Scream Recap: Vacancy

This week’s episode of Scream picks up right where last week’s left us: in a storage unit with Audrey and Jake’s freshly discovered dead body. A note, which appears to be cut out of Audrey’s old letters to Piper, is pinned to Jake’s chest. It reads “see how I finished the job for you, Audrey?” and is quite literally pinned INTO his chest. Audrey pulls the notes out and runs, not bothering to check for security footage. What is this, amateur hour? Hopefully the crime lab doesn’t pick up on the series of needle pricks across Jake’s chest, but then again, if they’re as inept as the police force it shouldn’t be an issue.

At the Duvall’s, Emma is filling her mother in on the reappearance of her father. Maggie is taking it worse than her daughter did, and she wasn’t even the one who got chased around town at night by a strange car.

Maggie: You can’t trust him.
Emma: But my first instinct is to always trust strangers.

Emma calls Audrey the next morning to discuss the appearance of her absentee father, and Audrey immediately assumes that he’s the new killer. Instead of keeping this kind of news under wraps, she immediately starts talking mad shit on Emma’s dad. Smooth.

Audrey: I mean, he went through some weird shit in high school. He’s probably deranged.
Audrey: But I’m sure you’ll turn out just fine.

Noah chooses that moment to bust in guns blazing, ready to check out this mystery storage unit. You know, the one Jake is currently decomposing in. It’s worth noting that this is all happening in the morning on a school day, because apparently all the teenagers in Lakewood wake up at dawn to run errands before class.

Emma’s pre-school activity is something nice and stress free: a coffee date with her estranged father. It’s about as uncomfortable as that one Tinder date your friends peer pressured you into going on but wouldn’t even let you pregame.

Emma’s Dad: Let’s bond over the fact that once upon a time all of our friends were murdered.
Emma: It’s pretty much my defining characteristic at this point so why not.

They stumble through some small talk and their shared history of being stalked by psychos before we get down to the meat of the conversation: Emma’s daddy issues.

Emma: Can I ask you something?
Mr. Duvall: Of course.
Emma: Why did you abandon me?
Mr. Duvall: Oh man would you look at the time.

He does manage to give her a single scrap of information, even if it’s just to throw his ex-wife under the bus. Apparently Emma’s mom knew that her dad was coming back and told him to stay away. Honestly, this was probably her most responsible parenting move to date. Emma doesn’t exactly see it that way, and calls her mom to let her know as much. It’s cool, their relationship wasn’t already strained or anything.

Noah has Audrey film his dramatic arrival to the storage unit, which reveals…nothing. No air fresheners. No rotting stench. Definitely no Jake. This murderer has talents beyond comprehension if he can remove the smell of dead body in just a few hours. I hear that shit lingers. There was, however, a camera that had been recording, which Noah pockets for later. Audrey’s anxiety is palpable.

At school, Brooke is reluctantly participating in beauty pageant rehearsal. Who else is competing? Our current prime suspect, Zoe. She buddies up to Brooke under the guise of “Ugh neither of us want to be here,” which is honestly the purest basis for female friendship right below drunk bathroom bonding.

Brooke attempts to start up a conversation about Zoe’s obvious crush on Noah but is distracted by a brooding figure in the back of the auditorium. The sheriff’s son Stavo is creeping on practice, probably drawing more frighteningly realistic death scenes of other students.

She stalks over to kick him out and he goads her over Jake’s continued absence. Their conversation was boring and predictable, yet rife with sexual tension. Honestly, just make out already.

Elsewhere, Emma is regaling Kieran with her daddy drama and honestly, hasn’t this poor guy suffered enough? Like, the sex can’t be good enough to maintain this constant level of unwavering commitment to Emma’s bat shit life. He could be the murderer and I probably wouldn’t even blame him.

Kieran is saved by an interruption from his cousin Eli, who decides it’s also time to share his deep-seated resentment for his father. This ranks third in the hierarchy of female bonding techniques, so Eli is either gay or highly attuned to the female psyche. Clearly Kieran is uncomfortable with any semblance of a relationship between these two, but is ultimately unsuccessful in his attempts to thwart it because Emma is naturally drawn to sources of danger and crazy. Kieran clearly hates his cousin and barely attempts to conceal it, but leaves the two alone anyways.

Emma: So why did you mess with my fragile psyche in the hallway yesterday?
Eli: It was fun.
Emma: Oh good, I was worried you were a sociopath.

