|“||I need help. Sidney? Corey, please. Davie, please. Davie? Please. Help me. Help me, please. Please. Please, look at me. Please. Sidney. Sidney. Sidney! Sidney, please, look at me. Please, I'm begging you. Look at me, please. Please.||”|
— Angela's failed pleas to her friends
In the unassuming town of Millwood, Pennsylvania, a young girl calls out in despair for Sidney Haworthe or Davie Adams outside a warehouse currently blasting with music. Tear-stricken, Angela Waters stumbles inside, begging for help to no one’s bother. She finds Sidney and drops to her knees in the middle of the crowd. Through her sobs, she begs Sidney to look at her. Davie, however, angrily mutters to Sidney that they’ve talked about this already, forcing a conflicted Sidney to join her other friends. Devastated, Angela looks around in pain and notices a ladder nearby. She decided to climb. The rave continues in full swing, and as the countdown begins partygoers suddenly take notice of a silhouette up above. The DJ cuts the music, allowing Angela to scream out to the girls below if they finally see her. Davie yells at her to stop, but Angela raised her arms and steps forward.
The crowds disperse with screams of terror, though only five girls stay still. They force themselves to look upon the bloody, gruesome scene before them; Angela’s broken, dead body.
A pregnant Imogen Adams dines with her mother Davie, who insists she drink her milk to Imogen’s protest. Davie holds her daughter’s hand, asking if she wants to burn ‘’her’’ things in revenge for being a fair-weather friend. “And a stark raving crazy bitch,” Davie finishes, to her daughter’s sarcastic objection. A knock at the door attracts Imogen’s attention. She opens it to find Karen Beasley, who announces that her boyfriend Greg is in the car so it shouldn’t take long. A tense stand-off begins, even as Karen hands Davie a letter that was out front, the “A” in her name red. Davie opens the letter to find a flyer for the rave that occurred 22 years prior, to her utter shock. Imogen notices her mother’s discomfort, but Davie brushes it off and tells the girls to head upstairs. As they leave, Davie flips the flyer and reads the message;
“GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN. YOU CAN’T IGNORE THE PAST FOREVER. THE COUNTDOWN IS ON.”
Davie flashes back to that night. Upstairs, Karen briskly skims through Imogen’s closet, the latter who says she gave her the shirt she’s holding. Karen snidely remarks she can’t wear it now. Imogen begs Karen to understand that Greg kissed her first, not vise versa. Karen, however, refuses to listen, confronting Imogen that she kissed Greg at her own party. The blonde tries to storm off but finds in the hallway floor wet.
The girls slowly walk to the source of the water, the bathroom. Imogen softly calls out to her mother. She pushes the door open, taking in what’s in front of her: Davie, dead in a tub overflowing with bloody water, the letter “A” drawn in red ichor on the wall. Karen screams in horror as Imogen gasps.
At the Haworthe house, Tabby compliments how good her mother Sidney looks, asking if she has a date later. Sidney brushes it off and asks what she wants for dinner. Tabby tells her she’s working late, a trend Sidney has begun to notice as if she doesn’t want to be in the house. Tabby, however, says she wants to give Imogen space to grieve. Upstairs, Imogen tearfully looks through her mother’s picture book. She composes herself before she heads downstairs, where Sidney brightly bids her good morning. Imogen says she couldn’t sleep last night after sniffing brownies at 5 am. Sidney asks if she’s sure she wants to go to school, but Imogen is determined as she wants to distract herself and her mother would’ve wanted to. Sidney replies she would’ve done anything for her mom, flashing back to her reaction as she stared at Angela’s body occurring. Tabby offers to walk Imogen and pick up the keys to Imogen’s insistence.
Outside, Tabby says she didn’t know their moms were friends. Imogen says she didn’t know either as her mother always confided in her, though Imogen realized she didn’t talk about her high school years. Tabby says Imogen is brave for coming to the hellhole of Millwood High, though Imogen assures her she’ll be the freak of the week before some other kid whose life is more fucked up than hers takes the spot.
Outside her house, Imogen can’t bear herself to walk up the front steps, leaving Tabby to drop the keys off. As the girls leave, a figure ominously stares out the screened front window after them.
