Thursday, December 3, 2015

Scream Queens 1x10 "Thanksgiving" & 1x11 "Black Friday" ('Tis the Season) [Contributor: Melanie]

Original Airdate: November 24, 2015

So a combined technological catastrophe pushed last week's episode and this one into one big ol' post. But, considering they both follow in the theme of holidays, it's rather fitting they go up together. "Thanksgiving" continued Scream Queens’ trend of “not as awful as it could have been” episodes, this time by making some surprisingly poignant points about family gatherings and Thanksgiving. While this certainly is nowhere near the standards set by classic Thanksgiving episodes, “Thanksgiving” is one of the better-crafted holiday episodes of this season. Generally speaking, shows use their Thanksgiving episodes to point out all the flaws in their characters’ family dynamics, and this was no exception. Each character got a moment to shine, with their disappointing Thanksgiving dinners put on display before they all returned to the Kappa house.

So maybe it wasn’t your run-of-the-mill Thanksgiving, but we can all relate to having some disappointing holiday celebrations. The strength of the episode came in its focus on the importance of found family, something many college students can probably understand, as they band together for "friendsgivings" that often wind up being better than their celebrations with family. With everyone ditching their awful family dinners in favor of spending time at the sorority house (and Grace vocally choosing her friends and sorority sisters over her new-found siblings), it’s an incredibly positive way to show how important it is to feel safe and comforted, even if the people who make you feel most safe and comforted aren’t the people with whom you share genetic material. And as someone who spent Thanksgiving with extended family, I can definitely relate.

So here’s what happened this Thanksgiving...

Chanel reveals to Chad that Neckbrace was never pregnant, and that she was killed after falling down the stairs. Chad is excited at the prospect of seeing a dead body (which... is a little weird, yes? Are we going to ignore the vibes here?), and Chanel agrees to show him to strengthen their bond. However, Neckbrace’s body is missing, leading Chad to suggest that she’s still alive.

Chanel joins Chad’s family for dinner, and while they’re going around announcing what they’re thankful for, Neckbrace arrives. Chad quickly tells his family that she’s his sober coach. After informing Chanel that she survived the fall because of her neckbrace, she then tells the entire Radwell family that she’s pregnant.

Chanel finds an opportunity to call her mother for advice, but gets ignored. Then Chad’s father tries to bribe her to leave Chad, an offer that she refuses, but Chad tells her she should take him up on it.

With all this drama simmering in the background, it seems like a perfect time for a family game of Pictionary to break out. The Radwells play against Chanel and Neckbrace, and when Brad pulls “Neckbrace Whore” as his first card, the family takes the opportunity to hit her with a constant stream of insults as they guess. Chanel defends Neckbrace, then apologizes for what Neckbrace has been through, and goes off on the Radwells. Finally, she breaks up with Chad, and then storms out of the house with Neckbrace by her side.

In between the back and forth of the two main storylines, we also get a glimpse of Gigi and the Red Devil celebrating the holiday together. They make hand turkeys while the Thanksgiving parade plays in the background, and it’s almost not weird that the Red Devil is in full costume while all of this goes on. They order “room service Thanksgiving” with a side of some ominous tones.

Meanwhile, Chanel #3 apprehensively returns home for the holiday, receiving a less than warm welcome from her family. After being forced to sit in the back “with the help” and eat a frozen dinner, she explodes on her family and walks out, saying she’s going “home.” She returns to the Kappa house, where she finds Munsch preparing a turkey, and they decide to have dinner together. Elsewhere, Westin is preparing dinner when Grace calls to inform him that she and Zayday aren’t going to Oakland. Instead, she invites him to join the rest of the sorority house for Thanksgiving.

Back at the Kappa house, they’ve started playing a game while they wait for the turkey: who might be the Red Devil be? Munsch immediately accuses Chanel #3, which Grace shoots down. To retaliate, #3 accuses Munsch, claiming she has the strongest motive, given her hatred of sororities. Before this game can turn into an all-out war, Chanel #5 arrives with an odd assortment of stuffing, saying that she chose to come spend the holiday at the house with Munsch after being ditched by her family. She goes on to suggest that Munsch faked her alibi in the death of her husband. Westin interjects and, going back to trying to guess the identity of the Red Devil, suggests that Grace could be the killer. Chanel #5 agrees, given Grace’s obsession with her mother and potential trust issues with Westin that could have spurred her killing spree.

Pete arrives, joining them at the dinner table, and after saying he’s up to speed thanks to Zayday live-tweeting the meal. He supports Grace and after Westin drops his accusation of his daughter, Pete accuses Westin, claiming that a rogue murderer was Westin’s best shot at preventing Grace from pledging. He also claims that Westin knew secret entrances into the house, and finally, that Westin is Boone’s biological father and therefore likely the father of the other baby.

Later, Grace meets with Westin, who swears that he had no idea about Boone. Grace tells him Pete won’t find the police, but is resolved to find her half-siblings. But even though she’s related to the killers, her loyalty lies with her friends. They return to the table, now joined by Chanel and Neckbrace, and soon Chad, who half-apologizes for his family just as Chanel serves the turkey, which, to everyone’s surprise, has been replaced with Gigi’s head.

