As one character returns and another is possibly permanently gone, Scream Queens creeps toward its finale.
Just when Scream Queens started getting good again, Brad Falchuk stepped in once more.
“Thanksgiving” isn’t Scream Queens’ worst episode, but it played up some of its worst qualities: inconsistent characterizations and mean-not-funny verbal attacks.
In terms of advancing toward the big reveal of the finale, “Thanksgiving” is a solid episode. Some new theories and insight into characters’ backgrounds are unveiled, and a major character death is finally — probably — permanent. Although it is a step in the final direction, it doesn’t mean the episode was enjoyable overall.
Much like Niecy Nash — who is once again sorely absent from the episode — Nasim Pedrad’s Gigi is a beacon of hope for the show. Her mini-Thanksgiving dinner with the Red Devil is a treat. It’s an interesting dynamic to see the eternally silent villain next to the talkative Gigi. It’s also hilarious to see the Red Devil casually making hand turkeys — costume and all — while the dinner is delivered.
Gigi admits that the Red Devil is her only family now, which encapsulates what makes the scene so intriguing. Their trio is down to two. If the Red Devil can go so far as to kill her brother, then what else is she capable of? Is their family really a family? Boone (Nick Jonas) certainly stopped seeing Gigi as a mother figure. Can the same be said for the final Red Devil? The scene ominously ends with the Red Devil staring at Gigi while the electric serrated carving knife buzzes.
Chanel No. 3’s (Billie Lourd) Thanksgiving isn’t exactly picturesque either. She likens it to a Tinder date: It has the promise of connection but when you arrive, it’s just fat and upsetting and you just have to go through with it because you’re already there.
Instead of asking how she is handling the serial killer running rampant, her family is more concerned with football and their TV dinners.
The scene brought a lot of depth to No. 3, who is already one of the best of the season. Yes, sometimes she’s written completely idiotically and made to think that Boone is a ghost. Other times, she simply slays with side-glances and silent judgments. But, No. 3 is a force to be reckoned with. She did take part in a duel after all. She pledged to outlive Chanel in “Seven Minutes in Hell,” and she means it. Could she be the killer just so she gets attention from her parents?
Faith Prince and Gary Grubbs were great guest stars as No. 3’s parents. The only person who could have been better would have been Lourd’s real life mom Carrie Fisher. It could have been like Rosemary Howard but in housewife mode.
The other special guest stars of the episode weren’t all so tactfully used.
Everyone’s favorite Canadian Alan Thicke played Chad Radwell’s dad Tad Radwell. Julia Duffy plays the critical female authority Bunny Radwell — a similar role to her Mrs. Hayfer from Drake and Josh. If ever a typecast could be more enjoyable, it’s because of Duffy.
Patrick Schwarzenegger makes a really awkward appearance as Thad Radwell, who makes an off-color joke about hardcore porn. Chad Michael Murray is Brad Radwell, a misogynistic piggybacker. Murray’s appearance could have been worthwhile had it been more akin to his performance as Tristan in Gilmore Girls, in which he was smug yet human. Instead, Brad is an empty bigot.
Chanel (Emma Roberts) doesn’t seem to be getting along with the Radwells, but things get even worse for her when Hester (Lea Michele) shows up, still claiming to be pregnant with Chad’s (Glen Powell) baby. Apparently, as I guessed, the neckbrace did save her and the fall might have even cured her scoliosis for good. “Ghost Stories” excelled last week because it brought about what then seemed like two major deaths: Boone’s and Hester’s. When a show claims that no one is safe, it needs to make good on its promises. Hester’s death was purposeful. It felt quite in vein of what Chanel would do, and it was a pretty scary way to die because of how realistic it was. Now, it just seems as if the show is going to be too fearful to axe anyone until the end, which will thus make for an overly hectic and unenjoyable finale. If no one — not even the big name series regulars — then Scream Queens could have been so much more fun with the thrill of never knowing who is safe. That is what made Drew Barrymore’s role in Scream so iconic. Ryan Murphy has said only four of the original 25 will be left, but if he couldn’t keep the weekly killing promise, how can viewers trust he’ll stay true to his word for the finale?
Also, is it really going to be worth it to see about seven characters killed off in one episode? No. It will not be justified. Why would it have taken the Red Devil so long to conquer those characters when the villain has proved herself pretty skilled at killing people?
Tad offers Chanel $50,000 to leave the Radwell compound because neither he nor Bunny know of the Oberlins and think Chanel is just trying to hustle her way into Chad’s fortune. The AV Club actually pointed out why this small storyline could be significant: Chanel’s looks and actions from the year prior to the start of the series don’t exactly seem in-line with the background she claims to have. She was able to hire Scotland Yard, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t a con artist. Rich or poor, anyone’s mother can be a drunk.