Back at Noah’s, where these two inexplicably managed to escape to in the middle of the school day, Audrey straight-up almost brains Noah with his dragonhead bookend as he attempts to access the tape from the storage unit. Luckily for his skull, no media is detected. This bitch was dead-ass about to murder her best friend at like 12:30 in the afternoon over some undoubtedly poor quality footage that she probably could have explained away to this trusting lamb of a boy.

As Audrey heads back to class, she receives a GIF from the murderer. Like, be more 2016. It’s a clip of the security footage, in which Audrey is hunched over Jake’s dead body. It would appear he grabbed it while he was in there cleaning up the Jake mess, because that’s what crafty murderers in these kind of shows do.

At the Duvall’s, we finally get a reunion between Emma’s parents. It’s about as unpleasant as you’d expect. Maggie didn’t want her ex coming back for myriad valid reasons, but Mr. Duvall felt compelled to be there for Emma during her trying time. Scratch that, after her trying time. He made damn well sure to not turn up until the murderer was gone. Solid paternal instinct you’ve got there, my man.

Emma’s Dad: Why won’t you just let me bond with my daughter over our shared horrific trauma.
Emma’s Mom: UH GEE LETS SEE.

Mr. Duvall reveals that he came back because Riley (lol remember her?) has been emailing him saying that Emma needs him. The only issue is that Riley got very murdered about two episodes into season one, which means Emma’s dad was lured there by either a copycat murderer or an identity thief. There is probably a bounty of both of those things in this godforsaken town, but I’m going to go with the copycat.

Zoe and Brooke are still bonding at pageant practice, and Brooke has decided to try and set her up with Noah. Girl talk is interrupted by a call from Branson, whose raspy-ass voice sounds a lot like the murderers. Didn’t realize you had access to voice modulators in prison. Just kidding, HE’S NOT THERE. Somehow this guys managed to get off on two counts of statutory rape, probably because the Lakewood cops had never heard of it.

Emma storms in and collects both Brooke and Audrey for girl talk in the bathroom. The subject (what else?): her dad.

Audrey: Man, first Branson and then Emma’s piece of shit father. I wonder what other miserable male from our collective past is going to make a reappearance?
Emma: Way harsh, Tai.

Audrey keeps needling Emma about her father, and then tries to play it off like Emma is being overly sensitive and self-centered. This is one of the few times where that’s not the case, and clearly Audrey is projecting some of her “I’m gonna go down for murder” anxiety onto the situation. Like, as if you aren’t already the worst friend in the world for assisting in the massacre of all your friends. At least let this girl rant about her shitty dad.

The Duvalls go to meet with the sheriff, who they also apparently went to high school with. Jesus Christ, small town life sounds heinous. Sheriff Miguel’s family moved away when he was a teenager because of the Brandon James situation, making them the only sensible people on this entire show. For some inconceivable reason, he decided to come back after he heard that even more murders had happened.

Maggie wants Miguel to investigate this mystery email situation, which he very skeptically agrees to. You’d think he’d take this a little more seriously given the history here, but then again who ever listens to a hysterical woman.

Miguel: Don’t tell Emma about this.
Maggie: Idk about that
Mr. Duvall: It’s literally what you do best.

Emma walks back into the town coffee shop to pick up her work schedule. Apparently three days at home from rehab is enough time to readjust to life. She runs into Eli, who I already dislike because he’s the kind of guy who brags about his coffee consumption. Congrats, you’re so edgy.

Emma’s dad has been calling and leaving message for her at her the place that she had literally just informed him she doesn’t work at anymore because he “doesn’t have her number.” Bruh, it’s 2016. There are only about 700 other ways to contact her that don’t involve leaving cryptic and emotional messages with her coworkers. However, he wants to meet up with her and give her an answer to her question, so she lets it slide.

Mr. Duvall is coincidentally staying in the shady motel where Noah met with the desk clerk. I guess Lakewood doesn’t have any Holiday Inns. The clerk goes up to deliver a bottle of wine to his room, which looks like a scene straight out of Dexter. You know, plastic wrap everywhere. Clearly primed for murder. All good signs.

The killer emerges from under a blanket on the bed, which leaves me to wonder how this kid didn’t see him. He smacks the clerk over the head with the bottle of wine, an egregious waste of alcohol in my humble opinion. Then the killer proceeds to stab him to death with a corkscrew, and I’m starting to think that if I was living in a teen slasher that that is the way I’d want to go. Inject a little irony into my demise.

