This week in Lakewood: shit goes down at a Halloween dance and people are actually surprised by it, feat. the obligatory Pulp Fiction couples costume. I’ve included a drinking game for your enjoyment this week: drink every time you have a question that is completely ignored by the plot. Don’t sue us when you die before finishing the episode.
The episode opens with a flashback to one year prior, when somebody broke into the Lakewood evidence locker (what, like its hard?) to steal the original Brandon James mask. We know this is what happened because Piper was simulteanously monologue-ing about to her podcast audience of zero people. She explains to the dead air that she’s still looking for a connection between the Lakewood murders of past and present. Spoiler: she is the connection. Piper is 100% Brandon James’ kid come back to tear shit up and release some very pent up mommy/daddy issues. Moving on.
Maybe it’s the new bad boy/potential psychopath thing he’s rocking, but Branson is 100% hotter in jail than he was outside of it, made all the more impressive by his utterly cool confidence in the face of multiple murder and statutory rape charges. The sheriff attempts to interrogate him and it goes just about as well as any of his past interrogations.
Branson: Yeah, I think I’ll wait for my lawyer
Sheriff: Foiled again by the American judicial system
Next on his incompetency to-do list, the sheriff holds a press conference to assure the town that they have definitely apprehended the murderer, before actually obtaining a confession or any kind of hard evidence. In fact, the town of Lakewood is so confident in their stellar police work that they have decided to still hold the high school Halloween dance, a literal beacon for murder.
Piper: Uhhhh, you sure that’s a good idea?
Sheriff: Its chill, I stayed at a Holiday Inn last night.
Playing the ever rotating role of this week’s pity party is Brooke, who (just to recap): has a dad in jail, a mom in rehab, a semi-boyfriend in jail, and just suffered a second murder attempt. I get that her situation is super shitty, but everyone (including law enforcement) seems pretty fucking blasé about the fact that she was sleeping with her teacher. Even Emma bites her tongue for the most part, possibly because Brooke’s greatest hurdle is yet to come: living with Jake until someone in her family gets their shit together.
Emma: You can always stay with me if you get sick of Jake
Brooke: You’re literally being stalked by a murderer, I think I’ll take my chances
Speaking of people who are way too confident in the Lakewood Police, Emma is walking around town cavalierly high on life, as if she hasn’t been the subject of a serial killer’s obsession for the past couple weeks, resulting in the gruesome murder of multiple friends and her ex-boyfriend. Just to be sure though, she wants to talk to Branson herself. At first this seems like the worst idea she’s had yet (a bold statement) but then you recall the competency level of the police force thus far and you’re like “ugh, valid.”
Emma: I would like to speak to the suspected murderer who has been psychologically torturing me for the past month, and I would also like to be alone while I do it.
Mrs. Duvall, the Sheriff, and every other adult in the room: I see no reason why this can’t happen.
Emma walks into the unnecessarily dark interrogation room guns blazing, ready to spit fire at the guy who was literally her English teacher yesterday. One a scale of 1 – full of remorse, Branson is Justin Bieber Deposition Levels of apologetic.
Emma: HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME
Brooke is making herself at home at Jakes AKA walking around in her (clearly typical) all black underwear set. Respect. However she becomes significantly less comfortable when her webcam turns on and starts filming her. Seeing as how her ex-boyfriend/English teacher/accused sex tape ring leader is in jail, and three of his four previous accomplices are dead, this leaves one person who could be spying on Brooke: Jake.
While this skeevy behavior wouldn’t be at all out of character for him, it doesn’t seem likely that Jake would risk pissing off the only person on the show who even remotely tolerates him. Brooke doesn’t seem to share this mindset though, because she accuses him of being a creep and storms out to go buy copious amounts of alcohol and get stupid drunk, quickly moving her up in the ranks of “best character/most realistic reaction to current events.”
Emma runs off to regale Noah and Audrey with her latest theory (that her half-brother has returned for revenge), expecting a semblance of support because they have run with every other crackpot plan thus far. Alas, she is out of luck.
Audrey: Idk Emma, you were full on hallucinating in the hallways like…yesterday
Noah: YOOOOOOO your mom fucked Brandon James and I’m totally not overcome with jealousy
Lucky for Emma, Piper is always around to host inappropriate relationships, and has already located Brandon James’ mother by tracking her social security number, as if she works for the special podcast department of the FBI or something. But yes, in case Brandon James’ mother hasn’t been through hell and back with the whole “my son, a notorious small town serial killer, was wrongly murdered by the police” thing, lets trek out to her very obvious hiding space and bug her about it.
Once there, it becomes increasingly obvious that Mrs. James’ has old lady dementia of the worst kind, and starts off the conversation by telling Emma that Brandon ended up the way he did because he was a late in life baby. His becoming a serial killer can be cited to “an old egg.” Women’s health care in the 70’s, Jesus fucking Christ.
After mistaking Emma for her mother and some heavy prompting, Mrs. James tells them that her grandson visited just the day before.
Mrs. James: What was his name? Keith? Steve?
Emma: You mean Seth Branson, statutory English teacher of Lakewood High School?
Mrs. James: That’s totally what I was going to say.
Meanwhile, Piper couldn’t look more possibly smug throughout this entire encounter. Like we get it, you’re the murderer. There might as well have been a neon sign above her head that said “YO I’M BRANDON JAMES’ SON/DAUGHTER AND I HAVE A FAT LESBIAN SIBLING CRUSH ON YOU.”