‘Scream Queens’ Recap: Haunted House
Ooh, it’s a Halloween episode! Halloween episodes are unequivocally the best, and that especially goes for already-spooky shows (Buffy, Pretty Little Liars, et al).
SPOILER WARNING: Scream Queens plot details ahead.
We open on a typed intro describing what Chanel’s been doing for 'Chanel-o-Ween': “2015 was a great year for Chanel Oberlin and her 752 Instagram fans.” Chanel explains to the camera that she loves the 'Ween (“it’s the only night of the year where you can scare children without being called a psychopath”), which makes her more likable for two seconds, but then she’s back to being horrible again. Anyway, she’s getting her Taylor Swift on: Sending surprise gifts to her devoted fans so they can share video of their delighted shrieks on social media, ultimately helping to build her brand image as a whimsical and thoughtful figure of worship. Instead of cupcakes or just a handwritten card, Chanel sent severed body parts and rotted pumpkins — it’s Halloween, silly! Sorry: Chanel-o-Ween. Anyway, it’s razor-apple sharp satire of a constructed “viral” moment, and it’s brilliant.
The action picks back up at Kappa house, right after Gigi’s been menaced with a chainsaw. The police detective doesn’t think Dean Munsch is the Red Devil, but Gigi and Grace’s dad strongly disagree. Regardless, the Dean is forcing Grace’s dad to be her Halloween date, which she can do for some reason? “We are going as Bo Peep and her sheep.”
Security guard Denise busts in to say she’s onto the case of her dead fellow security guard Shondell. She pledges reveeenge!
Grace and Pete arrive at the long-lost Kappa Kappa Tau sister Mandy Greenwell’s trailer to ask her about the events of that fateful night in 1995. Since it’s Halloween times, they're dressed as their mutual favorite movie couple: Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey in How to Lose a Guy In 10 Days (Diego Boneta’s excellent McConaughey impression skews more True Detective, though). Like many cold-case witnesses in a horror movie or crime procedural, she’s not only home, she’s literally been waiting for someone to come ask her about what happened back then. Mandy, who lives in the squalid quarters of a shut-in, flashes back to that night and confirms that Ms. Bean and Dean Munsch helped the sorority sisters get rid of their friend’s body. The Dean made the girls wear hoods to an undisclosed location, where they then get to grave diggin’. Mandy says they all dropped out afterward — she heard one died, one’s in a mental ward and one achieved the Kappa-wide dream of Fox news anchordom. She does know two things for sure: The Dean is evil, and Bathtub Baby was a girl.
Zayday is in the caf talking to Earl Grey, the very handsome African-American British Dickie Dollar Scholar. When did they become super close? Earl convinces her to run against Chanel for Kappa president.
Back at the Kappa house hours later, everyone’s carving pumpkins. Yay, more sharp objects, such a good idea! Chanel No. 6 carved her secret dad, Charles Manson. Hester carved Chad, which Chanel doesn’t love. You know what else Chanel doesn’t love? The fact that Zayday just announced her candidacy, plus an intention to throw a sickle cell anemia fundraiser. Chanel drops her pumpkin, threatens Zay and then stalks off to sharpen some knives in her giant closet, like ya do. Chanels No. and No. 6 convince Chanel to throw their own fundraiser…for people with “black hairy tongue.”
Ex Sorority-Sister Shut-In Trailer of Horrors. Mandy hears a knock on the door and answers it with a baseball bat…and after some stumbling and bumbling, gets knifed by the Red Devil. Was it Peter?
Meanwhile, Chad’s stalking around a foggy graveyard, because as previously established, he’s kind of a necrophiliac. Newly-glam Hester finds him and says she’s totally necro too — this may or may not be true, but she goes on to explain that she plans to Single White Female the hell out of Chanel, and this plan involves getting with Chad. She tells him he’ll receive a future call to meet her in a scary, sexy place to bone. What could go wrong?
Grace’s dad Wes is screening Children of the Corn. Where was this class when I was in college? “What could be scarier for an adult than a child coming to murder them?" Wes asks the class of mystified teenagers. "Isn’t that all of our greatest fears, that the pain, the regret, the mistakes of our youth will destroy us in our adulthood?” You’re seeming VERY Red Devil-ish right now, Wes! After class, Grace finally confronts Wes with the question that’s been brewing since the show’s pilot: Is she the bathtub baby or nah? He says nah. She gets a text from Pete telling her to head to a shady address. Literally — it's 53 Shady Lane.
Grace and Pete meet at a creepy abandoned house, where Zayday and Earl Grey are already planning their charity haunted house (excellent location, if not up to fire code). Security guard Denise shows up to tell them the house really is haunted…which Pete already knows. Pete and Denise, who really need more scenes together, explain that people would hear a black-robed hag woman wailing about her kids, and when people finally went into the house they found…a room full of super-creepy dolls and doll parts. Oh yeah, and that was back in 1995!
Denise corners Zayday to once again accuse her of Red Devilry…and Zay lobs the accusation right back at her, saying she knows Denise was once a Kappa Pledge herself back in 1988. We get to see Niecy Nash dressed as an ‘80s sorority sister, which is incredible — but 100% less incredible is how she was shamed into leaving because the sorority was whites only back then. Is that enough to kill for, though?
Chanel, Chanels No. 5 and No. 6, and Hester are passing out flyers and wearing roughly eight different kinds of pastel faux fur. VERY heavy Heathers vibes in this scene. The
Heathers Chanels sit down to a lunch of cotton balls dipped in…makeup? until they remember pizza is more delicious. They’re accosted by a couple of sexist fraternity brothers on their way out, and after telling them off, they absolutely kick the crap out of them. “You wanna see me smile? Well I’M SMILING!” Hester screams, just after she’s dumped a recycling bin on the especially terrible bro's curled-up body. Ah, team bonding.
Chad’s come to meet Hester in front of the haunted house at ye olde 53 Shady Lane. Lea Michele’s character is getting the best of the Chanels’ outfits, by the way.
Hester leads Chad into the house with the promise of morbid sex, but that plan is quickly derailed...because they find a room full of dead bodies from earlier episodes. Ms. Bean, the security guard, the headless Coney mascot (and his head), Ariana Grande’s Chanel No. 2, the gang’s all here. The would-be couple does some INCREDIBLE screaming, and then retire to the coffee shop to sort out their trauma like we all would (?). They decide to warn people (“Do NOT go to the haunted house on Shady Lane, there are dead bodies EVERYWHERE!”) but that turns out to be a solid plug, and everyone heads over to check it out.
Grace, Pete, Zayday and Earl Grey converge on Shady Lane and see the bodies for themselves. Zayday calls 911, but the operator just wants to hear more about this cool haunted house. Then she gets kidnapped by the Red Devil, noooo!
The police detective is (once again) denying that there’s anything weird going on, despite all the posed corpses they just found. Grace accuses Chanel of being the killer due to her coldhearted vibe, and then tells Pete she’s been doing some research of her own on “the Hag of Shady Lane.” It turns out the black-robed figure had stolen diapers and milk back in ’95! As Grace says they need to solve who the hag was, we see the black-robed wailing figure sitting among her dolls at Shady Lane…and it’s Gigi! I kinda called that one.
Watch Scream Queens Episode 4 if you missed it, and tell me your thoughts and theories.
Frida Sundemo "You"
Taylor Dayne, “Tell It To My Heart”
Belinda Carlisle, “Mad About You”
Billy Idol, "Eyes Without A Face"
Order of Suspicion, From Highest to Lowest:
- Grace’s dad, Wes
- Dean Munsch
- Chanel #5
- Chanel No. 6
Stars Discuss Losing Their Virginity