Outside Millwood High, Imogen expresses her disgust that Spirit Week has commenced. Tabby reminds her it’s not too late to turn back but Imogen refuses. Inside, Karen and Sandy sit at her Spirit Queen ballot table and notice Imogen’s arrival. She fakes sweetly-veiled surprise that Imogen is back, leading Tabby to snark that if she wasn’t such a narcissist she’s check up on Imogen. Karen coldly tells her to get off her ass as it was traumatizing for her to see, recalling back when she ran out the house screaming. She tells Imogen she’s here for her and pulls her in for a hug. However, she cruelly whispers, “People may be polite to you, but trust me: nobody wants your pregnant, tragic ass back here.” Karen wishes her a good first day back, but Tabby overheard and asks why she’s a bitch at everything. She escorts Imogen to a corner and says that while Karen is a walking micro-aggression, there’s safety in numbers. Tabby invites her to sit at lunch.
Faran Bryant struts into school, completely ignoring Karen whose left stung. Seeing Minnie Honrada stare at a flyer for the school’s LGBT club, the blonde snips that she doesn’t need to come out when everyone already knows. Karen asks the girl if she cast her vote yet. However, the girls flips her the bird and declares her name to be Mouse, calling Karen a dick. She tries to run off but bumps into Noa Olivar, who agrees Beasley and her twin Kelly are evil.
Noa delivers a urine test to Nurse Simmons, who asks about her mother Majorie and remarks she misses her but not the hospital. Noa says she’s fine, and says sup to Kelly Beasley who remains silent. Nurse Simmons asks her to say hello to her mother and to report back here tomorrow once again.
Noa storms into the hallway, her boyfriend Shawn Noble at her heels. She complains that her life is a shitshow and she has to account every minute of her day. Shawn assures her she has three more weeks left, but Noa clarifies she has three more weeks left for the ankle monitor but the peeing in a cup is for the rest of the year and community service is everyday. She says the dance is this weekend as an afterthought, to which Shawn replies he thought dances aren’t her thing. She says it isn’t, but apologizes for having to miss many cool shit and always staying at her house. Shawn doesn’t mind, and asks if her mom is working night shifts again. Noa smiles, and he confirms her place tonight. He leaves, and she begins to trail after him before her phone rings. An unknown text reads: “Don’t do the crime if you don’t do the time.” Noa texts back demanding who it is, and receives the reply; “Your conscience”.
She looks around, but dismisses the messages.
In film class, Mr. Smithee roughly hands out papers detailing the students’ latest projects to partner and make a short film inspired by a classic film on the list. Tabby raises her hand, asking why there’s no directors of color much less only two women on the list. Chip chimes in, adding to Tabby’s cause. Mr. Smithee stops her, complimenting her love of film as admirable but the curriculum has been vetted by his colleagues and school board. While she is free to pursue and watch whatever films she wants, she must follow the classroom’s rules. Tabby agrees, and begins to announce her intent to start a film series at The Orpheum beginning with Jordan Peele’s movies. Mr. Smithee interrupts and the class resumes teaching. But Tabby receives a notification from her phone.
“What’s your favorite scary movie?” Tabby texts back who it is, and the unknown messenger follows up with “Peeping Tom”.
Tabby isn’t the only one accosted. In literature class, Imogen receives a text. “Look at the window.” She does and is shocked at the ghastly sight of a figure wearing a burlap mask and coveralls. The teacher calls her name, and Imogen asks what the question was to the class’ laughter. She looks at the window again to see the figure gone. Elsewhere, Mouse is gaming at the computer lab when she too receives a text. “Can Minnie Mouse come out to play? xoxo Mickey”. Unnerved, she checks the mostly empty hallways before blocking the caller.
In ballet class, Madame Giry lists out the roles for the upcoming Swan Lake performance, among them Kelly and Faran who received the main role. Karen questions if she got a role, only to find out she landed a supporting role. She approaches Faran, who insinuates the real reason why Madame Giry made her the ‘’Black’’ Swan. As she leaves, Faran hears her phone ring. The text reads, “You’re going to slay as the Black Swan.” She looks around to see everyone on their phone, and asks who it is. “Your No. 1 fan” is their answer. In the hallways, Faran calls her mother Corey, whose in Pittsburgh, to tell her the good news. Corey is elated for her daughter. Unnerved by the stare of a janitor, Faran reminds her she never goes to her high school events. Though traumatized by the New Year’s tragedy, Corey decides to make an exception to Faran’s delight.
Imogen is accosted by Sandy in the bathroom, who gives her insincere condolences. She asks what Imogen is going to do now. Imogen replies she’s staying at the Haworthe’s, but Sandy meant what she’s going to do with the baby. Imogen is recalled back to a time she sat near the beach, Sandy’s voice questioning if the baby father’s was indeed a lifeguard.
Imogen suddenly goes at the nurse’s office, begging Nurse Simmons to arrange for an abortion. She says her and her mother planned to raise it but now she’s changed her mind. Nurse Simmons reminds her she’s six months along and its too late to reconsider. Imogen, besieged by an image of herself in a bloodied tub like her mother, admits she’s overwhelmed. Nurse Simmons urges her to push through the next three months.
