Thursday, October 15, 2015

Scream Queens 1x05 "Pumpkin Patch" (Heeeere's... The Red Devil) [Contributor: Melanie]

"Pumpkin Patch"
Original Airdate: October 13, 2015

Scream Queens' "Pumpkin Patch" was like a vomiting of horror call-outs. This week’s episode used blatant allusions (and not through Westin’s film class) to various horror films, mostly The Shining and Silence of the Lambs. A strange combination for sure. The reason for the homages wasn’t exactly made clear, so whatever effect they were intended to have was lost. Some could argue part of Ryan Murphy’s concept for the show was to allow it to include and comment on these common motifs, but then why did it take until episode five to get the actual allusions? Up until now the most we’ve gotten were clips in Westin’s film class that he uses to he imparts some cryptic message about the movie in question that somehow relates to the episode as a whole. Dumb as those wisdoms were, at least they made sense. The allusions in this episode, however, are pretty random.

First, there are several instances in episode five meant to directly reference The Shining. Chanel plans her haunted pumpkin patch attraction to be a replica of the snowed-over hedge maze in the Kubrick film. Later in the episode, Chanel #5 and two fraternity brothers are chased through the maze and reenact the famous scene in which Danny Torrance retraces his own footsteps in the snow to avoid being caught. What does The Shining have to do with the events of this Scream Queens episode besides the purposeful orchestration of the hedge maze? Literally nothing. The Shining was a psychological horror film with some surrealist elements meant to illicit fear, claustrophobia, and panic in the face of complete isolation. And those elements just didn’t carry over to this episode itself (shocking, I know).

The second big one, Silence of the Lambs, gets two obvious call-outs this episode. First, we find Zayday trapped in a cellar and when she looks up, she sees the Red Devil looking down at her with a dog in hand, much like Buffalo Bill in the film. Next, the famous night vision scene between Buffalo Bill and Agent Sterling is mimicked in this show, this time with the Red Devil and Denise. I’m more inclined to accept this allusion at face value because it does –– at least –– jive well. Both the Red Devil and Buffalo Bill are serial killers, both are kidnappers, and both have a strange basement lair they dwell in. Plus, the break-in to find Zayday is a humorous allusion to Clarice’s own attempts to rescue Bill’s victim. However, that doesn’t excuse the randomness of all this or the fact that these episodes make it feel like the writer’s room isn’t communicating at all.

Misplaced allusions aside, here’s what else happened this week.

We open with Chanel and her posse meeting with a party planner for the pumpkin patch and a tongue lashing for Chanel #5 who wasn’t able to book Led Zeppelin for the party (we did however get Maroon 5 and both Fergies –– the duchess and the singer). The tension only worsens when it’s revealed that the costume theme is "wives of murdered presidents," and Chanel has decided #5 will be going as Mary Todd Lincoln. Outraged by the insinuation, given Lincoln’s mental issues, and fed up with Chanel’s abuse, #5 storms out. Later that night, Munsch gathers Kappa and the Dickie Dollar Scholars together, believing they are most likely the Red Devil’s next victims, and, despite protests, implements a campus wide curfew for Halloween night. Not to be deterred, Chanel sends out a message that her party will go on as planned at 12:01 (thus avoiding the curfew as it’s technically the next day). This all ends with a great use of “sorry, not sorry.”

In the kitchen, #5 is baking toenail cookies (as one does) for the trick-or-treaters as indirect revenge because they all dress up as Chanel. Hester convinces her to go after Chanel herself, insisting that if they can make Zayday president, then Hester will become the new #2. They enlist the help of the Candle Vlogger (who’s a weirdo) after showing her Chanel’s once-used candles. The next day, Chanel (in the midst of using her “hired Asian” to help on a test) is arrested for the murder of Miss Bean after the Chanels and the Candle Vlogger reported her. Zayday wakes up at the bottom of a pit (a la Silence of the Lambs) and finds herself inside the Red Devil’s lair.