The Radwells then partake in my least favorite scene of the episode. They play Pictionary, though someone has changed the card to read “neckbrace whore,” which leads to the Radwells spewing out a sea of insults about Hester. Every degrading word is used while Hester tears up. Once again, Murphy and co. don't always know how to toe the line between just plain mean and funny. They succeeded with Sue Sylvester and Madison Montgomery, but they keep flip-flopping on Scream Queens.
In another random act of sisterhood, Chanel stands up for Hester, bashes the Radwells in a very Madison Montgomery way and proclaims she’s done with Chad. She then tells Hester that they’re going “home.”
Home, here meaning Kappa House.
It’s where all the Kappas decided to return to for the holiday as all of their plans magically disintegrated. While it seems odd that they decide to call the serial killer-ravaged campus home, it’s symbolic of the bonds that can be formed in college. Sometimes friends are the only family a person needs. It’s a message that hits home.
Viewers can be thankful that this Thanksgiving is decently full of Jamie Lee Curtis. She enjoys a rather charming interaction with No. 3 near the butchered turkey named Tiburon that results in a proclamation for a love of charades. On the page, that scene seemed bland but Curtis is a master and the simplest expression ignites the whole scene.
Grace (Skyler Samuels) and Zayday (Keke Palmer) forgo their plans of going to Zayday’s home for the holiday because it felt “weird to leave the house alone.” OK, Grace. Because Grace is staying in town and Gigi has ignored his calls, Wes (Oliver Hudson) decides to attend Kappa Thanksgiving as well.
Chanel No. 5’s (Abigail Breslin) family forgot to tell her they were vacationing for the holiday — that is SO reasonable it’s not even funny — so she too came back to the house.
The Kappa Thanksgiving turns into a game of Clue as they all take a turn guessing whom they think the Red Devil is. Some interesting, relevant theories ensue:
- Munsch accuses No. 3, saying she could easily be lying about Charles Manson being her father as the craziest lies are often the best ones.
- No. 3 returns the accusation, disproving Munsch’s bologna allergy
- Wes accuses Grace because they have the worst father-daughter relationship ever. His accusation does bring about a new piece of information: Grace visited campus the same weekend Melanie Dorkus (Brianne Howey) was given the acid spray tan featured in the premiere.
- For once, No. 5 says something worthwhile as she adds to the Grace is the killer theory when she monologues about how Grace knew about how terrible her mother was and hoped to overshadow Kappa’s worst legacy with an even more horrible one: the Red Devil. It’s actually the theory that makes the most sense.
- Pete (Diego Boneta), who shows up just because, then accuses Wes and many jokes about how he’ll now never be able to marry Grace are made. After unveiling how much of a bro Wes was in college, Pete delivers the penultimate evidence: Wes is Boone’s father.
Apparently, that’s supposed to be a twist, but it’s just annoying. No one cares about Wes. He doesn’t need to be entangled in the series of events anymore than just being Grace’s father and Gigi’s lover.
It’s also thrilling to see how the writers have realized that they messed up in writing Grace. She was supposed to be the protagonist, the final girl. Instead, she’s become a bland and frankly lame character. So now, the show has done a meta correction and has its other characters point out how terrible Grace is to show that they too know that Grace as a character just simply isn’t working.
The final scene is what saves the episode: Instead of Tiburon, Gigi’s head is served on the silver platter.
The Red Devil clearly killed her earlier in the day, but nearly everyone at Kappa Thanksgiving handled the turkey at one point. Munsch was the one who cooked it. Zayday had kept an eye on it all day and was the one to tell Wes and Grace that it was nearly done. Chad returned specifically to eat the turkey. No. 3 and No. 5 were the ones who transferred it from the kitchen to the table. Who’s the one that did the deed? More importantly, where is Tiburon?!
It was a hilarious sendoff, but Pedrad was such a strong player on the show that it’s quite worrisome what the atmosphere will be like without her. Fortunately, Nash, Curtis, Powell and Lourd are still going strong. Though there is only one more episode before the two-part finale, so — hopefully — anything goes.
Best Moments of the Night:
- Chanel: Is this meat locker a wormhole to an alternate universe or something?”
- Kristy Swenson: We don’t want another Thanksgiving 2008 incident again.
- No. 3: Freddy was the one who got grandpa’s old pistols and challenged me to a duel.
- Kristy: I know darling, but your father loves your brother much more than he loves you.
- Chad: Plus, are you just going to make it like a habit of pushing people down the stairs? Because I think we can agree: Not the most adult form of conflict resolution, Chanel.
- Jamie Lee Curtis eating a bologna sandwich while reading Playgirl
- Wes: I mean, it’s not out of the question. I was a bit of a man slut back in the day, and it was the ‘90s so nobody wore condoms
- Munsch: Huh, trust me!
- Hester: This one is definitely sharp enough to glide easily through roasted flesh.
- No. 3: What a weird way to put that.