Karen corners Noa and asks to vote for her for Spirit Queen, but Noa won’t as well as the fact she’s running unopposed. Karen snidely asks if she’s late for community service, giving symphony for Noa working alongside thugs. She tells her to say hi to her father for her.
Sheriff Beasley addresses the delinquents before him that the mayor wants the site around them cleaned for redevelopment, so first step is clearing all the shit. A disgruntled Noa commences picking up trash.
Back in Millwood High, Tabby waits for the jocks to exit the boys’ locker room before entering it, calling out to make sure it is empty. Confirming the coast is clear, she unhooks a camera underneath the sinks.
Tabby arrives late at The Orpheum, apologizes to her boss Wes. He tells Chip to clean up the bathrooms but the latter says it is Tabby’s turn to do so. Wes, however, says Tabby is in charge of the popcorn and orders Chip to do it.
Noa continues to clean up trash, but senses she’s being watched. She looks up to a menacing figure staring at her. She yells she’s reporting him and beelines to find the Sheriff, only to accidentally find him receiving an explicit type of oral service from a teenage boy in the car. Disturbed, she runs off.
At the Orpheum, Tabby recommends Wes try to look like he’s trying to work. Continue to read his comic, Wes declares that as manager he doesn’t have to pretend and it is work, specifically research. Wes begins to advocate on the ingenious that is “Dressed to Kill,” but Tabby argues against the oversexualization of the movie’s females before they’re slashed to death. Wes rhetorically asks if Tabby’s still in high school as she reminds him of his NYU girlfriends. Tabby asks if she be allowed to host her double feature on Thursday and negotiates terms, to which Wes agrees.
Imogen grabs the confidence to enter her house, approaching her mother’s bedroom and reminiscing as she finds a picture of her sonogram. She begins to tear up, but notices the rave flyer underneath a magazine.
Noa arrives home, where her mother asks her about community service and if she’s keeping her distance form the other kids. Noa remarks they aren’t the problem, and questions the time of her mother’s shift.
Wes parks his car in a desolate spot in town, taking out a cigarette for a smoke. He says what he meant about Tabby early was true - she is something special, something his old professors agreed when he talked to them. Tabby is elated to hear that, as NYU is her dream school besides AFI where Ari Aster attended, who Wes is the same age as. Tabby nonetheless doesn’t want to sidetrack and asks what he’s talked to them about, which he replies as a young filmmaker. Wes makes his move holding her hand, and goes for a kiss before Tabby notices a masked figure before them. Wes is about to head out the car but Tabby warns him not to. He drives them away.
Tabby finally arrives home, once again late as Sidney notices. Tabby lies that she was taking inventory but that Wes gave her a ride. She tells her mother she ate and has a lot of homework. Tabby locks the door to her room. Connecting the thumb drive to her phone, Tabby plays her hidden footage of the boys in the locker rooms, some stark naked. She takes vigorous notes.
Karen look on sullen as Faran and Henry practice their choreography, but an unimpressed Madame decides to call it a day and asks Faran to come into her office as she dismisses the class. Madame Giry tells she missed last night’s practice and won’t get into Ailey Dance Theater. Faran asks if she meant that school because she’s Black, as she wanted to aim for ABT instead. Madame says she worries ABT might not accept Faran because of her scoliosis, but she’ll keep her secret.
Ash Romero introduces himself to Mouse, saying he’s noticed her checking out his posters for Spectrum Club and encourages her to join. Mouse isn’t a big fan of groups, but Ash says its a safe space and they have great snacks. Mouse is convinced, and is invited for lunch by him.
Principal Clanton asks Imogen if she is ok, confessing that Nurse Simmons told him about her chat with Imogen strictly because of her well being. He says Millwood might not be equipped to offer the support she needs. Imogen begs him to not kick her out, but he says he isn’t - he’s concerned about the student body, some who might be bothered by her presence. Imogen dares him to ask who is.
The cafeteria bustles with activity, until Imogen storms in and confronts Karen in front of everyone. She plays innocent, concerned this might not be the right environment for someone in Imogen’s “condition”. She demands to know she truly did to piss Karen off, turning to Greg to admit the truth in front of her. Karen snaps and says she doesn’t belong here, and she isn’t the only person who feels that way. She defiantly states she won’t go anywhere, and in fact will be Spirit Queen like her mother. Karen is shocked by the threat, flustered as Imogen leaves the cafeteria gossiping in her wake. The other girls are left impressed.
