‘Scream Queens’ Recap: Dorcas and the Final Girl(s)
It's so hard to say goodbye to Scream Queens' cast of hilarious psychos! I've gotten attached to so many of the characters, despite the fact that most of them had a dish-deep emotional world and/or were made loathsome in order to soften the blow of their inevitable death. Jamie Lee Curtis and Niecy Nash had me dazzled as ever, and the show introduced me to the considerable comic talents of Glen Powell (Chad), Keke Palmer (Zayday) and Billie Lourd (Chanel No. 3). I hope to see all of them again soon.
Onto the final two-episode recap... Warning: Scream Queens spoilers ahead.
Pete’s dorm room. Grace is taking the news that Pete’s a killer kinda hard, but he swears she’d never have gotten hurt. “That was part of the deal! You can never be touched!”
He explains, flashing back to a time when he spied the Red Devil heading into Dickie Dollar Scholar house. After Boone “laid the whole thing out” about his Kappa House bathtub birth and the revenge, Pete was a convert. He says the Greek system is a dinosaur and the Chanels of the world must be stopped — “they’re the beasts!” Honey, I get it, I went to a liberal arts hippie school for this reason, but is Pete really doing this because the popular kids didn’t accept him? Lame.
Pete says he killed one of the Roger/Dodger twins, in the corn maze with the staple gun on Halloween. He claims the Red Devil twins made him do it, but also maintains the victims deserved it. Then he quotes Nietzsche and that’s simply too far for Grace. Pete says he’s also the Red Devil who stabbed his buddy Boone at the hotel, so the killing could stop…except Pete ALSO shot Chanel with the crossbow at the mall just last week. He claims that’s justifiable, because Chanel “led him on” (barf) for months last year, tricking him into some Clan of the Cave Bear cosplay for No. 3 and No. 5’s amusement.
Grace is disgusted by all of it, but stays because he says he’ll reveal who Bathtub Baby Girl is: “It’s one of your sisters.” Well, yeah, there’s no one else left except for Dean Munsch. We get a flashback montage of Pete collecting DNA super-spy style, but just as he’s about to spill the killer Kappa sister’s identity, a Red Devil busts out of his closet and stabs him to death! After a brief struggle, the Devil knocks Grace out.
Chanel’s walking through campus, where students are protesting the horrific letter she wrote to her “useless Kappa sluts,” in which she took them to task for bailing on the plot to murder Dean Munsch. It’s hilarious and mean, and totally lifted from the infamous real-life sorority email that went viral a couple of years ago. It essentially closes with a threat/promise to kill her underlings if the Red Devil can’t manage it. The Devil herself leaked the letter, so now Chanel’s forced to hold a press conference. She tells everyone how she really feels.
Then she narrates that suicide is the only way out, but luckily Zayday interrupts Chanel's plan to get an asp to bite her so she can die Cleopatra style (elaborate). She gives Chanel a quality pep talk, and says she’s doing it because Kappa's hit rock bottom and they must unite to catch the killer and restore peace. That’s when a Red Devil suddenly bursts in —but when he freaks out upon seeing the snake, the girls pounce and unmask him. It's just a random decoy dude.
As Chanel and Zayday show Nos. 3 and 5 the Fake Red Devil, Hester runs in with a story about seeing a scary burned lady carrying a shovel. They're too distracted to do much about the dynamite that's apparently strapped to the pizza guy (so he'd do the real Red Devil's bidding; this is also unfortunately ripped from the headlines). They run, and he explodes.
The next morning, a crew scrapes up his remains as the Chanel No. 5 freaks out while Chanel and No 3 tell her to buck up. Chanel says that Zayday rescuing her from the asp has like, changed her perspective or whatever. She needs to publicly apologize to the REAL killer, Melanie Dorcas, for spray-tanning her with acid (she didn’t really; as we saw in an Episode 1 flashback, the Red Devil did). She says once the apology is posted to YouTube, “it’ll all be fine.”
Meanwhile, Grace is at her dad Wes’s place, catching him up on events while he continues to come off as hilariously shady for no reason. Wes proposes they lock themselves in until the final killer is caught. But Grace has a different idea: “Get ready to make the most important playlist of your life.”
Dean’s house. The Dean enteres a petal-strewn hallway to find Wes acting as bait, in his underwear clutching a rose. The Dean’s skeptical, but she buries that feeling for some sweet Wes action while Zayday and Grace snoop around the place.
Meanwhile, the Chanels visit Melanie Dorcus at a mansion. As they await her, Hester’s back at Kappa rooting through Chanel’s giant closet ‘n stealing stuff.
Zayday and Grace discover that one sister's entire record is fake: She can’t possibly live on Sesame Street! At Melanie’s house, Chanel No. 5 gets a call about a date that means she needs to leave. Suspicious.
