*All of our episode recaps contain spoilers*
Dara Alidin and Bret Keener – victims one and two of the Brandon James slaying. (I think that is their names. If it isn’t, it is now).
Noah graced AOC podcast host Piper Shaw with his presence, recounting the deaths of the named two and answering her questions regarding the mentality of both Brandon James and Nina’s murderer. With the former, our serial killer pundit doesn’t believe Brandon just snapped. “Nobody just snaps. I mean, a bomb doesn’t become a bomb when the wick is lit”. DEEP. Even now, I had to stop typing so that I could put my hand on my chin, slowly nod my head, and ponder on that sentence. Love it. Love him. Love it all. As for Nina’s murder, he doesn’t think it was a homage. “In my humble opinion, nobody puts on a mask and commits a murder like that just once”. So, who’s next?
We have a serious question to answer. Is the murderer evading capture because; one) he is a badass, two) Sheriff Hudson is useless, or three) All of the above. I vote option three, but let me explain why. Actually, let me quote why. Sheriff Hudson visited Margaret to discuss the findings of the autopsy and said the following; “So we are officially dealing with another possible murder”. Huh? Which is it? Officially or possible? And what does he mean ‘another’? I think it’s pretty clear that Nina was murdered. Margaret explained that the ligature marks, dislocated vertebrae, and crushed larynx could not have been caused by hanging oneself from a ceiling fan, to which he responded, “So someone staged her body to look like a suicide. Why would they do that?” Hmm, I don’t know. Maybe to make you think it wasn’t a murder? DUHH. Dumbass. Anyway, Emma was eavesdropping on this entire conversation, and so she heard that he was going to open a murder investigation. The topic changed from Rachel to Margret, and Emma overheard enough to plant a seed of doubt in her mind, worsened by the murderer’s text - “Morning sunshine. You and mom have a heart to heart yet?”
I think Jake and Will need a good ol’ heart to heart. I do enjoy their vague talks and hints at wrongdoing. It is helping to mitigate my conspiracy withdrawal symptoms following the end of Pretty Little Liars. Here is what we know;
· Will has continuously asked Jake to shut down their operation, speaking specifically of a ‘cyber-connection’ to them.
· Jake has videos of Nina in her house, filmed by way of her laptop webcam.
· Tyler, Jake, and Will made money from this suspicious operation, which they hid in the forest.
· Will dug up and took said money because he knows Jake has not yet done as he asked.
· Nina is involved. Will accused Jake of “still being caught up in her blackmail drama”.
I have nothing. Wait… nope, still nothing. Let’s move on to Emma’s drama instead.
It was Audrey, in Rachel’s bedroom, with a belt. Ah, I love Cluedo… Anyway, Emma went to Rachel’s wake to tell Audrey that she didn’t commit suicide. She found her in the deceased’s bedroom, belt hanging from the ceiling fan, head in the loop. But it was not as it appeared. Our artsy outcast was “just testing to see if it was even possible”. Emma made the mistake of twirling her hair when Audrey asked who would want to kill Rachel, thus confiding in Audrey about the mysterious caller and his messages. Audrey suggested that they “direct message his ass back” and Emma did just that. “I know you killed Rachel. Tell me why”. Bit of a rude text considering he called her sunshine.
Language arts time! While looking for the ‘naughty’ picture Brooke hid in his classroom, Mr Branson split the class into pairs and assigned them with the task of choosing a dramatic scene to perform. Emma and Kieran, Audrey and Will, Riley and Noah (YAY), and Brooke and Jake. Emma and Kieran went off topic and colluded to ‘borrow’ the Brandon James casefiles from his father, and so Emma found out that Brandon was obsessed with her mom – aka Daisy.
GUYS, JAKE SAID SOMETHING SMART. Brooke told Jake that trust is just a campaign promise, and that in real life you’re either the cat or the mouse. He asked her how you know which one you are, and then gave this gem of an analogy: “You remember that viral video where the bobcat snatches the shark out of the ocean? Up to that moment, I bet you, the shark thought it was the apex predator. Maybe you’re not the top of the food chain. Maybe your boyfriend’s got you thinking bobcat, but really, you’re just a shark”. I still hate him, but now I respect him a negligible amount.
Emma confronted her mom about her past, but Margaret kept schtum. It was a pointless scene. There, I said it. Her unwillingness to talk completely threw Emma off her game for when the murderer called. He tried to have a pleasant conversation with her, but she just would not cooperate. The poor guy told her that he wanted her trust and that he was the only one telling her the truth; and she not only called him sick, but refused to play his games anymore! His response? “Then I’ll find someone else to play with”. What a good sport.
Now for some Noley! I can confirm Noah is still a virgin. According to Riley, “everything was going great on the football field. Then he raced off like the McRib was back”. When she brought up his speedy departure, he told her that he wanted to call and if he had, he would have said, “I want to hang out. And be romantic. A lot” – as quoted from Shakespeare’s ‘A Mid-Semester Night’s Hang Out’. With such smooth talk, it is no wonder Riley agreed to another date. And what a date it was. He took her to the comic book store where he worked, and he set up three flat screen TVs, each playing a different video game. “When we couldn’t decide on a movie, I realised you haven’t even seen some of the best drama out there. It’s in video games. I mean, the cutscene that opens The Last of Us? Oh my god, it’s heart-breaking”. And then she said those three special words – “You get me”. SO CUTE. Just as they were about to take their relationship to the next level, Riley received a ‘help me’ text from Tyler. And with that the romance ended and the drama begun.
The ‘squad’ met up, and upon hearing that Brooke also received a text from Tyler, Emma disclosed that someone has been calling and harassing her. She convinced them to go to the police, or rather she played right into the killer’s hands. The cops checked Tyler’s phone records and verified that the texts were sent from his phone. On that basis, they decided to lure him into a meeting with Riley. Okay, pause. I need to wrap my head around this. We live in an age of digital manipulation. We are a generation of hacking hotshots. So what kind of idiot would surmise that if the text came from the person’s phone, it was indeed the person who sent it? Ah, that’s right. Sheriff Hudson. And Riley. And Brooke. Eurgh, people. Okay, unpause. Sheriff Hudson told Riley to arrange a meeting with Tyler in a public place where the police would be waiting.
It will come as no surprise that it was not Tyler who arrived at the chosen place. A randomguy, paid two hundred dollars by someone on the internet, turned up with a message – a picture of the Brandon James mask with the words ‘Nice try'. No, no it was not. It should also come as no surprise that Brooke received a text from ‘Mr. Branson’ telling her to meet him at the hotel, and so when the news got back to the precinct, she was gone. What else could Emma do but ask the murderer for help? He made her choose between “the good girl and the bad girl” and after calling Riley to make sure she was okay, she told him not to hurt Brooke. Really, Emma? You really thought it would be that easy?
Back at the station, it all went to hell. Riley received a text from Tyler, and she agreed to meet him outside. There was not a person to be seen, nor a voice to be heard – just a lone car. Riley text him asking him where he was, and the killer replied “RIGHT HERE”. You know what capitals mean, don’t you? Please don’t make me say it. The killer hit her across the face, and she made a run for it down an alley. Said alley was blocked by a fence, and so she started to climb up the ladder to the roof. STAB in the back. STAB again in the back. STAB in the leg. STAB in my heart. She made her way on to the roof, limping to the ceiling window. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, Noah called. He watched her die on FaceTime. FACETIME. The most heart-breaking thing? When he told her to look around and tell him what she could see, she rolled onto her back and said “I can see our stars”. I am not ashamed to admit that I cried. I am ashamed to admit that I am crying now. I BLAME YOU, EMMA. #Slashered.