Scream Queens, Season 1, Episode 11, “Black Friday”
Written by Ian Brennan
Directed by Barbara Brown
Airs Tuesdays at 9pm (ET) on FOX
A table setting episode that actually works as a full episode without being boring, “Black Friday” sets up all of the last pieces of the puzzle before everything is locked into place and solved for good in next week’s two-hour season finale. Nobody dies, despite the Kappa’s best efforts to off Dean Munsch, but many of the remaining players are left with their backs up against the wall as the Red Devil prepares to finish off everyone still bleeding. Grace is without a house of sisters to protect her and a boyfriend who now admits he is a murderer, Chanel is without the assurances that every plan she comes up with will succeed, Pete is a lone wolf probably being targeted by his murder partner, and Dean Munsch is solidifying enemies at an alarming speed. Now that Gigi and Boone are dead and gone the Red Devil could be anyone, and it’s even possibly (and probable) that Pete is referring to himself as a murderer because he killed one person not half a university’s worth. It would be a great feint to end the episode on when the true Red Devil can feasibly be anybody right now. Chanel is right when she points out that each member of the group had an opportunity alone in the kitchen on Thanksgiving night before Gigi’s head was served, which is an easily meta way to let the audience know that any which way you slice it everyone is still a suspect.
Fortunately, the heavy work of laying the evidence out on the table was taken care of in the last episode so this week can be all about everyone enacting plans to go after who they think is the killer. The most entertaining of these plots is the Chanels’ (plus Zayday) mission to put Dean Munsch six feet under. Munsch surviving each attempt with a Rasputin-like resiliency fits in aptly with the cartoonish nature of Scream Queens and is something for Jamie Lee Curtis to do that isn’t menacing or putting the girls in order. Not that she doesn’t menace exceedingly well, but whenever she has the chance to loosen up a little as well it rounds out her character in a weirdly joyful way. Chanel’s mounting frustration at not being able to murder the dean of students (think for a second about how much crazier that would sound on any other show) is also a good tone for Emma Roberts to portray. By giving Chanel an actual goal that isn’t being mean or acquiring Chad Radwell, even if it is still significantly evil in nature, it makes her more palatable. No one is a good person on this show, but it is easier to root for someone with a mission than it is for someone who is awful just for kicks.
Which brings everything back around to Pete. His “mission”, if he actually had one tied to the Red Devil killer, is unknown at this point but he has confessed without provocation that he is a murderer to Grace. There is a chance this murder was committed under threat of blackmail from the Red Devil and not for revenge, but even if so Pete is still a sympathetic character because of his and Grace’s relationship. Skyler Samuels is never better on screen than when paired with Diego Boneta so if this cliffhanger is a sign that they are going down with a fight and going down together than that is a good path to choose. Even if Pete is a bloodthirsty, arm-cutting-off, friend-killing murderer his McConaughey impression might be enough to get him off based on good will alone. His charming reporter act is a good case for an Occam’s Razor situation to be the solution. He had the devil costume in his wardrobe from the beginning, he had a suitable cover story as a reporter looking into the murders (the old “killer assimilates himself into the search for the body” routine), and he was secret friends with Boone. Everything fits for him to be the other half of the murdering duo except for the fact that he is not a girl, which is a twist for which Ryan Murphy and friends can surely find a workaround. If all the clue’s are there waiting to be put together, it’s the audience’s own fault for not believing their eyes.
Regardless of who the killer turns out to be or how it all ends, Scream Queens is ending with a string of good moments along the way. The showdown between Munsch and a cornered, worried Chanel at the swimming pool is a great culmination of those two characters’ desire to be the queen bee. The mall sequence is an effective horror tableau that segues seamlessly into comedy once Chief of Police Denise Hempfield arrives on the scene. Chad reading Boone’s will aloud to Pete, although semi-unrelated to everything else going on, is one of the best things to happen in the show’s run, period. From Chad forgetting that many of the Dickie Dollar Scholars are dead and the others are not at school any longer is a nice touch and so believable, and the duel challenge tops it all off. Yes, it may just be a way to give Glen Powell something to do this episode while everybody else runs around dodging arrows and plotting against school officials, but it is a great way to do that. The show set everything in place for the finale, now the only thing left to do is see if it can knock everything down in a satisfying manner. And find out who the killer is once and for all, of course.
- “A pair of mink albino boy shorts, purchased by me, for me.”
- “Shut up Number 5! When you agree with me it makes me question whether I really agree with me!”
- “We spent the whole month’s budget on ghost hunting supplies!”
- “We’ve been shopping for like ever with no liquids or cotton balls!”
- Things Boone left for Pete in his will: Johnny Cash poster, Xbox, HBOGO password, box of lube, butt plug.
- “He was my deep throat!” “So you were gay lovers?”
- Of course Pete dreams about working at Slate.