After an uncomfortably-long hiatus, Scream Queens returned in rare form with Scream Queens Season 2 Episode 5, bringing with it a new batch of Chanels... who we probably shouldn't get so attached to.
Picking up right where Scream Queens Season 2 Episode 4 left off, the cutely-named "Chanel Pour Homme-icide" did some serious work in advancing the season's plot.
Most distressingly, our fears were confirmed right off the bat: Denise Hemphill is no longer. Well, sort of.
Chanel: I could have sworn I heard Chanel #5 scream.
Munsch: How could you hear her from across the hospital?!
#3: She's drawn to Chanel #5's pain like a shark to blood in the water. She's developed a fine tune addiction to it.
In reality, the writers have left themselves a little way out of Denise's death, if they so choose. While Munsch told the Chanels that Denise was dead, she soon after confessed to Zayday that Denise still had a very faint heartbeat – she was clinically braindead, but still technically alive.
Intending to test out her shiny new cryogenic chamber (courtesy of a piece of Chad Radwell's money), Munsch and Zayday tucked Denise away in the machine, until such time as "a cure for being electrocuted" could be found.
While it's unlikely that Denise will be coming back anytime soon, it's pretty clear that this little plot twist functioned as a way for the writers to easily bring Special Agent Hemphill back in the future – assuming they get renewed for a third season (which, unfortunately, is looking less and less likely by the day).
Beyond confirmation of Denise's fate, we finally saw Munsch owning up to the murders that happened at the hospital. Surprisingly, alerting the authorities to the deaths brought in a swarm of patients, rather than scaring everyone away. Though this is the Scream Queens universe, after all, so nothing should surprise me at this point.
With the new influx of "incurable" folks came one woman in particular, whose case formed the central plot of the this week's installment. That was Penelope Hotchkiss, who was suffering from foreign accent syndrome. Remarkably, that's a real thing, and that's really what it's called.
Hotchkiss was a great patient to focus on for the week. Her "incurable" illness was a great middle ground between being non-offensive and actually humorous (unlike a few of the other patients from earlier this season). Mary Birdsong, the actress who played Hotchkiss, did a phenomenal job with the accent work.
That the foreign accent syndrome wound up "infecting" #3, Brock, and Cassidy was just an added, hilarious bonus. Billie Lourd and John Stamos were killing it with the various accents, while Taylor Lautner was obviously less skilled at pulling them off. Clearly, the writers knew that was the case, because they wrote in a bunch of jabs about Cassidy's accents being terrible.
Dr. Brock Holt: Hello, everyone! I have good news and better news. The good news is our accents have all apparently settled into the same dignified upper crust, inconsistent English accent.
Chanel #3: It's really incredible. We sound like the cast of 'Remains of the Day.'
Meanwhile, the Chanels came up with a master plan. With #5 chronically neglected/on the mend from her latest Green Meanie attack, #3 and Chanel decided that they needed to come up with a new batch of Chanels to serve as human shields/general servants. Their new-Chanels-recruitment was predictably amazing.
Among the new recruits were Chanels #7 and 8, a girl named Marguerite with Morfan syndrome and a girl named Daria with Mobius syndrome. I'm already rooting for Daria to survive, somehow, because she's a sweetheart. When they ran out of patients to recruit, Chanel turned to Tristan, a woefully short-lived male addition to the group.
Tristan's backstory was classic meta Scream Queens. He was a flamboyant gay man who became obsessed with the Chanels during their acquittal trial, writing femslash fan fiction about them. I mean... Talk about on-the-nose commentary on real life fandom. You've gotta love how clued-in to fandom Ryan Murphy is.
Hester managed to con her way back into the group as well. It's taking a lot of suspension of disbelief to come to terms with the fact that Hester remained on the lam for days after Denise's "death" but nobody noticed until then.
It's also taking a lot of suspension of disbelief that Chanel, who's normally fairly shrewd, wouldn't see through Hester's sketchy offer to "help them" with the Green Meanie. Chanel, the girl's a kook. You should know better by now.
