call that he was the killer from the very beginning, then you need to watch some more Scream movies.
In the beginning of the episode, Emma complains about being, “Emma Duval, girlfriend of the killer.” Later, Alex tells Emma he lost both his parents in a plane crash at 15. “Everything changed after that,” he said, and if that’s not the line of a psychopath, I don’t know what is.
— Sydney Whelton (@WheltonSydney15) October 19, 2016
Even Noah’s excitement about figuring out the true story, that Reginald was a predator and Anna defended herself after he killed her family and stabbed her in the stomach, didn’t add much. I will say I liked that the legend was barely based in truth, that it got manipulated because Reginald’s wife had to find a way to protect her family name, and that Anna was actually a Final Girl in her own right.
Another great twist comes when we find out that Alex is not actually Alex Whitton, but Tom Martin, whose parents were murdered when he was young. He was stuck with their dead bodies for three days before being rescued, which certainly explains his actions.
For a moment, I thought Scream would go in a completely new direction and actually make Emma one of the bad guys. I don’t love the concept because I still root for her (she’s such a badass!), but it would certainly take the story in a different direction.
Alex’s presence in the special had another purpose. His story of loss and confusion spoke to Emma’s desire to figure out who she truly is. After her dreams in season 2 painted her as a possible suspect, I couldn’t help but wonder how tempting Alex’s offer was of teaching her how to be someone else.
But when you’re Emma Duval, you don’t need to be anyone else. She fought off Alex when he was dressed up in the Anna Hobbs mask, and she fights him off when she’s face-to-face with him on the balcony of the mansion. He charges her, and she uses his own momentum to throw him over the railing and to his death.
In the end, one of the Lakewood Six does die, but considering he was the killer all along, it doesn’t really matter. The stakes weren’t high for the Halloween Special, and although it was a good enough story, it feels like its only purpose was to set up Scream season 3.
I don’t particularly trust Gina, but I am interested to see what part she’ll play in season 3. A lot of red flags went up during the special, so I’m kind of hoping she turns out to be more than she initially appears.
Surprisingly, all is well in paradise for the show’s main couples. Audrey and Gina don’t break up and Stavo and Brooke are going to New York together so she can attend college.
Noah, meanwhile, gets over his survivor’s guilt and writer’s block by saying he’s telling the stories of the victims who can’t speak for themselves. Emma tattoos her last name onto her wrist to remind her to be strong and then applies to Lakewood University. Why she wouldn’t want to move halfway across the country like Brooke is beyond me.
But the end of the episode is what really excited me about this Halloween Special. We see Emma’s father standing over Kieran’s grave, which implies he may have been the one to murder his daughter’s ex-boyfriend. We also get a mysterious visitor signing in, greeted by the woman behind the desk, who says, “Welcome to Lakewood, Mr. James.”
— SCREAM (@MTVScream) October 19, 2016
This is what I’ve been wanting from Scream since season 1, when we first heard about those initial murders and the Lakewood legend of Brandon James. Hopefully six episodes is enough time for Scream season 3 to give us all the gory details.