MTV Scream — “The Dance” Review — Written 8/25/15



           I WANNA KNOW WHAT HAPPENS! Yes, this is the first time that Scream has forced us to read the dreaded words of “TO BE CONTINUED,” but I kind of don’t care because it didn’t feel like a cheap shot. I’m so into this show right now that I don’t want it to end. It’s had its ups, its downs, its shockingly good episodes, and its dips into mediocrity. “The Dance,” though, is definitely one of the better ones, and it would appear to be this way because Scream has found its solid stride as a series. It has found its tone, characterization, and relationships, and know it knows how to taunt the viewers with them. It may be kind of cruel, but damn, it’s actually working.

           The thing that stood out the most to me in this episode is its direction. This is the only episode where I had known of the director—Ti West, in this case—before looking them up. Again, the tone is strong and West shows that he understands how to work with these characters. The camerawork is also really good, specifically in the scene where Sheriff Hudson is shown walking through the house by himself. That was one long take, making really good use of blocking and visibility. The scene knew what to show and when to show it, which is very important in the classic “when do you show the antagonist” type of scenario. The only directorial choice that rubbed me the wrong way was the music-set montage of Emma, Kieran, Maggie, and Hudson having dinner. It was just so damn happy and on-the-nose, especially since the music drove the scene.

           The episode’s script is also strong, and it seems to be because of a combination of the writers finding their stride and the season tying up its loose ends and coming to a close. It’s pretty cool to see Nina again, and the video of her and Kieran really raises his Billy Loomis vibes up to eleven. I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t think that Bella Thorne’s return guest appearance was a tad underwhelming—she doesn’t even speak in this episode—but it’s still interesting to see how central she is to the show’s mythology.

           The last thing that I walk to talk about is the episode’s humor. The pop culture references here were so well done and very, very Scream-y. I loved the reference to The Babadook, and seeing Emma and Kieran recreate the dance between Mia and Vincent from Pulp Fiction just had me grinning from ear to ear. I kind of wonder how many kids within this show’s target audience will actually get the reference, but I’m glad that they didn’t go out of their way to say, “Hey, we’re referencing a Tarantino movie! See how smart we are?”

           So even though no one died in this episode, it looks like the shit is really going to hit the fan in the season finale next year, and I’m really excited. I can’t wait to see if Sheriff Hudson gets gutted while at tied to a tree, and I just want to know who the killer/killers is/are! Could it be Brooke and Mr. Branson, pulling a Bonnie and Clyde-esque crime spree, or did Kieran harm his father to deflect blame from him? Is it a father-son killing spree? And what will the motive be? And who will die? (Because if Noah or Brooke die, I’ll going to yell at my TV.)

           8.7/10, terrific, two thumbs up, far above average, etc.