Sunday, December 13, 2015

Scream Queens 1x12 "Dorkus" and 1x13 "The Final Girl(s)" (Cool Motive, Still Murder) [Contributor: Melanie]

"Dorkus" & "The Final Girl(s)"
Original Airdate: December 7, 2015

And here we are, finally at the two-part season finale of Scream Queens with an ending that almost made sense. Neckbrace was revealed to be the killer, after faking her persona and puppet-mastering her fellow killers, then pinning it all on the Chanels and getting the nice, accepting Kappa house she always wanted. The logistics of it were incredibly messy and convoluted, but the overarching idea behind it is something I’m kind of willing to get behind.

Hester’s ideology is a dismantling of the Greek system, which is not a new concept, but somehow hits a little bit of a nail on its head. She points out the Greek system and the levels of misogyny, competition, and social stigma behind it helped turn her and her brother into murderers. And while it’s ridiculous and mostly comical, the point still stands that there are some unfortunate effects to unintentional pregnancy at a young age. But of course the show doesn’t delve into that point or take the time to explore it as a realistic and complex motive. We’re just shuffled right along into some crazy long accusation scenes and the world’s longest cleanup sequence.

And in the realm of the reveals? This one wasn’t interesting. The show cycled through too many possible suspects for anything to be a surprise, and Neckbrace was on my killer lists consistently throughout the season. Her characterization made her a perfect red herring but a lazy culprit in the end. That being said, I can’t offer any alternatives except that Grace (and the show as a whole) would have been a lot more interesting if she was the killer. And the very trope-y irony in the final scenes might have packed more of a punch if it was Grace who got away with it, not Hester.

Ultimately, at the end of it all, it feels like some very cheap thrills without too much thought put into crafting the story. Sure, the backstory and motive were explained completely, but the execution and the respect for three-dimensional characters fell waaaay to the wayside.

But alas, here we are kids, the last two episodes...


The episode opens in the middle of Pete and Grace’s conversation, where he reveals he made a deal with Boone back during the events of the first episode to protect Grace. In exchange for her safety, Pete helped Boone undermine Kappa and was responsible for some of the deaths. He goes on this philosophical rant about the negatives of Greek life that we all already know. Grace gives him a fairly good shut-down while he rationalizes his actions and reveals he killed Boone to try and stop the murders. The scene actually goes on for, like, forever. In circles. With Nice Guy logic. Eventually Pete manipulates her into staying by offering information on the other killer, who he confirms is one of the Kappa sisters. Of course, said second killer knifes him before he can reveal anything, and after a struggle with the killer, Grace is knocked unconscious.

On campus, Chanel is being heckled by a mob after her email, a blatant rip-off of the Angry Sorority Letter that went viral a few years ago, was leaked by the Red Devil killer. She resolves then to kill herself (Cleopatra style) after her public reputation is ruined, but Zayday interrupts. She offers Chanel support, despite their differences, just as the Red Devil enters with a knife and bumbles a bit before Zayday overpowers him. They remove his mask, but it’s not someone we recognize; whoever this guy is, he yells, “she made me do it.” The girls drag him downstairs to the other sisters. It’s revealed the real killer wrapped this guy in dynamite and the sisters take cover.

A HazMat team is cleaning up after the explosion while the Chanels discuss this development. Chanel reveals a new plan to restore her reputation by going on an “apology tour,” starting with the former Kappa president who was the victim of an acid spray tan in episode one. Grace meets with her father, where she tells him that the killer let her live. They have a dorky YA novel conversation about her near loss of virginity before her dad gets creepy again. Grace then comes up with a plan for her father to seduce Munsch as a distraction while Grace and Zayday look into Munsch’s files on Kappa.

The Chanels go to visit the previous president, who lives in seclusion with a butler and mastiffs. Neckbrace is absent from the meeting, instead staying behind at the Kappa house, where she starts stealing items from Chanel’s closet. At Munsch’s house, they go through the Kappa’s transcripts to see who fits the bill. They realize Neckbrace’s file was faked and they rush to find the other Chanels. At Munsch’s house, she asks what information Westin was hunting for, though he argues that he actually enjoyed himself and insists they should date. Munsch gives the stipulation that they need “space” from Grace.

