Martin Carr reviews the third episode of Scream: The TV Series…
Things are messy this week beginning with a misplaced opening flashback. Such techniques need employing with precision and purpose, to provide that all important point of reference. But what Scream: The TV Series does within five minutes is confuse rather than scare. A woman running across floodlit fields only to collide with some guy in a toga makes no sense, as there is no establishing timeframe. Instead this comes after the fact, making our journey into episode three disjointed. A feeling which carries on throughout.
Other contributing factors include a lack of continuity, as demonstrated initially by Willa Fitzgerald’s Emma. Someone who was in mortal peril at the close of episode two, yet appears emotionally unscathed after this ordeal. So good in fact, that we conveniently cut to some moody Emo music and a wake for victim number two the next day. Ignoring all that has gone before which is just lazy writing. Meanwhile Bex Taylor-Klaus is savagely side lined here doing nothing more than mope about, whilst manipulative mood music dictates how the audience should react. I forgave this tactic last week, but having it overpower the emotional resonance here is both counterproductive and unnecessary. Besides these blatant issues, there seemed to be no real narrative progression either.
Jason Wiles as Clark Hudson adequately fills in for David Arquette making a mild impression. Whereas Tracy Middendorf’s Margaret Duvall, mother to Emma, does little more than fret and wander around looking pained. For some reason this relationship reminds me of The Gilmore Girls which is just plain wrong. Elsewhere there are supposed relationship clashes, which amount to little more than dirty looks and alpha male posing. Meaning that the actual crux of this show, which is horrifying its audience, gets all but ignored. While an over reliance on social media fragments things even further.
As a narrative device it conveniently allows the audience to jump between locations, whilst simultaneously stripping any suspense from the scene. My old-fashioned opinion is that horror, irrespective of medium, relies upon people being alone. Not having the option to cry for help compounds that sense of isolation creating a true victim. However, seeing someone bleed out via ‘Facetime’ underlines the superficiality of this situation, taking away our ability to connect. I know this is make-believe but you get the point. Beyond this is the issue of Fitzgerald, Taylor-Klaus and Karna, who are the only ones not being turned into body bag filling. It would be nice to think that these other characters matter, but right now this is not the feeling I get. Coherence in a series is key to emotional investment, character development and programme longevity. In order for others to care you have to as well. Let us hope that Scream: The TV Series can regain its clarity and get back on track soon.