SCREAM QUEENS 1×04 Debriefing: “Chanel-O-Ween”

SCREAM QUEENS:  Cast Pictured L-R: Lucien Laviscount, Glen Powell, Nasim Pedrad, Nick Jonas, Billie Lourd, Ariana Grande, Abigail Breslin, Emma Roberts, Jamie Lee Curtis, Skyler Samuels, Diego Boneta, Keke Palmer, Oliver Hudson, Lea Michele and Niecy Nash in SCREAM QUEENS which debuts with a special, two-hour series premiere event on Tuesday, September 22 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Matthias Clamer/FOX.

This week’s episode, Haunted House, is the fourth hour of the Scream Queens series. It is also the first of a three-part block of Halloween episodes. The body count was down once again (unless you count the revisiting of corpses we’ve already met). And both the purpose and direction of this story have become a bit less apparent. That said, I’m not watching Scream Queens for its solid plot and genius execution. I see its flaws. I may even point out a few along the way.  But it really all comes down to fun. And as long as I don’t take the show too seriously, it’s definitely a lot of fun. There are some enjoyable characters and plenty of witty dialog. This is the lens through which I personally choose to watch the show. And this is the mindset with which I will be reviewing! That said, let’s get to it.

 

Opening Scare?

There was no opening “scare” scene this week, unless you were mildly  frightened by Chanel’s play on “Switfmas.” First thing’s first, this reference was initially lost on me. I actually went back and watched Taylor Swift’s Gift Giving video for clarity. It did shed some light on the parody, and made the entire scene a bit more humorous. Especially the visual of Chanel riding around in a children’s toy car. I also want to mention that as unlikable as I find Chanel, she won me over (for at least a few minutes) this week with her “Halloween is THE most important day of the year.” I definitely share this sentiment. Perhaps for different reasons than the ones she cites though.  “Chanel-O-Ween” essentially made a complete sham of Taylor Swift’s chivalry by having severed body parts and razor apples delivered to “fans.” These gifts were accompanied by relatively offensive notes, handwritten by Chanel herself. Cue a bunch of jumping screaming crying girls (imagine a Taylor Swift concert). Also, can we talk about Chanel’s 752 Instagram followers? That’s not exactly anything to write home about. My favorite headline during this segment was “Chanel-O-Ween Delights Tens.” What a mensch.

SCREAM QUEENS: Emma Roberts as Chanel Oberlin in the "Haunted House" episode of SCREAM QUEENS airing Tuesday, Oct. 6 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Hilary Gayle/FOX.

SCREAM QUEENS: Emma Roberts as Chanel Oberlin in the “Haunted House” episode of SCREAM QUEENS airing Tuesday, Oct. 6 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Hilary Gayle/FOX.

Heavenly Hash

We pick up where we left off at the end of last week’s episode: Dean Munsch is being “interviewed” by the police about the latest “Red Devil” attack. It’s clearly solid detective work, as the only case-related question she’s asked is whether or not she saw anyone in a “Red Devil” costume entering or leaving the house. The only other item the cop wants to address is if the Dean plans on attending the precinct BBQ — He has a hankering for some of her famous heavenly hash. She “wouldn’t miss it for the world,” and is now free to go. That is some stellar copping, really. Wes is not pleased, but come on. Dean Munsch is a “pillar” in the community, which is essentially equivalent to diplomatic immunity. The Dean goes on to explain the logistics of what it would entail for her to have attacked Wes and Gigi- let’s just say it’s a lot of activity in 90 seconds. Seems unlikely. Wes is still unrelenting in his accusations, and the Dean tries to calm him in the most flirtatious way possible. She will not hold anything against him. In fact, she will LET him be her date for the faculty Halloween party. Everybody wins! Bonus- they will be attending as Bo Peep and her sheep. PLEASE let this be something we see in the weeks to come.

SCREAM QUEENS: Pictured L-R: Oliver Hudson as Wes and Nasim Pedrad as Gigi in the "Haunted House" episode of SCREAM QUEENS airing Tuesday, Oct. 6 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Skip Bolen/FOX.

SCREAM QUEENS: Pictured L-R: Oliver Hudson as Wes and Nasim Pedrad as Gigi in the “Haunted House” episode of SCREAM QUEENS airing Tuesday, Oct. 6 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Skip Bolen/FOX.

