‘Scream: The TV Series’ Season 2 Premiere Review: Who Knows What She Did Last Summer?

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It seemed about right that the second season of “Scream: The TV Series” would kick off with a film-within-a-TV-show fake-out, which is in keeping with “Scream 2,” which, as you’ll probably recall if you’re watching this show, also began in a movie theater. Unlike that movie, though, this one didn’t begin with an actual murder, but rather another fake-out, which was a bit of a cheat, but okay.

Actually, it might have actually been more interesting if they had victim of a prank-gone-wrong Audrey (Bex Taylor-Klaus) actually kill the guy posing as a psycho. After all, for all she knew, it was the real deal, and it wasn’t anything she hasn’t done before, sort of. Remember, she did shoot previous season killer Piper, though ultimately it was Emma that finished her off, as the series reminds us.

I did find it amusing that the person in on it with the prankster was appalled and wanted to press charges because Audrey freaking stabbed a guy she had just seen seemingly kill another girl right in front of her, because, you know, it was just a JOKE and all. Hey, it’s all fun and games until somebody loses an eye, am I right? Ugh. Millennials. (Settle down, I am one, albeit by the skin of my teeth.)

The show did forgo the whole celebrity-bites-it-in-the-first-scene thing, unless you count the film-within-the-show offing Vine star Lele Pons, who does have- be still my heart- some 11 million followers. Although, for a hot minute, I thought it was Kesha. Does that count, if you think it was someone it wasn’t? Probably not.

Also, does Vine “star” actually count as a “real” star? Not being mean- I’m just genuinely curious. I suppose if any given “star” on “Dancing with the Stars” counts, then that’s just as good as any other they could have chosen. Maybe there were budget cuts at MTV this season. (Ok, maybe THAT was mean.)

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Anyway, fake-out or not, the cold open was pretty enjoyable, and I did get a kick out of the typically “Scream”-esque poking fun at horror movie cliches- the buxom girl looking for her lost cat in the attic in the dark- and there was more where that came from in the show, including a salute to horror mastermind and “Scream” originator Wes Craven, who, in a nice touch, retained his producing credit from…beyond the grave. Oooohhhh!!! Spooky!

That said, I was even more impressed by the more obscure references this time around, including the ones around the same time about the perennially underrated “Dreamscape” and “Bad Dreams,” both of which are longtime favorites of mine. To say nothing of the horror comic book/graphic novel references dropped.

About the only complaints I had in this regard was the strange lack of known properties in terms of the posters on the walls, particularly in the movie theater. Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure those were fake movies, which is kind of bizarre. You’d think they’d jump at the chance to cross-promote some new horror stuff or old horror faves that way, but maybe it was a licensing thing.

Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong on that one, though- maybe the posters were for movies I’ve never heard of- it’s possible. Who knows? Either way, I did appreciate the deep cut references that were there, so there’s that. I actually thought that scene in the classroom with the psych professor (new recruit Austin Highsmith) was arguably the best in the premiere, save the opening, and also quite reminiscent of a similar scene in “Scream 2,” in a good way.

Beyond that, it was a fairly standard premiere: we saw what everyone had been up to and where they are at in their lives now. In addition to Audrey’s gig at the movie theatre, her pal Noah (John Karna) had taken over the Morgue podcast from Piper and was using it to try and make sense of the past killings, including interviewing all of the survivors, who he dubbed “The Lakewood 6.”

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Meanwhile, Brooke (Carlson Young) and Jake (Tom Maden), after helping each other get through the trauma of what they’d faced, opted to break up- or rather, Brooke chose to dump Jake, more accurately. Perhaps understandably, as Jake and her father were still at odds with one another after Jake tried to blackmail him in Season 1.

Sadly, main heroine Emma was left a shell of her former self, having had to go away to get professional help after said events of Season 1, resulting in her being more than a little skittish when she finally returned to town, to the point of being extremely standoffish to her boyfriend Kieran (Amadeus Serafini) and rebuffing his sexual advances.

Other new recruits include: Zoe (Kiana Lede), a driven classmate that Emma seeks help getting up to speed in school from; Gustavo (Santiago Segura), this year’s Kieran, in that he’s a little brooding and creepy and almost certainly a red herring suspect for the new killer; and new Sheriff in town Michael Acosta (Anthony Ruivivar), who also happens to be Gustavo’s dad, just like the old Sheriff with Keiran.

There’s also the two pranksters who teamed up to scare Audrey, but I didn’t catch their names. From the looks of the preview, the girl (who I think is Mary Katherine Duhon, of WGN’s “Underground”) at the very least, will be back to stir up trouble later on. Karina Logue, sister of Donal (“Gotham”) and formerly of “Bates Motel” will also crop up at a later date as another recurring character.

Beyond that, the main set-up was that someone appeared to be stalking the “Lakewood 6,” with Jake the first to go, as he ran afoul of a bear trap, then was hung up upside down by his captor and dispatched by a scythe, of all things. Well, it was wielded by a guy in a death mask and a hooded robe, so there you go.

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In addition, someone- perhaps the same someone, or in cahoots with them- was apparently harassing Audrey, attempting to blackmail her with their knowledge of her involvement with Piper, who she had been communicating with via letter, which this person had copies of. No real attack on Audrey as of yet, but it’s only a matter of time, one would imagine.

Also, Emma had a crazy dream involving a barn with a kid playing with guts inside that proved to have a real-life counterpart, in that it supposedly belonged to Troy James, brother of alleged killer Bradley, also from Season 1. Emma found said barn and snuck into the nearby house, only to find a bunch of clippings of the murders, as well as photographs of herself taken from various points in her life. Can you say stalker?

That was about it, really, though I somewhat enjoyed the requisite after-show, almost in spite of the host, who I’m pretty sure was actually trying to be annoying on purpose. Is that a thing now? Whatever the case, he didn’t stop the show from being entertaining for the most part, particularly the opening credits, which were presented as a sort of pseudo “Too Many Cooks”-type, complete with a goofy song and hilariously deadpan turns from the stars of the show.

There was also an “exit interview” with the show’s deceased, in which it was discussed which serial killer was hotter, Ted Bundy or Charles Manson! Classy. Still, I laughed, almost in spite of myself. Not sure if they plan on doing this every week, but I did really dig the behind-the-scenes stuff.

Also, is it me or did star Willa Fitzgerald get a little hotter over the break? Not sure if it’s the hair or the fact that she filled out a bit more, but I’m digging it. Nothing wrong with a little more bounce to the ounce. She keeps this up, she might just give resident bombshell Young a run for her money.

All in all, a solid enough premiere, though a lot will depend on how this plays out over the season, obviously. Until then, fingers crossed it’s better than last season, which wasn’t as bad as it could have been and almost better than it had a right to be, but there’s definitely room for improvement. We shall see.

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Join me again later in the season for a check-in to see how things are going, especially if another of the “Lakewood 6” is killed. To paraphrase the movie title the episode took its name from, I know what I’ll be doing this summer!