At the Beasley household, Martha asks her daughters how was school. Kelly states it was fine but Karen complains that everyone is insane, particularly Imogen Adams and a girl who’s- “…better than you,” finishes the Sheriff. The mood shifts. Kelly says Karen is really good but the Sheriff wants Karen’s word on it. She claims she’s better. He tells her to look around her, at all the nice things. He has it because he’s the best at everything, and demands she be the best at everything. Martha brightly asks if anyone wants desert.
Mouse is excited to see a message request from Ash on Discord, though her mother Elodie doesn’t like seeing her spend so much time online and warns her there are bad people online, though Mouse is too overjoyed to ponder her mother’s words.
At the pizza joint, Karen instructs Greg to get a suit as she doesn’t want to be crowned Spirit Queen with Greg wearing his stupid letterman jacket. Greg questions why she’s giving him a hard time as he’s had a long day, and refuses to be like her mom, to be talked however she wants. Karen dismisses her mother as pathetic and her dad a cock sucker. Greg is dismissive ballet and her complaining, and after a second of shock she kicks him underneath the table. She admonishes him, saying she doesn’t question his football skills even though he loses every game and cheers him as the dutiful girlfriend she is. Greg isn’t in the mood to entertain her tantrum, leaving her alone for their audience to witness.
Still at Millwood High, Faran begins to practice before she’s startled by the reflection of a figure looking at her in the mirror. She turns to find it gone, and the hallways outside empty. Madame comes up behind her, reminding her to practice and bids her goodnight.
Tabby is impressed by Imogen’s boldness and calling Karen a bitch in front of everyone, though the pregnant girl sees herself as the teen tragedy spiraling. She confessed to Tabby she had a series of panic attacks, threw up, and asked for an abortion. She says she went back to her house and found a flyer for a party back in 1999, and has no idea why her mother killed herself and in that manner. Tabby asks if she left a note, but Imogen shakes her head. She shows Tabby the sonogram and how her mom said everything was ok. Tabby says, for what’s it for, she should run for Spirit Queen and worst case scenario they make Karen sweat.
Late at night at Millwood High, Jesse the janitor calls out a figure walking with purpose into the school. He follows the figure into an offshoot building, where he finds a table with littered with objects - bottles, a teddy bear, duct tape, an empty urine bottle, ballet slippers, “NO!” scrawled over Karen’s flyers, and a live mouse. The creeper opens the door with a creak. Jesse demands to know what this is, and decides to call the sheriff. Upon hearing that, the figure suddenly bolts towards him, grabs a knife and cleanly slices Jesse’s throat. The janitor collapses backward. His screams echo into the night as he is stabbed.
Imogen and Tabby arrive at school to find Karen’s posters defaced and replaced with ones supporting Imogen, with the second “A” in her last name highlighted in red. The girls immediately blame Karen for it, and the principal calls them to his office now. In science lab, Sandy asks Karen for a pen, the latter who reaches into her bags and comes up with her fingers wet with blood. She screams and kicks her bag forward, the contents dropping out on the floor. A bloody, dead mouse glistens on the floor. Mouse is confronted by her computer science teacher, who says the principal wants to see her about Karen finding a dead mouse in her bag. Nurse Simmons says she found traces of cannabis in Noa’s system, who denies it. Instead of telling Sheriff Beasley, she contacts her mother. In ballet class, Karen screams in pain - her ballet shoes have been filled with razor blades. She accuses Faran, who professes her innocence.
The girls are all placed in detention. Imogen tells Tabby they shouldn’t be here, though Faran asks if they were the ones who trashed Karen’s posters. Imogen, as much as they want to take the credit, says Karen did it to send a message, the letter “A” highlighted as drawn when Imogen discovered her mother. She thinks it’s revenge for thinking she kissed Greg, and now everything Imogen does enrages her. Faran says she thinks Karan put razor blades in her own ballet shoes to get her kicked out of Swan Lake. Noa is surprised by the violent intent, and starts to think Karen switched her drug tests by involving her twin because she wouldn’t vote for her for Spirit Queen. Imogen assures her that’s reason enough to involve her. Noa reveals that before she got with Greg, she tried to get with Shawn, a fact Imogen can confirm when she and Karen were friends last year. She states Karen might as well hate her for taking Shawn. Mouse confesses Karen said she put a dead rat in her bag, to the girls’ disgust. She says ever since she introduced herself as Mouse to Karen, she’s been called “Rodent” though believes her reason for Karen’s retaliation stems from calling her a basic barbie and flipping her the middle finger. Imogen says Karen is on a rampage and Noa concludes they were targeted by her. “Like you said, Beasley is a bitch, but so is payback,” Imogen whispers in response. The girls begin to plot and all are in, but Tabby asks what they will do. Imogen answers, “I think we should kill Karen Beasley.”
