Scream Queens Recap: The Shining, Unhappy People

From left: Abigail Breslin as Chanel No. 5 and Emma Roberts as Chanel Oberlin. Photo: Steve Dietl/FOX
Scream Queens
Episode Title
Pumpkin Patch
Editor’s Rating

During the first episode of Scream Queens, my head was spinning with the number of new characters that were introduced. You had Chanel and the old Kappas, all the new Kappas, the faculty, the Dicky Dollar Scholars, Denise Hemphill (#ThisCouldBeUsButYouPlayin), and all the other various assorted people on campus. Initially, this cast of thousands made sense to me. As a slasher show, you’re going to have to kill off a couple of characters each week to keep the suspense going.

So far at least one person has kicked it each episode, but if there are so many damn characters, why are the only ones dying the ones we care nothing about? The only one to get iced by the Red Devil this week was Roger (or was it Dodger?) the Dicky Dollar twin who tag-teamed Chanel No. 5. I don’t remember seeing either of them even once before, so how am I supposed to feel worried about them while they are being chased around a replica of the hedge maze from The Shining? Well, I wasn’t. The same goes for the ice-cream mascot, Shondell, the Dickie Dollar who now has no arms, and just about everyone else that the Red Devil has disposed of since the premiere. Where is the carnage that really matters?

We don’t want to see humans in danger, we want to see characters in danger. The show has to build them up if it wants us to actually care about the carnage. I was tense as hell when I thought that either Gigi or my darling Denise might get an ax to the face when they were in the Red Devil’s evil lair. That was scary. But when two totally new and really gay guys (I mean, come on, if those two weren’t plucked from a go-go boy’s box at the Abbey, I have no idea where the casting agent found them) might get killed, it just leaves me as cold as Mrs. Bean’s body when it was left overnight in the freezer.

Oh, and while we’re speaking about crazy things happening on this show, was this the first week that there was a theme song? Have we seen it before and I just didn’t notice? Maybe it wasn’t ready before, so they snuck it in during episode five hoping that none of us would notice? Whatever, it’s pretty damn good, but I was a little surprised.

This episode was all about Chanel’s pumpkin patch. It might just be me, but every time Chanel said “my pumpkin patch,” I thought about how she probably dies her pubic hair an orangey color. Okay. Yeah, that was probably just me.

There was a lot of busywork this episode, but it ended up resulting in not that much forward momentum for the plot. At the end of the hour, Zayday was free from the Red Devil, Chanel No. 5 was on the outs with the rest of her crew, and there still wasn’t even a vote for who would be the next president.

It took lots of crazy machinations for us to get there. Chanel Coco Noir convinced Jennifer the candle vlogger to team up with her because Chanel Prime lights Diptyque candles once and then throws them in a closet because they’re used. They had Chanel arrested for killing Mrs. Bean, but then they immediately sprung her after she met Millie, her No. 1 Instagram fan, who is now in the clink. Chanel is pissed at Chanel No. 5, so she sends her outside to light all the jack-o’-lanterns knowing the Red Devil might get her, but No. 5 escapes with whichever of her sex twins isn’t the one who was killed.

Grace is pissed no one is looking for Zayday, so she gets Pete, and they catch her father and Gigi getting it on. They figure out where Zayday’s phone is and go find her in the basement of some old lady’s house, which the Red Devil has been using as his HQ. After a run-in with the devil himself, Gigi Tases the Devil, and he escapes through a hatch. However, Zayday wasn’t there; she freed herself after the Red Devil tried to feed her a dinner of her favorite nachos. Or did she? Could that all have been a lie? 

That’s it. That’s all that happened. After last week’s subtext-heavy plot, which was really something genius, this was a bit of a letdown. There were some good zingers, and Denise Hemphill was on fire as always, but there wasn’t anything gross, thrilling, or really suspenseful. What we got were some re-creations of famous horror movies, like Saw, The Shining, and Silence of the Lambs, but they didn’t really serve an end. It was just adding to the decoupage horror element of the show, borrowing from all of these preconceived aesthetics to make a frenetic whole. I don’t think that’s necessarily a weakness of the show, but it has yet to top the inventiveness of the text-message killing from the pilot. I keep waiting for the Red Devil to do something really devious or awesome, but it doesn’t quite happen.

Let’s face it, he’s kind of an awful bad guy. Most of the time he doesn’t even succeed in hitting his target, like in this episode, with Chanel No. 5. He goes after her, but he gets one of the sex twins instead and just sort of gives up as Chanel No. 5 takes off with the remaining twin. Snatch it together, Red Devil. If he really wants people to be scared of him, he might need to ratchet up his success rate.

The one good thing we learned at the end of the episode is that Gigi is working with RD himself. We all knew that as soon as she let him out of the hatch after she Tased him, but now it’s solidified. But let’s look at what she told the Red Devil: “That got way out of hand. He has to go. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a salad date with a very important guy.”

Now, there were only two “he”s in the bunker with the whole group: Grace’s dad, Wes, and her boyfriend, Pete. However, I don’t think she’s talking about Wes, because after talking about “him,” she then mentions Wes in a separate sentence like they’re two different people. I don’t think that Pete has really done anything to earn Gigi and the Red Devil’s wrath. She must be talking about one of the other guys who is playing the Devil. We know there are at least two (and the possibility that one is Boone is pretty high), and maybe more.

Here’s my theory. Devil A was the one in the bunker, and he’s the one who is a really lousy killer. He’s the one whom Gigi Tased, who almost got caught, which is what she considers “out of hand.” When she meets the guy in the courtyard later on, that is Devil B, and she is reporting on how bad Devil A behaved, and she’s telling Devil B that Devil A has to go because he sucks. That’s what I think she means. Guess we’ll have to wait for next week to find out for sure. They’re billing it as the “bloodiest episode yet” — let’s just hope that someone we actually care about gets murdered for a change.

A Collection of Funny Lines Taken Completely Out of Context:

  • “At midnight, we burnt the house down. When the firefighters showed up, they were strippers, and they put the fire out with Champagne.”
  • “My bad, both Fergies are coming.”
  • “As our great 60th president John F. Kennedy Jr. said, the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. And in this case, serial murderers, too.”
  • “Are you bisexual, because that’s what a switch-hitter is. Do you mean a double agent?”
  • “Gary Coleman’s parents stole his kidneys? I would never even say that because I don’t think it’s true.”
  • “This ain’t The Marriage Ref. This ain’t Judge Joe Brown. This ain’t the Maury show. We ain’t standing in line trying to get tickets to Dr. Phil. I am not Steve Harvey, people. And this is not the Family Feud. I am trying to catch a killer here, people.”
  • “It smells like booty in here. I’m getting a nervous feeling in my stomach. I might start farting. If I cut some, promise me you won’t tell anybody?”
  • “Can I get a Diet Coke on the rocks. Actually, make it regular, I’ve been through a lot.”
  • “Where do you find a house with a pit? The market for those would be really limited.”
  • “You shouldn’t worry about me. I’m like black Die Hard.”