While the Kappas are fake eating, Grace and Pete arrive and insist someone has to find Zayday. They all decline and the pair decide to enlist Westin’s help. Unfortunately for Grace’s mental health, they walk in on Westin and Gigi, creating an instant rift between father and daughter as it’s the first time Westin has been with anyone since Grace’s mother died (also there is something definitely Freudian going on here, right?). Over at the prison, which, FYI, is meant to blatantly look like Orange is the New Black, Sam and #3 post Chanel’s bail. Munsch’s chit-chat session with Denise about their mutual relations with Chad is interrupted by Grace and company asking for help, which Munsch refuses, getting a little aggravated at the sight of Westin and Gigi.

Chanel walks in to find #5 readying her Jackie Kennedy outfit for the party. Chanel corners her, threatening to gouge her in the eye with a nail file, before forcing her to light all the pumpkins for the party, despite the danger of the killer (well, because of it actually). Grace and company first make a plan to go door-to-door looking for Zayday (and sidestep Gigi’s odd plan of tracking glacial mud deposits... or something) until Grace remembers she can use an app to track Zayday’s phone. They locate the address and head out while Grace continues to have daddy issues.

At the pumpkin patch, #5 is accompanied by two Dickie Dollar brothers, Dodger and Rodger, who, for some reason, abandon her and then come running back at the sound of screams when she’s cornered by the killer. He chases them all into the maze and Rodger and Dodger have some strange rivalry over #5 before the group splits up and one of them (honestly I couldn’t tell you which) is killed while #5 and the other escape.

Grace and the group locate a cellar –– rented out anonymously –– on some old woman’s property. They head down, armed with tazers, and split up (BECAUSE OF COURSE THEY DO). Grace, Pete, and Westin find the lair we saw earlier and the trap door, but upon opening it, don’t see Zayday inside. Gigi and Denise locate a second chamber, this one fitted with chains, hooks, and saws.  The lights go out and the famous night vision scene from Silence of the Lambs is reenacted before Denise accidentally tazes Gigi, who then tazes the killer. Denise runs to find the others and when they return, Gigi has been knocked down and the killer has escaped (... sure).

At the sorority house, the sisters gather to elect the next chapter president. Zayday arrives in time for the vote, claiming that the killer (in true Phantom of the Opera fashion) actually spent time giving her gifts and preparing a wine and candlelit meal for her before she stabbed him with a fork and ran. Chanel calls her bluff but Grace arrives to confirm her story and they prepare to cast votes. Elsewhere in town, Gigi is stalked by the Red Devil before turning to him and asking “what took you so long?” confirming she is in league with him.

Body count: 1

In this week's WTF moments...

  • “At midnight we burnt the house down.” Okay Chanel
  • The entire Orange is the New Black sequence while Chanel is in jail.
  • Gigi's 30-second monologue about glaciers and mud that never comes up later.
  • Rodger and Dodger from the Dickie Dollar Scholar's being the worst actors in history or the worst characters (or both).

In this week's killer suspects...

  • Gigi: She knows at least one of the killers, so if nothing else, she's an accessory.
  • Dean Munsch: Still has murder eyes for everyone and everything and seems to be relishing in the way this is punishing the Kappa sorority. 
  • Hester: She's proven this week to be extremely manipulative and pretty good at it.
  • The Candle Vlogger: She's creepy and spent an entire scene in a red ant mask.
The last of Scream Queen's Halloween trilogy airs next Tuesday so be sure to check back here for more recaps!

1 comment:

  1. There have been homages to movies since the first episode. The girls and the heads sticking out of the ground is from Heathers,. Halloween has been alluded to several time like the headstone Ms Bean. JLC head tilt was a homage to Micheal Myer. The Backstreet boys sequence was from a A Clockwork Orange. The guy getting his arms was from Monty Pyhton. etc.etc.