Welp, sorority mean girl Chanel Oberlin and I have at least one thing in common: Halloween is our favorite holiday.
Halloween episodes, on the other Snickers-smeared hand, have never sat well with me. While I so want to revel in their spooky whimsy, more often than not, these hours feel like an exercise in apathy, with writers leaning too heavily on kooky costumes and slasher-flick references instead of spinning a strong narrative incorporating the best aspects of All Hallow’s Eve. But judging from the first of three Halloween-centric episodes, Scream Queens is off to a fine start rehabbing the reputation of trick-or-treat-themed programming.
The episode opens with a lo-fi montage painting Chanel as a cunning, cat-less version of Taylor Swift. But instead of a glittery Swiftmas, the Kappa president embraces the spirit of Chanel-o-ween, doling out rotting jack-o’-lanterns, razor apples, and cadaver heads to her fawning Instagram followers. Add social media maven to the ol’ application for newscaster!
Meanwhile, Grace and Pete show up in costume (for no discernible reason) as Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, on the doorstep of former Kappa Mandy, who you’ll recall was witness to the Bathtub Incident. Mandy’s been itching to tell her story for the last 20 years. Over a plate of roadkill, she recalls the details: How Ms. Bean wanted to grind the body into sausage and serve it to the sorority sisters for lunch. How Dean Munsch insisted they would bury the body themselves. How the girls rode in the backseat of the dean’s car, to an undisclosed location where they buried the body, dropping out of school the very next day. But here’s what you really need to hear from the mouth of Mandy: The baby was a girl. As in, Chad would have no reason to seek revenge as the Red Devil. (Though he could just be murdering for funsies…)
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Grace later confronts her dad with this revelation. “I don’t understand what you’re getting at,” he says, confused. “Are you on bath salts?” (For a professor, Wes is not the sharpest pencil in the drawer…) But he ultimately debunks Grace’s theory that she could be the Bathtub Baby. I’m not so sure I’m convinced, though.
Back at Kappa, Zayday drops some knowledge of her own: She’s going to run against Chanel for chapter president. And as part of her campaign (inspired by too-cute Dollar Scholar Earl Grey), she’s hosting a haunted house to benefit sickle-cell anemia. Chanel is, unsurprisingly, furious. Cut to 3 a.m., and she’s wide awake, engaging in some mild knife-play in her closet. (I mean, who among us hasn’t, on occasion, eschewed sheep-counting in favor of cutlery-sharpening?) Anyway, No. 3 and No. 5 appear at her side and convince Chanel that she should throw a benefit of her own. A Haunted Pumpkin Patch! (Totally different.) And it will benefit…Black Hairy Tongue. Woof.
NEXT PAGE: Body snatchers (and returners)