Scream Queens Series Premiere Recap: Chanel’s Clutch

L-R: Abigail Breslin as Chanel No. 5, Emma Roberts as Chanel Oberlin, Skyler Samuels as Grace, Keke Palmer as Zayday, and Jeanna Han as Sam. Photo: Steve Dietl/FOX
Scream Queens
Episode Title
Hell Week
Editor’s Rating

Phew, Scream Queens is exhausting, isn’t it? That premiere packed so many new characters, so many deaths, and so many of Grace’s awful hats into two hours that my head is still spinning. But seriously, what is up with Grace’s hats, especially the beanies? Can anyone wear one of those beanies inside and not look like a dude who spends way too much time on a fantasy-football draft or an amateur cat burglar? Chanel’s obsession with faux fur is just as bad and a little 2006, but at least it looks a little bit glamorous — unlike Grace’s hats, which seem like something you would see in a slideshow of a lesbian’s trip to Yosemite. Oh, and let’s not even get started on the faux-fur earmuffs.

Wait, we’re not here to talk about millinery and fashions (though we are, kind of a little bit, especially when it’s a vest as completely amazing as Chanels’s white-and-blue number that looked like the flag of whatever country Anna and Elsa are from in Frozen or a floral dress with a cape attached that made me gay-gasp so loud that Joan River’s ears perked up in heaven). We’re here to talk about the horror, mystery, and everything else that is going on in Scream Queens. The only way I can think to organize this right now is by murder victim, so let’s start there.

The first dead girl of the night was the Kappa pledge who ended up dead in the bathtub because her sisters had to dance to TLC’s “Waterfalls.” Strangely enough that is the second death directly linked to that song after a Florida woman killed her husband because he got it stuck in her head for a week and it finally drove her insane because there weren’t any rivers or lakes that she was used to and that just pissed her off.

As we learned from the bloody bathtub in the Kappas' room of secrets (and, damn, there are a lot of secrets down there), this is really the central event of the show. Whoever is dressed as the Red Devil is obviously taking revenge for what happened that night. There are also several other questions brought up by this incident. How and why did Dean Munsch cover it up and just how is she implicated in the crime? What happened to all of those other sorority sisters who were at the party? Is the lawyer Gigi one of them? Her Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper of an outfit would sure make you think she was.

But the biggest question, of course, is who is the baby born in the tub. It has got to be Grace, right? She has a dead mother who was a Kappa who supposedly died when she was 2 years old, that makes it seem pretty obvious, right? But is that too obvious? When she storms out on her love interest, Pete, she says that he is 20 years old, which is her justification of why he must be that baby. At the same time she asserts that she's 18 so it can't be her and he gives an evil smirk. But what if everyone is lying to her about her age and she’s actually two years older? That seems ludicrous, but who else could the baby be? Maybe the smirk is because Pete is happy that she doesn't think the baby is her, which means changing her age actually worked. If it's not Grace, it has to be someone we met already. Maybe it’s the Jennifer the candle blogger and Dean Munsch inserted her into Kappa because she knows that she is actually the dead girl's baby? And just what are those five names that Pete found in Munsch’s office? Those must be the girls who were there that night, right?

The next person to wind up dead is Mrs. Bean, the maid whose face Chanel burned off because she had a bunch of Chanel voodoo dolls on her wall or something. Chanel initially planned this as a ruse to scare off all the gross pledges, but someone left on the deep fryer and it all went amiss. If Chanel is to be believed, this is the same thing that happened when the old Kappa president got her disfiguring spray tan. But why would the killer be in on that death and just hang around unnoticed for a whole year? I do believe Chanel that she didn’t intend to kill Mrs. Bean, but that she did put the acid in the miracle tan kit.

Once we find out that Mrs. Bean knew all about the dead girl in the tub and her baby, it makes sense why the killer would target her. It seems like she was part of the cover-up and would have to be dispensed with. I still don’t entirely believe that someone would die this way. It’s not that I don’t think you could have your face burned off; I just don’t believe that a sorority house would have a deep fryer. These girls haven’t eaten anything fried since a funnel cake at the county fair when they were 14 and one of the boys from their class made pig noises at them.

