Actually important deaths and outstanding quips dominant the “Ghost Stories” episode of "Scream Queens."

Over time, it’s becoming harder and harder to peg Ryan Murphy. He excelled in writing the premiere and “Seven Minutes in Hell”, but flopped horribly with “Beware of Young Girls.” Now, he’s back on top with the latest episode of Scream Queens: “Ghost Stories.”

The quips were killer — both literally and figuratively. More was revealed about the Red Devil. Niecy Nash was an all-star, and significant deaths finally happened. Hopefully that trend of excellence will continue through the season’s final four episodes.

Boone (Nick Jonas) is back and becomes the determining factor of characters’ IQ. The Chanels and Chad (Glen Powell) believe Boone is a ghost, but Zayday (Keke Palmer) and Grace (Skyler Samuels) know better. It's an annoying trope featured in nearly every horror production. Some characters are simply too stupid to realize what’s going on around them.

To help calm everyone down, Denise (Nash) does for the girls what she does for herself when she feels like “ISIS broke into her house:” She tells ghost stories to replace the real fear with the fictional fear.

Thanks for telling that story of “the Kappa,” a creature that lives in toilets and “snatches you by the vagina” and drowns you. Now I can never use the bathroom again. In the words of Chanel (Emma Roberts), let’s just “squat over a salad bowl.”

Denise’s second story about Red Cloak is also set in the bathroom as the villain makes the victim choose between the red or blue toilet paper. Red means he’ll slit your throat and give you a red cloak. Blue means he’ll asphyxiate you until you turn blue and have a blue cloak.

It’s no coincidence that very shortly after she tells that story, Denise is presented with that situation in the Kappa bathroom. Another fear of mine is performed as the Red Devil peaked over the bathroom stall and attacked Denise. Seriously, not cool. Murphy knows he is playing with a primal fear as there aren’t many more situations in which a person is more vulnerable than when he or she is in the bathroom. It was a really interesting way to play up a subconscious fear.

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Fortunately, she escapes the Red Devil, but she’s too terrified to descend the “crazily overdramatic staircase,” so she needs one of the girls to tell another ghost story.

Hester (Lea Michele) eagerly volunteers with a story of the Meat Hook Killer, who escaped an asylum and showed up in the back of a girl’s car. Again, no coincidence that later, No. 5 (Abigail Breslin) is put into that same situation, though the Red Devil kills the bystander who tried to help her before she got back into the car and returned to campus.

Boone is in love with Zayday, proving to be the Red Devil who kidnapped her in “Haunted House” and “Pumpkin Patch.” Apparently, he just pretended to be gay, though how that was supposed to help his and Gigi’s (Nasim Pedrad) case as the Red Devil is a mystery. His “once you go black, you never go back” metaphor was a bit much.

Nevertheless, this odd aside storyline is entirely worth it if not just for the interaction when Boone sneaks into Zayday’s room:

  • Zayday: Nice shirt.
  • Boone: Thank you. Do you know what it’s made out of?
  • Zayday: What?
  • Boone: Boyfriend material.

Zayday and Earl Grey (Lucien Laviscount) share their first kiss and then quickly decide to go from that to what required Earl Grey to fetch his “lotions,” “silk robe,” “chocolate-covered strawberries” and more from his room. Who has all of those things just on deck? Also, if all of that was already in his room, why couldn’t he and Zayday just go to his place? It seems irrational for him to bring all of that to her room.

Regardless, all the fetching is for not as Red Devil-dressed Boone stabs Earl Grey before he can return to Zayday. There’s something incredibly satisfying to see a villain unmask himself while still wearing the costume. All season long, there’s been speculation of when Boone might have been in the mask, such as when the Red Devils attacked the Dickie Dollar Scholars but forwent attacking Chad. It’s like at the end of John Carpenter’s original Halloween. Michael Myers’ face is revealed for just a moment, but it’s a moment of relief for the audience to be able to see what has been under the mask the entire time. That is why viewers are eagerly awaiting the reveal of the second Red Devil. It’s a cheap gasp that creators of horror productions thrive on.

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Meanwhile, Chanel is prepping to go with Chad to the Hamptons to spend Thanksgiving at the Radwell Family Compound. Of course, the invitation comes with the very important silver turkey wishbone necklace, which almost guarantees an engagement.

The trip explains why Chad spent the entire episode vacuum-sealing his clothes. He is “minoring in luggage sciences with an emphasis on packing theory” after all. Too much. Powell has truly become THE breakout star of the series. He owns the role. Chad could have become an atrocious addition, but it’s probably not wrong to say that Chad has only persisted because of how well Powell has done. A-plus work.

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Hester confronts Chad about why she wasn’t picked to go with him. What ensues is an egregious list of reasons and an even worse series of shot-reverse shots at awkward angles. Murphy, save those shots for when they can enhance the conversation instead of distracting from it. No one needs Chad’s free-weights in the frame while he bashes Hester.

  

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Hester doesn’t take it well and goes to Chanel and tells her that she is pregnant. Obviously, Chanel is astonished, as she was hell-bent on Chad being faithful to her. Chanel not only says she wants Chad to “pay the ultimate price,” but also that she wants to kill Hester. Though that only makes her A killer, not THE killer, according to No. 3 (Billie Lourd).