 

Best Buy Parking Lot in the Sky

BUT HOLD UP. Denise Hemphill is here. She has come to tell everyone about the Dickey Dollar Scholars attack. As it turns out, the DDS gentleman who had his arms hacked off is apparently not dead. I won’t even ask about the plausibility of this. Denise is still convinced the killer is Zayday, for whatever reason. She celebrates a small victory of being “one step ahead of the po-po!”

Then comes another Shondell moment. These are quickly becoming my favorite. “Shondell, if you can hear me in that Best Buy Parking Lot in the Sky, I am so sorry that I pushed you out of my car and drove off real scared.” Denise vows to avenge Shondell’s “face stabbing” on Halloween. She WILL solve this crime for her friend.

SCREAM QUEENS: Pictured L-R: Jim Klock as Detective Chisolm, Niecy Nash as Denise Hemphill and Jamie Lee Curtis as Dean Cathy Munsch in the "Haunted House" episode of SCREAM QUEENS airing Tuesday, Oct. 6 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Skip Bolen/FOX.

SCREAM QUEENS: Pictured L-R: Jim Klock as Detective Chisolm, Niecy Nash as Denise Hemphill and Jamie Lee Curtis as Dean Cathy Munsch in the “Haunted House” episode of SCREAM QUEENS airing Tuesday, Oct. 6 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Skip Bolen/FOX.

The Truth About Bathtub Baby

Grace and Pete (Coffee Donkey) are paying a visit to one of the ‘90s Kappas who was present during the now-infamous bathtub birth. Let’s make a note, Pete’s favorite movie is How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. As is Grace’s. They are so vanilla, it’s almost nauseating. Though Pete does do a relatively spot-on Matthew McConaughey impression. Ex-Kappa lady is living like the Unabomber in the middle of the woods, but seems to know exactly why these two (clad in their Halloween How to Lose a Guy “costumes”) have shown up at her doorstep. And it’s not because they are “trick-or-treating.”  “I’ve been waiting 20 years for someone to come around asking about it.” I guess she doesn’t get many visitors. And it’s really evident. She has a pet squirrel, which is actually adorable. But as a bit of an animal lover, I’d rather he be running free around the trailer at least. Although she then serves up an armadillo so I imagine she’s not too concerned with animal rights. Grace tries to get answers about what happened “that night” at Kappa house, while Pete continues to talk like Matthew McConaughey. I have no idea what he’s saying, which is pretty similar to the real-life counterpart I suppose.

We once again flashback to  the  scene that took place in the ‘90s Kappa bathroom. Ms. Bean is there (Yay!) and she wants to make sausages out of the body- she can sell them at the farmers market or feed them to the Kappas. Either way, it sounds like a foolproof plan. But the Dean wants to bury the body. Honestly, I watch a lot of crime shows and I think they would have been better off with the sausage. Leave no trace behind. Someone will find those remains eventually…

Mandy (‘90s Ex-Kappa now has a name) goes on to talk about how Munsch forced the girls to wear hoods so they would have no idea where they were burying the body. Looking at ‘90s Munsch (she’s not yet a dean), I think she’s really mellowed out in the last 20 years. She seems a lot looser and freer these days. I’m happy that she has found some inner peace. Munsch oversees the body’s burial. And then proceeds to tell the girls that they need to leave school immediately and not contact each other ever again. It all seems a bit harsh. Or does it? Munsch’s career is OVER if anyone finds out about this mysterious death. So, the girls will do what she says. She says they will look back on that night and think of her as their “guardian angel.” Munsch is protecting the girls and their families…sure. Mandy called Munsch “the devil” and “the darkness.” Well, I suppose I can at least consider the dean as a suspect. But my gut says no.

Oh by the way, Grace and Pete were wrong. The identity of the baby cannot be Chad. Because surprise…IT’S A GIRL! It’s like one of those sad gender reveal parties. And that’s put a bit of a hole in their theory for the time being. Back to the drawing board, kids.

Changing the World

Earl Grey (I suddenly would love a cup of tea) gives Zayday his full support in her Kappa House Presidential run. He wants to change the current perception of the Greek System, which he believes will become obsolete in a matter of years if things do not start change. He thinks he and Zayday represent that change. Though Earl cannot beat Chad for president of the Dickey Dollar Scholars, he is going to help Zayday with her own campaign against Chanel.

