Is Cathy Munsch another Rasputin? Or is she just your run-of-the-mill unkillable college dean?
Scream Queens Season 1 Episode 11 was the penultimate installment of the season (appropriately named "Black Friday") and picked up immediately following the events of "Thanksgiving."
It was not as good an episode as Scream Queens Season 1 Episode 10 (which I enjoyed quite a bit) and, aside from a handful of bright spots, it was a lackluster installment, especially right before the finale.
Much of "Black Friday" centered around the plot to kill Dean Munsch. I didn't for one second buy Grace's quick turnaround, deciding to throw in with Chanel and straight up poison the Dean. No way. Since when did Grace even think Dean Munsch was definitely the killer? That came totally out of left field.
To make matters worse, one second she was all about killing the Dean, and one hackneyed "romantic speech" from Pete later she had done a 180 again. Her wishy-washy morals are possibly more annoying than her multitude of hats.
Anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself.
Chanel started off "Black Friday" by opining about the various merits of the consumer-driven holiday. Specifically, Chanel is a fan of taunting Black Friday shoppers by dropping, playing with, or buying out all of the store's electronics while the rabid people claw at the glass, waiting for entrance to the doorbusters. Classic Chanel.
Chanel also found Black Friday useful in procuring purposely crappy gifts for her "friends." It's weird to call the Chanels her friends, isn't it? We've gone eleven episodes now, and I've seen enough of Chanel recanting on apparently heartfelt realizations to raise an eyebrow whenever she has an apparent moral and/or emotional breakthrough.
Take, for instance, her emotional breakthrough here: after hearing that her ditzy posse bought her a $13,000 Chanel purse that she already owned, Chanel had a change of heart about buying the girls $2 earrings that would turn their ears green or rip out their earlobes. Instead, she decided that what the Chanels really deserved were matching pink Jeeps (for African safaris – yep, I can totally see the Chanels on an African safari, can't you?).
It's unclear what we were supposed to make of this realization, if anything. It wasn't particularly funny, and it happened so quickly and early on that there was no emotional impact whatsoever, if that was the goal. It just seemed like a throwaway.
Whatever the purpose of Chanel's shriveled little heart growing three sizes that day, it did set us up for what was by far the best sequence in "Black Friday."
Oh my god. The mall is deserted. We've been shopping for, like, ever with no liquids or cotton balls!Chanel #3
The mall chase was easily one of the campiest scenes of Scream Queens to date, and I loved it (illogical and weirdly plotted as it was). It was just so damn funny. The girls realized they were trapped in the deserted mall, at which point it became obvious that mortal danger would soon be afoot.
Sure enough, the Red Devil arrived, crossbow in hand, and proceeded to stalk the ladies through the mall. The way the Chanels ran from the killer was hilarious (seriously, Emma Roberts is a master at running humorously, of all the random skills), and I loved how the killer kept stalking about, totally nonplussed and moving very slowly. Almost as if s/he wasn't actively trying to kill anyone? Hmmm...
The only really terrible part of this sequence was Chanel's decision to remain behind and confront the killer (who she was convinced was Dean Munsch) when the Chanels escaped. It was illogical to a distracting degree. Again, I'm not here for the realism, but when realism and logic are so flagrantly brushed off, it sticks out. And it sucks.
Then, the cherry on top of the funny cake – Denise Hemphill made her semi-triumphant return as the brand new police chief! As Wes, Grace, and Pete earlier learned when they stopped off at the station to try to wrangle an investigation of Gigi's death out of inept Detective Chisolm, the entire homicide division was fired for being utterly incompetent (so at least we know the mayor has half a brain).
Naturally, Denise, having no qualifications whatsoever, became the new police chief in a matter of hours.
Denise: Hold on, baby girl! Freeze! First day on the job and I caught a killer. Ha ha ha! Ain't no way you're getting out of this one, Zayday Williams!
Chanel: Wait, YOU have a gun?!
Alas Denise, being Denise, loved the sound of her voice far too much to prove a very effective police officer. While she was babbling on, the Red Devil shot and killed one of her fellow officers and escaped capture.
Chanel was fine though, as we saw her in a fancy mink sling only moments after the crossbow shooting. At that point, she'd decided that Dean Munsch had to die. And bizarrely (as I already mentioned) Grace agreed with her and threw in with the Chanels on the murder plot, while Zayday remained the sole holdout.
