“There are two things that always happen at a slumber party,” announces Kappa’s new co-president Zayday Williams (Keke Palmer). “Someone experiments with lesbianism and secrets are revealed.” What she forgets to add is that in the twisted universe of Scream Queens, someone (or multiple someones) will definitely get murdered.
On last night’s episode, Zayday and Grace (Skyler Samuels) organize a Kappa house sleepover to ferret out information about the Red Devil, the masked serial killer who’s been terrorizing their sorority. Because all the victims have been Kappa or Kappa adjacent, they assume (probably rightly) that one of their sisters has information about the killer’s identity. And what better way to get someone to confess their secrets than a high stakes game of Truth or Dare?
What they don’t count on (what young people in horror movies never count on) is that gathering together for a party—especially a party where sex stuff might happen—is always a bad idea. Though secrets are revealed throughout the night, they’re not the kind of secrets that Zayday and Grace set out looking to find.
Chanel #3 (Billie Lourd) admits that she has feelings for Sam (a.k.a “Predatory Lesbian”), Sam (Jeanna Han) tells everyone that Chanel #3 is Charles Manson’s daughter, Chanel #5 (Abigail Breslin) might suffer from vagina dentata, and Chad (Glen Powell)—who arrives during a Dickie Dollar Scholars panty raid—admits that he boned Dean Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Denise Hemphill (Niecy Nash), but kind of sort of agrees to commit to a monogamous relationship with Chanel (Emma Roberts). The evening’s revelations cause people to grow and change, but it also causes them to lose trust in each other and—in some extreme cases—die.
After revealing the truth about Chanel #3’s Manson family lineage, Sam is sent to the basement by a spiteful dare from her almost-girlfriend. While down there, she has a fatal encounter with the Red Devil and the party later finds her asphyxiated. Two Dickie Dollar Scholars also meet their end—one by way of ax, the other by way of nail gun (very Pinhead, by the way). The slumber party has almost worked too well. They didn’t just get closer to discovering the killer’s identity—they got closer to the killer itself.
But it’s not all bad news! The threat of danger also creates some surprising alliances. Chanel, who at the beginning of the episode was hoping to throw Zayday into the jaws of death, ends up saving her life and ultimately admitting that she kind of likes her. Who knows how long that will last, but—regardless—it’s entertaining and maybe a little heartwarming to see the pair team up for the episode. (Who wouldn’t choose to watch Chanel and Zayday over Zayday and Grace?)
While Scream Queens is shaping up to be far from great, the way it’s attempting to play on teen horror tropes is, well, not necessarily commendable, but occasionally enjoyable all the same. It’s not groundbreaking, but, then again, it’s not really trying to be. The show is both an homage and satire of the horror films that came before it, which means that its appeal is found not in surprise, but in recognizing the onscreen dangers (familiar to even the most casual of horror fans) long before the characters do. You can “Don’t go in there!” or “This slumber party is a bad idea!” all you want, but Chanel, Zayday, et al. will never heed your advice. And therein lies the fun.
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Image via Fox.