Yes, I Can

Back at the Kappa House, the girls are carving pumpkins for Chanel-O-Ween. I’m digging the background music in this scene, by the way. Classic horror score. Sam’s pumpkin is probably my favorite- it’s “drunk.” Number 3’s is Charles Manson, which Chanel loves. Though after last week we know the choice has a bit more meaning, at least to Number 3. Hester does the first of many creepy things in this episode, and carves Chad Radwell’s face into her pumpkin. Jennifer’s Hurricane Andrew pumpkin was probably right up there with Drunk Pumpkin for me. Grace of course carves a dull conventional jack-o’-lantern, which is rejected by Chanel. And Zayday “officially” announcers her presidential run with a “Yes, I can” pumpkin. Chanel is so shocked by this news that she drops her pumpkin.

SCREAM QUEENS: Pictured L-R: Keke Palmer as Zayday, Skyler Samuels as Grace and Abigail Breslin as Chanel #5 in the "Haunted House" episode of SCREAM QUEENS airing Tuesday, Oct. 6 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Hilary Gayle/FOX.

SCREAM QUEENS: Pictured L-R: Keke Palmer as Zayday, Skyler Samuels as Grace and Abigail Breslin as Chanel #5 in the “Haunted House” episode of SCREAM QUEENS airing Tuesday, Oct. 6 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Hilary Gayle/FOX.

 

Jennifer makes a good point in mentioning Zayday’s Sickle Cell fundraiser is effectively unnecessary, since the only eligible voters are in the room. “You could have just told us.” Also, I’m impressed that Chanel knew Jennifer’s name, and then actually called her by it. Zayday and Chanel get into it over the election revelation. Chanel’s going to destroy Zayday’s reputation. And Zayday threatens Chanel with the fact that everyone saw her “murder” Ms. Bean in that very kitchen. Seems like a lose-lose situation for both. Chanel storms off, but not before telling Zayday that if she does murder someone, it would be her.

Chanel Knife-Hands

3 and 5 find Chanel in her closet at 3 a.m. sharpening knives. They are concerned about her mental health. “Kitchen knives should be razor sharp.” Chanel starts having a meltdown, flailing blades around like she’s Edward Scissorhands. Long story short, she’s afraid she’s going to lose everything (including her identity) if she loses her throne. 3 and 5 help Chanel come up with her own fundraiser idea (a haunted pumpkin patch) to raise money for an even more “heinous” disease (black hairy tongue). All’s right with The Chanels again.

SCREAM QUEENS: Emma Roberts as Chanel Oberlin in the "Haunted House" episode of SCREAM QUEENS airing Tuesday, Oct. 6 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Hilary Gayle/FOX.

SCREAM QUEENS: Emma Roberts as Chanel Oberlin in the “Haunted House” episode of SCREAM QUEENS airing Tuesday, Oct. 6 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Hilary Gayle/FOX.

 

Oh, Mandy

We revisit Mandy later that night, which obviously means she’s not going to survive the scene. There’s an ominous knock at the door, but Mandy is ready with a bat. She opens the door, but no one is there. Then of course, the “Red Devil” is waiting for her inside the trailer. Her death scene is the first “normal” murder of the series. No chainsaw, no trickery, just a good old-fashioned stabbing. Back to basics, I suppose.

Hester and Chad, Sitting in a Graveyard

Chad is lurking in the graveyard, as we all know he gets off on corpses. Hester shows up, and I’m not even sure how to describe the exchange between the two. All I can really say is they definitely have shared interests- “I get you more than anyone.” They are seemingly a match made in heaven, as they are both aroused by dead bodies. They lament over their generation and the lack of horrible stuff they’ve seen. The “couple” also agrees that the only time they feel anything is when they think about chopping up a body. Hester reveals that she wants “everything” Chanel has- including Chad. She also lets Chad in on her plans to steal the Kappa throne so that he will once again be “with” (I’m using tamer phrasing than she did) Kappa’s “top bitch.” Oh as an added bonus- Hester puts out. Chad is totally into it. But Hester wants to wait for a “very scary location.” I’m not even going to pretend I understand these two at all.

SCREAM QUEENS: Glen Powell as Chad in the "Haunted House" episode of SCREAM QUEENS airing Tuesday, Oct. 6 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Hilary Gayle/FOX.

SCREAM QUEENS: Glen Powell as Chad in the “Haunted House” episode of SCREAM QUEENS airing Tuesday, Oct. 6 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Hilary Gayle/FOX.

