Netflix UK TV review: Scream Season 2, Episode 7 (Let the Right One In)
James R | On 19, Jul 2016
Warning: This contains spoilers.
Scream continues its neat trend of naming its episodes after horror films with Let the Right One In – a bold film to reference, if you’re not going to do it justice.
Episode 7 takes its cue from the Swedish flick by dividing its hour into two fledgling romances. The first is Eli and Emma, whom the show insists on trying to make a thing. Whether it’s the fact that Eli seems to mainly exist to be creepy, though, or the fact that Kieran and Emma have zero chemistry at the moment – perhaps intentionally, as their relationship is meant to be on rocks – it’s hard to care all that much.
But if Eli’s only characteristic is that he’s really weird, boy, has the show gotten good at that: the episode begins with a cold open that sees him “Goldilocks” his way through someone else’s house, wandering around while they’re sleeping and playing with a knife. It’s a wordless scene that’s directed with a nice touch of class, injecting just enough tension into the air to remind you why this TV series is so fun to watch. (The opposite of the cast’s performance, with Kieran particularly poor at showing any kind of anger when he spies Eli and Emma flirting in the cafe.)
Eli’s plan to woo Emma? He invites her for another stint of Goldilocks-style fun in an abandoned home. First, the amusement park last week, now a house in the middle of nowhere? For someone afraid of a serial killer, that girl seriously needs to rethink her nocturnal hobbies.
On the other hand, we get to see Noah and Zoe hook up for a “study date”, which mostly involves them driving out to the lake to make out. It’s kind of nice to see them both, especially Noah, enjoy themselves a bit and relax, but what emerges is a string of suspicious deceptions from her. First, she tells Noah that she was away from school during Season 1 to be on the SpaceX program, which Noah calls her out for lying about. She confesses, but her reason for lying? We don’t get it. And Noah, the hormone-addled youth that he is, just lets it slide. Second, we see her look at his phone without him realising, before, third, logging into his computer while he’s out of the room and emailing (we presume herself) a copy of Audrey’s recorded confession from the other episode.
What is she doing with it? That’s anybody’s guess, but what it does mean is that she isn’t the killer. The show, after all, wouldn’t make it anywhere near so obvious this early in the game – a shame, because she was our pick for Ghostface 2.0. Still, it’ll be interesting to see what the resolution of those revelations will be, mainly because we genuinely care about Noah’s character and any story-line connected to him. (Evidence A: The gloriously funny spectacle of him buying condoms, only for an elderly shopkeeper to quiz him on the size of his manhood. It’s that kind of mundane moment that the TV show has time for, making the characters more human and substantial than in a standard slasher film.)
It’s also interesting to see what impact Noah’s new bae will have upon BFF, possible killer and sort-of-love-interest Audrey – her stumbling in on them having sex may have a sisterly awkwardness about it, but you can’t help but wonder why on earth Noah would suddenly be happy to share a bed with Audrey, given that he was secretly recording her earlier this season.
Speaking of strange romances, Brooke is having a nervous breakdown about the fact that she left Mr. Branson tied up to a hotel bed, quite understandably. She promptly recruits Audrey to help (“You went full Hard Candy on Branson?”), while the killer promptly orders Audrey to go to the school alone to meet them. At the school awaits Ms. Lang, who is pottering about in her office, until Ghostface 2.0 decides to do some pottering about too, with a knife. A corridor chase and a clockwork pig later – seriously, what’s with the pigs this season? – and the psychology teacher is sprawled on the floor at the bottom of the stairs, her head gushing claret.
All that to raid her office and steal her recordings of conversations with Emma and details on the other Lakewood survivors? It seems like an unnecessary step (surely, Ghostface 2.0 already knows everything about them), and a bit of a cheap cliff-hanger, given that Lang doesn’t even end up dead, thanks to the janitor (and Brooke and Audrey) turning up in time. And, speaking of narrowly avoiding death by some inexplicable miracle, Mr. Branson is also alive and well – but not for much longer, perhaps, as Eli and Emma find the house they’re in set on fire by the killer, with (you guessed it) Eddie’s corpse and the de-handed Branson trapped into the bathroom, all ready to burn to death.
It’s a frustrating reveal, not just because the threat of killing people loses a lot of weight – we’ve seen too many characters apparently get it, only to un-bump themselves off later – but because it puts pay to all our favourite picks for the killer. Ms. Lang? She’s off the cards now, as is Branson. But that’s testament, if anything, to Scream’s ability to keep the identity of its killer secret – every time you think you’ve got the formula sussed out, the series changes the game. Even Sheriff Acosta, we discover, has some kind of secret involving Brandon James, Emma’s mum and the farmhouse from Emma’s childhood, which she keeps having flashback dreams to (featuring pigs). Is that another red herring? Will Emma’s mum come clean? Will Branson ever die?
Even with the odd blip, Scream Season 2 continues to do a solid job of developing its core characters. It’s no Let the Right One In, but if it goes easy on the romance and step up the body count, it’s no wrong ‘un either.
Scream the TV series is available to watch online on Netflix UK, as part of an £9.99 monthly subscription. Episodes arrive every Wednesday at 8am, within 24 hours of their US debut.