The Dean has sex-notized Wes in just one session, and he's ready to make a life together (or is this part of the plan?). The Dean says if they're gonna get together, Grace needs to "go." Gulp.
House of Dorcas. Chanel and No. 3 go downstairs to visit Melanie, who reveals her tanner-burned face. Melanie blames Chanel for the attack, and Chanel says she’d like to apologize — except the minute she’s close enough, she tries to stab the “true murderer” Melanie because travel records suggest she’s a Red Devil. Grace interrupts mid-stab to stay: Hester is the killer. Whaaa?
Grace, Zayday and Chanel head back to Kappa. Chanel No. 5 tells them that she heard screams coming from the big closet, directing them to look in there (still suspicious!). They find Hester, bludgeoned with a high heel to the eye.
Hour Two: The Final Girl(s)!
Flash forward to January 2016: Zayday, now Kappa President, greets a new pledge group. She introduces Dean Munsch, “Vice President Grace"...and Hester, the treasurer! Hester has taken voice-over duty from Chanel: Basically she's still here, she wears an eyepatch now and she is DEFINITELY Bathtub Baby Girl. Yessss!! I'll admit that I was sure it was No. 5; they faked me out good.
Let Hester explain: "It was a plan 20 years in the making, and it worked." She slashes back to good times in the mental hospital, when Gigi used to quiz baby Hester and Boone with giant murder weapon flash cards. It was Hester’s idea to harness the Red Devil mascot outfit’s ubiquity. Boone decided "gay frat guy" would be his way to blend at Wallace, while Hester knew that a neckbrace would effectively cloak her hotness in the shallow outside world. It also led the Dean to look past Hester's clearly made-up records, saying they needed a token student with a severe spinal deformity. Since Grace and Zayday were super nice to Hester right off the bat, they earned their Final Girl survival badges. It pays to be nice!
Hester brings us back to the night she stabbed herself in the eye just enough for a nasty wound, which took some planning regarding angles and length of heel. The stiletto makes a horrible squish upon entry.
With Hester removed from suspicion at the hospital, Chanel accuses No. 5 of attacking both Hester and No. 2. Except this is (blessedly) the final showdown between Chanel and her scapegoat, because Denise comes in to announce that Boone’s dead for good...which everyone knew already. Hester returns with her patched up eye and brushes of all of Grace's accusations. Just as she's explaining why she falsified her high school transcripts, her "parents" ring the doorbell. Zayday immediately recognizes Hester's "dad" from a prostate commercial. Then No. 5's actual parents show up — but they tell everyone that Gigi raised No. 5, because they hate her and Hester paid them to say it.
Denise still thinks Zayday's guilty for no reason, but she's still ready to arrest No. 5. Hester says No. 3 needs to be cuffed too, framing her with having a split personality disorder— which No. 3 buys, which is actually kind of sad. Then she adds Chanel to the conspiracy, convincing Denise that Chanel used the murders as a way to scrub undesirables from campus. Denise has the Chanels hauled off by cops — well, ex-strippers dressed as cops (Easter egg for Arrested Development fans?).
So all's well that ends well, if you think terrible people should be framed for crimes they didn't commit within the safe world of a dark comedy! Dean Munsch came out on top like you knew she would, releasing a best-seller called New New Feminism. Chad Radwell dated his true love Security Guard Turned Police Chief Denise until she dumped him for the FBI, and he started a charity foundation.
The Dean confronts Hester on campus, saying she knows what really happened. Hester says she didn't actually kill anyone, except for Pete "who's also a killer, so it's okay." Munsch wants to turn Hester in to get justice for all of the dead people, but she's quickly talked out of it when Hester says she knows Munsch killed her ex-husband. They shake on the silence deal and part ways.
Grace shows Wes the sorority bathtub birth helpline she's set up at Kappa House, which isn't getting any calls. He tells her he and Dean Munsch — "CATHY" — are gonna make a life together, so Grace can have space to live hers.
As in the end of Seinfeld, the Chanels are tried and convicted by a jury of people with much better character than they have, and they live in an insane asylum. They love it!
Scream Queens Season 1 closes with newly-crowned asylum president Chanel walking to bed, which is located just far enough away from the others in bed to count as a VIP section. She's just put her sleep mask on when that ol' metal clanking sound rattles through the halls. She jumps, smiles, and leans back down to see the Red Devil raising its butcher knife.
One last scream from the deposed queen bee, and: Fin.
What did you think of Scream Queens Season 1? Read the other recaps and share your thoughts — and if I missed a song from the show, let me know.
Heart, "Crazy on You"
Roxette, "Listen to Your Heart"
Michael Bolton, "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You"
Martika, "Toy Soldiers"
Simple Minds, "Don't You (Forget About Me)"
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