 

Children of the Corn

In Film Studies class, Wes is showing Children of the Corn. And mouthing the infamous words “he wants you too, Malachai. He wants you too!” Okay, whether or not Wes is the “Red Devil,” I do not know, but there is definitely something skeevy about that guy. He seems to take pleasure in this death scene. “What could be scarier for an adult than a child coming to murder them?” I’m wondering if Wes’s words have greater meaning here. I would imagine they do. I feel like these horror movies aren’t chosen at random. Also, Wes seems to be a terrible teacher. He doesn’t really expend much effort actually teaching. He just pops in a movie, says a couple words, and then it’s class dismissed.

Grace comes to visit her father after class, and they have the obligatory “how come we never talk about mom?” discussion that seems to occur in every single-father movie or TV show. Grace starts panicking about her motherless existence. “Why am I the only person in Kappa without a mother?” To which Wes replies “are you on bath salts?” This wasn’t important to recount, except for the fact that it’s a humorous accusation. Grace thinks she could be the bathtub baby, but Wes assures her (a bit disturbingly so) that he saw her come out of her mother. Thanks for that visual. But Grace is still not convinced her father is not a killer and that she is not the bathtub baby.

The Hag From Shady Lane

Grace meets Pete, Zayday, and Earl at an abandoned house on Shady Lane. Pete thinks they can find out more about the Kappa baby. And Zayday adds that it’s where she’s going to hold her fundraiser. But then (to my great delight), in walks Denise Hemphill. She and Pete (simultaneously) share some discoveries they made at the library the previous evening in what sounds like a PSA for getting attendance up at local libraries. Denise wanted to do some research on “The Hag from Shady Lane,” which is a legend about a woman who wailed over her dead children. And the Hag lived in the very house they were standing in. Denise and Pete continued to tag-team the tale, which mostly consisted of a lot of “moaning” and hearsay. They ventured upstairs and found all the children’s toys (mostly dolls) that the Hag had collected. Oh by the way, this story also took place in the year 1995-  which is now known as “The Year of the Bathtub Baby.”

I Got You

Denise pulls Zayday aside to find out what she plans on doing with her fundraiser: “It’s a fundraiser, we’re trying to raise money.” “More like raise the body count! With murder.” I’m not entirely sure why Denise is so suspicious of Zayday. Actually Zayday flat out asks Denise why she has it out for her. And then accuses her of being the killer. Denise thinks that’s crazy. As she should. Denise Hemphill is no killer. And then we learned that Denise ALSO pledged Kappa. We get a flashback to 1988 to yet another pledge party (dancing to the tune of Taylor Dane’s “Tell It To My Heart”). ‘80s Denise wants to be a Kappa, but she is rejected. Following her heartbreak, she dropped out of school and enrolled in community college. Zayday figures that Denise looks at her and sees everything she could have been. Perhaps. And Zayday is now even more determined to become president. But Denise Hemphill “has her eyes on you.” As always.

She’s No Bitch, But I Am

At the campus dining hall, the Chanels are handing out (rather racist) notes encouraging students to boycott Zayday’s fundraiser. Hester is introduced to the customary Chanel diet of cotton balls dipped in sauce. I can handle the sight of dead bodies, but watching these girls eat cotton balls made me cringe and look away. Chanel has a bit of an epiphany and decides that if she’s going to die, she’s not going to die hungry. The Chanels are off to get some pizza.

As they are walking, the Chanels become the targets of some cat calls and offensive words. Next came something of an awkwardly placed female empowerment speech by Chanel. I appreciate the sentiment here, but it was just teeny bit random, and didn’t seem genuine coming out of the mouth of Chanel. The girls then proceed to almost literally kick the crap out of the male offenders (which was kind of awesome) to Belinda Carlisle’s “Mad About You.” I didn’t say I didn’t enjoy the scene. Just that it perhaps could have been earned a bit more. Though it was nice to see Chanel sticking up for her sisters.

That’s Not Wax

Chad and Hester show up at the Shady Lane house. Both allegedly received texts from the other. Both denied texting the other. No matter. Chad follows Hester around like a lost puppy while she attempts to find the most perverse room in which to get with Chad (again, she says something a bit more R-rated here). Hester finds a suitable location, which happens to feature a “wax” replica of Ms. Bean. Only, it’s not wax nor a replica. It’s Ms. Bean’s dead corpse. Hester and Chad run screaming through the house, discovering all the other dead bodies along the way. Apparently they aren’t as turned on by corpses as they liked to think. Because after this ordeal, they seemed a bit stunned. They try to warn others not to go to the haunted house, but the “dead bodies” revelation actually entices people to go. Chad is more than displeased.

