Scream Queens Season 1 Episodes 12 and 13 – TV Review
The only thing scary about the Scream Queens finale is that we have to sit through two fucking hours of it.
It’s tough enough trudging through one episode a week.
This is just mean.
TL;DR Pete reveals he kind of helped the Red Devils, but is then promptly killed by a Red Devil; Chanel concocts a grand scheme to kill the acid-scarred, former Kappa president because she thinks she’s the killer; she’s not, and Chanel doesn’t kill her; Jamie Lee and Oliver finally get together; Number 5 is fingered as the killer by an attacked Lea.
Tee hee. Fingered.
So we start off with a gruelling exposition dump from Pete following his “I’m a murderer” revelation from last episode. It turns out Pete uncovered Nick as one of the Red Devils after Niecy’s partner was murdered. Nick filled him in about his and his team’s revenge scheme and mission to rid the college of the evil Greek system, and Pete was apparently down with that. He’s the one who killed Number 5’s makeout twin at the slumber party (partly under duress, but, again, he was totes okay with taking down the Greek system, so). But he later defected, killing Nick when he got too out of control. He attempts to tell Grace who the remaining Red Devil killer is, and it’s a Kappa, but is inconveniently murdered by said Red Devil. D’oh. The Red Devil spares Grace, and then it’s time for Chanel’s bullshit plot of the week. I was correct in my assumption from last week: Scream Queens did parody that meme from two and a half fucking years ago, and because the Red Devil sends it public, Chanel becomes the most hated person in America. So she first resolves to kill herself. But after that fails, she resolves to go on an apology tour to reinvent her image. First stop: former Kappa president Dorkus, whom Chanel still insists she didn’t burn, but she’ll fake apologise for the Internet points, regardless. Except Chanel actually wants to kill Dorkus, instead, because she’s Chanel’s suspect dujour. The episode ends as Grace and Keke, having undertaken some independent research, stop Chanel and bring everyone back to Kappa to announce the real killer, but are interrupted by Lea, stiletto heel sticking out of her eye socket, who points the blame finger at Chanel Number 5. Also, Oliver fucks Jamie Lee to distract her while Grace and Keke search college records, and they fall in love.
It’s destiny. Or haphazard writing. I’m not sure.
Well, we all knew Pete was one of the worst things about Scream Queens. And that’s saying a lot. So it’s no surprise, really, that he turned out to be so inconsistent and bizarrely approving of mass murder in order to… save lives, I think?
But really, he’s a supplementary killer? We already had a team of three. That’s too many as it is, but now Pete has a murder pinned on him?
For fuck’s sake, Scream Queens.
Why I hate this episode:
Scream Queens thinks it’s funny that Pete is grossly wishy-washy and his character makes no sense. Like, they think what they’re saying is “Haha, look at how silly our character is, and they make no sense. Isn’t that a hoot?” But what they’re really saying is “We didn’t bother to create a character who makes sense, so will shield ourselves with the parody card.” This could work if the show didn’t take the whodunit so deathly seriously. There are no other arcs or plots. The entire show is about the whodunit. So when the answers to the whodunit are of less consequence than a Family Guy cutaway gag, that’s not satisfying.
Chanel doesn’t do much better. Again, she sets out to murder somebody. I’m starting to question whether Chanel was ever supposed to be a potential victim. Asshole Victims in slasher movies work because feature runtime is ninety minutes, so you don’t have to spend too much time with them. But when you spend thirteen episodes with them, and particularly when your supposed hero, Grace, gets less screentime, then your Asshole Victim metastasises into an Asshole Show.
That Chanel can’t even stab a girl who’s lying in a bed, after several attempts, is just more icing on the shit cake.
The meme that I feared is indeed parodied, at nauseating length. You know how Chanel’s abusive monologues are such a great part of this show? Nope. And it’s so dated. How did this make it in?
The exploding pizza man is, like, what?
We get two deaths this episode: Pete, and the pizza man rigged with explosives. Neither include a chase scene.
There are no opening credits again. That’s one in twelve, baby.
When Grace and Keke do their research on Jamie Lee’s computer and discover one of the Chanels has entirely falsified her records, and is therefore likely the killer, they play the pronoun game so the audience doesn’t get to know who it is. Really? At this point, really?
They later announce Lea as the killer when stopping Chanel from attacking Dorkus. It’s just pathetic. I knew Lea Michele would be a malignant tumor on this show. When I first saw she was going to be playing Ultra Wacky Back Brace Girl, and with the fact that she is relatively famous, I pegged her as one of, if not the first, victim. But holy fucking Christ, not only did she make it to the end, but she’s the killer. Fuck off. I think I would have preferred it to be Grace over goddamn Lea Michele’s character. What an utter letdown.
