Scream Queens Season 1 Episode 11 – TV Review
And also a rockin’ bod. Just so we’re clear.
TL;DR The Chanels plus Grace (and, later, plus Keke, minus Grace) try to kill Jamie Lee because they’re convinced she’s the killer; Scream Queens forgets that all our characters were supposed to have evacuated campus; Chad arranges a duel to the death with Pete; Pete could be the killer; the obligatory death this episode is the weakest yet.
I should be surprised that, eleven episodes in, Scream Queens is still finding ways to be weaker. But I’m not.
Well, the finale’s almost here, so it’s time to pad the show and tread water until we get there. Chanel puts back on her “let’s band together to murder someone because I say so” hat and musters her minions in a plan to kill Jamie Lee, whom she has decided is the Red Devil killer. Grace, shockingly, agrees with the plan and helps out. But it turns out Jamie Lee is impervious to both puffer fish poison, and fatally cold temperatures, so nothing is gained. Pete’s nagging does eventually inspire Grace to renege on the plan to kill Jamie Lee, but Keke is happy to take her place. Grace ends up kicked out of Kappa, though, so that’s something. Meanwhile, Chad bizarrely invites Pete to join the frat because all the other members are dead. Pete declines, which means he now has to duel Chad to the death or something. But that can wait until next episode, because Pete needs to have a one-sided, ambiguously-worded phone conversation to throw suspicion on him, which is further compounded by his decision not to bang Grace because, as he admits to her, he’s a murderer. Yawn. Meanwhile, nobody is that bothered by Nasim’s head-on-a-platter; the homicide department is sacked, and Niecy is hired in their place; and our death this episode is one of Niecy’s faceless cop lackeys.
I didn’t think an American Horror Story-lite show would pull so many punches with main cast deaths, but Scream Queens looks like it’s going to outdo MTV’s Scream in the toothless department. Ouch.
Well, what more is there to say about this episode? The A-plot involving the Chanels’ attempts on Jamie Lee’s life is literally pointless. And the B-plots about Grace and Pete’s indecision over sex, and Chad’s announced duel with Pete are more empty calories to add to Scream Queens’ already embarrassing bloat.
I want Blood & Oil to end because it’s boring.
I want Scream Queens to end because it’s a horrible, baffling mistake.
Why I hate this episode:
Chanel’s blind insistence that Jamie Lee is the killer is dumb. We know that Nick, who is confirmed to have been one of the Red Devils, has a similarly-aged sibling out there that is likely his accomplice. Jamie Lee is not the same age as Nick. Figure it out, Chanel. Fuck.
Barring, of course, some kind of Scooby-Doo unmask reveal that Jamie Lee has actually been a twenty-something in disguise this whole time. Which honestly wouldn’t surprise me at this point.
This episode is entirely too Chanel-heavy. We’re back to the painful monologues of early-season Chanel. If you thought the Chanel-o-ween stuff was exhausting and meaningless, get ready to hear about how much Chanel loves Black Friday. Yes, she’s stupid rich, but she likes buying obviously cheap gifts for her friends so that they question how much they think Chanel cares about them, and consequently work harder to impress her. Conceptually, that’s a good joke. But listening to Emma Roberts spew it out at length is like some kind of cruel endurance test.
Chanel can’t even stay in Murderous Bitch Mode consistently this episode. She and her minions get trapped in the mall and are besieged by the Red Devil. They find an exit, but Chanel chooses to stay behind to fight because she’s the Kappa president and it’s her duty or something. Fucking what? This girl just spent a gruelling eternity announcing how little she cares for her friends. This doesn’t make sense.
Scream Queens recycles the “Chanel gives all the girls matching presents” scene again. That’s round three.
The random cop’s death does not include a chase scene.
It’s another episode without the opening credits sequence. That’s now one in eleven.
Grace has never been a smart girl, but her joyous compliance with the plans to kill Jamie Lee are ridiculous.
Likewise, Keke’s later defection to the dark side (after Grace has seen the light and pulled out) only happens because the plot says so and Keke needs to get her contractually obligated lines.
Nasim’s backstory is needlessly made more complicated this episode. It turns out she wasn’t one of the 1995 Kappa girls (which I suppose explains how Oliver didn’t recognise her) and she wasn’t the wailing woman in the haunted house: she was the sister of that girl, and apparently took up a revenge plot after that girl committed suicide. Why waste time on talking this shit out? Did we need that?
Chad’s scenes are tedious. Nick apparently bequeathed all his shit to Pete in his will, and Pete is forced to admit that Nick was an inside source for his research into the Greek system, which is how they knew each other. Who cares?
Every time I hear “Dickie Dollar Scholars” I involuntarily gag. And they say it a lot this episode. A. Lot.
Wasn’t everyone all ready to comply with the campus evacuation after Thanksgiving?
Chanel makes references to The Terminator and Teen Wolf (the movie. Not the show). I don’t believe those would be in someone like Chanel’s reference pool. Do you?
Why would the minions go out shopping (they get distracted with a fat joke against Number 5 and don’t receive the special phone alert Chanel sends) when they knew when Chanel would need to call them for the plan to drown Jamie Lee?
Oh, and Chanel, frustrated by the failure of the plan due to the incompetence of her sorority sisters, starts writing an angry email to them. If Scream Queens trots out a parody of that meme from two and a half fucking years ago, I don’t know what I’ll do. Probably nothing, because I’m a lazy jerk complaining about a TV show on the Internet. But I won’t be happy.
But it’s not all bad:
Chanel gets shot in the shoulder with a crossbow. The effect is done intentionally low budget, with Chanel just holding the arrow to her body with her hand. It’s a rare time where the intentional crappiness works.
Grace ditches her stupid hats for a couple of scenes. That was nice.
Useless Detective finally gets fired. Niecy isn’t the paragon of competence we need as his replacement, but I doubt she’ll be any worse.
Jamie Lee works hard to overcome the dreadful material she’s given. She cheerily goes along during the girls’ death traps, unaware (or is she!?) of what they’re trying to do. First, Grace and Chanel try to poison her with cider when they meet with her under the pretense of starting a feminist collective. As the poison doesn’t do anything, Grace and Chanel are forced to endure an entire sit-down on the subject.
Next, once Grace is out and Keke is in, they try to kill her in a cryo sauna, but Jamie Lee does not freeze to death. Lea later suggests she could have Rasputinian durability. And as Rasputin eventually died from drowning, they arrange to try that, too. It fails when the minions are a no show, but Jamie Lee gets to chew the scenery, so it’s not a total waste.
Chanel gets the episode’s best line: “At this point, who cares if the police show up?” Only the last few, crazed viewers who think this show has any chance to redeem itself.
Oh, and Grace and Chanel remind us that they make a fun team. Scream Queens really should have exploited that more.