Emma and Kieran are right were we left them: hooking up in an open field in the middle of the night, very unconcerned by the very real possibility of murder. When Emma tries to leave Kieran stops her with a mildly condescending, “Where are you going, it isn’t even dawn yet,” as if they aren’t HIGH SCHOOLERS with a rough shift at school in the morning.
Emma: Take me to Brandon’s house. I want to face my fears right now.
Kieran: I mean usually I just have like a cigarette or two post sex, but sure?
Why is the home of a serial murderer still standing 20 years post his death, completely untouched? These are petty questions that Lakewood doesn’t bother concerning themselves with. More importantly, how has Noah not commandeered it for his serial killer shrine?
Brandon James’ house looks like a stock photo of an abandoned haunted building, with the personal added touch of a fresh daisy. He may be a psychopathic murderer, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t know how to entertain in his home.
Kieran disappears just as Emma receives a call from the killer, probably to deal with more insurance stuff.
Emma: Please don’t hurt him
Murderer: Holy shit, you are so dumb, he is the shadiest person on this show
Emma tries to escape and then gets stabbed by none other than herself. Turns out it was all a dream, and she violently wakes up at home.
She walks downstairs and her mom is canoodling with the sheriff, who clearly stayed the night. It may be unnecessary to point out the parallels in that mom and daughter were both banged by father and son on the same night, but I will anyways because not everyone writes high-brow TV recaps for a living.
Piper is hanging out at the coffee shop that she might actually be living in when Will shows up.
Piper: You’re trying to run into Emma aren’t you
Will: I literally don’t do anything else
She informs Will that she, an adult who has been lingering in the teenage hangout in town, totally watched his underage sex tape. What next, offering minors swigs of bourbon from your flask? Oh wait.
Piper, who seems to know an excessive amount about Nina’s secret sex tape ring, invites Will to be a guest on her podcast where he can come clean and clear his name. She makes “being an accomplice to the filming and distribution of child pornography” sound like an easy admission to bounce back from.
With his FBI caliber background search program, Noah has discovered that there are four Seth Bransons in the world and none of them are their rapey teacher. His theory is that Mr. Branson changed his name when he showed up to Lakewood so that he could successfully run his underground sex tape ring. It’s comforting to know that the Unified School District of Lakewood doesn’t put as much effort into vetting their teachers as this 16-year-old who’s still trying to avenge the only girl that was willing to have sex with him.
Audrey: I thought Mr. Branson was your favorite teacher
Noah: Idk if you’ve noticed, but I’ve kind got a raging boner for serial killers
Audrey thinks that the killer is someone who didn’t like Nina, which narrows the search down to everyone in town.
Mr. Branson’s English class is in the library working on their upcoming dramatic scenes. Naturally, the Lakewood Will and Grace are teamed up, but they’re too busy plotting a lunch time field trip to search for Brooke’s mom’s dead body to learn lines.
Emma and Kieran are rehearsing/eye fucking each other as Will broods in the distance. She informs him that he and his dad were performing very similar activities the night before.
Kieran: Did you and your mom make some weird sex bet?
Emma: Haha totally
Everyone watching: No but actually
Showdown in the police station: Dr. Duval vs. Detective Brock.
Brock: Is there a reason it took you a whole week to figure out that this girl didn’t actually kill herself
Duval: Not a valid one, no
Brock thinks that Emma’s mom is covering up for her new sheriff boyfriend, because there was missing evidence that clearly places a new suspect at the hospital murder lair…AUDREY. Cue a very dramatic reveal at school, as if anyone is surprised that the goth lesbian is being framed for murder.
Noah fills Emma in on his Mr. Branson theory, who refuses to believe it at first because Mr. Branson eats soup!!
Emma: Soup gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy, and happy people don’t become masked serial murderers. They just don’t.
Noah: Let me use this time to remind the audience that I am supposed to be the school geek by listing various comic book villains, most of whom probably ate soup.
Mr. Branson shows up and suggests that Noah do a monologue instead for their class project, seeing how his track record for partners is currently not great.
Detective Brock not so subtly implies that Audrey killed Nina and then Rachel to cover her tracks. Audrey is saved by the arrival of the sheriff, who might actually be willing to derail a murder investigation just to spite his ex. Respect.
Sheriff: Woah. It’s illegal to interrogate minors without a parent present and there’s only room for one incompetent cop in this town
Audrey’s Dad shows up just in time for Detective Brock to reveal that Audrey’s DNA was found on the inside of the mask that was chilling on Tyler’s decapitated head. She’s about to go full Elliot Stabler on Audrey and intimidate a confession out of her when the Sheriff stops her, because it’s against his code of ethics to interrogate murder suspects. He’s quickly dismissed, because at this rate he’s basically obstructing justice.
