“The Man Behind the Mask” reveals who the killer isn’t, and shines a condemning light on one of the so-called heroes.
This recap of Scream Season 3, Episode 3, “The Man Behind the Mask”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
In the pre-credits scene of Scream Season 3, Episode 3, Deion sleeps with Liv; in a nightmare, his presumed-dead twin, Marcus, stabs them both to death, burying his fingers in Deion’s chest and pulling it apart in the hopes of finding who he really is. It’s a grisly scene, but it’s also a telling one. Deion’s imaginings resemble what we already know of the killer’s intentions; to find what these people are hiding. “The Man Behind the Mask” only serves to reiterate that the idea is one that Scream is sticking with.
We meet Deion’s father, Earl, in “The Man Behind the Mask”. He’s a long-distance truck driver who is away often, but there’s no indication that he’s neglectful in any way; Deion seems to love and respect him and appreciate his presence, but his half-brother Jamal (Tyga) clearly doesn’t. In an argument between the siblings, we learn that Tyga resents Earl because it was his mother who he left in the wake of Marcus’s death; something she never recovered from. Deion and his mother still treat Halloween as sacred, cooking Marcus’s favorite breakfast and poring over old photo albums. To Jamal, it’s a waste of time, but more importantly, excludes him from the family. He doesn’t believe that Deion sees himself as Jamal’s real brother because he hasn’t moved on from the death of his twin.
“Marcus” calls Deion’s phone in Scream Season 3, Episode 3, and tells him about Shane’s death in the previous episode. He also says he wants to know who Deion really is, and tells him to go to the site of his brother’s death in order to reveal it. Lying to Liv in order to borrow her car, Deion sets out to the rendezvous.
The rest of the gang are squabbling. Amir is trying to get closer to Beth but keeps being pushed away; she’s clearly bothered by Shane’s death, despite her insistence that their relationship was purely physical. Beth and Kym are clashing, too, over whether they should subscribe to horror traditionalism, as Beth insists, or consider themselves the cast of a “reboot”, which is Kym’s preferred angle. This metatextual argument is funny here, but probably wouldn’t be in another, similar show. Scream is so inextricably tied to genre deconstruction, though, that it mostly works.
In a brief hint about how paranoid and overprotective Liv’s father is, “The Man Behind the Mask” reveals that her car has a GPS tracker, and the group uses it to pursue Deion. Catching up with him at a gas station, they all insist on joining him, despite his protestations. But he has a point. To try and keep the others safe, Liv sabotages Kym’s car, slashing a tire, for which she blames some troublesome cartoon Confederates who happen to have been hassling her earlier. Beth is worried about this because as far as the rules of horror are concerned, being stranded in the middle of nowhere can only mean bad things.
After falling out with Beth, Amir joins Deion and Liv in visiting Tony Todd’s isolated war veteran Luther at a junkyard. Here, Scream Season 3, Episode 3 gives some needed clarity about the night of Marcus’s death. Having only just returned home from overseas, Luther was troubled and believed Marcus to be a threatening intruder. He insists that what he did was an accident; that he didn’t mean to kill Marcus at all. But he also revealed that Marcus died there regardless. The police searched the junkyard but never found the body — how hard would they have searched for a young black boy, anyway? But months later, Luther found him and buried him. A Ghostface mask marks his grave.
This represents a turning point for Deion, who must come to terms with the fact that his brother is really dead, but also that the Ghostface who continues to torment them must, therefore, be somebody else. The killer arrives right on schedule and gets into a fight with Luther — a fight Luther loses. Meanwhile, after a bad argument, Kym has set out on her own back to the school, leaving Manny and Beth in on-foot pursuit. We learn a little more about Manny and his sibling-like relationship with Kym in “The Man Behind the Mask”; despite her constant insistence that he’s afraid of a fight, he’s really afraid of himself and what he’s capable of when he loses his temper.
We’re about to see. Kym is run off the road by the rednecks she antagonized earlier, and by the time Manny catches up, he’s more than willing to set about them with a tire iron. But in the confusion, Kym has fled, leaving Manny behind to contend with Ghostface. The encounter doesn’t end well for him, knocking off another cast member without much fanfare. The only positive outcome of the road trip was Beth and Amir finally sharing a kiss; it’ll be a shame when they both probably get killed in the next couple of episodes.
Scream Season 3, Episode 3 ends with Deion returning home, where he’s able to somewhat reconcile with Jamal, who he recognizes now is the only brother he has, and finally tell his mother that it’s time to move on. In the final scene, Liv calls him, and shares her latest theory on the identity of Ghostface: It’s one of the Deadfast Club. After hanging up the phone she pulls out a false bottom in one of her desk drawers, revealing what looks like surveillance equipment, and a lighter. She holds the flame to her arm, a smile on her face.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.