Chanel and #3 meet with Melanie Dorkus (who has dozens of TVs tuned into news stations covering Chanel’s story), the former VP. They have a tension-filled conversation before she accuses Chanel. When Chanel goes to apologize, she pulls out scissors and accuses Melanie of being the killer while slashing at her. Zayday and Grace arrive in time to stop her and reveal what they know about Neckbrace. They return to the house and hear screams from upstairs. The find #5 in the bathroom,k who reveals her Tinder swipe was faked. They find Neckbrace unconscious on the floor with a heel in her head. She wakes and accuses #5.

Body count: 1


And we’re back, suddenly in the future of January 2016 where Zayday and Grace are president and VP respectively, hosting a winter rush event for Kappa with Munsch’s support. Hester is also treasurer and the official bylaws of the house still obligate them to accept any pledge. Then we segue into Hester’s inner monologue, where she details her unfortunate childhood in the mental institution where Gigi helped raise the twins to become well-educated killers who adopted personas to help hide their motives (Boone pretended to be gay while Hester took on the “Neckbrace” identity.)

As adults, Gigi and the twins kill the original Red Devil mascot and assume the persona before pouring acid into the spray tan machine. They faked their way into the college, where Hester attends the Kappa pledge event and meets Grace and Zayday. Fast forward back to January 2016 where Hester continues to internally gloat, happy to be with her “real family.”

Flash back now to present time, December 2015, where Hester is being rushed to the hospital and continues the inner monologue, this time detailing her extensive study in human anatomy to ensure stabbing herself in the eye would not result in fatal damage. She accuses #5 again who denies it vehemently. They pile evidence on her and speculate about motives before Denise Hemphill walks in and informs them that Boone’s body was found. Grace and Zayday continue to accuse Hester but (paid off) parents arrive to corroborate her story. #5’s parents then arrive and (also paid off) corroborate Hester’s story as well. Denise arrests her, but then it gets more uselessly convoluted as Hester accuses Chanel #3 as well.

Hester continues to pile on evidence, including letters from Charles Manson detailing how to kill her sorority sisters. Hester also plants evidence that #3 has a split personality, convincing her she is responsible. Hester THEN accuses Chanel as well with more evidence. Just. So much evidence. This has gone on over two commercial breaks. Hester goes into a big ol' monologue, suggesting Chanel used murder as a form of hazing for the pledges she hated, convincing Denise of her guilt. The Chanels take off to the sounds of Martika’s “Toy Soldiers” before they’re all dragged off by (former stripper) police officers.

FAST FORWARD. AGAIN. It’s now May 2016 and the Chanels are being held without bail, Chad and Denise are still hooking up though they break up kind of dramatically (to the sounds of TLC’s “Waterfalls”), the Dickie Dollars have started a ridiculously acronym-ed charity foundation in honor of the victims, and Munsch is a best-selling author on new-new feminism. Munsch and Hester discuss the events and the dean informs her she knows she did it. Hester defends herself and insists she could have been normal if not for her upbringing. Munsch still insists she murdered people and threatens to turn her in, but Hester counters that she’ll turn Munsch in for murdering her ex-husband and leaving her mother to die. Munsch agrees to keep the information to herself and they part.

At the house, Grace has set up a help center for unexpected pregnancies on campus. Westin (is he still a professor?) offers her his trust and apologizes for his behavior before heading off to Napa with Munsch. The Chanels are on trial (oh, you put Billie Lourd in cinnamon bun hair? How unexpected), awaiting their verdict. After Chanel makes an insulting outburst, the jury finds them guilty on 47 counts and sends them to an asylum. Chanel has an epiphany that the judge’s accusations of their narcissism may be accurate and that asylum life suits them just before she lays down for bed and is attacked one last time by the killer.


Body count: 1 (probably)

WTF moments:
  • This entire series.
There were certainly some funny moments but Scream Queens fell far short of anything remotely interesting. I've been harsh on it, and probably am ending harsh, but next season might benefit from a little more effort and research put in on the allusions front and a writer's room that actually seems like it's communicating. Until next time...


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