Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Scream Queens 1x09 "Ghost Stories" (Anyone Up For a Campfire Story?) [Contributor: Melanie]

"Ghost Stories"
Original Airdate: November 17, 2015

So last week my computer decided to plot my downfall and, as you probably noticed, I couldn’t get my Scream Queens recap up. So to sum up last week real quick: Munsch reveals a ton of information about the night the baby in the bathtub was born, but nobody present that night knows the entire story to help keep them all safe; Grace learns her mother was the president of Kappa who let the girl in the tub die, and that there were two babies born that night; Gigi is revealed to be the woman who looked after the children while Westin showed a bit of a darker side; Chanel tried unsuccessfully to frame Zayday and Grace as the killers, while Boone plotted with the other killer to take out Gigi. It was an exposition-heavy episode, and therefore a little denser than is befitting the vapid nature of this show. But, at least we could see a tiny bit of the possible structure of this whole thing.

This week’s Scream Queens was, again, less irritating than previous episodes and actually had some truly purposeful comedic moments. The story as a whole is starting to make a lot more sense as more of the convoluted (and somehow midseason retconned) backstory comes to light. But the interesting thing about this week was the focus on urban legends as a theme throughout the episode. Earlier in the season, the show struggled to find real grounding in their episode themes (“Chainsaw” was a boring bust and the Halloween triplet episodes just sort of dragged). And while they didn’t say anything too profound about urban legends with this episode, it drew my attention to something that did.

Sidebar here for a shameless plug: The documentary Killer Legends, which can be found on Netflix, came to mind this week as Denise and Neckbrace shared an anthology of mostly recognizable (slightly Matrix-y) urban legends. They referenced the honking highway trucker legend, the man with a hook for a hand, and a few others of their own odd creation. Urban legends are not only a staple within the horror genre; they’re often a source for scary stories, as they proliferate across cultures into small communities. Joshua Zeman and Rachel Mills’ documentary about the real life root of four common urban tales is not only a must watch for anyone looking for some casual spooky entertainment, but fits in nicely as a companion piece to tonight’s episode. It also showcases how rich this topic is, and how Ryan Murphy barely skimmed the surface. "Ghost Stoires" had the potential to be a redeeming episode, and while it played on the trope fairly well, give Killer Legends a look for some fascinating and true-life horror.

With that in mind, on with the episode!

The episode opens with Boone out on campus (continually mistaken for Joaquin Phoenix), plotting with an unknown caller to kill Gigi. Chanel #3 spots Boone and assumes he’s a ghost come back to get revenge on her for refusing his request to pledge Kappa. Chanel calls the Chanels for a meeting (dressed as a Native American) and informs them she’s going to Chad’s for Thanksgiving.  In their room, Grace and Zayday talk about Thanksgiving break. Grace complains to her about her father’s lies and Zayday invites her to her house for Thanksgiving.  Meanwhile the Chanels are bubble wrapping Denise’s new wardrobe when Chanel #3 tells them about Boone’s “ghost.” Denise calls them over to the fireplace and begins to tell them ghost stories (most of which are set in bathrooms). With the exception of Neckbrace, they’re not comforted.

At the Dollar Scholar house, Chad is vacuum sealing all his clothes while packing when Boone arrives. Chad also believes him to be a ghost. Boone tells Chad he’s returned to take Zayday on a date — his plot somehow not fooling Chad who reminds him he’s “super gay.” After a ridiculous conversation, Boone convinces him. At the Kappa house, Denise goes to the bathroom to find one of her ghost stories come to life before she is attacked by the Red Devil, who she manages to escape. She informs the others and barricades them in Chanel’s closet. In order to calm Denise down, Neckbrace tells her own ghost story to a positive effect. They debate about leaving the room, but only Chanel #5 winds up leaving the closet.

Zayday is packing with Earl Grey. They begin making out before he stops the action to gather a plethora of romantic supplies to “make it perfect.” As he leaves, Boone crawls in her window and begins hitting on her. Zayday calls his ridiculous ghost story as Grace comes in; together, they realize he is one of the killers. There’s a struggle that ends with Boone falling out the window, but when Grace and Zayday look, there’s nobody outside. They get the others and tell them what they saw. Boone fatally attacks Earl Grey on his way back from the Kappa house, while Chanel #5 is driving away from campus. A truck honks at her (straight out of Neckbrace’s ghost story), so she pulls into a gas station to confront the driver. He informs her there was someone in the backseat of her car, then immediately is killed by the Red Devil. Horrified, #5 speeds away.

At the frat house, Neckbrace confronts Chad (now with neckbrace back on) about why she was not invited to Thanksgiving. He gives her multiple shallow reasons, but none of them are good enough and she offers him a not-too-vague threat. The Kappa house responds to the recent murders and realizes Boone may be the baby from the bathtub. Neckbrace returns and tells them another “ghost story” about how Chad got her pregnant. Chanel confronts Chad, who corroborates her story. He laments that he has to marry her now. Chanel snaps and tells him he is going to pay. She regroups with Chanels #3 and #5 and apologizes for her recent treatment of them. #5 is not so ready to forgive, but ultimately relents. They begin to plan a way to get rid of Neckbrace.

Grace and Zayday meet with the police and Munsch to describe their attacker. The detectives call in a local paranormal society, believing the killer might not be human (sure, sure). Munsch is angered by the detective’s incompetency and dismisses him. She goes to see Zayday and Grace, and offers them more information about the night in the tub. She says, as we learned last week, the babies were fraternal twins and believes Boone is the boy. Somewhere else, Boone is talking to the other Red Devil (identity still hidden), waiting for Gigi. She arrives and scolds him for jeopardizing the plan and disobeying her. Boone comes back at her, claiming he worked hard on her orders and took a night for himself. However, just as it appears Boone and the other killer are about to kill Gigi, the unidentified Red Devil kills Boone instead. Gigi congratulates the Red Devil for her commitment to revenge.

At the Kappa house, Neckbrace is going through Chanel’s clothes after her apparent leave. They offer her sushi, unpasteurized cheese, and tobacco-infused alcohol, all of which she accepts. They claim she’s faking her pregnancy, and she admits to lying but says it no longer matters because Chad still believes her. She exits, and Chanel runs after her. She tells Neckbrace she regrets that she had to go through life as an outcast before throwing Neckbrace down the stairs and breaking her neck. Chanel claims her revenge will become a new cautionary urban legend.

Body count: 4

WTF moments:

  • Chad’s haunted house... okay that was funny.
  • “When I feel like ISIS don broke in my house," classic Denise Hemphill. 
  • All of Denise’s stories were overly ridiculous but gold because it was her.
  • Boone’s weird motive.
  • The stupid paranormal society scene.

Killer suspects:

  • Neckbrace: We know the other killer is female and she certainly has motive.
  • Chanel: Again, female killer and Chanel didn't deny it when she was accused of possibly being the killer.
Sorry about the delay, but check in this week for more updates and try not to eat too much turkey!


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