Body count: 1

WTF moments:

  • “Freddy was the one that got grandpa’s old pistols and challenged me to a duel.”
  • All the things the Radwells are thankful for.
  • Westin actually accusing Grace because, you know, that’s not his daughter or anything.
Killer suspects:

  • Chanel #5: Basically she’s the only person who hasn’t been outright accused, at least with any solid reasoning, and her reasons for returning to the sorority house were shaky.
  • Grace: The show blatantly said she couldn’t be a suspect, so that makes her a suspect. And she was present for the majority of the murders.

"Black Friday"
Original Airdate: December 1, 2015

And onto what always follows stuffing and turkey (no, not trying to dodge a game of 20 questions from your grandmother)!

The episode opens with another monologue from Chanel about Black Friday and her history of using it as a way to buy her friends cheap Christmas gifts. In the present, picking up almost exactly where we left off, Zayday is talking with Munsch about the head incident while the Chanels come downstairs with the intent to go shopping at midnight. They argue about it, considering what happened at dinner, but leave anyway. Meanwhile, Wesin, Pete, and Grace are at the police station to get help, since their initial call after discovering Gigi’s head went unanswered. To explain the incompetence, the (idiot) detective we’ve seen in previous episodes reveals the mayor turned over the entire homicide department.

While the Chanels are at the mall, Chanel has an epiphany that she should buy nice presents for her friends. But while they’re leaving, the entire mall shuts down around them, and just as they realize the doors are chained shut from the outside, the Red Devil appears with a crossbow. The girls duck into a store to hide, but Chanel decides to face the killer directly. The Red Devil shoots her in the chest while she attempts to get away, all the while throwing insults at who she believes to be Munsch. Denise arrives with backup, revealing that she took over as chief of police, but while she’s busy monologuing, the killer shoots one of the cops and takes off.

Back at the house, Chanel calls a meeting where she insists Munsch is the killer, and when the others begin to agree. Chanel proposes they proactively kill the dean, which Zayday rejects. Grace defends Chanel’s plan, in the name of sisterhood, and they decide to poison Munsch. At the Dickie Dollar Scholar house, Chad is trying to host a meeting only to find the entire frat has been killed and only Pete — who isn’t even a brother — is present to help him read Boone’s will. It turns out Boone left everything to Pete and when Chad interrogates him, Pete reveals Boone was his source for dirt on the Greek life on campus. However, Chad points out Pete tried to pledge the frat the previous year, and he’s angry at being denied (so apparently the “you pledged but were rejected” motive is just fueling everyone on this show). Chad offers him membership, which Pete rejects.

Grace and Chanel have tea with Munsch and pretend to apologize and flatter her, insisting they want to start a feminist collective with her. They offer her apple cider (apparently her favorite), laced with puffer fish venom (because who doesn’t have a puffer fish?). The poison doesn’t work, and Grace regroups with Pete who insists it was a sign to not try again. She gets all special snowflake-y about morals or something and this somehow means she should continue trying to murder the dean. Pete then notes that the Red Devil’s hatred of frats and sororities is something he understands. Grace then tries to offer Pete sex in exchange for support for her plan to kill the dean, which he still refutes.

The Chanels, Grace, and Zayday meet to come up with another plan, but this time Grace says no. Chanel holds a vote and forces Grace out of the house while Zayday has a stupid, random change of heart. Grace meets with her dad the next day and finds Pete with him. They reveal their research has yielded no conclusions, except that Gigi’s sister was the fourth girl in the bathroom who took the babies before committing suicide and leaving them to her. Pete leaves to write more, and Westin and Grace discuss Gigi, Pete, and relationships. He gives an after-school special level talk about sex and they hug it out. At a spa, the Kappas have brought Munsch to a cryo sauna (dear God) where they drop the temperature to around -100 Fahrenheit.  But Munsch emerges, very much alive.

Pete gets a suspicious call (which we of course don’t hear the other end of) and after arguing, warns the caller not to call him again. He has some prolonged eye contact with his Red Devil costume. At the Kappa house, they try to figure out how Munsch survived. They throw out possibilities, all refuted by Chanel. Neckbrace suggests she’s the “Rasputin” of the story, unable to die easily. Then Chanel presents a new plan: she gives the girls new smartphones to communicate while she uses herself as bait to drown Munsch in the pool. But the Chanels screw it up when they get in a fight with a retail worker and miss Chanel’s call. She’s all on her own when Munsch confronts her, and things get creepy fast. Munsch leaves, equally creepily, and Chanel returns to the house in a rage.

Grace visits Pete at his dorm, intending to seduce him, and finds him packed up to leave. Grace then gives a very sappy, Taylor Swift level speech about him being her “first.” He rebuffs her, claiming he doesn’t want her first time to be with a murderer.

DUN. DUN. DUN. ... Actually I really don’t care about those two.

Body count: 1

WTF moments:

  • They fired their entire homicide department. Sure.
  • Denise as chief of police.
  • Jumping the gun on Munsch.
  • Zayday’s flip-flop on what to do about Munsch.
Killer suspects: 

  • Grace: Her motives got weird and she was one of the only people who knew the Kappas would be at the mall.
  • Pete: Even though the killer is likely a girl, he had some pretty weird stuff going on and admitted to being a murderer of some sort.
  • Zayday: She also has weird motives, played flip-flop for no reason when it came to what to do about Munsch, and like Grace, she was one of the few people who knew the Kappas would be at the mall.
Hopefully next week all computers involved cooperate and we can get this party rolling a lot smoother!


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