We’re almost to the end of the season, where we’ll hopefully figure out who the masked killer is. “The Dance” beings with footage from a year prior of someone breaking in to Lakewood County Municipal Records building to steal Brandon James’ mask from his evidence box. The scene then cuts to present day Lakewood getting ready for Halloween, with a voice over from Piper’s podcast wondering what the connection between Branson and Brandon James could possibly be. (There is none, because he’s not the killer, duh).
After interrogating Branson, who revealed nothing incriminating, Sheriff Hudson announces to the town that the Halloween high school dance would still be taking place, but no trick or treating and no masks. Believing that the murderer is behind bars, he feels confident that nothing would happen to the teens. Piper confronts the sheriff about how safe this possibly be, but he dismisses her worries and says, “I’m just trying to protect the peace, what are you doing?” Ouch.
Meanwhile, Brooke tells Emma she’s not convinced that Branson is the murderer. Although she’s obviously a bit biased since she, well, was close with him, she believes he couldn’t kill. Brooke doesn’t have it easy right now with her mom in rehab, dad and “boyfriend” in jail. Emma takes Brooke to stay with Jake for a while. It’s quite clear that Jake has some sort of feelings for Brooke, whether or not it’s romantic isn’t at obvious. He goes out of his way to make Brooke feel comfortable and at home, in a way a good friend would do. He cares for her, and he slightly becomes less “doosh”-y every time he shows that.
Emma wasn’t convinced with Brooke’s claim that she only wanted the murderer to be Branson so that someone could be held accountable. Emma asks her mom and Sheriff Hudson to see Branson. If her theory is correct, that the child her mother gave up is behind the murders and that that person is Branson, surely he’d have some sort of reaction to seeing her. By the way, the theory makes zero sense considering Branson sees Emma everyday at school. But anyway. Branson continues to play it cool when he sees Emma. Upon seeing her he says, “Hello Emma,” exactly the way the murderer has been saying that in phone calls. But he’s convincingly innocent throughout their exchange. Emma brings up her mother, which confuses Branson. “She’s… nice. You look a lot like her,” is all he can say about Maggie.
Emma reveals her half brother murderer theory to Noah and Audrey. Noah decides that Branson is a clever name because of how much it sounds like “Brandon’s Son.” Audrey doesn’t understand what connection Branson would have to Rachel, though. Why kill her? This continues to eat away at Audrey, and later she decides, with Noah’s help, to go through Rachel’s old tapes. Apparently, she video taped everything in her life, so maybe she caught Branson doing something wrong?
During Audrey and Noah’s Rachel movie fest, Piper goes to Emma with some news: She’s found Brandon’s mother, Cassie James. Piper’s visit lead to nowhere since Cassie was incoherent, but the two decide to go together. Upon seeing Emma, Cassie says, “Your mom was Daisy… now I see the resemblance. Eventually, Cassie’s old age takes over and she starts believing that Emma actually is Daisy. She becomes a bit angry and tells her, “You got him killed.”
Cassie begins singing the “Daisy” song, and mentions how much Brandon loved that song, “and so did his boy.” Cassie mentions that his boy had just visited, but she couldn’t remember his name. Emma asks, “Was it Seth?” (Branson’s first name.) Cassie confirms that yes, his name was Seth, and that he wanted to know all about his daddy. The whole exchange seems weird. Why couldn’t Piper get any information alone? Also, why had nobody else thought to go to Cassie? It seems as though Mr. Branson is being framed. Is he just the easiest target, or does the masked murderer have a personal vendetta against him?
Although Jake seemed very sincere when he was welcoming Brooke into his home, she blames him when she discovers that someone hacked into her computer and turned the webcam on while she was undressing to get in the shower. She feels uncomfortable and heads back to her empty house where she decides to have a party. Sounds like a great idea while there’s potentially still a murderer at large.
Sheriff Hudson discovers that the phone found in Branson’s classroom traced back to a tower far from Branson’s house and the school. He takes initiative, and goes to the house to see if witnesses could place Branson there. The house seems to be empty, so he enters, only to find a computer streaming live videos, including one from Lakewood County Jail. Surprise, surprise, the killer is there! The masked killer strikes Sheriff Hudson. This could mean the murderer is clearly not Branson, but it could also go back to the team theory.
While searching Rachel’s archives, Noah and Audrey find something odd, though it has nothing to do with Mr. Branson. The two find a video of Kieran leaving a bar with a drunk Nina, the night before she was murdered.
Jake sits in his car outside the dance for a while, watching live video of Brooke’s house. If he’s hacked her security footage, was he the one who hacked her computer? Or is he worried about his friend being in a big house alone? His past makes me lean towards creep, but something about his affection for Brooke makes me second guess myself.
Emma goes to the dance dressed as Mia Wallace from “Pulp Fiction.” She tells her mom, who is chaperoning, that her and Kieran were supposed to meet at the dance because he had something to do beforehand. Maggie is worried that she hasn’t heard from Sheriff Hudson. Could Kieran’s “something to do” mean “murdering my dad”? I am still not convinced that Kieran is the murderer.
Kieran finally arrives to the dance dressed as Vincent Vega, just in time to do the famous “Pulp Fiction” dance with Emma. As soon as the two separate, Audrey swoops in on Emma to show her the video of Kieran and Nina. Although Audrey is convinced that this makes Kieran a top suspect, Emma doesn’t completely buy it. Didn’t Audrey just have an incriminating video that wasn’t as it seemed? Why should Emma treat Kieran’s situation differently?
Emma asks Kieran about the video. He admits that he knew Nina, but that she had lied about her name and so didn’t realize he knew “Nina” as first. He says that he met her that night, and drove her home after seeing how drunk she was. He swears he didn’t go inside her house, and left right away. It’s obvious that Emma doesn’t trust Kieran, though, and he tells her that “Branson won, even from jail.”
Of course, Piper shows up. I wonder how a stranger is allowed to go to a high school dance? Piper tells Emma that she went back to Cassie’s after something she said didn’t sit right with her (How convenient). When showing pictures from the yearbook, Cassie pointed out that “Seth” was actually Kieran, not Mr. Branson. But how did Kieran have a picture in the yearbook if this was his first year at the school? This might be an oversight by the writers, but could also be a key to Piper’s lies.
Suddenly, the lights go out, and a video screen projects a very wounded, bloody Sheriff Hudson. We then quickly hear that there’s an APB for Seth Branson, who had escaped jail. The scene shows a dead officer in front of an empty cell. Could we have done it? Did the killer get him out to murder him?
TOP SUSPECT: Piper. Piper. Piper. Although there is no way she’s working alone.
NEXT TO DIE: Since the finale is next week, I have a feeling there’s going to be lots of bloodshed before the identity of the killer is announced. Emma, Brooke, and Noah are high on my survival list.