Roberts shined in the episode as she slayed with quip after quip. She delivered nearly all of the “best quips of the night” that are listed below, yet when it came to the more serious moments — as in when she had to confront Chad about Hester being pregnant — Roberts flopped hard. Maybe focus less on the screaming and bitchiness and more on the raw emotions that have to be flying high in any Kappa as they continually are met with the threat of death. The same was felt when she monologued about her backstory in the previous week’s episode.

After kicking ass in “Mommie Dearest,” Jamie Lee Curtis is only given a trivial amount as Dean Munsch in “Ghost Stories.” Like in past episodes, she’s more so a token to just deliver some more news about the Bathtub Baby — or should we now say Bathtub Babies. Munsch confirms fraternal twins were born that night in 1995 and that the “one girl in that bathroom who seemed to have any humanity took the babies.”

And now we get to the good stuff.

In a hotel suite, Boone and the other Red Devil — who is just casually wearing the costume while Boone is dressed normally — prep to kill Gigi to continue their plan. When Gigi arrives, she chastises Boone for being reckless and idiotic. He retorts all he’s gone through, reminds her she isn’t his mother and backs her into a corner. As he becomes more menacing, she just quips: “Are you about to break into song? Because all I hear is ‘me, me, me, me.’ ” Outstanding.

Instead of stabbing Gigi, the other Red Devil stabs Boone in the heart. Gigi’s reaction: “Your commitment to revenge was clearly greater than your brother’s was.” BOOM. Now, the guessing game turns to which female character is Boone’s sister and the last Red Devil left to terrorize the campus.

The six-episode wait to come back to Boone made his return less significant as it could have been. His cliffhanger at the end of the two-part premiere is probably what made the average viewer want to return. But after waiting so long, the curiosity faded. Jonas exceled in the role and delivered a convincing performance, but it’s not a character that will be missed.

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But the crazy doesn’t stop there.

After Chanel proves Hester was faking the pregnancy, she runs after her and apologizes. Just as she ropes Hester in close enough, Chanel admits she’s lying and shoves her down the stairs. No. 3 and No. 5 scream, and Chanel just coldly says, “I realize that my killing 'neckbrace' might just seem like a bridge too far, but trust me when I say this had to happen. And I’m confident that I’ll be able to redeem myself morally in everyone’s eyes.” Valid reasoning.

Despite once again wearing her now-blinged neckbrace, Hester’s neck audibly snapped when she hit the ground, making viewers believe her death is final. However, the random reinclusion of the neckbrace ignites some questions. Her neck snapped, but what was the purpose of bringing the neckbrace back if it won’t somehow “save” Hester? We’ll just have to wait and see until the next episodes.

Michele was a big contender on the show. She wasn’t given much to do, but the small lines she had were incomparable to the sad delivery from Samuels, Breslin or most of the others in the cast. The over-the-top quality was perfect. It was what could make a line like “Yes. I’m really enjoying myself” from a filler moment to one that was menacing as hell. Hester as a character was confusing because it was hard to really peg her down, but she was a great vehicle for Michele to show how much she can dive into a role. Michele did well with what she was given, which was an unfleshed-out character. 

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Now, the real game has begun. There are four episodes left in the season and things need to start accelerating. Murphy has made it known that only four will survive the first season, so who will it be? Munsch, Denise, Chanel, No. 3, No. 5, Grace, Zayday, Chad, Pete (Diego Boneta), Gigi and Wes are all still alive. Personally, I’m rooting for Munsch, Denise, Gigi, No. 3, Chad and Zayday — they’re the only ones who have proved their worth as characters and as actors — although that’s two too many.

New theory: No. 3 might be the Bathtub Baby Girl because of her friendship with No. 5. No. 5 has now escaped the Red Devil three times, and it seems purposeful. The villain easily could have gotten her in the pumpkin patch, in Chanel’s closet and while driving. Yet, it didn’t. Is No. 3 just trying to spread the scary? Was she just trying to scare No. 5 in the car to make her come back to campus?

Hopefully, the Bathtub Baby Girl is neither Chanel nor Grace. It would be entirely less satisfying. Chanel already plays a menacing character, so it’s not exactly shocking to place her behind the mask. Grace has been the bane of my existence since the beginning, so hopefully she isn’t given that limelight.

Best quips of the night: (Sorry not sorry, they’re mostly all from Chanel)

  • Chanel: Are you serious?! I’m trying to impress Mr. and Mrs. Radwell, and I just spent two hours dressing up as the hag who didn’t realize she was the third wheel on Lewis and Clark’s gay camping extravaganza!
  • No. 3: Wait, what? You’re meeting Chad’s parents?
  • Chanel: Oh. Did I bury the lede?


  • Chanel: I don’t understand why you’re making us bubble wrap each item of clothing.
  • Denise: Are you kidding me? How much did this cost?
  • Chanel: $63,000
  • Denise: Uh yeah, OK. When something costs $63,000, you wrap it in bubble wrap. Besides, bubble wrap is fun! I think because I’m not allowed to carry a firearm, I like to pop the little bubbles and then pretend like my finger is a gun.

  • Chanel: No. 5 don’t goooo. … Actually I’m totally fine with her leaving.

  • Chanel: Actually No. 5, that story is neither scary nor amazing. That story is an exact facsimile of the hook-hand story Hester told about an hour ago. Honestly if you’re going to get attacked, please attempt to get attacked in a fresh, exciting way.

  • *Hester blows Chad a kiss and he catches it*
  • Chad: OK, just so we're clear. I only caught this kiss so I could throw it away. *Opens trash can*

Rating: 4.5/5

@buzzlightmeryl

mg986611@ohio.edu

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