But it’s not all bad:
Grace and Keke deserve points for their research this episode. They actually figure something out for once, which is monumental in the world of Scream Queens. Imagine if they could combine that with Chanel’s zeal for murder. They might have actually stopped Lea.
But the episode isn’t content to let us know the exact truth, as Number 5 gets a slew of lingering shots to throw suspicion on her, culminating in her being mysteriously already at Kappa house when the rest of the gang arrives and hears Lea’s scream from being stabbed with a heel in the eye. Which is silly: by Scream Queens logic, Number 5 is too revoltingly morbidly obese to fit into that Red Devil costume, right?
Pete dies, so thank God for that.
Oliver and Jamie Lee’s sincere affection for each other after the distraction hookup was nice. It’s the best sex he ever had, and she seems pleasantly surprised that he likes her. They plan to have a relationship together, but only if they can get away from the judgemental presence of Grace. Fair point.
Chanel gets best line of the episode after she drops her apology facade with Dorkus, attempts to stab her, and answers Number 3 when she says she thought Chanel came to apologise: “I apologise for nothing!” Chanel’s unwavering self-interest is one of the few constants in this world.
Oh, but except for that brief moment when she wants to kill herself. But I don’t think someone whose first, and only, method of suicide is to order a snake online is really committed to going through with it. Maybe if she’d seen the episode to follow, she would have been more direct.
TL;DR It’s epilogue time, as Lea emerges victorious, recounts a very dissatisfying performance to frame the Chanels for her murders, and gets away with everything; the Chanels are convicted and sent to an asylum; Grace and Keke usher in a new, politically correct (read: boring) age at Kappa; Jamie Lee enjoys the changes brought about on campus by the killings; Chad and Niecy show up for obligatory one-liners; Scream Queens ends not with a bang, not with a whimper, but with an anguished plea from its audience for it not to be renewed.
Come on, Ryan Murphy. If you give us this one gift, then we promise to keep strapping ourselves down to endure American Horror Story, no matter how many Dutch angles and fish eye lenses you use. Please.
So just like American Horror Story is glad to do, this final episode is just a big, unnecessary epilogue. Lea starts things off with a lazy voiceover and montage that confirms she was the other bathtub baby, and she, Nick, and Nasim indeed enacted their plan for revenge against Kappa. Flash forwards show that Lea got away with it. But how? Well, through nonsensical gags, a pathetic procession of evidence that lacks any power because it’s all easily-flawed, unforeshadowed jokes, and a brutally long monologue that rivals even Chanel. In a mere millisecond of hope, the jury at the Chanels’ trial (she fingered all three of them. Because why kill off your fodder characters in a slasher finale when you can just send them to prison, instead?) attempt to find the girls not guilty, but a pre-emptive tirade from Chanel changes their minds, and the Chanels are sent to an insane asylum for life. To my surprise, they actually find some semblance of peace and belonging there. Elsewhere, Jamie Lee meekly confronts Lea because she knows she’s the real killer, but Lea hits back with threats of exposing Jamie Lee’s murder, so that’s the end of that. Jamie Lee and Oliver are also still together. Way to go, Oliver. Grace and Keke happily preside over a dull, lifeless incarnation of Kappa, and the college ushers in a new era of political correctness. Chad and Niecy have a brief, torrid relationship, but are broken up because she is recruited to the FBI (Scream Queens proves again how out of touch it is by namedropping Quantico. Honey, you don’t want to put yourself anywhere near that sinking ship. Also, wrong channel). And, in a final, embarrassing attempt to think its cool by using bad slasher tropes, Scream Queens barfs out its final sequence: Chanel getting attacked by a Red Devil while in the asylum.
Would Lea have a motive for that? Nope. But I suppose Scream Queens didn’t expect anyone to actually watch the whole show, given how ungodly awful it’s been. So I can see why they stopped caring.
As bad as what is present in this episode, it doesn’t compare to what isn’t present: a final girl, a motive rant, and an epic showdown.
We get none of those.
And I was right: Scream Queens proved even more toothless than MTV’s Scream when it came to killing off major characters.
You’d think an anthology series, and sister to American Horror Story, would have made that a huge improbability. But here we are.
Like I said, Scream Queens: don’t come back.