Grace and Chanel even had a "Jinx, you owe me a Coke" moment when they both came up with the idea to off Munsch via poison at the same time. For a second there, I thought Grace was going to get a little bit interesting, buddying up with Chanel. Silly me, right?
We then visited with Chad Radwell and Pete for the reading of Boone's will. As much as I adore Chad, this scene felt very shoehorned in. It seemed as if they just wanted to give Chad something to do, but this very contrived reason to appear fell flat for me. Chad had a few zingers when he was accusing Pete of being Boone's secret gay lover, admittedly, but the rest of it was eh.
Pete: He was my Deep Throat.
Chad: So you were gay lovers.
Chad asking Pete to join the Dickie Dollar Scholars, and then insisting on a duel after Pete's refusal, was too random and (again) illogical to be very funny. The scene could have perhaps been salvaged if they had actually dueled (which may have been hilarious) but no – all that resulted from the scene was the reveal that Pete had attempted to join the fraternity the prior year and Chad's ominous warning that Pete had forfeited his life and would be "murdered to death." Not an idle threat on this show.
Meanwhile, Chanel and Grace attempted to kill Dean Munsch using poisoned apple cider, by tricking her into thinking they wanted her mentorship in feminism and to start a feminist collective on campus.
Grace: We understand that as millennial feminists --
Dean Munsch: Wait, wait a minute. That's a thing?
Grace: Oh yeah!
Chanel: Totally. Being a millennial feminist means growing up listening to Taylor Swift say she doesn't like to think of the world as boys vs. girls.
Grace: Yeah and then graduating and entering the workforce only to realize that you make 20% less than men for doing the same job.
Like Rasputin (as Hester later explained), Munsch wasn't killed by the overdoes of puffer fish poison that the Chanels dumped in the cider. She has that buzzard gullet that lets her eat anything, as Chanel put it.
As was later revealed, Munsch was also immune to freezing (via cryo chamber). Word's still out on whether Munsch can be drowned, since the Chanels were too busy being heinous to retail workers at the mall to enact Chanel's drowning plan back at the school. They went and FUBAR'd it and Chanel is pissed. Pissed enough to write an angry missive. The horror!
Of course, any interest that Grace had accrued rapidly disintegrated when Pete easy-breezily talked Grace out of killing Dean Munsch. Again with the wishy-washy, easily-manipulated nonsense.
Ironically, it turned out that Pete's whole "you're not a killer" thing with Grace was hypocritical. After dancing around the sex issue for the entire second half, Grace was finally ready to go – only for Pete to pull the most libido-killing move ever by refusing to take Grace's virginity because (gasp!) he is a killer.
Who did Pete kill? Was this confession (and Pete's earlier cryptic phone call and forlorn staring at a Red Devil costume) just another red herring?
- While super non-plussed by those Pete/Chad moments, I did enjoy the parallel between flashback Pete's reasons for wanting to join the fraternity ("to build a brotherhood") with Grace's reasons for joining KKT ("to build a sisterhood"). Nice callback,
- Diego Boneta has distractingly pretty and long boy eyelashes. How did I just notice this?
- Pete figured out that Gigi was really Jess Meyer and that her sister Amy Meyer was the 1995 Kappa girl present when the baby momma died at the party. Amy went on to raise the twins, later killing herself from the guilt, and, ostensibly, Gigi's vengeance stemmed from wanting to get revenge on those responsible for her sister's death. I honestly could care less about the motive particulars at this point; much like Pete for his investigative report, I just need to know who the last killer is.
- Wes was kind of hilarious this episode. From offering to make Grace a mixtape instead of talking about her sex issues with Pete, to admitting he thought that Gigi's last name was Caldweldt instead of Caldwell and that he really believed she loved his mixtapes – so much funny.
- I'm totally baffled by Zayday's complete 180 on the killing Dean Munsch issue. She was 100% against it and then immediately after the poisoning fails, she's all for it? That was weird, and I can't figure it out.
- Chanel #5 confusing Teen Wolf for a documentary.... ugh. Shut up, #5.
- Why is Hester still neck-braced? I thought the fall cured her.
- Likely remaining Red Devil/Boone's twin suspects at this point: Hester, Chanel #5, Melanie Dorkus, Pete.
Thoughts on "Black Friday"? Is Pete connected to the Red Devil(s), or does his confession have another explanation? Let us know your thoughts below and watch Scream Queens online here at TV Fanatic before the two-hour finale!
Caralynn Lippo is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.