Scream Queens Episode 8 Recap: “Mommie Dearest”

11 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Scream Queens’ recap: ‘Mommie Dearest’.

There were no wire hangers in last night’s “Scream Queens,” but the mother of all horror-movie characters still got the ultimate homage in the appropriately titled episode, “Mommie Dearest.” As usual, the plot subtleties took a back seat early in the hour, when Jamie Lee Curtis participated in a shot-for-shot remake of her mother Janet Leigh‘s iconic shower scene from “Psycho” – just like in the 1960 film, you didn’t expect something of that caliber to happen so soon. Last week, Scream Queens finally visited its home planet, a derelict insane asylum for crazy-eyed portrait ladies, to reveal that Dean Jamie Lee is at DEFCON Cuckoo Bananas and definitely decapitated her ex-husband in an elaborate blood tableau. But, don’t start busting out your Chanel Oberlin-inspired black-veiled funeral hats for Dean Cathy Munsch yet, because she’s still very much alive and well. Right when it looks like the knife-wielding Red Devil is about to go all Norman Bates on the bathing dean, he’s knocked out cold by Munsch – who was never in the shower in the first place (fantasy remake for the audience!). “I saw that movie 50 times!” yells the Wallace University administrator. Being murdered by someone in a red devil costume was no doubt traumatic for the candle obsessive, whose real name was apparently Jennifer (who knew?), but the character who suffered the most trauma Tuesday was Grace.

The next two minutes are a thoroughly entertaining blur of Curtis pulling kung fu moves she’d learned from a “beautiful Eurasian man” against two rubber-suited Red Devils (one of whom is Nick Jonas’ character Boone) and a shorter figure wearing a Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia mask (apparently Gigi) “The homosexual lifestyle is NOT destructive to the fabric of American society!” Dean Munsch yells, smacking down the Scalia mask in a fit of political correctness and common sense. “The Voting Rights Act should be authorized in EVERY state! She saw the back story she had imagined for herself ripped to shreds, primarily by two Scotland Yard investigators hired by Chanel to try to pin the murders on her or Zayday.

And the Affordable Care Act does NOT require people to eat BROCCOLI!” I was so jazzed at this point by Jamie Lee’s physical prowess (not to mention broccoli is indeed bogus) that I was praying for the opening scene to go on forever in the style of Wayne’s World 2. Our worries are short-lived, though: The Dean spent a year abroad dating a boy who frequented the illegal fighting pits of Hong Kong, and he taught her everything he knows (after she taught him everything she knows about sex). What follows is one killer of a fight scene between Munsch and not one Red Devil, but two – plus an additional Justice Antonin Scalia-mask-wearing assassin (yeah, I’m still shrugging over that one). Mom had gone on to a life of crime, including, as Chanel put it, “drunken driving with a baby on top of the car.” The best thing about the episode: when Chanel interrupted those Scotland Yard guys long enough to ask them, “Would you please stop peppering your speech with ‘indeed’?” The second-best thing: Denise the security guard, more or less invisible last week, really asserted herself this week, proclaiming herself in charge of Kappa House and bullying Chanel by threatening to take her boyfriend, Chad.

Luckily Curtis’ energy at least carried through to the next scene, in which Dean Munsch cheerfully dashes the dreams of another young coed in her office. Back at Kappa Kappa Tau, Chanel gathers her army of Chanels to find out what evidence they’ve gathered in support of her theory that Grace and Zayday are the killers. Also not to be messed with: Dean Munsch, who we learned had picked up fighting tips from an Asian lover, and Grace’s father, who got to ominously stare into a mirror, a classic horror device.

Grace actually does want to be a bathtub baby, you see, but a thin file shoved under her doll face proves she’s just some boring regular person or truly evil bitch instead. Unfortunately, Dean Jamie Lee’s dual strategies of “What’s a bathtub?” and “It’s not my fault you’re too dumb and selfish to solve this murder” don’t work.

After explaining she was taught how to fight by her Eurasian lover from her year studying abroad, Munsch delivers a brutal smackdown onto her three attackers. It might not even be worth the deep dive, warns the wine and Klonopin enthusiast as she explains why she never went into therapy: “Rummaging around in your life is like digging through a landfill. Sure, you may happen upon something interesting, but you’re gonna get filthy.” Instead of listening to the wise words of Wallace University royalty, Grace rolls around in the minimal dirt on campus with her investigative reporter partner-puppy Pete searching for clues. 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. So maybe Liz Daw should watch her back, but none of this is incriminating, which is where No. 3 comes in: She offers Denise Hemphill, who has moved in to the sorority house, $3 million (basically, the ability to buy a Sandals resort and work there part-time as a security guard) in exchange for evidence proving Zayday is the killer.

