'Scream' S1E2: Hello, Emma.

★ ★ ★ ½

Definitely a better episode than the pilot (the bar was set very, very low), "Hello, Emma." succeeded at finding a balance between horror and teen drama that actually worked. While it’s still not as terrifying as horror fans may like (the murder scenes aren’t very brutal), Scream has begun to find a good direction for the series.

Rachel, the second murder victim, managed to get her character pretty well fleshed out (pardon the pun) in her short run. A horror movie cliché herself (yes, the suicidal girl who "kills herself" is a thing), Rachel dealt with the very real self-esteem and depression issues that come from cyberbullying. Using a voice modifier, the killer poses as Audrey and tells Rachel to come out to their "special place" on the balcony, where she finds a noose. The killer then wraps it around her neck and throws her off the balcony, snapping her neck in the process. One of the killers (I’m going to assume that there are two as per tradition) must be strong, since he had to hoist Rachel back over the balcony and then hang her up on the fan. That takes a lot of physical effort. Based on this we know that one or both of the killers is, most likely, a man.

Scream S1

Something that Scream has handled well so far are the clever twists on the "What’s your favorite scary movie?" calls that die-hard fans of the film series love so much. The call Emma receives towards the end of the episode, where the killer poses as a home security systems operator, is an intelligent and fun reinterpretation of Sydney Prescott’s call ("Did you lock me in or out?").

This episode portrays its subjects in a more realistic way than did the pilot. The group members don’t fall into their archetypes as harshly any longer. Brooke, especially, has improved (and that’s saying a lot). Her personality in general is more like that of an actual person than in the pilot ("The castle genre?"). While her friendship with Emma will probably be a interesting, if shaky part of the series, I suspect that it’s her relationship with Mr. Branson that will be the main focus of her story (at least, right up until her eventual murder). It’s a surprise that those two haven’t been caught yet; they aren’t exactly discreet.

Moving away from the large amount of meta humor that was shown in the pilot, it was nice to see "Hello, Emma." embrace the slasher genre rather than just spoof it.

Scream S1E2 Suspect List

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