The biggest mystery this leaves us with is who took Mrs. Bean’s body and why? Or is she actually not entirely dead?

The funniest death of the evening has to be Chanel No.2's, when she is texting her killer and trying to tweet someone to save her rather than calling for help. That is some pretty genius shit right there.

But here is what I don’t understand: If the killer is pissed about Dead Tub Girl and is taking revenge on everyone involved, why bother with Chanel No. 2? What did she have to do with it? And why target this Chanel and not one of the other ones? Well, it’s obviously because Ariana Grande has a tour to get back to and another album to record and can’t be doing network television for too damn long, but are there any other reasons? And just how did they get rid of the body? I love all of Hester Neck Brace’s suggestions, and I just love that Lea Michele is killing it as a creepy dweeb.

I have some similar questions about Deaf Taylor Swift’s demise. Yes, this was another comedic tour de force, but why select her and not the other pledges? I would like to run over anyone who sang “Shake It Off” as well, but why did the killer off her and then leave on his/her little lawn mower instead of just chopping off all their heads at once? It wouldn’t leave us with much of a show, naturally, but if the goal is to kill all the pledges, isn’t it easier to do it in one fell swoop?

Shondell, the security guard, also had a bit of a fishy killing. Why, exactly, is Red Devil after her? She didn’t do anything except show up with some Shake Shacks while Denise Hemphill, currently my favorite part of this whole show, was ineffectively sitting out in front of the house getting the bejesus scared out of her. Denise couldn’t even drive poor Shondell to the hospital, she had to dump her out right there in the middle of the street like she was going to catch her death. Death isn’t like cooties; it doesn’t rub off on you because you’re in the same car.

The funny thing about this whole finishing scene is that it seemed like Chanel was inventing this story about the killer. After all, why would she be able to escape him when everyone else perished, especially big, strong Boone? But then when Red Devil went out in the car and killed Shondell so it seems like he/she actually was up there in the room. Just what in the holy hell is going on here?

The death of Boone made me the saddest of all, not only because I wanted more shirtless Nick Jonas pressing his boner up against Chad’s back in the middle of the night, but also because I was just dying for Boone to be a big gay pledge at Kappa. Then, after Red Devil showed up and slit his throat in the weight room (which is how any good gay bro would want to go), I thought it was all over.

But we were fooled! Oh how brilliant that he actually ended up still being alive. So what are Boone and the Red Devil doing plotting together? Just how do they know each other? What does that mean for dreamy Chad? Is Boone finally going to get a chance to stab him, but with a knife instead of, well, you know, something else? Oh, I can’t wait for next week.

All right, my best guest for who the Red Devil is right now is Grace’s father, Wes. Here is my theory. He is the biological father of Grace, who was the boyfriend or something of the Dead Tub Girl. When she wound up dead, they gave the baby to him and he raised it as his own, keeping her back for two years so that she would appear to be 18 instead of 20 so no one would be able to figure out she was the baby. Now he’s out for revenge, not only for his old girlfriend, but also to try to keep Grace out of being in the awful sorority. What do you think?

The Best Lines Taken Completely Out of Context:

  • “No one forced that goat to get as drunk as he did. That’s on him.”
  • “We’re having a side-boob mixer followed by a white party where everyone in attendance is actually white."
  • “True Tori was over and I was bored.”
  • "I call this one the Nancy Meyers Experience because it smells like cream couches and menopause."
  • “You get STDs from dirty toilet seats and drinking the water in Mexico.”
  • “Pissy Spacek.”
  • “Poop Lagoons.”
  • “Scream Denise Hemphill’s name real loud.”
  • “Everyone loves me: men, women, animals at the zoo, plants probably.”
  • “He’s going to steal all of our expensive cosmetics and toiletries.”
  • “Denise is my name, security is my game, I gotta watch these white girls so I can get paid.”
  • “Not one bad thing has ever happened in a Best Buy parking lot.”
  • “You dumb girls are so stupid.”