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.
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.
“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.
With only four episodes left, it is clear the show is content to leave all of the major reveals for the last few hours rather than having the story spread out evenly in throughout the entire season.
The closing sequence of this episode is one of the best, if not outright so, things that Scream Queens has done thus far.
During the episodes where Scream Queens is more mediocre than edgy or shocking, the watchability comes down to the characterizations of each Greek member and the actors’ performances.
Even though many things happen during “Pumpkin Patch” that can rightly be described as important developments, this episode is the closest to a table-setting hour that Scream Queens has had.
The farther Scream Queens moves away from its obsession with the horrendous Chanel Oberlin, the more appealing it becomes to watch as an entertaining gambit rather than just a scare factory.
Given all of the momentum that Scream Queens had coming into the fall season, on the back of a marketing effort that began as far back as April, it’s a shame that in so many areas it falls completely short of its potential.
Ryan Murphy’s horror-comedy anthology series on Fox, Scream Queens, has cast its first two major leads. The Hollywood Reporter confirms that Emma Roberts and Jamie Lee Curtis have been cast, but details on their characters are currently being kept under wraps. Roberts has had experience working in the genre on Murphy’s American Horror Story and …
Debbie Rochon, often described as a scream queen herself, wrote in an article originally published in GC Magazine that “a true Scream Queen isn’t The Perfect Woman. She’s sexy, seductive, but most importantly ‘attainable’ to the average guy. Or so it would seem.” Nastassja Kinski Films: To the Devil a Daughter (1976) Cat People (1982) …