Noah runs into Stavo at the movie theatre, where he’s waiting for his “friends.” He doesn’t specify whom, but it’s clearly not Audrey as she’s on her way to whatever location the killer summoned her to. Stavo is the only person in town considerate enough to tell Noah that trying to reveal a murder accomplice might not end well for him, or his body. Somehow, this had never fucking occurred to him.

Brooke and Zoe show up, and this night quickly turns into a very adorable and tension-filled double date. The only way it could get weirder was if an ex showed up….enter Mr. Branson. Seriously, how the hell is this man not in jail?? He was sleeping with teenagers who also happened to be his students and, oh yeah, FILMING THEM IN THEIR HOMES WITHOUT THEIR CONSENT. I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!!

Stavo: (clearly jealous) Who’s that?
Zoe: Oh yeah, that’s Mr. Branson, he used to teach us English.
Noah: And have sex with our hottest classmates, but that frequently goes unmentioned.

In a classic but always appreciated trope, Brooke and Stavo start making out in order to prove the validity of their fake relationship to Mr. Branson, who’s fucking creepy enough to berate her about ignoring him in front of her friends/HIS FORMER STUDENTS. Brooke finds out that the flowers on her car were from Mr. Branson, at which point she lashes out at fake Jake for taking credit for them. He responds with “K. Hasta la vista babe,” which means that the killer is not only a sociopath but also a petty bitch.

Emma arrives at the Shady Palms, or whatever this hotel is called, to meet up with her Dad. She wanders into his room, which was suspiciously unlocked, and there is no sign of her father, the killer, or the dead body of the hotel clerk. However, there are newspaper clippings detailing the events of last season, which look suspiciously like the ones that were on the walls of the barn house.

Noah calls Audrey to ask why she wasn’t at work, partially concerned but mostly annoyed because it meant they didn’t get free movie tickets.

Audrey: If I told you I’d have to kill you.
Noah: Good joke.
Audrey: Right…a joke.

He starts to tell her about Branson, some prime high school gossip if I’ve ever heard it, and she immediately hangs up on him without even trying to be nonchalant about what she’s up to. How did you manage to play double agent for so long with these finely tuned skills of deception? Moments later she receives a call from the killer, who starts Facetiming her from Mr. Duvall’s hotel room. He’s hiding in the bathroom with the front desk clerk, spying on Emma.

Audrey calls to warn Emma, who rightfully ignores her call because Audrey was a raging bitch earlier. Clearly Audrey values her relationship with Emma over Noah, because she calls the police and sends them to the hotel even though it could result in her getting arrested.

Emma is about to wander into the bathroom when a convenient bout of domestic violence from outside distracts her. She wanders out and finds her dad, whose drunk ass is getting kicked out of the bar next door. What? Her absentee father is a raging alcoholic? Surely everyone is surprised by this news.

Emma: You’re drunk.
Mr. Duvall: No.
Mr. Duvall: Yes.
Mr. Duvall: Remember our shared psychological trauma? Let’s get back to that.

During this interaction Emma finds out that her dad:

  1. Did not leave her a message at work.
  2. Did not leave creepy newspaper clippings in the hotel.
  3. Was about to run town without saying anything…again.

Then she gets some horrific insight into her parent’s marriage in the form of a story in which her dad broke her mother’s jaw during a drunken brawl when Emma was a child. Just what you want to hear while trying to rebuild a relationship with your estranged father.

In case things weren’t uncomfortable enough, Audrey arrives shortly followed by the police that she called. She tells them that this was totally the reason for her call and not the murderer lurking in the hotel next door. Fuck that dead kid in the shower upstairs, right?

After things have died down and Emma stalks away vowing to never trust men again, Audrey returns to her car. Of course, a new text from the killer is waiting for her, who only appears to send threats in the form of memes these days. These contrived attempts to connect with the youth leads to believe that this new killer is 40+, which really narrows our suspect pool.

The text comes with a fun gift: the blood-soaked corkscrew that was used to kill the desk clerk. Audrey acts all horrified, but honestly, you can never have enough of these things. Soak it in bleach for a few days and call it good.

Current suspect: with our new age parameters in place, I’m going to have to go with Emma’s dad. It doesn’t really make sense, but then again, no part of this show does.


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