‘Scream: The TV Series’- Season Finale Review: When a Stranger Yawns

EMMA AND KIERAN EPISODE 212

On the season finale of “Scream: The TV Series,” the killer was finally unmasked and we learned the fates of everyone left standing, in “When a Stranger Calls.” Perhaps needless to say, we’re going to get into spoiler territory pretty quick here, so fair warning!

So, the odds-on favorite for the identity of the killer was undeniably Kieran (Amadeus Serafini), while, at the same time, most everyone was hoping it wouldn’t be someone so obvious, with others vying for a more traditionally convoluted reveal, such as the Sheriff (Anthony Ruivivar) turning out to be Troy James- which wouldn’t have made much sense, given all his interactions with Maggie Duval (Tracy Middendorf), who knew him from her teen days, as well as the James brothers.

Others assumed it would be one of the newer characters, like Kieran’s creepy brother Eli (Sean Grandillo) or the Sheriff’s equally iffy son, Gustavo (Santiago Segura), neither of which would have been that surprising, either. I even heard a nutty theory that had the late Zoe (Kiana Ledé) faking her death somehow, only to throw people off so she could come back and kill everyone off in the end!

Almost anything would have been preferable to what we got, which was, predictably, Kieran. Yep, that old, hoary cliché: the boyfriend did it. Indeed, as we discovered, it was the boyfriend all around, as Kieran revealed that he had been involved with Piper (Amelia Rose Blaire) long before they came to Lakewood, after his Sheriff father sent him to live with his mother in Atlanta, which is where they met.

As two cast-offs with parent issues- lest we forget, the show reminded us that Maggie had also abandoned her child as well- they had fallen in love, and when Audrey (Bex Taylor-Klaus) contacted Piper, saw the perfect opportunity for revenge, with the main intention being to kill Kieran’s father, which they did, and then Emma and her mother, which they obviously didn’t.

BROOKE, NOAH AND EMMA EPISODE 212

Instead, Audrey gummed up the works by teaming up with Emma to kill Piper off last season. Heartbroken, Kieran doubled-down and concocted a new plan, with roughly the same agenda: to bring down Emma and her mom, but this time, making room to frame Audrey and Emma as Piper’s partners-in-crime.

Kieran would then kill them both and claim to have followed Emma there for her safety, only to be blindsided when she and Audrey came after him and tried to kill him and he was forced to “defend” himself against the bloodthirsty killers. Oddly, the show itself seemed to realize how lame this all was, when it had Audrey proclaim: “Really? Daddy issues? That’s all you got?” to Kieran at one point. Exactly.

Indeed, let’s face it, the show itself was off all season. It’s first mistake was in extending the season to twelve episodes instead of last season’s ten, meaning that there was a whole lot of filler along the way. Even worse, while this might have been passable if the killer had been more active, they barely killed anyone of consequence after the premiere, which saw core character Jake (Tom Maden) summarily offed.

Yes, they did take out the teacher Brooke (Carlson Young) was sleeping with at one point, though it literally took several episodes for even that to happen, and eventually Brooke’s father, the Mayor (Bryan Batt), in the penultimate episode, but overall, the murders were scarce, especially compared to last season, and some of them were randos like a hotel clerk and a cop we didn’t even know.

As such, only Jake, the Mayor, and maybe Zoe held any weight to them, which is unfortunate. A show like this should hit us where it hurts, which means at least one of the other key cast members should have bit the big one for it to be effective. Hell, I would have even settled for Maggie, Emma’s mom, but I think they were hesitant to go there because they clearly intend to finally address the James brothers thing next season, if there is one.

scream 01

By playing it safe and refusing to kill any of the main characters, though, the show did itself a major disservice by seeming too timid overall, and not having the courage of its convictions. I really enjoyed the first season overall, even if the big killer reveal was sort of meh. However, by sticking with the original movie series’ typical parameters of having more than one killer, it seemed like this season could redeem any misgivings fans had about the first season reveal.

Instead, there were long stretches of nothing really of note happening, made even worse by the extended season. Don’t think fans didn’t notice it, either, as the comments I read about the show were not positive for the most part, making its chances of survival dubious at best, especially with the dwindling ratings this season, which went from an average of 750,000 viewers to a mere 380,000, thanks to all the negative fallout, as well as the various time slot changes.

The final scene seemed to set things up for the return of Brandon James, when a mysterious person called Kieran in prison and asked him: “Who told you, you could wear my mask?” But does anyone care at this point, especially if it is James, meaning we’d already know who the killer was going into the third season?

Matters weren’t exactly helped by the various plot-holes throughout the season, none so sketchy as the fact that, when the cops came during the final showdown, how the hell did they even know Kieran was the actual killer? Think about it: up until then, they were going on a theory that Emma and Audrey had done it, and indeed, all signs pointed to them.

Sure, Noah posited a theory to the Sheriff that it could be Eli, but going by what they walked into, what with Audrey throttling Kieran with a chain as Emma seemingly prepared to shoot him, why did they just assume that Kieran was the culprit and arrest him? One would think they would have immediately assumed that the other two were indeed the killers and arrested them first, giving Kieran time to talk his way out of things.

EMMA EPISODE 212

Granted, that wouldn’t have been very satisfying, either, if the season ended with those two behind bars and the killer free and clear, but the show could have at least had a scene where the Sheriff determined that Kieran was the killer while looking into Eli somehow. Instead, it just seemed rushed and questionable all around.

Given how dragged out the rest of the season was, that’s a big problem, since the success of the entire season kind of rests of the big reveal, something even the show, once again, was self-aware of, even going so far as to have Noah comment on it. It’s almost as if, by commenting on it throughout the episode, the show sought to absolve itself from the lameness of the reveal!

Newsflash: pointing out your show’s shortcomings within the dialogue doesn’t make them any less dubious. Look, I don’t hate the show, and I quite like some of the characters, especially Brooke and Noah, though the show naturally sidelined them towards the end of the season for a large portion of time by having both attacked, but naturally, not fatally.

As much as I would have hated to see either die, at least THOSE deaths would have left a mark, unlike much of the ones we got. In the end, as Audrey herself pointed out, everything from the motives of the killer to the “big reveal” were kind of lame. Factor in a whole lot of hemming and hawing on the part of the show-runners to pad out the season and you have what was ultimately a pretty unsatisfying season, unfortunately.

So, in the unlikely event that the show continues, can it even redeem itself? Hard to say, but it would definitely have to pack some punches the third time around for it to be remotely effective. That means deaths that really hit home for fans, much better plotting and a more involved, satisfying big reveal at the end that ties the whole thing together. It’s not impossible, but it is unlikely.

KIERAN EPISODE 212

Would you welcome another season of the show? What do you predict the fate of “Scream: The TV Series” will be? Would it do well to quit while it’s behind? Or can it redeem itself in season three? How so?

What was your favorite moment of the season? (For me, it was easily the episode with Noah facing off with the killer in the woods, which was the only one for me which came close to the intensity of the original movie series, where there seemed to be real stakes and the possibility of death for a beloved character.) How about your least favorite?

Sound off on this and more down below, and thanks for reading!