Scream Season 2 Retrospective

This season, if nothing else, could be presented as something of a masterclass on how to lose your audience. Emma spent every episode whining and being withdrawn, Audrey spent the whole season actively hurting the police's chances of finding the killer because she didn't want people to get the wrong idea and think she knew about the first spate of killings beforehand. And it only gets worse from there...
Just take a moment to think about how she excuses her belief that Piper wasn't the killer - she announces that when Rachel was killed, she was with Piper, so she was willing to offer the benefit of the doubt. Perfectly acceptable at the time.

Of course, Piper did turn out to be the killer. Which means that Audrey was one of only two living people who knew for a fact that there were two killers. Did she share this information with the police? Nope. Which means she spent a year covering up for a murderer to protect herself - not from prosecution, remember that she did nothing wrong in communicating with Piper - but rather from damage to her reputation in a town she hated.

So the producers saddled themselves with two lead characters that are impossible to be sympathetic with - who was there in the supporting cast to keep things interesting? The sheriff and Emma's Mom at least had compelling bits of the storyline, since I'm interested in seeing Brandon James return and getting to the truth of what happened on the night of the original massacre. Stavo was a giant creep except when he was helping out long-suffering Brooke, the one person it's possible to truly be on the side of.

Even Noah lost huge points with the audience by pursuing a relationship with Zoe even though he had every reason to believe that doing so would put her in a murderer's crosshairs. Eli was so horrible every moment he was onscreen that that even though he was totally innocent and Keiran had ruined his life, I was still incredibly happy to see him get murdered.

Which brings me to Keiran, and possibly the season's biggest flaw - he spent the entire season being a wonderful boyfriend, supporting the frankly horrible Emma through all of her PTSD, and whenever anyone was in danger from the killer he'd forcefully suggest that they go to the police and spill their guts, ruining the killer's plan. He did all this while also being the killer.

I know that the audience is supposed to feel betrayed the same way Emma was, but it just doesn't land, because by this point in the season it's really hard to be on Emma's side. I was on Team Keiran the week before I figured out he was the killer, and I'm still on it now, while he remains the most relatable character on the show, stuck in prison, conversing with the still-alive Brandon James.

Mostly I'm still on his side because of how perfunctory the killer reveal was - they literally use the incredibly tired 'wait, you said something that the killer said' reveal, having the killer make a stupid mistake rather than letting the characters actually figure it out. More importantly, though, the showrunners ruined their chance at a legitimately troubling cliffhanger of an ending: Let Keiran successfully frame Eli, fast-forward a few months making everything seem like it was back to normal, and then reveal Keiran as the killer when he's contacted by Brandon, setting up season three.

It's entirely possible that I'm the only one who would have been completely satisfied with that resolution, but it would be hard to argue that it would have been far more intriguing than what the writers ended up with.

Especially since if Keiran's going to be involved in season three in any meaningful way he'd have to break out of jail, which is an incredibly contrived plot device.

Also, and finally - the show ends with Keiran getting a phone call in prison from Brandon James-

How on earth do you - from a craft standpoint alone - make this anything but a face-to-face meeting? Have Keiran sit down at one of those booths with a transparent wall, he doesn't recognize the person he's looking at, and we don't see the other person at all, then he picks up the phone, talks to him, and only then do we realize Brandon is back.

It's more dramatic and it promises the audience that Brandon's face will finally be revealed next year. How did they not see that?

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