“Wow, you sound like a bad romantic comedy. Except we didn’t meet-cute, we met sick/twisted.” – Emma
In Scream’s fifth episode, Emma deals with the fallout of footage of her losing her virginity going viral. Meanwhile Jake and Will make me wish even more that they would just get killed off already.
I will give credit where it’s due, this episode did a lot to make me get behind the show’s main character. Willa Fitzgerald’s performance managed to clear the spectacularly low bar set by the rest of the cast throughout the show’s first four episodes. By the end of Exposed, I felt like Emma was a character I could actually root for when the carnage truly begins.
On the other hand, Jake and Will’s dumbass storyline reached the height of stupidity in this episode. Let’s follow the logic of the show. The first couple episodes we’re led to believe that they just have lurid videos of their classmates. They’re perverted and terrible friends. Then we find out they have some type of dirt on the mayor of their town. Okay, so at least they’re not just spying on their friends. Teenagers want money without thinking through the implications. It’s not enough to get me invested in their annoying subplot, but whatever.
Then Exposed divulged what dirt the world’s dumbest “bros” had on the mayor. They have video footage of the man concealing the death of his wife by taking the body out of his trunk in his garage in his home. They use this video as leverage to extort the mayor. Okay, I can almost get on board with that. I mean, they’re teenagers, they’re stupid, they don’t think about the implications of their actions. Sure. But then Jake takes the video to the mayor’s house to show Brooke what her dad has been up to.
This is where I would have quit the show and deleted it from my memory if I weren’t reviewing it here. Seriously. I can get behind Jake setting Will up to take the fall. That’s actually a good move for the dumbass to make. But if you have video of the mayor hiding a body, why on Earth would you go to the mayor’s house to show it to your friend?! Seriously? I genuinely want to hear from someone who doesn’t think this is the dumbest thing a character in a TV show could possibly do.
For one thing, as much as we know about Jake’s knowledge of the crime, it can be inferred that the mayor murdered his wife. If that video is the only thing Jake knows about the crime, that’s the only logical conclusion he can draw. The video footage he has is from the mayor’s house, and he knows the place is wired with cameras and enabled with audio. So his idea is to go to that house with the video to tell Brooke about it in a room he knows is under surveillance.
Here’s where I give Jake the benefit of the doubt. Let’s say the writers intended for Jake to make that dumbass decision knowing that the mayor would see it. Maybe Jake intentionally did that so that the mayor would kill Will for him. But one of the many problems with that theory is that nothing in this show has signalled that Jake is anywhere near that clever or even that maniacal. Besides, why would he go into the lion’s den for this purpose when he could just as easily send the mayor a note implicating Will?
What discredits this theory (eh, justification would probably be a better word) even more is that he showed Brooke the video. Everything about the scene indicates that it’s an effort for the character to come clean and safeguard himself from implication. All of this could have been set in the coffee shop or in the school or in that field that Emma and what’s his name banged in at the end of the episode. But no, the writers decided to have this conscience clearing, information dump take place in the house of a person who (to the best of Jake’s knowledge) is a murderer with everything to lose.
Aside from that incredibly irritating plot development, this episode was relatively solid. Like I’ve said in the past couple reviews, there were moments this week where I felt like there is an admirable teen slasher drama worthy of the Scream name in this series. Seeing how Emma reacted to learning the She’s All That truth about her relationship with Will made me feel like this is a strong character worthy of surviving the bloodbath to come. She’s been the series’ “final girl” from the pilot but Exposed is the episode that made me want her to be it.
I was wrong in my previous review about Piper potentially being the TV series version of Gale Weathers. I’ll gladly eat crow as I say that Piper’s scene with Emma on the bench actually made me care about the podcaster chasing a story. Though, giving a distraught teenager a sip from a flask in broad daylight on a weekday (presumably) is a bit much. I feel like even carrying around a flask in her purse in a town she’s visiting for her job casts Piper in an irritatingly negative light.
Another high point of the Emma storyline in this episode is that she’s not putting up with Will at all. I’m so glad that the show isn’t teasing a “will they, won’t they” plot out of Will and Emma. (A “Will they, Emma they,” if you will.) Even though the Kieran and Emma romance is a little lame and too dependent on Kieran’s annoying “look at me, I’m a brooding teenager” mystique, it’s a lot better than the teen soap it could be if Will won Emma back.
I’ll talk more about the implications of Audrey and Noah’s investigation in my “So, who’s the killer” section below. As for their gumshoe hijinks overall, I was into it. Noah and Audrey have stronger chemistry than just about any other pair in the show and I’m glad to see the writers doing something productive with them. Even if their arc this episode was just to help move the plot along.
I couldn’t possibly care any less about the sheriff and Emma’s mom or the detective that was thrown in to rattle their lukewarm romance subplot. So I won’t waste time talking about it.
At its worst, Exposed further tested the boundaries of how far I’ll stick with a show despite overall not enjoying it. At its best, however, the episode managed to get me to sympathize with Emma, the show’s main character. So it’s somewhat of a mixed bag. This episode is the second in a row with no character deaths. I’d be happy if episode six gets rid of Jake and Will.
Episode Rating – 4.75
Season Average – 5.25
So, who’s the killer?
Okay guys, so my working theory since episode one has been that Mr. Branson is the killer. His name is Branson so obviously he’s BRANdon James’ SON. Right? Guys? You still with me?
So anyway, Exposed was the first time the show has pointed a suspicious gaze at Mr. Branson. This makes me nervous. We’re midway through the season and the show is pointing us a little at Mr. Branson. This could be a red herring, which means my theory is wrong.
I don’t think that’s the case, though. Branson’s computer was used to hack into everyone’s stuff, but the show presented this reveal by telling us the teens we already knew were involved in the spying also had access to the computer. This gives the show an easy way to tip off the audience to the real killer but make it look like he’s innocent by making the teens culpable. I hope that’s the case because I don’t want to be wrong.
For argument’s sake, let’s say Branson is a red herring. While talking to one of my podcast cohosts (Mike), he threw out Will and Jake as the killers in a weak homage to the original movie. I don’t think that’s the case, but I could see them going that route.
If we follow that line of logic, however, I’ll throw Kieran’s name into the ring. Emma had sex with him this episode, so that will make the reveal of him as the killer even more traumatic for her.
Since I’m a week behind, be looking for my review of episode 6 very soon.