This Scream Queens review contains spoilers.
Scream Queens Season 1 Episode 8
Now that it has settled into its own absurd skin, I can report that Scream Queens has (perhaps accidentally) found its footing. There are many caveats to this statement. Chief among them, in order to enjoy the show at all you must be able to tamp down any indignation one might have over its implicit and consistent racism. Since most TV is, you know, pretty racist to begin with, this shouldn’t be an issue.
That said, if you were hoping that Denise Henfield or Zayday Williams were going to be fleshed out, humanized, or allowed to interact with other members of the central cast in a serious way, you will be disappointed. I have the same issue with their dynamic as I do with reality shows like Married to Medicine. Both shows present empowered black women … and then turn them on each other for the amusement of a mostly-white consumer culture. I don’t care for it. This week was no exception, we had Zayday threatening to kill Henfield’s “black ass,” and Denise wearing Chanel Number 5’s clothing in a “how funny, she thinks she’s one of us,” bits that was blisteringly uncomfortable to watch.
If none of this bothered you, the show had some comedic moments that worked like gangbusters. Jamie Lee Curtis’s homage to the role her mother Janet Leigh made famous in Psycho was wonderfully rendered. Any scene that starts off leading you to believe that a woman is going to be stabbed to death in the shower and then ends with her demonstrating her “Eurasian fighting skills” (again, super racist joke) while bitch-slapping a would-be killer dressed as Supreme Court Justice Scalia is alright by me!
The show initially throw so many red herrings our way that sifting through the morass seemed like an endless and unlikely chore. Now, with four weeks left, a picture is coming into focus. The details we gleaned about the true identity of the “hag” and Gracie’s mother clarify some important questions and make others even more baffling.
It now seems unlikely that Gracie was the baby in the bathtub, and very likely that Gigi (along with that Jonas brother) are chief among those responsible for the brutal slayings. That Weston knew all of the people involved would indicate that he has more information than he’s willing to share. The final baffling (a throwaway Joaquin Phoenix bit, really?) scene was fairly redundant — that Jonas brother is alive and lifting mad weight, yo. I’m more interested in discovering just how much of Gigi’s baloney Weston is buying and if Zayday and Denise will ever wise-up to the mantel of stereotype that’s been foisted upon them.