Back at school, Will tries to convince Brooke that Jake was the mastermind behind extorting her dad, and she basically laughs in his face because
1. Jake is rich and doesn’t need the money
2. Literally no one could believe that that kid could mastermind anything except for maybe a fantastic dinner party
Noah escapes from his super scary monologue session with Mr. Branson unsure as to whether or not he’s the psychopath that he was accusing him of being merely minutes before. Luckily, he was able to obtain Branson’s fingerprints with an app (that he probably drummed up in his spare time) that tracked them while he was giving Noah his number. Just to recap, the teacher who is definitely sleeping with his students had zero qualms about handing out his personal cell phone number to even more students.
Emma gets a call from Audrey, who asks her to destroy an SD card from the night Nina was murdered without watching it or asking any questions. Brock catches her making the call, and asks who it was to rather than checking the log on the phone. Did a single one of these cops receive any formal training? Because at this rate I would feel safer with Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill heading up the investigation.
Emma: Man, should we blindly trust Audrey, who had every motive to kill Nina, and do this very illegal thing she’s asked of us?
Carrie and Stanford are in the midst of their own Nancy Drew investigation into the possibility that Brooke’s dad is a murderer. Brooke is worried that if her dad killed her mom, then maybe he was responsible for other deaths as well. The ever comforting friend, Jake tells her “Well it’s like Stephen King says, ‘Murder is like potato chips, you can’t stop at just one.’’ It turns out this actually is a Stephen King quote, which means Jake can probably read. No matter who the murderer is, this will serve to be the single most shocking aspect of this entire show.
They check the freezer in the garage for her mom’s body, as if the mayor would be dumb enough to hide his dead wife in the same place most people search for otter pops. Brooke is still suspicious and Jake comforts her while he stares into the distance like he’s on The Office: Sociopath edition.
Noah and Emma literally break into Audrey’s house in search of the SD card. It’s chill, Emma is fucking the son of the sheriff, she’s above the law. They ransack her room and find it just as the police show up with a warrant to search the place. They run out and suspiciously leave the drawer full of clearly labeled SD cards open, effectively making Audrey look more guilty than ever.
While they have no problem breaking, entering, and stealing potential police evidence, both Emma and Noah draw the line at destroying the SD card.
Emma: You know what’s crazy, every since Audrey got taken into police custody I haven’t gotten a single call from the murderer.
Noah: Purely coincidental
Emma’s mom didn’t think Brandon had anything to do with it, so she asked him to meet her on the dock so they could talk. When he got there the police shot him despite the fact that he was non-violent and unarmed, so maybe the Lakewood police do actually receive the same training as real life cops. Mrs. Duvall tells this story as if it’s a typical coming of age lesson being passed from mother to daughter and not the sordid history of a small town serial killer.
Emma’s mom: Don’t make the same adolescent mistakes I did. Defend your friend when she’s being accused of murder or else her ghost might start killing your daughter’s friends 20 years from now.
Emma: Most families pass down jewelry
Inspired by this heart to heart, Emma heads down to the police station to perjure herself in the name of friendship. She tells Detective Brock that she stopped Audrey from hurting Nina, and her mom even jumps in to corroborate her story. There is no law in this God forsaken town.
After being released, Audrey tells Emma that the video cut off right after her violent monologue and didn’t show the part where Rachel throws her keys out the window. She was so busy searching for them all night that she never made it to Nina’s house. Everyone is totally chill with the fact that not having a mode of transportation is literally the only thing that kept Audrey from murdering Nina.
The mayor returns to the shady warehouse for another clandestine meeting with his extorters, but only Will shows up sans mask to atone for his crimes. He gives the mayor back his money as well as the phone with the video of him dragging a body out of the trunk of his car.
Will puts on his good country boy face and says he never watched the video and would also really appreciate not dying. This is enough for the mayor, who is shockingly trusting for a murderous politician.
Turns out Piper was there the whole time recording the conversation. Before they can celebrate their successful Woodward and Bernstein scheme, the murderer shows up. He stabs Will and throws Piper to the ground, knocking her out. Will is dragged away, still alive, presumably to be used as bait for Emma next week. Will she forgive him and rush to his aid? Definitely. Will he already be dead when she gets there? Without a doubt.
New Deaths: None (yet)
Current suspect: Hm, what creepy kid with a tendency to say murdery things also knew about the location of this warehouse and is currently at odds with Will? Jake: prime suspect two weeks running.