Alas Hester, being the cleverest of them all, got exactly what she wanted in the end – Chanel Pour-Homme dead. It's not particularly clear why Hester wanted him dead over Daria, but the fact that it shook out that way is just the latest piece of evidence suggesting that Hester and the Green Meanie are working together.
Another three girls were brought in on the Chanel squad, courtesy of Dean Munsch, after Tristan's death – Chanels #9 through 11. Midge, the eleven-fingered new Chanel, met her death mere seconds after being introduced, courtesy of the Green Meanie (who took a sec to slice off that extra digit prior to machete-chopping her right down the middle, naturally). That death was a little too goofy for my liking.
Elsewhere, Zayday went full detective, with help from the near immobile Chanel #5, after realizing that Chamberlain was never actually hired at the hospital. For the entire installment, it seemed like we'd be finding out that Chamberlain was, in fact, the dead dude's son – but the show subverted expectations there.
Turns out the secret 1985 baby is none other than Cassidy Cascade!
Don't worry, Mom. I'll take care of everything.Cassidy Cascade
Jane Hollis straight-up lied to Zayday and #5 about her relationship with her son. Supposedly, she hadn't seen him in years – which was immediately proven untrue when Cassidy strolled into her house casually.
That's obviously very suspicious (as was Cassidy's assurance that he'd "take care of everything"), but we've yet to get any actual confirmation that Cassidy (or Jane) is involved in the Green Meanie murders. Perhaps there's another, logical explanation for why Jane and Cassidy are keeping their mother-son connection a secret. Maybe. Who knows?
Finally, Munsch and Hoffel had a pretty amazing confrontation. I've been disappointed with how underutilized Kirstie Alley has been this season, but she finally had a standout moment during her firing/un-firing with Munsch.
Addicted? Where do you get off, you boozy old hag? Yes, I take a daily dose of pethidine! And yes, it's a very large dose, something like you would prescribe for a Clydesdale. But you know what? I love it, it is hands-down the best friend I have ever had. It is lover, friend, all wrapped up in some tiny little white tuxedo. I mean, I do, I do, I do, I think about it morning, noon, and night. But addicted? No, I am not. [pause] Yes, I obviously am, but how dare you, you creaky old whore?!Nurse Hoffel
Hoffel's unhinged rant at Munsch was hilarious, particularly the insults she threw at her. In the end, though, Hoffel's unhinged-ness didn't matter at all – as we'd already seen, Hoffel overheard the truth about Munsch's medical condition. With the dirt on Munsch, Hoffel was easily able to manipulate her way to being un-fired. Seems like Hoffel will be a force to be reckoned with. That is, if Munsch doesn't just up and kill her first.
- Did anyone else notice Chanel #3's accent inconsistency? She was back to her normal accent/speaking voice during the sleepover-makeover scene at the hospital – but immediately after, in Munsch's office, she reverted to her posh British accent. What the heck was that about? Continuity error, or am I missing something?
- There was that moment between #3 and Brock after Cassidy suspiciously ducked out of the office. Was Brock hitting on #3? Was #3 receptive? This is a little strange, given that #3 has been all about Cassidy and Brock has been all about Chanel/Munsch.
- The team-up between Zayday and #5 worked really well. Chanel's constant harassment of #5 is always funny, but it's nice to see #5 interacting with someone new for a change. It's a good switch-up from her typical put-upon whinyness. Also, that tea-coffee exchange in widowed Jane Hollis' house was easily one of the funniest things I've ever seen on the show.
Chanel #5: The coffee is disgusting.
Zayday: It's not coffee, it's tea.
Chanel #5: I'm pretty sure that I ordered coffee.
Zayday: You didn't order anything, because this is a home, not a restaurant.
- More Hester, please! The interactions between Hester and Chanel are consistently some of the best. Emma Roberts and Lea Michele have flawless frenemy chemistry.
- This line from Chanel #5 had me rolling laughing. Abigail Breslin is the queen of delivering absurd pieces of dialogue.
How dare you? Just for that, I'm gonna make you go get me more sweatpants. These ones are full of farts.Chanel #5
What did you think of "Chanel Pour Homme-icide"? Leave me a comment below and watch Scream Queens online here at TV Fanatic!
Caralynn Lippo is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.