Scream Queens is exactly what you want out of a mindless summer show. Is it going to cut it in regular season primetime?
Let’s bitch it out…As with all good horror movies, we open with a flashback that establishes the secret past of the killer: at a 1995 sorority party (complete with choker necklaces and TLC), a Kappa Kappa Tau sister gives birth in a bathtub. She didn’t even know she was pregnant thanks to that damn Freshman 15! The girl dies and we don’t know what happened to the baby.
In present day, the Kappa house is ruled by Chanel (Emma Roberts) and her minions: Chanel #2 (Ariana Grande), Chanel #3 (Billie Lourd) and Chanel #5 (Abigail Breslin). RIP Chanel #4. Chanel took over from the previous queen bee after the former sorority leader was tragically disfigured in a typical spray tanning-hydrochloric acid incident.
Our sorority’s nemesis? That would be Dean Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis) who tries to revoke their charter. Luckily, the Kappa lawyer Gigi (Nasim Pedrad) is on the case, and you knows she’s good because she graduated from a 4th tier law school in the Caribbean.
The plot kicks in when Dean Munsch’s efforts to kick the Kappas off campus fail, so she does the next best thing by requiring them to let all interested students pledge. This introduces us to Neck Brace (Leah Michele), Predatory Lez (Jeanna Han), Deaf Taylor Swift, and Jennifer, the candle vlogger (Breezy Eslin).
We also meet our (somewhat snoozy) guide on this journey, Grace (Skyler Samuels). Grace has the same backstory as every sorority movie/TV series that tries to justify going Greek: her dead mom was part of the same sorority. Grace’s new roommate Zayday (Keke Palmer) is also pledging, mostly because she’s grateful Grace isn’t a religious freak or a cutter. Side note: I hope Zayday gets more to do in the future, because right now it seems like her role is to make meta jokes about the show (“It’s like a murder scene,” “God, I’d rather die.”).
Now that Kappa has to let in the “fatties and the ethnics,” Chanel’s quasi boyfriend Chad (Glen Powell) drops her. Isn’t every yuppie dickhead in college named Chad? I liked the somewhat unexpected twist of douchy Chad embracing his Gay Bro best friend, Boone (Nick Jonas), even when Boone tries to cuddle with him. Chad’s a d-bag who’s sleeping with the Dean (!), but he’s not homophobic and that’s refreshing.
While ordering her extra hot Pumpkin Spice Latte (of course), Chanel brainstorms with her maid Ms. Bean (Jan Hoag) how to get rid of the loser pledges: fake-kill Ms. Bean by drowning her in the deep fryer (don’t worry, it’d be off) at the sorority house and watch the pledges flee. This obviously backfires when Chanel burns Bean’s face off. Nothing says sisterly bonding like hiding a body in the freezer (and a promise of a free trip to Cancun for those who keep their mouths shut).
Enter our season’s villain: a dude dressed up in a creepy, yet oddly arousing Red Devil costume (no wonder Ariana Grande thought it might be some sort of sex thing). This guy hates the Kappas (understandable, as it’s obviously the baby from the opening scene right?). He hits the ground running, knocking off Chanel #2, who mistakenly thinks she’s part of an Eyes Wide Shut fantasy (sorry girl!), running over Deaf Taylor Swift with a lawn mower during a hazing ritual, stabbing rent-a-cop Shawndell, and carving up Boone for all of his golf buddies to find. For two episodes, it’s a pretty decent body count.
Grace enlists the help of college paper reporter Pete (Diego Bonata, also a bit of a snooze) to investigate. They make out a bit and we get to see another set of abs, along with Boone and Chad’s (man, does this show know its audience or what?). After Grace learns about the past and figures out that the baby would be 20, she discovers the Red Devil costume in Pete’s closet. He denies he’s the killer (he’s just the school mascot!), which could be a red herring, but given his creepy smile, who knows?
The episode ends on a mild surprise: Red Devil visits personal morgue (as one is wont to do) and opens the rack to reveal a very-much-alive Boone…whom he (she?) is in cahoots with! In the words of Ariana Grande’s text message: “wait, whaattt???”
Final Body Count: 5
- 1995 Sorority Chick (probably accidental, but that other girl was in the room at the time)
- Deaf Taylor Swift
- Shawndel (“Shawndel, why you got a knife in your throat?”)
- Ms. Bean
- Chanel #2
- Some scenes fell flat and felt a little too much like a B-movie parody starring early 2000s Chris Evans or Anna Farris (Boone trying to get with Chad, everything about Deaf Taylor Swift, Ariana’s social media death)
- IMDB tells me that one of Boone’s golf friends is played by an actor called Lucien Lavinscount. This is amazing. They should have let him keep his own name.
- Dickhead Jeff Fordham from Nashville (Oliver Hudson) is a dad of a college-aged daughter in this?…God, I’m old.
- Michael Bay: the greatest director of our time.
- If you ever need a blood oath, just google it!
- Thank you to Neicy Nash for calling the girls out for wanting to run up the stairs towards the killer.
What did you think? Will you be back for more bloody mayhem? Sound off below! I hope you all have a great week, filled with white parties where everyone is encouraged to be/wear white.
Scream Queens airs Tuesdays at 9pm EST on FOX.