- Bailee Madison as Imogen Adams
- Chandler Kinney as Tabby Hayworth
- Zaria as Faran Bryant
- Malia Pyles as Minnie Honrada
- Maia Reficco as Noa Olivar
- Mallory Bechtel as Karen Beasley/Kelly Beasley
- Sharon Leal as Sidney Haworthe
- Elena Goode as Marjorie Olivar
- Eric Johnson as Sheriff Beasley
- Alex Aiono as Shawn Noble
- Lea Salonga as Elodie Honrada
- Kate Jennings Grant as Madame Giry
- Carly Pope as Davie Adams
- Robert Stanton as Principal Clanton
- Emily Bautista as Teen Elodie Honrada
- Jeffrey Bean as Mr. Smithee
- Ben Cook as Henry
- Lilla Crawford as Sandy
- Ava DeMary as Teen Davie Adams
- Jennifer Ferrin as Martha Beasley
- Derek Klena as Wes
- Jordan Gonzalez as Ash Romero
- Elias Kacavas as Greg
- Sarah-Anne Martinez as Teen Marjorie Olivar
- Kristen Maxwell as Teen Sidney Haworthe
- Carson Rowland as Chip
- Kristian Mosley as Teen Corey Bryant
- Anthony Ordonez as Mr. Gardner
- Gabriella Pizzolo as Angela Waters
- Zakiya Young as Corey Bryant
- Cristala Carter as Nurse Simmons
- Victoire Charles as Mrs. Gibson
- Jared Blake Dicroce as Jason
- Alex O'Shea as Karen/Kelly Body Double
- Mia S. Shelby as Young Faran
- Barbara Tirrell as Mrs. Murray
- Blake Zelesnikar as DJ
- The picture shown on the cover of the script is the movie poster for a 2013 American slasher thriller titled You're Next.
- The film revolves around a couple desiring to reconnect with their estranged children and coming together for a reunion, only for them to come under siege by a group of masked assailants.
- This script cover format follows the same style used by scripts from Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's previous television shows based on the Archie Comics, Riverdale, with the picture of movie posters replacing cartoons or original drawings highlighting the episode synopsis.
- The episode takes place on December 31, 1999; August 28th and September 28-September 30th.
- Though the series takes place in 2021 or 2022, the subtitle reads: "September 28th, Monday", but the only year that September 28th landed on a Monday was in 2015 and then 2020.
- The episode has Easter Eggs from classic horror films:
- The font used on the headings and credits is from the Halloween films: ITC Serif Gothic Heavy.
- Corey works ar Strode, Prescott & Ripley Associations, with Strode being a nod to Laurie Strode, portrayed by Jamie Lee Curtis in the Halloween films, Prescott being Sidney Prescott, portrayed by Neve Campbell in the Scream franchise and Ripley being Ellen Ripley, portrayed by Sigourney Weaver in the Aliens franchise.
- In Imogen’s literature class, the teacher discusses The Scarlet Letter, a classic 1850 book by Nathaniel Hawthorne. The plot starts with the character of Hester Prynne, a young woman pregnant with a child whose paternity is unknown and is sentenced to wear a scarlet “A” for the rest of her life as a sign of her sin. Her quiet dignity allows her to overcome the social stigma and shaming surrounding her, but nonetheless her daughter Pearl grows to be fascinated with the scarlet letter and Heather’s long-lost husband becomes consumed with revenge against her sinning.
- In the first Pretty Little Liars book, Spencer is described as owning a copy of The Scarlet Letter in her room.
- In the third Pretty Little Liars book, Perfect, Ezra Fitz assigns an essay on The Scarlet Letter. Aria compares the main character, Hester whose shunned for her adultery, to Meredith, the woman whom her father had an affair with.
- The marquee for The Orpheum features a red A in "Double De Palma!", an Easter egg and one of many "A" plants.
Behind the Scenes
- Secret (Ghostwriter Remix) by The Pierces
- Blue Monday by Orgy
- Purge the Poison by Marina ft. Pussy Riot
- Do it Again by VANYO ft. Juliette Reilly
- Pop Stars by K-DA & Madison Beer
- Devil's Worst Nightmare by FJORA
- Guillotine by Mansionair x MoMBe
- Can I Strut to This by Daniella Mason
- Bad Girl by Slim Rhodes
- Compelled by Necessity by de Cylinders
- Shieldmaiden by ELLE
- Living Dead Girl by Rob Zombie