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Decoding Scream TV's DNA & That One Kill From Last Night

Scream the TV show (STV) has relied heavily on the fact that it is the genetic love-child of the Scream movies and I Know What You Did Last Summer (IKWYDLS). In episode 7 (“In the Trenches”) we found out that while the Scream film franchise is certainly the mom, the Dad most definitely isn’t IKWYDLS.

SPOILERS for the Scream movies, Scream TV series, and other horror films follows.

The first trilogy in the Scream films relied heavily on playing out a riff on the Fall of Man. The virginal protagonist (Sydney) continually blamed (while her friends are murdered and maimed) for the ‘sins’ of the Mother/Whore specter that was Maureen Prescott. A reverse sins of the father are visited upon the son that has roots in Adam & Eve’s exile from the Garden of Eden. Who better to blame than the the independent woman who gets all cozy with the snake-ish charmer. A healthy dose of sibling rivalry and murder always follows a prologue like that.


For a show that I recently gave the peer review treatment usually reserved for critiquing a classmates 10-page term paper on “Why We Must Run With Scissors”. A potentially interesting idea but ridiculous in execution. I didn’t think I’d be revisiting this show for another post, maybe an end of season wrap-up but heck even that wasn’t guaranteed, because I’m just wasn’t that into it. Then last night’s episode put one more nail in the background story, killed any potential that this was a group of friends do a horrible thing and get their just desserts story, and gave me a kill in the last minutes that actually made me feel goddamn giddy.

About That Nail

Much like Maureen Prescott became the bane of Sydney’s existence, so to has Maggie “call me Daisy, Daisy” Duvall become to her daughter Emma. Maureen may have been dead for the entirety of the movies, but Maggie is still alive and kicking. In episode 6 (“Betrayed”) Emma finally learns more about Brandon James from her mom. Maggie and Brandon, or as she calls him Bran, were next door neighbors and friends. Bran had a big old crush on Maggie back in the day (high school, 1994), but Maggie was in love with Kevin (Emma’s dad). Bran tried to tell Maggie that Kevin wasn’t the one for her and to espouse his undying love. That didn’t go as planned because five students at Lakewood High ended up dead, Kevin the only survivor of the massacre. Maggie met with Bran later that night in her backyard on a pier that jutted into the lake that bordered their property. Maggie didn’t believe Bran was responsible for the massacre and thought she was going to hear the real story about what happened. But the cops showed up before Bran could say one word to Maggie, shooting him. Brandon fell off the pier and sunk into the lake faster then Jason Voorhees with a chain wrapped around his neck that’s attached to a boulder. Maggie still doesn’t believe that Bran was responsible for the past killings.

This most recent episode gave us a bit more insight as to why Maggie might continue to believe in Bran’s innocence and provides us with another red herring to add to the pile. First, I think it is important to give credit where credit is due. Noah, our walking, talking meta-exposition character, informs Emma that the killer isn’t playing a game of checkers, but a game of chess. Emma is locked in a game where every piece on the board she has is vulnerable while the killer’s pieces are protected. This is pretty spot on because Emma is playing more than the usual game of cat and mouse. The killer has made her feel complicit in the death of Riley and responsible for the outcome of whether Will lives or dies. This differs from the Scream movies as far as I can recall where just being friends with Sydney could get you killed but Sydney never had to make the call on which of her friends should live or die.

Bran ❤ Maggie

So near the end of the episode, where Emma and her group of reckless Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew save Will from the abandoned bowling alley of horrors, we get some more Brandon James backstory. The killer left a clue, carved into Will’s back, for Emma. This clue leads to her discovering a cassette tape wrapped in a bowling rental receipt. The receipt let’s Emma know that Brandon worked at the bowling alley. The tape is a recording of one of her dad’s therapy sessions for the PTSD he suffered from being a participant in the 1994 episode of So You Want to Survive a Horror Story. Apparently, the one thing that Kevin (Emma’s dad) can’t get out of his mind is supposedly seeing Bran and Maggie making the beast with two backs.


I did the math folks, Emma can’t be Brandon James and Maggie’s daughter. That would be impossible since the whole Brandon James thing went down in 1994 and this is 2015. Emma would have to be 21 now and not a 16 year old in High School.


I’m throwing out the red herring the show is trying to plant here that the killer is Emma’s dad. It was already spoiled upon delivery and it is stinking up the place. Kevin has no rational justification to be targeting his daughter. He may have issues from being a survivor and watching his high school sweetheart get jiggy with Bran but he eventually married Maggie and had a daughter with her. He left because he couldn’t move on from the events of 1994. His absent father routine is a shitty enough revenge.

There Will Be Blood

Back to the love-child analogy. It seems that there is a bit of Saw and Evil Dead up in the DNA of this show now. We only saw one instance in the Scream films where a remote trap was used to kill off a character (more on that below) and it wasn’t some elaborately rigged killing device like in the Saw movies. And while there was some bloody gleeful fun played out in the TV series very first killing (heads up!), all the killings have been of the stabbing, hanging, and possibly decapitating (though it could have been done after the killing) variety. The killer was always within arms reach of the victim.


This was the kill at the end of the most recent episode that had me picking my mouth up off the floor and then laughing out loud.


Will and I were wearing the same expression when we got to this point. WTF?!?

That is some blood splatter aftermath worthy of Evil Dead right there. WTF?!?

I’m Calling It

We’re in the 7th inning stretch for this show. I fully expect we’re going to see the psychological fallout from Emma’s unexpected end of episode bloodbath. I also think the kill rate is going to pick up swiftly in the final three episodes. We are after all entering the third act.


So about that one time in the Scream movies where a remote kill was used, that’d be Scream 3. The scene where the killer faxed pages of the script in order to keep people in the room with the gas leak. The gas leak would either knock out and suffocate anyone in the room or cause an explosion (Parker Posey’s character was an actress that smoked). This one.

In Scream 3, the killer is Sydney’s half-brother Roman who had mommy & sibling rivalry issues.


I am 99% sure I know who one of the TV show’s killers is and that there are at least two people acting as the killer much like 3 out of 4 of the Scream films. Please allow me to quote myself from the top of this post.

A healthy dose of sibling rivalry and murder always follows a prologue like that.


So who have we seen on the screen would be old enough to be the love-child of Bran and Maggie? Piper Shaw, the character we are supposed to believe is this shows Gale Weathers. Piper Shaw who has barely played any significant role on this show other than to have the teen characters provide her with exposition. In an episode 5 scene where Piper and Emma have a chat we learn two things. First, Piper is at least 21 since she has a whole speech about not directly offering a sip of her flask to the underage Emma. Second, Piper’s father was murdered when she was too young to remember. How convenient. I think Piper Shaw has some mommy and sibling rivalry issues. She is who I think killer number one is.


However, there has to be a second killer donning Brandon James’ mask for my theory to be true. This could go one of two ways. Who else would have motive? What about Brandon’s parents? This would be a call back to Scream 2 where Debbie Salt was one of the killers (along with Mickey whom she met on some message board for psycho killers). Debbie was Billy Loomis’ mother. She was out to avenge her sons death. Debbie also pretended to be a bit news reporter for the local paper to get close to (and keep an eye on) the trio of Syd, Gale, and Dewey. This is my preference for the other killer(s), one or both of Brandon’s parents.

However, this isn’t a ‘smart’ show by a long stretch so I can’t discount it being someone like Kieran who moves in with his father after his mother and step-father die in an accident. Kieran who is Emma’s new beau. Kieran who could be a budding psycho that Piper met on Slasher-Match.com.


Piper is one of the killers. I’d bet my life on it.

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