SCREAM QUEENS: Lea Michele as Hester in the "Haunted House" episode of SCREAM QUEENS airing Tuesday, Oct. 6 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Skip Bolen/FOX.

SCREAM QUEENS: Lea Michele as Hester in the “Haunted House” episode of SCREAM QUEENS airing Tuesday, Oct. 6 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Skip Bolen/FOX.

Grace, Zayday and the gang head to the haunted house prior to the fundraiser, except the house is already filled with party-goers. Everyone slowly starts to realize that the dead bodies are real. And let’s have another moment of silence for poor Shondell please.

Zayday tries to call the police. But as with most tales such as these, the police aren’t much help. “Oh my God! You’re at the haunted house on Shady Lane?! I’m going as soon as my shift’s over.” Law enforcement’s finest, there. Zayday starts wandering around by herself, which is never smart in these situations. And she of course turns around only to find herself face-to-face with the “Red Devil.”

SCREAM QUEENS: Keke Palmer as Zayday in the "Haunted House" episode of SCREAM QUEENS airing Tuesday, Oct. 6 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Skip Bolen/FOX.

SCREAM QUEENS: Keke Palmer as Zayday in the “Haunted House” episode of SCREAM QUEENS airing Tuesday, Oct. 6 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Skip Bolen/FOX.

The Hag Revealed

Grace is panicked over Zayday’s disappearance. Chanel isn’t too concerned- beyond the fact that she hopes Zayday is found before the election as “it would be insane to vote for a girl who is already dead.” Once again, Dean Munsch refuses to shut down the campus- because all bodies except for Chanel Number 2 and Coney were not students. But Wes threatens to go to the media with the attacks, so the Dean suggests the adults go to the kitchen and discuss the best course of action over crepes. That’s what I adore about Dean Munsch, she’s always sensible and level-headed. The Chanels are uninterested in finding Zayday, so they are off to go plan their pumpkin patch fundraiser.

Grace takes Pete aside to tell him about the records she was perusing relative to the Shady Lane House from November 1995. There were two reported thefts involving a woman donning a black cloak. The woman allegedly stole diapers from a convenience store and milk from a milkman (“there were still milkmen in 1995?”). This was one month after the bathtub incident. The Hag of Shady Lane was taking care of Bathtub Baby! We are left with a glimpse of the Hag- who looks strangely like our friend Gigi!

And that’s the end of the first installment of the Halloween episodes. Once again, I’m not completely sure where the show is going with the various arcs already in play. But I’ll continue the ride with them. Because I am thoroughly entertained. I still have no inkling as to who the killer(s) could be. There are characters that seem SO obvious, that it’s actually obvious that they are NOT the killer. And then there are seemingly innocent characters who could very well reveal a dark side later in the season. Who can say? And what is Gigi hiding? If she was this “Hag,” is that why she’s still stuck in the ‘90s? And not that I’m complaining, but why is the “Red Devil” holding Zayday alive? “RD” doesn’t seem the type to keep hostages…I guess we shall see if we get any of these answers next week!

Body Count Thus Far

  1. Ms. Bean
  2. Chanel No. 2
  3. Deaf Taylor Swift
  4. Shondell
  5. Boone (Not Dead, but assumed dead by the characters)
  6. Coney
  7. Mandy

Final (Random) Thoughts and Questions:

  • The music is still one of my favorite things about this show, between the brilliantly chosen ‘80s and ‘90s female pop songs to the Halloween score playing in the background in this episode.
  • I don’t think Wes is the killer, but he does seem to have a double-personality issue- one minute he’s extremely creepy and the next he morphs into a caring father.
  • Niecy Nash’s presence is absolute gold. Sure she can be a bit over-the-top, but that’s obviously the point. And she’s brilliant at it.
  • I’m trying to like Hester, but I’m struggling. Maybe that will change in the future. That said, I don’t mind she and Chad as a potential couple.
  • I want more Sam and Jennifer, there’s just not nearly enough and they are so wonderful.
  • And my new favorite thing is Jamie Lee Curtis saying “Weston.”

 

Marla has been passionately and disturbingly obsessed with television since she was in diapers. She lives and breathes all things TV, and attempts to watch anything and everything. Unfortunately there are just not enough hours in the day. She definitely has her top favorite shows, the identities of which will become painfully obvious if anyone stumbles upon her social media pages.

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