This review contains spoilers.
2.13 Halloween & 2.14 Halloween II
Emma! Girl, if you’re going to do the brooding, “I can’t let people get too close” thing, maybe use it to not make out with a rando murderer within the first few hours of arriving on Murder Island?
Oh hey, everyone! We’re back, albeit briefly, for a Halloween whodunit, for once not in Lakewood but still very much involving the Lakewood Five, er…Four, now. In the wake of incarcerated Kieran’s untimely–or perfectly timed, some might say–demise, the Four are whisked off to an island getaway for a little rest and recovery. Of course, as we’re at the beginning of a two-hour Scream special episode, we know that neither of those things is gonna happen.
What does happen is an adventure equal parts Agatha Christie, I Know What You Did Last Summer, any number of haunted mansion movies, Scooby Doo, and Lizzie Borden (and in my opinion, a part or two of The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, but maybe that’s a stretch?). It’s a great combination of fun and holiday spooks. This episode also, presumably, was conceived at a time when Scream’s third season was as yet undetermined, so flexibility to serve as either a series-ender or a bridge between seasons would have been a concern.
It looks like it’s going to be the latter! We now have confirmation that season three is a go, and with this special, a hint of where it’s going. The special, though, occurs in a different location and almost feels suspended in time; we know it’s a number of months after Kieran’s spree ended and he was convicted for all the murders, but the central one-off mystery is based on a notorious set of murders in the island’s distant past. Noah and Stavo–now published graphic novelists–are there to learn about Anna Hobbs, the historical murderess, so they can draw on her story for their next contractually obligatory book. Noah’s not thrilled, as he’s still got some survivor’s guilt going on, but he and the other survivors all agree they need to get out of Murderville for a while.
This episode does several things right. One concern about heading forward into a new season has been Brandon James plot fatigue–how many times can his mask be handed off to a new teen-killer who turns out to be covertly connected to the previous one? With the Halloween special, though, we get–yes–a masked killer, but one rooted in a spooky local legend…and who is not Brandon James or remotely related to him. Brandon is still an enigma, and yeah, we should probably get some answers about him soon, but a break from the whole thing before we stop caring about answers at all is a wise choice.
And how about that opening kill? Sudden, gory, unexplained–Kieran got what was coming to him, and how! The show could have easily kept him in a cell, maybe attempting some sort of ersatz Hannibal Lecter thing, but eliminating a plot that has been adequately concluded eliminates what could have turned into an albatross in season three. A satisfying kill unto itself, in the vein (pun not intended) of some of Scream’s best, it also serves as a reveal that there is still a killer on the loose–and not even Kieran knew who he/she is.
The conclusion of the special, too, alludes to this new mystery, and after two hours of a different story, I found I was excited at the prospect of returning to Lakewood for more murdery goodness. So now we know Emma’s dad will be back (and staring at Kieran’s grave in the dark?), and someone will be checking back into the hotel under the name “James.” The gang is now even closer–one particularly sweet moment is Audrey explaining her relationship with Emma to her new girlfriend–which is a good thing, as it looks like they’re going to need each other more than ever.
See you back in Lakewood next year, and Happy Halloween!