Before continuing, we should note that this series is not a continuation of the story from the super successful film series. It may use the franchise’s title, but the TV show focuses on different characters, location and backstory. The tone and the vibe, however, feel eerily similar, which is definitely a good thing! And who knows — maybe at some point down the line, a storyline will tie-in to the movies.
Anyway, following Nina’s tragic death (which does mimic Drew Barrymore‘s iconic death scene in the 1996’s Scream), we meet the cast, and every one of them is smoking hot! Emma (Willa Fitzgerald), Will (Conner Weil), Jake (Tom Maden), and Brooke (Carlson Young) seem to be the popular kids in Lakewood, while Noah (John Karna) is smart, geeky guy who’s obsessed with serial killers. (Think Randy from the movies.) After Noah talks to Audrey and tries to comfort her, following the release of her kissing video, Emma, Will, Jake and Brooke talk about whether it was right or wrong to release it in the first place. They don’t even know that Nina is dead yet.
In history class — with the super hot Mr. Branson (Bobby Campo) — everyone talks about the new kid, Kieran Wilcox (Amadeus Serafini). They argue about whether zombies are a part of literature and that’s when Noah argues that slasher movies can’t be made into a TV series. “Think about it — a girl and her friends arrive at the dance, the camp, the deserted town, whatever. Killer takes them out one by one. 90 minutes later, the sun comes up as survivor girl is sitting in the back of the ambulance, watching her friend’s bodies being wheeled past. Slasher movies burn bright and fast. TV needs to stretch things out. By the time the first body is found, it’s only a matter of time before the blood bath commences.” And as he’s reciting that line, the show flashes to another scene, where Nina’s mom discovers her dead body floating in the pool.
After finding out about Nina’s death, Noah and Kieran start explaining the history behind Lakewood, and how 20 years ago, a murderer named Brandon James hunted and killed a number of teens. Emma’s dad got stabbed and almost died. What we also find out is that Brandon was a deformed kid who lived in his family’s shed. He fell in love with a girl named Daisy, but when he showed her his real face, she freaked and he got beat up by a few drunk jocks. And that’s when he went crazy and started killing people. One night, when he went to meet Daisy to give her a necklace, the cops gunned him down and he fell into the lake. Cut back to present day, and we learn that Daisy is actually Emma’s mom, Maggie (Tracy Middendorf).
While talking more about Nina’s death, Jake and Will seem suspicious, as they ask Emma if her mom — the town’s coroner — looked at Nina’s laptop. Emma then runs over and asks Audrey if she’s okay before inviting her to a party. They seem to have some sort of history together.
Will later confronts Jake in woodworking class and begs him to delete the files of Nina they have on their laptop. He says he doesn’t want to end up in jail. But someone who may end up in jail? Mr. Branson, who’s been hooking up with Brooke behind closed doors.
Before going to the party, Emma hears a knock at the door. When she answers, there’s only a package addressed to “Daisy.” Her mom says it must have been sent to the wrong house, but after Emma leaves, she opens it up — and it’s a bloody heart!
The party seems wilder than any high school party we’ve ever gone to — Emma and Audrey flirt by the pool, Noah and Riley (Brianne Tju) talk about Mars by the beer keg, Will’s secret gets exposed (he slept with Nina while on a break with Emma), Emma kisses Kieran, and the guys put a passed out Noah on a dock in the middle of the lake where Brandon James died. When he wakes up and tries swimming to shore, he gets pulled under the water, but Kieran ends up saving the day. The lake prank pisses Audrey off and she leaves the party.
Meanwhile, Maggie calls her friend Clark (Jason Wiles), who’s a sheriff, and shows him the heart. She then confesses, “I’m the girl Brandon James was obsessed with.”
Emma then gets driven home by Kieran, and when they see Sheriff Hudson walk outside, Emma learns that he’s actually Kieran’s dad. And to her, that’s totally awkward — considering her mom and the Sheriff are sort of dating, and she just kissed Kieran.
Once Audrey gets home, she has a chat with her girlfriend on the balcony outside her bedroom. But watching from afar is Ghostface.
The following morning at school, the sheriff confronts Noah and asks him to stop by the police station the next day to answer some questions. Then, Noah explains to Riley why it’ll hurt when we see each person die throughout the next 10 episodes of this series.
And then Emma stops by Audrey’s house and admits that she filmed her lesbian escapade. Audrey calls her a “bitch,” and when she’s walking home, she gets a call from an unknown caller, who happens to know she’s crying. Someone’s watching her. “Who the hell is this?” Emma asks. “I’m the one who’s gonna lift the mask,” the scary voice says.
In the closing shots, we hear Noah telling Riley “how it ends.” He explains how everyone has “secrets” and everyone’s “fair game” until “there’s no one left.” And that’s when we see him wipe his forehead with his hand that’s covered in blood. What?!
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— Chris Rogers