Why I hate this episode:
Of the three big omissions, the lack of a motive rant hurts the most. The best part of any slasher with a villain who isn’t mute (I’ll let Halloween off the hook on this one, because Donald Pleasance shouts “Cuz he’s evil” enough to count, I reckon) is the motive rant. 90s slashers were particularly good with this. Scream and all its sequels work that shit like it’s art. And Urban Legend has a fantastically nutty motive rant that saves the finale from a boring heroine. But here? Lea Michele slurs it out in voiceover during her flashback montage. I think I’ve told Scream Queens to fuck off a couple of times, but another couldn’t hurt. Fuck off.
The next big omission is the lack of a final showdown (which is precipitated by the third omission, which will come next). This is because Lea doesn’t get caught. And, while this isn’t Scream Queens’ fault, the fact that this episode is titled The Final Girls, and the movie The Final Girls (my review is on its way) has a spectacular final showdown, makes Scream Queens yet more inferior.
The third omission is the lack of a final girl. Grace was set up to be our hero, but she spends the episode entirely sidelined, which is especially egregious during Lea’s big accusation tirade against the Chanels. Keke would have been the next candidate, but she, too, offers nothing during this episode. With Lea being the villain, she can’t be the final girl, which leaves the Chanels. Number 3 and 5 have been intermittently forgotten to exist by Scream Queens, so the sad truth that we suspected all along is that Chanel has the strongest case as our final girl. What a travesty. And, again, because nobody important died, Lea wasn’t found out, and there was no showdown, our final girl doesn’t have anything to do.
Lea’s accusation tirade would have been a lot of fun if not for the fact that all the “evidence” she presents is new things that have made no appearance and have not been mentioned throughout the other twelve episodes of this bloated, stretched monstrosity. The note from a doctor about Number 3’s apparent split personality could have worked if Number 3 had been visiting a doctor or if she had been observed doing things that would suggest a split personality. Number 5’s cruel parents disowning her would have worked if they’d been seen at all up until this point. Lea could have constructed an intricate tapestry of deception to prove her patsies’ guilt, but no. Scream Queens didn’t have the brains for that, and settled for a procession of gags, instead.
The jury decision reversal is genuinely a funny moment, but, like, that’s not how juries work. This show never could decide if it took place in the real world or in the Scary Movie world.
The only death this episode (and, remember, this is a slasher finale) is a flashback murder of a Red Devil mascot when Nasim and Lea decide to use the costume as their disguise.
And there is no chase scene.
There are no opening credits again. So our final count brings it to only one episode out of thirteen. If it had been the first episode or the last episode, it might have fit. But it was in episode 5. Why?
Number 3 wears her hair in Princess Leia buns during the trial. I was wondering when they’d haul that out. So fucking tacky.
Oh, and along with the failure of evidence against Number 3 and Number 5, Lea dressed as Chanel and bought all the Red Devil’s killing equipment with a credit card in her name so she’d have evidence to frame her. Cunt, out of all your patsies, Chanel is the one who actually has tried to kill people. With witnesses. She’s still under suspicion for acid tanning Dorkus, too. You didn’t need to do the whole disguise and credit card parade. Wasteful.
But it’s not all bad:
It’s over. That’s got to count for something.
The jury joke is funny. They’re a breath away from announcing their not guilty verdict, but Chanel, expecting the opposite, pre-emptively insults them all and demands a new jury of hotter peers. Her venom causes the jury foreman to rub out the not guilty marks and change them to guilty. It’s cute enough.
Apart from the pointless stinger, the Chanels actually all get happy endings in the asylum. Number 3 vindicates my criticism of her “I’m not gay, I’m attracted to the person” denial and gets into a gay relationship with a nurse; Number 5 is put on medication that makes her personality less abrasive, and so she and Chanel become best friends; and Chanel is the benevolent leader of the asylum patients. It doesn’t at all forgive Lea’s victory, but it’s nice.
Chad starts a foundation to fund charity in his slain frat brothers’ names. He doesn’t know which charity, but at least he’s trying to do something good.
He and Niecy oversell their breakup scene jokes, but I’m sure someone out there will find them hilarious.
Niecy gets best line of the episode. Despite having accepted Lea’s accusations and fake evidence and arresting the Chanels, she makes sure to keep her character consistent with a last-ditch finger point before leaving: “I still gots my eye on you, Zayday Williams!” Never give up. Never surrender.
Jamie Lee publishes a book on New New Feminism, which can be summed up in three words: women are better. Couple that with the militantly strict political correctness that’s rampant in the wake of Kappa’s rejuvenation, and it’s a shame that Scream Queens waited until the arbitrary end to actually take some shots at college issues.
Oh, and I would be disappointed in myself if I didn’t laboriously trot out another one of these. Let’s hope Scream Queens is cancelled so you never have to see it again: