In our debut Scream Queens recap, the Kappa house is under attack, the Red Devil killer is on the loose and this might just be the best new show on television….
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
It’s nearly impossible for a highly anticipated show to live up to expectation, but I’m here to tell you Scream Queens does all that and more after the two-hour debut on Tuesday night proved that this might just be the best new show on all of television.
Now that’s lofty praise after only two episodes, but there are a multitude of reasons why this new series from American Horror Story creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk is slaying the competition in the fall of 2015.
The series is a satirical horror/comedy set on a campus that’s plucked right out of Revenge of the Nerds with a cast of college aged Heathers (this time called Chanels) with enough teen angst to rack up a hell of a body count while all making life hell for the dean in a sorority so upscale that Regina from Mean Girls would probably be left on the outside looking in. This all takes place with a masked killer stalking students like something from an 80’s horror film or even more recent with a popcorn classic such as Scream.
The dialogue cuts like a razor blade and the only caution is for those of you with politically correct ears, this show slices and dices through every gender, race, creed and sexual orientation and that’s only in the first 15 minutes!
The acting on the show is campy and wonderful led by Emma Roberts, who portrays Kappa Kappa Tau president Chanel No. 1, and she doesn’t just play a bitch well — she plays the best bitch on all of television. The way she cracks her co-stars with a wicked tongue and those emblazoned eyes is the kind of acting that would make even Lena Headey snarl and curl her lip with envy.
Jamie Lee Curtis also stands out amongst a crowd of 20-something actors and actresses and she’s brought her very best as the original scream queen returns to reclaim her throne.
There’s not too many men running around on this show, but the ones who are present play their parts with precision. Glen Powell is outstanding as bad-in-bed golf guru Chad Radwell while Nick Jonas plays his (gay) best friend Boone and this pop star can no longer be pigeon holed after this role and his recent turn in the underrated DirecTV series Kingdom.
Finally (before we get into the recap), the soundtrack has to be noted because the music selection on this show was like taking a trip down memory lane through the 80’s and 90’s with a few modern tunes mixed in as well. There’s no telling if the music budget for Scream Queens will remain the same throughout the entire first season, but if this double dip debut was any indication, iTunes is going to be burning up for people building their first Wallace University playlist.
With that review in mind, let’s recap the debut episode of Scream Queens for two episodes ‘Pilot/Hell Week’:
Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls
Scream Queens begins in 1995 during a big party at the Kappa Kappa Tau sorority house, but things are amiss after one of the sister reveals that another member is upstairs in a bathtub after giving birth to a baby. The unnamed sister never even knew she was pregnant — she just thought it was the freshman fifteen and only a bread baby!
Instead she’s got a new bundle of joy, but her sisters aren’t in the mood to deal with a baby because there’s some TLC blasting on the stereo downstairs and they’ve got to go chase some waterfalls.
The bad news is when the girls return to the bathroom, another sister is holding the baby but the one who gave birth bled out and died in the tub. Now obviously this death all plays back into the big picture of the story that’s about to take place and we learn later there’s even more to this opening scene.
But the big questions that loom overhead right away — who was the baby and did he/she grow up to attend the same college as the mother who passed away? What about the girl who helped deliver the baby and stayed in the bathroom when the other sisters jumped ship? And whatever happened to the dead girl?
Something to think about….
Flash forward to present day and we meet Chanel Oberlin for the first time.
She’s a blonde-haired beauty with enough fashion sense for Paris and plenty of sarcasm and insults that would make the best comedians wither and fade. She’s surrounded by her ‘minions’ which includes Chanel No. 2, No. 3 and No. 5 (played by Billie Lorde, Ariana Grande and Abigail Breslin respectively) — there was a Chanel No. 4 but the dumb girl got sick with meningitis and decided to go home where she died instead of sticking around with her sorority sisters where she belonged.
Chanel isn’t particular when doling out her cruelty, which includes calling their live-in maid Ms. Bean her ‘white mammy’ while she dishes out some harsh reality that might sound like comedy but it’s actually the truth.
“A lot of people talk smack about how sororities are exclusive and they’re a class system. Well guess what? Life is a class system.”
~ Chanel No. 1
Today isn’t going to be Chanel’s best day, however, after she’s called into a meeting with Dean Cathy Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis).
It seems the new full time Dean, who has been working in different capacities at the university for the past 20 years, is finally taking it upon herself to address the growing problem with the Greek system on campus, particularly with the Kappa house best known for alcoholism, prescription pills and even an occasional case of bestiality.
In addition to those problems, the Dean is also well aware of the ‘incident’ that happened last year when the former Kappa president Melanie was getting a spray tan except instead of bronzer, she got a doused with hydrochloric acid instead. While the police ultimately ruled it an accident, Dean Munsch is convinced that Chanel was behind it all.
Much to Dean Munsch’s chagrin, however, she’s not allowed to revoke their charter after a fellow Kappa sister turned lawyer turned national sorority president named Gigi shows up and explains that only the board of trustees is allowed to vote them out of the school.
Instead, Gigi comes up with a new alternative instead that’s going to rattle Chanel’s cage just as much as losing the sorority charter.
Fresh Meat for the Grinder
While the Kappas prepare for rush week, the new students are arriving on campus including daddy’s little girl Grace, who is getting dropped off for her first day of school with dreams of pledging a sorority just like her mother did all those years ago. See, Grace’s mom passed away when she was a kid and her father Wes had to raise her by himself and the only memory she has of her dearly departed mother is a pin she kept from her old sorority — yep you guessed it, Kappa Kappa Tau.
Grace moves into her room after an emotional goodbye from her father but quickly finds a new gal pal in her roommate Zayday, who agrees to go along to the Kappa house for the start of pledge week.
At the house, dozens of girls are all vying for attention as the members are quietly judging all of them, but everything is about to change when Gigi and Dean Munsch make a major announcement — to help curb the problems at Kappa house, they’ve decided that for this school year anybody and everybody who applies to become a member can become an official pledge of the sorority. Well there goes the exclusivity part of the sorority so all the top hopefuls flee the room like roaches scurrying away when the lights turn on and what’s left is a hodge-podge group of social rejects that make Chanel’s skin crawl.
There’s Neckbrace aka Hester
“She smells like hot dog water and probably sprained her neck giving blumpkins down at the local bowling alley.”
There’s Deaf Taylor Swift, whose real name is Tiffany something and despite not having hearing she knows and sings all of the lyrics to every Taylor Swift song.
There’s Predatory Lez aka Mac, or Butch or something and “all that girl is after is a whole lot of bikini burger”. Oh and don’t forget Jennifer, who is a candle vlogger, and yes that means exactly as it sounds like.
We also find out during this party that sorority national president Gigi is still dressing like she’s from the 1990’s because her brain is stuck in the 1990’s. She explains to the sisters that some kind of traumatic event trapped her in that era so Gigi is just destined to live in the 90’s forever. Now what kind of traumatic event could cause that kind of mental break? A baby being born in a bathtub perhaps? Or maybe watching a fellow Kappa sister bleed out?
Regardless, Chanel is going through her own trauma because inviting these new pledges into her sorority means Kappa is no longer the prestigious place it once was and even her golf-playing boyfriend Chad isn’t sure he wants anything to do with her anymore because she’s just not popular enough.
To get rid of the new pledges, Chanel hatches a plan along with Ms. Bean where she will accuse the housekeeper of something awful and then pretend to put her head in a deep fryer to scare off the girls. Of course, Chanel promises Ms. Bean the oil will be cold just like the pumpkin spice latte that her stalker ex-boyfriend tries to make for her in the local coffee house. His name is Pete and in addition to being a barista, he’s also the editor of the college newspaper who once had an ultra crush on Chanel.
He’s starting to get eyes for Grace, who happens to pop into the coffee shop at the same time, but when he finds out that she’s pledging Kappa, he opts for a warning instead of asking her out on a date. Pete tells Grace that bad things seem to always happen in the Kappa house and she should avoid it like the plague, but once the new pledge hears about his 15,000 text messages to Chanel, she decides to bug out all together.
Meanwhile, back at the house Chanel gets ready unfurl her plan after a sister discovers that Ms. Bean has made an effigy in her room with the sorority president’s eyes cut out and slashes through all of her pictures. Enraged, Chanel storms into the kitchen grabs Ms. Bean by the collar and jams her down into the vat of oil that wasn’t so cold after all. When Ms. Bean comes out of the frier, she’s screaming in pain as her face literally melts off and she dies.
Chanel and everybody else freaks, but after she threatens to turn this around and blame Grace for killing Ms. Bean, everybody is on board to cover up the crime. The sisters wrap up the body and dump it in the freezer for safe keeping until later.
All of this happening rattles Grace enough to reach out to Pete for help exposing the Kappa house. This wasn’t the sorority she thought it would be, but Grace is convinced that she can make it great again if the Chanel cancer is cut out. She drags Pete to the freezer to examine Ms. Bean’s body, but when they arrives, Chanel is already there with her part time boyfriend Chad.
The problem is when the freezer door is opened there’s nothing inside!
The Devil You Know
Back at the sorority house, Chanel has printed off a blood oath she found online that she wants to take with her sisters to ensure they will keep her secret as long as they live. Chanel No. 2 has decided enough’s enough and she wants out.
She packs her bags and gets ready to peace out, but first she gets a text message from an unknown number telling her to answer the door. When she does (like an idiot), the Red Devil killer appears while continuing his texting game with the dimwitted girl. Finally, he declares that it’s time for her to die and he stabs her to death — but not before she can send out a text to all her followers saying that the Red Devil killer is actually killing her right at that moment.
A few minutes later, the Chanel corps finds their dead sister stabbed to death and instead of calling the cops they decide to hide this body as well! Actually, Hester opts to reveal her knowledge of disposing of a body by chopping it up and putting it in food processors and other mechanisms to get ready of skin, bone and organs but everyone is pretty grossed out by that idea and decides hiding her is the best idea.
Meanwhile across campus, Dean Munsch is getting her rocks off with Chanel’s boyfriend Chad, who she blackmailed into bed thanks to some academic probation. Too bad Chad is awful at this although he’s immediately in love with the Dean thanks to some perplexing mommy issues.
Back at the sorority, the pledges are asked to complete a task where they sleep all night buried up to their necks in dirt while trying to keep the ants from crawling up their noses. Little do they know that a few minutes later, the Red Devil killer would show up, start the riding lawnmower and roll over poor Deaf Taylor Swift’s head.
This time there’s no covering it up and hiding the body.
Murder on Campus
Following Deaf Taylor Swift’s lawnmower beheading, Dean Munsch is forced to answer some tough questions from the media and parents, who are concerned about their children living on campus with a serial killer, In particular, Grace’s father Wes doesn’t like the idea of his daughter staying in a sorority house that’s being targeted by a killer. He decides that he needs to stay close by so Wes asks Dean Munsch to hire him as a professor at the school.
Back at the sorority house, authorities have informed all the girls that they can’t really leave because technically they’re all suspects in the murder while also simultaneously being targets for the killer. To help ease their minds, Gigi hires ace security guard Denise Hemphill to protect them. She’s out of the Yellow Pages, she carries a night stick and a walkie-talkie plus Denise even has an 866 number the girls can call if they get into a really bad situation.
Over in the boy’s dorm, Chad is ready for bed after a long day boning the Dean and Chanel No. 1, but he needs some rest following the Kappa queen dumping him. His best bud Boone is a little scared after the murder on campus and asks to crawl into bed with Chad.
Chad grants his wish but only if he promises not to grab onto his wiener like the last time this happened because no matter how much Boone wants it, he’s not turning gay. Unfortunately the thunder buddies get interrupted in their spoon-fest when Chanel No. 1 shows up asking for forgiveness.
The next day, Boone tracks down Chanel on campus and asks for a favor — instead of outing him to the whole school, he would like to tell the world that he’s gay and then join Kappa Kappa Tau as a member! Chanel No. 1 is all about it because it could totally further her career as a newscaster where gays are around all the time while Chanel No. 5 revolts and wants no part of it!
It won’t matter because by later that night the body count ratchets up as the suspects begin to grow!
