Scream Season 2 Episode 4 – TV Review

Scream Happy Birthday to Me Brooke compact

Brooke’s face says it all.

Yeah, Scream has its own bullshit and deficiencies. But at least they’re not seven years’ worth of compounded bullshit and deficiencies.

Scream also has Brooke.

TL;DR Someone must have left the writers’ room unattended, because it’s hallucinatory Peruvian drug party week on Scream; Emma starts to feel more isolated; Brooke flirts with New New Guy; Mr Mayor and New Sheriff have history; Jake’s body is finally out in the open.

And all over Brooke.

Well, the episode is titled “Happy Birthday to Me,” which means we have an excuse for a birthday party. Kieran tells Eli that he’s happy to hang with Emma for the occasion, but Eli, the ol’ trickster, lies to Emma to manipulate her into throwing him a surprise party. So Eli can almost kiss Emma. Everyone is invited, and a bottle of tainted tequila from “Jake” lands in their laps, resulting in a procession of Peruvian folk drug-induced hallucinations. Brooke has a bad trip while New New Guy walks her through it; Audrey envisions kissing gal pal Rachel (remember her?), but it’s actually Noah (Zoe is, thankfully, into it); Kieran just kind of passes out; and Emma runs into the woods and thinks she’s being attacked by Ghostface. Too bad for her that when she tries to tell New Sheriff about it, nobody will back her up. Except Audrey, but she’s cheating, right? But Emma’s apparent paranoia is proven not so paranoid after all, as the episode ends with Jake’s body plopping out on stage as the beauty pageant finalists are announced. Let the panic begin. Meanwhile, Audrey spends time suspecting New New Guy of being Ghostface, and rats out his creepy drawings of the Lakewood Six to his father, who finds a Ghostface mask in his room; Zoe ends up dumping Noah because she thinks he’s holding a candle for Audrey; Scream surprisingly doesn’t immediately eject Kevin, instead allowing him a chance to do something good for Emma (“save” her from Ghostface in the woods), then announce he’s leaving for rehab or whatever; and Mr Mayor harangues New Sheriff to track down Jake (moot now, obv) by holding some past indiscretion over him, seemingly related to New Sheriff’s (lack of) employability.

Are there no competent law enforcement officials? Well, ones that still have guts?

While the Peruvian drug party was in its swing, I was understandably confused and dismayed by the bizarre direction things were going. I expected Scream to just be using the drugs as an excuse for more garbage dream (or, in this case, hallucination) sequences.

But what happens at the party actually affects our characters beyond the moment; the episode ends strong, if predictably; and, in addition to the drug weirdness, the episode also offered a little taste of artistry in the form of a cheeky aspect ratio trick.

If the show isn’t going to get Standard Slasher right, maybe abstract is its new hope?

 

Why I hate this episode:

Emma’s unwavering belief that she saw Ghostface while tripping is pretty dumb. Just two episodes ago she did her “facing her demons” routine and brushed off what she thought was a Ghostface sighting. But when you’re high on drugs, then your eyes can be trusted? Shut up, baby.

Emma is falling into Eli’s flirtatious web stupidly easily. He goes to kiss her while they’re hanging a birthday banner for Kieran and she doesn’t pull back at all. Only an interruption saves them. When even Brooke is telling you not to be a skank, that’s your cue to not be a skank.

Eli makes a show of how he has a fake ID to buy alcohol for the party. Pfft, Tina is clearly the kind of bogan mum who would happily supply booze for her kid’s wild teen party. And you know she has the experience to get them stuff they really want. How unnecessary.

With Zoe already done with Noah, I think her days are numbered. What a shame. Although, getting together with Noah didn’t do Token Asian any favours, so you never know.

Did they say where Maggie was while the illicit teen drug and alcohol party was going on at Emma’s house?

Emma’s visions also include her younger self and the pig farm again. Boo. Move on.

Oh, and the body and blood drop at the end were a little on-the-nose Carrie, but I suspect somebody will mention it next episode.

 

But it’s not all bad:

The body drop means that the killer’s presence is now out in the open. Super out in the open. So we should get a status quo shift that the season has been in dire need of. Let’s get slashin’.

Brooke, like usual, provides the best moments of the episode. The body drop being the highlight. I mean, all she has to do is stand there and scream, but she delivers. And Scream seriously isn’t skimping on that fake blood budget. There are buckets of the stuff.

Brooke is also our resident relationship fairy, and she gets the best line of the episode when helping Noah get Zoe to come to the party. He awkwardly invites Zoe, and she awkwardly half-accepts, so Brooke just busts through with a “He’ll pick you up at 6:30.” Makin’ it happen.

When Emma dishes to her about her almost-kiss with Eli, Brooke tells her to close her fucking legs and don’t be a dick to Kieran. Good girl.

And she accepts a date invitation from New New Guy near the end of the episode. Hey, and now she can be sure Jake wouldn’t mind. Everything’s coming up Brooke.

I must, again, commend Scream with its handling of Kevin. I assumed he would be out with the garbage, either completely written out, or at best killed off. But nope, Scream kept him around for this episode so Emma could express her disappointment in both her parents for exactly the things she should: for Kevin, that’s the beating Maggie up and being a drunk arsehole thing; and for Maggie, that’s lying about why he left and keeping him from reaching out to her.

Kevin even gets the chance to ingratiate himself to Emma when he finds her while she’s running from Ghostface in the woods. Of course, this implies that he could be Ghostface, but I personally believe him when he says he’s leaving for rehab.

Audrey begins the episode by burying the corkscrew from last episode, but Ghostface quickly puts in her bed while she’s sleeping. Audrey evidently isn’t a real alcoholic, because she finds waking up in bed with a bloodied corkscrew “scary” and “cause for alarm.” Pussy.

I wonder what New Sheriff’s sordid past is? Did he fuck Peter Hastings, too?

That aspect ratio transition during Brooke’s drug trip is adorable. It’s a perfect landing in kitsch territory.

Emma somewhat redeems her ranting about Ghostface being real once she’s had a chance to calm down. Just before the body drop, Eli comes to her saying that he, unlike Kieran (who he eavesdropped on), believes her. But although she was mad when Kieran didn’t believe her, she’s not comforted by Eli’s support, either. Because if he’s right and what she saw was real, then that means there’s a new killer out there. Eloquent.

Oh, and Scream offers the greatest surprise yet: showing characters in a high school show actually doing schoolwork. Now that’s shocking.

Scream Happy Birthday to Me Audrey Emma Brooke study hall

That explains it.

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About ijusthateeverything

Sincerity is death.

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