This review contains spoilers.
1.3 Wanna Play A Game?
“Everyone you trust is lying to you,” said the scary voice guy on the phone to Emma last week. This week, that message receives a deadly affirmation.
No secret being kept from Emma is more pivotal than what Maggie, Emma’s mom, has kept buried for two decades. We’ve known since day one that she has a dark history with Brandon James, the killer in a string of gruesome teen murders back in her high school days. As Brandon’s obsession–and who ultimately helped to bring him down, though not intentionally–she is inescapably tied to the current revival of his original rampage.
It’s a connection that Emma does not fully make until she overhears Maggie confessing all of this, as well as an implication that there’s even more in her past she’d rather not get into, to the sheriff. After doing her own digging courtesy of the sheriff’s enigmatic son, Kieran, she learns that Maggie is the “Daisy” of Brandon’s James’s fixation. Besides plunging her into a serious bout of emo, this revelation establishes for her that she’s not just another potential victim. She’s at the very centre of the killer’s plans.
Emma’s character unfortunately veers too close to annoying rather than sympathetic at times, but it’s understandable that a teen in her predicament would spend a percentage of her time storming out of rooms and indulging in coffee shop self-pitying. She really does need to get a handle, though, on that “indirectly sending people to their deaths” thing. She is exonerated of last week’s guilt about Rachel’s death when she learns it was a murder instead of a suicide, but her involvement in the viral video is exploited by the killer as an ostensible motive for Rachel to kill herself.
Sadly, Riley is this week’s victim of the rock-and-hard-place situation in which the killer puts Emma. The “good girl” in the “good girl or bad girl” choice Emma has to make, she’s the one Emma reaches first and whom Emma thinks she can protect by telling her to stay put, thus defaulting her to death. This does not come as a shock, as compared to “bad girl” Brooke, she’s the less interesting and more disposable. Still, she was an adorable part of a quirky couple with Noah, and her death scene as she video chats with him, staring up at “their stars,” is endearingly overplayed. Riley does, incidentally, subvert a horror trope when she is called away to her doom before she and Noah can “do the deed,” as it were.
Frankly, I wanted it to be Will this episode. I got my hopes up during the first of two lingering shots of the menacingly spiraling blades of the tractor he’s riding. It’s too soon for him, though, now that we know about his sketchy surreptitious dealings with slimy Jake and, previously, Tyler (RIP). I hope their story gets more compelling, as I really don’t care about either of them, but admittedly I’m a bit too bloodthirsty in these types of plots. We do know now, at least, that the guys have their own sordid secret; we just don’t know what, if anything, it has to do with the murders.
At least my Brooke’s still alive and using Nina’s lipstick (ew), and I’m still hooked. The show isn’t shying away from keeping the death count mounting, and it’s still hinting at a good payoff to the Maggie storyline. I hope that’s the case. I’d like to see some twists and/or turns that are less predictable, but overall, the show is still fun and smart, and I’m still compelled to tune in next week for more teen murder and melodrama.
Read Holly’s review of the previous episode, Hello Emma, here.
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