This week’s episode of Scream Queens took a different approach from its previous episodes by creating a more serious atmosphere to the horror-comedy series. The episode, “Mommie Dearest” was a solid indicator of just how much the tone can change as the season enters its final stretch. It picks up with Grace and Munsch meeting to discuss the baby from 1995 like they agree, but Munsch remains tight lipped and offers nothing about the baby – other than her claim the Feather is behind the crimes. Grace leaves receiving basically no answers like she had hoped, and later we see Munsch alone and vulnerable in her home. She enters her shower in a scene that replicates the shower scene in the Hitchcock film Psycho (a nice nod to Jamie Lee’s mother Janet Leigh!) Things take a sudden turn when instead of being the prey, Munsch is aware of the killer and the Red Devil pulls back the curtain to discover the dean has vanished. Munsch appears behind the masked killer and slams his head into a wall and the bathtub before saying, “I saw that movie 50 times!” and follows up with a solid punch. She leaves to call the police (why not take off the mask?!) and he/she pursues Munsch, only to be struck down by her while equipped with a fireplace poker. The dean tries to escape, but another Red Devil enters as well as a third killer in a Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia mask. Munsch may seem outnumbered, but she informs the trio that she once spent a year abroad with a Eurasian man who was a “grand champion in the illegal Hong Kong fighting pits” and trained her in exchange for her sexual prowess. Sounds like a fair exchange if you ask me! After giving them a warning, Munsch single handedly beats down every killer while unarmed. The dean then takes a second to focus on the Antonin Scalia masked killer and throws in punches whilst confronting his views of homosexuality, the voting rights act, and the affordable care act. When they receive a massive loss, the killers scurry off and prove Dean Munsch is a competent badass who is definitely not the killer.
The Chanels all gather to discuss their findings of evidence tying Zayday and Grace to the killings. Their actual reasons make no sense, but are interesting nonetheless. Hester (or Chanel #6) finds birth control in Zayday and Grace’s room, claiming that “those who pill together kill together!” Chanel #5 has a much better theory, and rearranges the letters in Zayday’s name to spell “I May Slay Liz Daw”. #5 then tells the others that they need to find Liz Daw and save her from being the next victim, (Abigail Breslin’s genuine concern makes this a hilarious scene). Shortly after, the ladies discover Denise will be moving into the Kappa house to keep an eye on the sorority. #3 makes Denise an offer to pay her $3 million to prove Zayday’s guilt (while suspiciously touching her earmuffs) which isn’t enough to buy the “Sandals” island she hoped for, but enough money to make it an agreement. Grace once again meets with Dean Munsch where the dean “hypothetically” explains why she wouldn’t want to make a connection between 1995 and the present – because at this point she’s an accomplice to the cover up crimes in the past. Instead, Munsch gives Grace info about the woman in the bathtub which reveals that the name differs from the name her dad had given her. Munsch tells Grace that even though she pretends to seek justice, her real goal is to find answers about her mother. Of course the dean has a very accurate point, and Grace insists her real goal is to simply stop the murders while finding out if there is a connection to her like she assumed.
Denise finds Jennifer the candle vlogger, (who is of course looking through candles) and tries to get insight on Zayday for the Chanels. Jennifer first claims that Zayday has no attributes that could give a serial killer vibe, but remembers a story from Zayday that could have seemed suspicious. She explains that Zayday was telling a story about high school girls who mocked Zayday’s clothing, and she even laughed at herself just to fit in. Poor Zayday, high school really can suck! (but I suppose college isn’t the best for her either with masked killers attacking.) Zayday finishes her story by telling Jennifer she would get revenge on all snobby rich girls like them one day, which is enough to make Denise more certain of her participation in the murders. Zayday overhears the conversation and tells both to stay away from her, intimidating both women before leaving without a single care. We next see Jennifer that evening recording another candle review, but the Red Devil cuts it short when he/she stabs her through the head on camera and adds another victim to the Kappas. In another room, Denise finds her new employers and tells them nothing has come up during her search for Zayday’s guilt (other than a masked threat) and asks for money upfront to help “fund” her investigation. With copious amounts of money at her disposal, Chanel obliges and leaves for her night of 1000 compliments, where Chad decides to (try) and compliment Chanel – but usually includes himself to some capacity of course. However, she doesn’t get far enough and finds Jennifer’s body surrounded by candles and has been turned into a human candle with a massive amount of wax melted to the top of her head.
Grace and Pete continue their search, but nothing comes up from the name of the dead woman in the bathtub. Grace continues to push that she feels in her gut she’s related to the woman, and hopes to find answers to complete something for her mother. Pete hopes to help her, and goes back to the hag of Shady Lane – thinking that there is more to know. They discuss that because she was a homeless woman, she must not have gone far and someone in her predicament would have likely been arrested or institutionalized. They return to the Asylum and locate the woman who paints every visitor, and she has art that replicates Gigi…holding two babies, a boy and girl. After multiple attacks, Munsch is forced to share that the school will be temporarily shut down for the safety of the students, and Chanel is far from pleased. Chanel realizes that it will mean Kappa is also closed, and enlists the assistance of two detectives from Scotland Yard. They explain to Chanel that they were told there was a notable threat against the Duchess of Cambridge, and Chanel informs them that if they don’t help her (they’ll receive major monetary compensation of course) she’ll kill the duchess herself. Chanel knows how to rally people on her side – just in non traditional ways.
