‘Scream Queens’ Recap: Warts and All
Previously, on the Scream Queens Season 2 premiere: SNL's Cecily Strong guest-starred as a woman with "werewolf syndrome," and the episode was very funny, but too short on scares. I'd have even settled for more 'eerie moods.' Episode 2 delivered slightly more in that department.
A scare deficit isn't my only concern about the new season so far. A bigger one is how we're falling into a formula where the stunt-cast Patient of the Week is killed off at the end of each episode, making for fairly low stakes and predictability. Hopefully they'll break this pattern in the third episode. Colton Haynes guest starred in "Warts and All," and his character was indeed covered in bubble-like warts — aka Type 1 neurofibromatosis, a very real condition I've seen firsthand on the subway.
But at the top of the episode, we're right back at what's now a crime scene in the hospital, where a cop is eyeing a still-alive Chanel No. 5 suspiciously and they're bagging Werewolf Lady's bald severed head. After No. 5 claims a "large plant" attacked them, she's admonished, "In the meantime, no more made-up stories that aren't that scary." Did Scream Queens just read itself?
Upon meeting Tyler, the wart-covered patient, Dr. Holt tells him the only treatment is a laser — but they don't have it, and Tyler can't afford it anyway.
"The only money I make is writing Encyclopedia Brown fan fiction!" Tyler says. That's a great line, as is another joke in the episode referencing "Richard Grieco's hair," but do people in their early 20s even know what these things are? Actually, nevermind. If I could overlook age-inappropriate references on Gilmore Girls, I can mindlessly enjoy them in SQ, too.
Tyler later consoles a bullied and traumatized No. 5, and after Tyler shows her a picture of what looks like under all those warts (he looks like Colton damn Haynes), she resolves to find the money for the laser treatment and restore his hotness. No. 5 attempts a fundraising video, complete with requisite sad Sarah McLachlan music in the background, but the other Chanels let her know that it's terrible. They also tell her that she needs to focus on getting in on the ground floor with Tyler before he's hot again.
The ol' Red Devil is back! He charges toward Chanel No. 1 in an empty hospital corridor she's standing around in, but JK, it’s Chad under there. As happy as I am to see the hilarious Glen Powell (and to learn that it was Chad who prank “attacked” Chanel in the insane asylum during Season 1’s final scene), the "hahaha it's just me" fakeouts are wearing thin. Chad deems his stunt "Not Happy Gilmore funny, but definitely Big Daddy funny,” and declares that he wants to get back together with Chanel.
Meanwhile, Zayday has cornered Chamberlain to question him about the crime scene he was the first to arrive at (note that for later, just in case), and she asks him to help her find out what Dean Munsch's whole "hospital" game is. They review an old-school microfiche copy of a news story and learn that the Our Lady of Perpetual Sorrow staff was murdered on Halloween of 1986. The flashback is gloriously macabre, involving a bunch of dudes dressed as the '86 Mets getting slaughtered in the changing rooms before the awful nurse and doctor from the premiere's opening scene are killed by the man they left to die (or someone in his Halloween costume, anyway). Scream Queens' gore-to-humor balance is righted with this moment, for now.
Ingrid "Kirstie Alley" Hoffel finds Zay and Chamberlain in the bowels of the hospital after their discovery, and she asks Zayday for a detailed copy of the Chanels' schedule. Why? Oh, no reason!
Zayday and Chamberlain confront Dean Munsch with a theory: Zayday and the Chanels are “loose ends" from the sorority house, and she wants to knock them off one by one. If that were true, isn't it a death wish for Zayday confront Munsch directly? Dean Munsch tells them she actually started the hospital for another reason: She's sick with a mysterious ailment. As Zayday comforts Munsch, we see someone pressed up against the glass outside, who’s presumably Hoffel? It looks ghostly and cool.
Dr. Brock Holt's roving transplanted hand is another main plot point this week, first when he and Chanel are on a movie date. Presumably, it's a reference to the cult classic Idle Hands (which Chanel even calls out, though she doesn't say the movie title). It comes up again when Chad meets his Chanel-rival Brock, and notices Brock's hand acting oddly twice — the second time comes when Brock slays on the squash court, where the two are ball smashing for Chanel's, um, honor.
No. 5 takes the other Chanels' advice and goes on a date with Tyler. Defending him against jerks at the diner, No. 5 loses her temper because (again), “I stopped taking my meds.” Knife-slashing-noise alert, or red herring? Tyler's smitten.
The Green Meanie stalks Munsch in the hospital hallway, and Jamie Lee Curtis sells the hell out of this fight scene. Just as she’s about to unmask the Meanie, Cassidy and No. 3 interrupt Munsch and "it" gets away.
Denise Hemphill (back from Quantico FBI training), Munch, and Chanel Nos. 1 and 3 go visit Hester, FINALLY. She's locked up like Hannibal Lecter. I missed her.
Also like Hannibal Lecter, she knows aaall about this other murderer, and her quid pro quo is: A procurement of long-discontinued fancy skincare products.
Chad hired a private detective —Kevin from The Office! — and learned that Dr. Holt’s donated roving hand formerly belonged to a crackerjack squash player who was also a serial killer. Chad confronts Dr. Holt with this, because people love to confront potential murderers on this ludicrous show, and Holt appears to take a swipe at him.
In a sleuthing chat with Chamberlain, Zayday realizes, House-style, what's wrong with Munsch. Questions about a New Guinea trip leads to Zayday's diagnosis; she says Munsch has a year to live from a cannibalism-incurred disease. Hoffel the sketchball hears this exchange through a bug.
Outside, Chanel No. 3 and Tyler are about to kiss when confetti canons, followed by the other two Chanels, interrupt them. Chanel says they’re paying for the laser surgery with money swiped from Chad. A rare glint of kindness from Chanel Oberlin.
Chanel No. 5’s Facetiming with her new boyfriend Tyler, when he suddenly finds out (seemingly from someone he recognizes, out of frame) that he’s having the surgery earlier than expected. Chanels 1 and 3 arrive and tell No. 5 the doctors are off duty, and they all realize too late that it's actually a brand-new serial killer scrubbing in. Oh Tyler gets the laser, alright.
Belinda Carlisle, "Mad About You"
Tiffany, "I Think We’re Alone Now," Tiffany
Sarah McLachlan, "I Will Remember You"
Bonnie Tyler, "Holding Out for a Hero"
Child Stars, Then and Now