'Scream Queens' recap: 'Mommie Dearest'
One more sorority sister's light got snuffed out.
Don’t you see? We all have mommy issues. They say if a girl doesn’t have a healthy attachment to their mother, they never feel safe in the world.
Subtlety has never been a defining characteristic of Ryan Murphy’s work, and the latest episode of Scream Queens is no exception. This hour was all about mothers — or, more accurately, how our relationship with our mother can really f— us up.
The first maternal moment: Jamie Lee Curtis’ Dean Munsch giving a sly send-up of the infamous shower scene in Psycho. (In case your film history knowledge isn’t as extensive as Jennifer’s candle collection, Curtis’ mother, Janet Leigh, played the bathing beauty stabbed to death in Alfred Hitchcock’s classic 1960 film.) But the Dean is no neophyte: “I saw that movie 50 times,” she yells after the Red Devil pulls the curtain aside to find the steamy tub empty.
But it looks as though the odds may be stacked against Dean Munsch, because in addition to a second Red Devil, a third thug clad in a Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia mask joins the fray. Our worries are short-lived, though: The Dean spent a year abroad dating a boy who frequented the illegal fighting pits of Hong Kong, and he taught her everything he knows (after she taught him everything she knows about sex). She makes quick work of the three, who eventually flee the scene (but not before the Dean gets in a few political licks aimed at Scalia).
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Back at Kappa Kappa Tau, Chanel gathers her army of Chanels to find out what evidence they’ve gathered in support of her theory that Grace and Zayday are the killers. And, well, the exhibits are weak sauce, to be sure. No. 6 has learned that Grace and Zayday are both on the pill and have synced up (“Those who pill together kill together”), while No. 5 has uncovered a mysterious anagram of Zayday’s name (“I may slay Liz Daw”). So maybe Liz Daw should watch her back, but none of this is incriminating, which is where No. 3 comes in: She offers Denise Hemphill, who has moved in to the sorority house, $3 million (basically, the ability to buy a Sandals resort and work there part-time as a security guard) in exchange for evidence proving Zayday is the killer.
Meanwhile, the Dean has had a change of heart and decides to give Grace the name of the Bathtub Baby’s mother: Sophia Doyle. Grace is clearly disappointed that the name in the file doesn’t match her own mother’s name — she’s been certain she’s the Bathtub Baby all along. Munsch reveals another (albeit small) piece of information: Namely, that another girl (whose identity she doesn’t know) snatched up the Bathtub Baby and fled. Grace takes Sophia’s identity to Pete, and they begin investigating, but without a Social Security number, they come up short. Then, epiphany: They must start at the beginning. And by beginning, I mean the Hag at Shady Lane. She was probably arrested or committed at some point, right? Sure! They return to the mental hospital from last week and question the woman who paints them all. She shows them a likeness of Gigi. And then a likeness of Gigi holding two babies (a boy and a girl). Are we now looking for Bathtub Babies, plural?
NEXT PAGE: Not-so-eternal flame
All is not well at KKT: Jennifer has been duped out of her 22-for-the-price-of-20 candle deal at Candle Junction! How rude. Oh, and after Zayday overhears her telling Denise Hemphill a potentially incriminating story (basically about how Zayday wanted to get “real revenge” on entitled white girls), Jennifer is stabbed mid-vlog by one of the Red Devils. Raise your wicks, you guys. (“Eternal Flame” may have been the most spot-on soundtracking of this season.) To make matters worse, Denise has come up empty with evidence in the case against Zayday. She claims it’s mostly due to the fact that her investigation is “lacking in the financial resources department.” Chanel agrees to 10 percent (i.e. $300,000) upfront. That should be enough for Denise to at least buy an Arby’s franchise, right?
With another death at KKT, Dean Munsch finally (a few dead co-eds late, if you ask me) suspends campus operations. To Chanel, this spells ruin, so she calls in more backup: detectives from Scotland Yard. She’s not going to let a few jurisdictional issues come between her and her position as co-president. Oh, and the truth, too.
Grace is also in search of the truth and confronts Gigi with the evidence she’s gathered against her. Gigi, of course, denies it and takes great pains to flaunt her new (paltry) engagement ring. Yep, she and Wes are “engaged.” (We come to learn later on that Gigi took it upon herself to buy that ring, and Wes never dissuaded her of the idea that they were engaged in order to protect the “mind-blowing sex” they would have.)
And, as it turns out, those detectives end up being well worth the airfare it took to fly them across the pond: They uncover the truth about Grace’s mom. She’s the “Waterfalls” girl from the 1995 flashback, and she racked up quite the rap sheet (shoplifting, drunk driving, meth possession) before she died in a drunk-driving accident. Chanel relishes delivering this news to Grace. Grace slaps her. And as if the hand to the face weren’t enough, Denise has taken over as house mom (in complete head-to-toe Chanel wear, including No. 6’s thong, which feels like “angels are flossing my butt crack”), and she insists that Chanel apologize — or else Denise will make Chad her No. 1 boo.
Later, at the coffee shop, Chanel does what she’s told and reveals her own mama drama to Grace: “Happy Oberlin is a monster,” she says, recounting how she wasn’t allowed to go to her high school graduation because she had a pimple that would besmirch the family name. She suggests to Grace that maybe they entered each other’s lives to help with their mom issues. Maybe. Just maybe.
The episode concludes with the return of a familiar face. And, no, I’m not talking about Joaquin Phoenix. Or Walking Phoenix, for that matter. No, it’s Boone! Who’s grown a beard and every day is muscling. While pumping iron at the gym — incognito, of course — he makes his diabolical plan clear to a mystery voice on the other end of the line: They must take out Gigi as she’s ruining their brand. Because in 2015, nothing is more important than your brand.
Prime Suspects: At the risk of sounding very, very unoriginal, my most-wanted list from last week stands. Gigi was clearly Scalia (unless that was a bit of super-clever subterfuge), while Boone was obviously one of the Red Devils. I feel like we can say those things with a fair amount of certainty. And without a new candidate for the second Red Devil, I’m sticking with my previous theory that it’s Zayday. Despite a few nods at Wes potentially being in on the scheme, I just don’t think he has it in him. The guy loves the male power ballads of 1995, for goodness’ sake!