With so many questions beginning to develop, Grace confronts Gigi for answers and reveals the paintings she attained. Grace throws out a slew of details she has uncovered that make Gigi a culprit, but she downplays her role as much as possible. First Gigi claims that it’s purely coincidental, but Grace’s research has made it more difficult to explain. She changes her tone and says that Grace is using her as a scapegoat to hold on to her father and solve the murders, also telling Grace she’s officially engaged to Wes and he would value her words over his own daughter. The scene gives me a feeling things will soon take a much darker turn before the end of the season. Chanel’s detectives come to her with evidence that Chanel #5 (who we learn is named Libby Putney) has joined chat rooms with the name “does anyone want to help me poison Chanel Oberlin” but Chanel tells them she didn’t want them to look into her minion, just Zayday and Grace. Though the two don’t have anything turn up, they do tell Chanel Grace’s mother has a checkered past – and Chanel claims it’s all she needs to prove her theory on Grace.
Grace arrives to her father’s place and he is getting off the phone with Gigi, who already convinced him she’s having issues coping with their relationship. He tells Grace he wants happiness after 16 years of loneliness and completely ignores his daughter’s warnings about his potential wife. Grace draws a conclusion that Gigi must have known her mother, as Wes probably knew Gigi, and she leaves with fears that he could be connected to the current murders. I actually feel sympathetic for Grace and her bad luck this episode. To make things worse for her, she returns to the Kappa house where Chanel informs Grace that her mother was actually the Kappa sister who insisted they leave the girl in the tub while they listening to “waterfalls”. Wes and the woman hooked up that evening which resulted in Grace’s birth 9 months later. Grace becomes emotional, and it is intensified after Chanel also discloses that her mother went on to earn a criminal record involving drugs, theft, and child endangerment. After Chanel delivers insults about her mother and her unfortunate death, Grace slaps Chanel and leaves in tears. Now I’ll admit, I haven’t been a huge Grace supporter thus far because of her selfish tendencies, but this episode really showed how jarring her life is turning out to be after being told so many fabrications that have resulted in a lack of trust. I actually feel for Grace, and it’s the first episode where I found myself pulling for her to this extent.
Chanel finds Denise with the others (who is now wearing #5’s clothing) and has filled the position of house mother for the Kappas, to their dismay. She pulls Chanel aside and also tells her that she knows about Grace’s mother and that Chanel needs to issue an apology. The house mother and private security officer says that while everyone has issues with their own mother, nobody has the privilege to speak about them negatively - other than the child of course. Chanel refuses instantly, but agrees after Denise threatens to call Chad for more role-play. Denise definitely fits the Kappa bill! Grace finally decides she needs to go to her father with the truth, and he admits the identity of her mother, hoping to hide the truth for her own well-being. Things end suddenly for the two, and Grace decides to distance herself from Wes. Gigi enters after Grace exits and continues to create a bigger wedge, claiming he needs to take drastic steps to “help” her, even it were to involve committing her.
In order to smooth things over, Chanel asks to talk with Grace and tries to apologize for her comments about Grace’s mother. She relates their situation by saying her own mother is awful and disowned her to her children for cradle cap and joining the Peace Corps. Chanel however was viewed as perfect when born (young Chanel was very similar to present day Chanel) but her mother’s ridiculous expectations caused major tension. Chanel tells Grace that maybe they came into each other’s lives to learn from each other given certain similar circumstances, but ultimately is focused on making her apology clear. Call me crazy, but I think that Chanel actually felt guilt in her own way. Yes, she’s a very…very flawed character, but this reminds viewers that there is more to Chanel that they may have thought. In the closing moments, we see Boone in a gym (who is commonly mistaken for Joaquin Phoenix) answering a phone call with the third unknown killer. He tells his partner Gigi must be taken care of so they can return to fulfil their plans. With only 4 episodes left, Scream Queens is getting close to a finale guaranteed to be filled with revelations and death!
Overall Grade: While I mostly spend my time praising the series humor, there have been many scenes recently that gave us an idea of the more serious elements to Scream Queens. With a spectacular fight in the beginning, a better scope of Grace’s character, and more Chanels, Scream Queens continues to be my favorite comedy on TV with just the right amount of campy horror fun and unexpected twists! Scream Queens 8th episode gets an ‘A+’ and is one of the best episodes so far!
Aedan’s Final Thoughts:
-I completely loved the epic fight scene with Dean Munsch facing off against 3 killers and triumphing over each one on own. That is a scream queen!
-Chanel gave out some of her most vile (but also entertaining remarks) but showed development from her first sit-down with Grace in episode 1.
-Chanel #3 has been a suspect of mine, and I’m beginning to believe there is more to her earmuffs. (Headset perhaps?!)
-My favorite characters remain the entire Chanel squad! They just capture the energy of the series so accurately I can’t help but enjoy them on a weekly basis.
-Current main suspects: