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TV Review: Scream 2.3 “Vacancy”
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Scream
Season 2 Episode 3 “Vacancy”
Directed by Jamie Travis
Written by Steve Yockey
Created by Jill E. Blotevogel, Jay Beattie, Dan Dworkin
Starring Willa Fitzgerald, Bex Taylor-Klaus, John Karna, Amadeus Serafini, Carlson Young, Tracy Middendorf, Tom Maden
MTV
Air date: Monday, June 13th, 2015, 11pm

Last week in Scream… no one died. However, a corpse was found, so that counts. Audrey (Bex Taylor-Klaus) was communicating with season 1 killer Piper Shaw, so tried to clean up her tracks. When Noah (John Karna) told her about a secret storage unit Piper kept, she snuck off to investigate alone and found the disemboweled corpse of Jake (Tom Maden). Not knowing her boyfriend was dead, Brooke (Carlson Young) was preparing for a romantic night out with him. And Emma (Willa Fitzgerald) seemed to find the cure for her PTSD with a tryst with Kieran (Amadeus Serafini). However, her walk home was interrupted by a driver giving chase, who turned out to be her long lost father Kevin (Tom Everett Scott).

Spoilers ahead.

Jake’s body has a message posted to it: “See how I finished the job for you Audrey?” The killer calls and taunts her. After all, she can’t call the police. When Emma calls her to tell of her dad’s resurfacing, Audrey immediately sees this as perhaps too good a coincidence. He’s gone for all the violence and murder, and magically back as soon as Emma returns from rehab. This is why I like Audrey’s character, she doesn’t play the stereotypical horror teen. Emma on the other hand, is written with a cookie cutter. Emma has breakfast with her dad and wants an explanation to why he left her, but he has none. Emma is sick of the secrets about as much as I’m sick of Emma’s family drama… GET TO THE HORROR STUFF PLEASE!

Noah and Audrey arrive at the storage unit and of course it’s emptied out, except for a security camera. Audrey is having a panic attack. When they head to Noah’s to check out the surveillance, Audrey nearly destroys his computer. Of course immediately after, she gets a text from the killer with the video of her standing over Jake’s body. Meanwhile at school, preparing for the Lady in the Lake celebration, Brooke keeps calling Jake angrily about being stood up. Well at least he had reason, ya know, death and all. Kieran’s mysterious and weird cousin Eli (Sean Grandillo) starts at Lakewood and befriends Emma. Again I have to comment on the writing of the show. All the new characters are written exactly the same. Eli, Emma’s dad, the sheriff’s son Gustavo (Santiago Segura), they all are interchangeable. They lurk behind main characters, they talk at half volume, they answer in half sentences and questions. It lacks any subtlety. Case in point: Emma’s dad regularly says things like “I can’t explain it,” or “You know why I had to leave,” and we, the audience, just sit there like “No. We don’t.” It’s a writer’s trick for when they haven’t actually come up with the answers, or just want to drag the audience along, but on this show, it gets tedious.

When Emma’s dad goes to see her mom (Tracy Middendorf), he says he came back because Emma’s friend Riley was emailing him… except Riley was murdered months ago in season 1. The sheriff doesn’t want to involve Emma, and thinks it may be more post-murders pranks. Emma gets a message from “dad” to meet her at the hotel for answers. When Eddie Krueger (yep), the manager, goes to bring a delivery to her dad’s room, it’s coated in plastic Dexter-style and he is killed brutally with a corkscrew. Finally, a legit cool scene with some good blood spatter.

At the movies to see Killer Klowns From Outer Space, Brooke sees Mr. Branson (Bobby Campo). He was the gang’s English teacher, who was sleeping with Brooke last season before he ran off, after she and most of us assumed he was the killer. He tries to win her back but she uses Gustavo as a phony boyfriend. Branson admits to sending the flowers she had assumed were from Jake, and now she’s had it for good… with the dead boyfriend. He is texting her back, but it’s been going on three episodes now.

Emma shows up at the hotel and uses the ledger to find her dad’s room. She casually strolls upstairs to his unlocked room. Audrey gets a phone call from the killer showing her a video from the hotel room bathroom where the killer awaits Emma. She gets within an inch of the bathroom door when a loud noise from outside startles her. Ugh… noise ex machina. The episode ends with the killer penalizing Audrey for calling the cops by putting the bloody corkscrew in her car. Audrey is being set up to take the fall big time.

I complained a lot, but here’s what I liked about tonight’s episode of Scream: Bex Taylor-Klaus conveys paranoia really well, and Audrey has plenty of reasons for that. We still don’t know what her role was with Piper, and the killer is pulling her strings left and right here. I like Noah and Zoe’s pending romance, although romance in a horror series could lead to instant death. And Gustavo is actually growing on me as a character too. Unfortunately there just isn’t enough good stuff yet, and I’m running out of patience. If you just want some good looking Abercrombie models running from a masked killer, you can do that anytime. But calling the show Scream, crediting Wes Craven as an executive producer, and using tons of cool horror references (the episode titles, classic horror movies in the theatre, Eddie “Krueger”) proves that someone working on this series appreciates the source material. There is good stuff to work with, Scream just needs to actually open some doors for the audiences, including taking two steps back for every nudge forward. At least we got a good kill scene though.

Scream returns next Monday night at 11:00pm ET on MTV with the episode “Happy Birthday to Me,” a nod to the 1981 slasher.

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