Grace is clearly disappointed that the name in the file doesn’t match her own mother’s name — she’s been certain she’s the Bathtub Baby all along. Her covered-in-candle-wax body is discovered by the Kappa girls before her candlelight vigil is soundtracked by The Bangles’ “Eternal Flame.” It’s a fitting tribute for the girl who loved playing with fire. But what upsets her even more than the thought of not saying “bathtub baby” every few seconds for eternity is that there’s an explanation for the murderous side of herself that’s been undercover for so long. And now that Grace has accused Gigi of being the Shady Lane Hag and harboring two babies at the American Horror Story asylum back in the ‘90s instead of one, both the non-bathtub baby and her dad’s new faux-fiancée are in full-fledged psycho mode.

Kate Middleton – if they don’t deliver.) They do come up with some evidence – of Chanel #5‘s real name (Libby Putney!), and of her secret identity as a Deep-Web whiz kid who has filled cyberspace with tons of proof that she’s trying to kill Chanel. It’s getting more and more difficult to predict who’ll kill the other first… That’s right: In an elaborately belted twist, the lady-child Gigi, who is so tacky about 100% of her other fashions, purchases an understated engagement ring for herself at the mall. “I played along, thinking it’d lead to some mind-blowing sex, which I was totally right about,” Wes gushes to Grace. But our anti-heroine doesn’t care about any of that – and she really wants the Brit investigators to “stop peppering [their] speech with ‘indeed.’” What does pique her interest, though, is the huge file they found on Grace‘s mother…. Suddenly convinced that he must’ve both known about the ’95 cover-up and somehow be involved with the murders today, Grace storms off, leaving Professor Dad (if that’s even his real name) to stare himself down in a series of mirrors and close his eyes slowly while thinking of so many shards of life gone wrong.

However, things aren’t looking too well for Munsch – both Red Devils and a mysterious person in black show up, all armed with weapons and ready to attack. The Red Devil spares no drama with this week’s murder victim, its knife taking to her waxy brain matter like a long-stemmed lighter to a delicate wick. Jennifer met her demise just after spilling the beans to Denise Hemphill of Secure Enforcement Solutions that suspected serial killer Zayday has a “real revenge” plot against peacocks, whether they be the rich, entitled bullies from her high school or the richly feathered monsters scuttling around her sorority house today.

Assuming these two incidents were related (which is admittedly a dangerous game on this show), Zayday either had the fleshy candelabra killed or did it herself. She gives the overused “I am my mother’s daughter” line, and tells him to stay away from her “if you want to protect yourself.” Reckless words from the girl whose dad just got forced into an engagement with the increasingly psychotic Gigi (who stopped by the mall to pick up some things and came home with a ring; Wes didn’t want to hurt her feelings by putting the kibosh on any long-term plans…*eye roll*). While this had to be one of the darkest moments of the episode, it was also the saddest, because Grace had been hoping all along that her mom was a good person. Grace found out earlier in the episode that, after a side trip with Pete to the mental institution that housed Dean Munsch briefly last week, the Kappa House den mother is the Hag of Shady Lane – a patient likes to paint everyone who stops by, and she had a few canvases covered with Gigi’s face.

So in response, she calls in two detectives from Scotland and orders them to dig up dirt on Zayday and Grace, confident that they can do a more competent job than the local police. Raise your wicks, you guys. (“Eternal Flame” may have been the most spot-on soundtracking of this season.) To make matters worse, Denise has come up empty with evidence in the case against Zayday. For many weeks I have held out on discovering whether candle vlogging is a real thing, and now I can go ahead and bury that fear deep within with the murky landfill of the rest of my life. She claims it’s mostly due to the fact that her investigation is “lacking in the financial resources department.” Chanel agrees to 10 percent (i.e. $300,000) upfront. Now that the Red Devils have decided to target someone important, she’s willing to cooperate and fling Grace a manila folder labeled “Big Bad Top Secret Bathtub Facts.” As promised, the Special Folder Of Answers contains the identity of the garbage girl who ruined that perfectly good party by getting baby slime and death stink everywhere, like an idiot.