Behind the Mask
In the midst of investigating the murders, Grace finally decides to team up with Pete to get some answers. After a quick makeout session, Pete breaks into Dean Munsch’s office to get his hands on the file about the 1995 death that took place in the Kappa house. He gets this intel after Grace found a hidden room in the basement of the house where the bloody bathtub and clothes from the dead mother still reside. It seems Kappa sisters have been hiding their dirty little secrets for years.
In the flashback where Chanel No. 1 explains how this bathtub got there in the first place, we learn that Ms. Bean knew about the dead sister and Dean Munsch was present to help clean it all up. Two more suspects added to the list! Things don’t end well for Pete either after the Red Devil killer shows up and knocks him out before leaving him outside with a note pinned to his pants that says ‘MYOB’ (mind your own business).
After all this trouble to find evidence, Grace also loses her trust in Pete when she finds a Red Devil costume hiding in his closet. Pete explains that he’s the school mascot and the Red Devil represents Wallace University. Grace is a little freaked out and decides to put Pete on the back burner for now.
Later that night, the Red Devil killer shows up again and terrorizes Chanel No. 1 but doesn’t kill her (a clue perhaps?). The girls do decide to go back upstairs to see if the killer is still in the house (that’s always smart) and instead of finding a Red Devil they find a rather ominous warning painted on the wall — Sluts Must Die.
The message freaks out the girls but while they are looking at the Red Devil’s handiwork inside, he does proceed to shove a butcher knife through the head of Denise’s security company cohort Chantel, who just showed up to share a burger with her friend after things got too boring at the Best Buy parking lot.
And then poor Boone is the next victim as he’s found by his dandy fraternity brothers sprawled out on a table in his underwear with his throat slit and candles surrounding the body.
When Chad shows up to share the news about Boone’s death, we finally get a clue to who is behind all this when the Red Devil killer shows up at the morgue and immediately pulls open one of the locked doors. The masked killer pulls out the slab and laying there as cold as ice is Boone — except he’s not dead! Boone pulls off the prosthetic wound across his neck, looks up at the Red Devil killer and asks ‘what took you so long?’.
The plot thickens!
This week we lost Ms. Bean, Chanel No. 2, Chantel the security guard and Deaf Taylor Swift.
Did you notice the homage Jamie Lee Curtis paid to Halloween when she was talking to news reporters after the lawnmower murder and tilted her head to one side while staring at the house — in the same manner Michael Myers used to do before committing murders.
BEST LINES FOR EPISODE 1
“I’m not missing ‘Waterfalls’ for this! ‘Waterfalls’ is my jam!’
“Did I ask you to pull down my panties and blow a compliment up my butt?”
“That girl was a bitch who thought she was all that because her family founded the Olive Garden and she had no gag reflex.”
“I could actually handle that you’re built like a Thai lady boy but what I can’t stand is that you think you’re my heir apparent.”
“I do sort of love you, I just, I would love you a lot more if other people loved you, too”
“Ms. Bean I said let’s hit it!!!”
“Like a Friends episode….but someone’s trying to murder all the friends”
“Is this Scotch? It’s 10am”
“I find good parenting incredibly attractive.”
“You’re a snoopy little bugger and I don’t like snoopy little buggers.”
“One of the least fun things in life is when your gay bro, he’s gay and he knows you’re not gay, and he tries to touch your wiener anyway.”
Chad: “This is not what it looks like”
Chanel: “He has a huge boner!”
“If I presided over the first sorority ever to accept a gay, imagine how far that would get me with my future gay makeup person, my gay wardrobe person not to mention my creepy, gross gay viewers and weird gay higher ups.”
And finally the music in this first episode of Scream Queens. Here are the songs that played throughout the episode. Enjoy and don’t forget to come back for another episode and recap of Scream Queens next Tuesday night at 9pm ET!
“Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman” by Bryan Adams
“Always” by Bon Jovi
“What’s a Girl to Do?” by Bats for Lashes
“Waterfalls” by TLC
“A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri
“I Know There’s Something Going On” by Frida
“If You Were Here” by Thompson Twins
“Sunglasses at Night” by Corey Hart
“Warm in the Winter” by Glass Candy
“Hold Me Now” by Eden XO
“Heart and Soul” by T’Pau