In the end, the same thing that brought down the Chanels was also the major letdown with Scream Queens as a whole: the need to be right. The exact smugness that doomed the crew of blonde psychopaths at the center of this story was the season itself’s main misstep, and one that was doubled down upon rather than made more subtle as it progressed.
“Thanksgiving” works as well as it does mostly because the specter of death is not constantly lingering over the collection of Thanksgiving dinners in the rotation. No character besides Gigi, who knows the devil’s identity already, sees the devil this episode and because of that the action can slow down for an episode and focus on relationships more fully. Rather than shouting accusations at comrades in the aftermath of an attack or making out because they are in the midst of a life threatening situation, this week the Kappa girls and all of their requisite men have the chance to sit down, discuss things, and actually breathe which is something to be thankful for.
For at least one episode, temporary that it may be, Scream Queens found a solution to its problem of putting decent to great actors in situations that are either boring from a plot perspective or poorly executed by the dialogue or acting involved. As easy as it may seem with 20/20 vision, simply putting all of the characters who are the most over the top in either a villainous or purely campy way in scenes together cracks the code of how to make the show less of a slog between murders. There are still multiple spots in “Ghost Stories” where the momentum lags, mostly in scenes that involve two or more of the Chanels, but the return of Boone, some great Denise Hempfield moments, and some major clues in the murder mystery make up for those few boring parts.