When was the last time Wes held one of his film classes?) We’ll see how far Gigi gets in her latest plan to destroy the Gardener family, because at long last, we were reunited with Nick Jonas‘s MIA character Boone in the episode’s coda. Since he’s still in hiding, he spends his days in disguise (full fake beard) at the gym, and to say he’s restless is an understatement. “I can’t live like this,” he complains to an unknown caller. “All I do is work out and kill people,” which, it should be noted, he says, very loudly in a gym so everyone can hear him. Naturally, she takes this as an incentive to relax and turns into a pastel-hued mother hen, threatening to make Chad Radwell her full-time man for important “sex scene role play story time sessions” unless Chanel apologizes to Grace for calling her a ruthless criminal just like her “drunk, degenerative slut” of a mom.

But it doesn’t seem all that bad, as his fellow exercise buffs seem to think he’s Joaquin Phoenix (though if Boone keeps signing autographs as “Wokeen Feenix,” that could change). But to her credit, she did survive a childhood strikingly similar to Christina Crawford’s in Mommie Dearest. “I’m a work in progress!” Chanel protests. “Maybe I have to get all this bitch out of me before I can be the real me.” Sounds like she should hire Grace as her therapist, or at the very least write her a check and then set it on fire.

Possible Suspects: It’s not so much the suspects who are a concern anymore – we’ve known Gigi and Boone have been involved for a while – though I’d like to know who the third person in the Dean Munsch attack was. Yep, she and Wes are “engaged.” (We come to learn later on that Gigi took it upon herself to buy that ring, and Wes never dissuaded her of the idea that they were engaged in order to protect the “mind-blowing sex” they would have.) And, as it turns out, those detectives end up being well worth the airfare it took to fly them across the pond: They uncover the truth about Grace’s mom. She’s the “Waterfalls” girl from the 1995 flashback, and she racked up quite the rap sheet (shoplifting, drunk driving, meth possession) before she died in a drunk-driving accident. And as if the hand to the face weren’t enough, Denise has taken over as house mom (in complete head-to-toe Chanel wear, including No. 6’s thong, which feels like “angels are flossing my butt crack”), and she insists that Chanel apologize — or else Denise will make Chad her No. 1 boo. Unfortunately, all of their clues are terrible, except for Chanel #5’s revelation that Zayday Williams is an anagram of “I may slay Liz Daw.” As far as I’m concerned, case closed.

Unfortunately, since Zayday isn’t currently wearing a “Hello, my name is the murderer” sticker, Officer Niecy’s got nothing, other than exchanging theories with Candle Girl about the murderous potential of Zayday’s stank eye. Stab stab stab.” Now that Candle Girl has gone to the aggressively vanilla-scented fire hazard in the sky, and since Chanel’s plan to watch Chad get distracted by his own hotness is already ruined anyway, the Chanels decide that they totally loved What’s-Her-Candle. Instead, Gigi announces that Grace is crazy garbage who’s weirdly obsessed with her own father (fair point) before revealing that she herself is a psychotic demon who got self-engaged to Wes and has apparently never cut an onion in her entire life because she’s terrible at it. Aside from learning that Chanel #5 wants to poison Chanel (obviously), their primary discovery is that Grace’s mom is not, in fact, dead bathtub girl. She can barely contain herself as she does a line-item reenactment of all the larceny, arson, and drunk driving deaths, finishing with a rousing rendition of “Your dumb dead mother was nothing more than a drunk degenerate slut.” Ah, it’s one of Chanel’s finest performances.

Grace runs home to her dad to go, “Father dearest, may I accuse you of twelve murders, pretty please?” Since her mom, her dad, and Murderous Gigi would have all known each other in college, Grace concludes that Wes must be in on the plot now. Though Wes passionately professes his innocence by talking about how much arson he has done, ominously creeping in and out of the shadows like a vengeful lion, and staring at a mirror to contemplate what he has become.

Also, I’m not the murderer.” In other important news, Officer Niecy has now been appointed as Kappa’s head “try to make the murder less” lady, chosen for her expertise in “standing right there” and “please stop talking.” In her zeal for the job, Officer Niecy went and blasted herself with a Chanel gun, and she has the furry vest to prove it. Nick Jonas is here to remind us that he’s still on this show, kind of, and introduce us to the electrocuted plague rat he glued to his chin and named My Beard. He then does a quarter of a bench press to show off his biceps and says, “Twitter, twitter, facebook, viral, social media, mission accomplished,” before disappearing again.

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