Scream Queens Season 2 Episode 2 – TV Review
Except Taylor isn’t funny, either.
Just like Scream Queens.
TL;DR The episode again plays things kinda bland and kinda safe; a new patient becomes a love interest for Number 5, but he dies; Chad returns to fight Stamos for Chanel’s affections; Keke discovers Jamie Lee is dying of a rare illness; Lea Michele and Niecy Nash betray the promise of their cameos last week, and look like they’re going to be sticking around.
Good God, no.
So, because Scream Queens still can’t decide who its main character is, the episode is big, fractured mess. Chad, oddly, takes up a lot of screentime, as he returns to Chanel’s life to: a) measure dicks with Stamos over who wants her vagina more; and b) brings his friend in to have a rare illness (that makes him easily startled) treated. He uncovers the truth behind Stamos’ murder hand: it’s the hand of a murderer, which he holds over Stamos. Who cares? Meanwhile, Number 5 turns her own vagina towards a disfigured-by-innumerable-tumors Colton Haynes, in the hope of bagging a hot guy while he’s a grotesque monster, so she can keep him once he’s cured. But the killer kills him, so whatever. Meanwhile, Keke, teaming up with that candy striper guy, finds out that on Halloween night 1986 (one year after the opening flashback last week), a killer murdered Jerry O’Connell, Laura Bell Bundy, and the whole hospital staff. After an encounter with the killer themselves, Jamie Lee calls in FBI Agent Niecy Nash, and they go all Silence of the Lambs and run to a locked-up Lea Michele for help. She is not forthcoming. And Keke and Candy Striper also discover that Jamie Lee will die within the year from some illness caused by accidental cannibalism while she was on her book tour. Kirstie Alley bugs the office and overhears.
I kept my rage button on the ready throughout this entire episode. But, to praise Scream Queens, nothing really happens that warrants it.
After the disgusting puke sludge of last week, it looks like Scream Queens is taking a page from big sister American Horror Story’s new season playbook and just kind of boring us into submission.
But hey, I’ll take a boring, exposition-heavy Scream Queens over the disaster it usually is.
Why I hate this episode:
I’m really, really not happy about Lea and Niecy’s full-fledged returns. Lea’s is particularly groan-worthy. As soon as Niecy mentioned that they would need to consult a killer to get into the mind of a killer I was bracing for the Silence of the Lambs ripoff. And Scream Queens did it in such a way that it veered around homage and pretty much into plagiarism.
What’s weird about this sequence, and much of this episode in general, is the noticeable lack of energy or excitement. Scream Queens’ problem is usually that it’s too proud of itself, and too flashy. But this week the events on screen are kind of just, like… there. The actors are game, if profoundly untalented. But visually, Scream Queens couldn’t be bothered getting out of bed this week. It’s strange.
The worst example of this is the stupidly short sequence of the Chanels trying to run to Colton’s aid when they realise the killer has him. As per usual Scream Queens MO, a recognisable pop song plays in the background (Bonnie Tyler’s immortal Holding Out for a Hero), but there’s no flair or drama to the shots used. The moment is just plopped onto the screen because that’s what’s happening to the characters at the moment. If you’re gonna go for high concept, try giving a fuck, Fox.
Tiffany’s I Think We’re Alone Now is also used to similar drab effect in the flashback to the 1986 Halloween party massacre.
Speaking of that flashback, most of the deaths happen offscreen. So that’s not good. And the ones onscreen don’t have any chase sequences. Laura Bell Bundy almost gets one, but then Scream Queens is like “nah.” Boo.
Keke’s only purpose this episode is to be an endless exposition fountain.
I’m sensing that the show is going to follow the COW (Case Of the Week) format. But it gets overstuffed this episode with two COWs: Colton’s tumors, and Chad’s friend’s affliction. And neither are properly resolved. Chad’s friend is literally just left screaming in a room. And Colton’s subplot involves him needing a laser the hospital can’t afford, which Chanel later handwaves away in a bizarre scene (involving a glitter cannon) wherein she rewards Colton’s ability to see through Abigail Breslin’s morbid obesity and ungodly ugliness by buying him the laser herself (using Chad’s money). Writing: who needs it?
Chad and Stamos’ dick-measuring, while providing a welcome beefcake scene, is unbearably tedious. And the shocking reveal that Stamos’ murder hand is, gasp, from a serial killer, is so fucking lame.
The Red Devil stinger from last season’s finale is explained away via dialogue: it was Chad pranking Chanel. Again, so fucking lame.
Oh, and Lea demands that Jamie Lee transfer her from her current facility to CURE, and then she’ll help them catch the killer. Fuck. Off. You know what nobody was saying last season? “Needs more Lea Michele.” Jesus.
But it’s not all bad:
At least the Silence of the Lambs sequence reaffirmed what a creatively bankrupt venture Scream Queens is. Not that we needed the reassurance that badly.
The best part of the episode is the shower posture-off between Chad and Stamos. It combines two of this show’s greatest strengths: unironic misogyny; and homoerotic, shirtless dudes. Chad truly is a gift.
Despite the futility of it all, 5 does commit to her subplot with Colton. The poor dear.
Kirstie mostly sticks to the background this episode, but she does eavesdrop on the reveal of Jamie Lee’s terminal illness, which she apparently could use to overthrow Jamie Lee as the director of the hospital, I think? A Jamie Lee vs Kirstie subplot could be amazing.
Taylor Lautner, mercifully, gets very little screentime this episode.
Niecy is still holding firm to her belief that Keke is up to no good. I admire her consistency in an inconsistent world. Her jive talk is still shamefully enjoyable, too.
I’m nicknaming the killer “Swamp Ass.”
Oh, and here’s a shirtless Chad: