Scream Queens “Thanksgiving” Review (Season 1 Episode 10)

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On the latest episode of “Scream Queens,” it was “Thanksgiving” time, only this was no feast you’d ever want to be invited to, no matter what your given choice of venue. Being as how the movie “Heathers” was a key frame of reference to the show, it makes perfect sense that the director of that film, Michael Lehmann, would be invited to the party, especially on such a pivotal episode, which basically could have been called the Agatha Christie Thanksgiving Special, given the essence of what was going on here.

Basically, almost the entire episode was made up of the core characters doing exactly what we’ve been doing a lot of lately, as the first season draws to a close: trying to figure out who done it. Naturally, with a few more episodes left, we didn’t get a definitive answer to that question, but we certainly got an earful of potential theories, as well as a sizable download of new information to boot.

Before we get to all that, though, let’s take a moment to give thanks for the decidedly demented family dinner that was Thanksgiving at the Radwells, complete with a host of guest stars, including Robin Thicke’s daddy, Alan (“Growing Pains”); Chad Michael Murray (“Freaky Friday”); Julia Duffy (“Newhart”- plus this, which looks amazeballs ); Arnold Schwarzenegger’s son Patrick (“Scouts’ Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse”); and Rachele Brooke Smith (“Center Stage: Turn it Up”).

We also got to meet Chanel #3’s family, who managed to be both rich as sin and amusingly white trash at the same time: a regular Beverly Hillbillies, this lot, gathered around a host of big-screen TVs, each with their own deluxe-edition La-Z-Boys and a defrosted frozen dinner, as one might expect from a family whose fortune derives from a knock-off of the Swanson TV dinners. Not as many big names here, but we did get two respected character actors, TV regulars Gary Grubbs (“Will & Grace,” “The O.C.”) and Faith Prince (“Spin City” and “Melissa & Joey,” plus- be still my heart- childhood fave “The Last Dragon”).

Both offered up some great quotes, particularly the former, but we’ll get to that at the end of the article, as per usual. Suffice to say, Chanel’s visit to meet the Radwells did not go over well, despite her rich girl pedigree, with daddy Radwell even going so far as to offer her $50,000 to simply walk away from the relationship, and insults flying her way fast and furious.

What’s more, as some of you predicted, we had not seen the last of Hester, aka Chanel #6, after all, as she showed up unannounced at said dinner, revealing her fake pregnancy for all to hear, at the dinner table, along with informing everyone Chanel had tried to kill her- which she actually thanked her for! (Apparently, it realigned her spine or something, lol.)

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Astonishingly enough, the Radwells were even more horrific to Hester, to the point that Chanel herself was forced to stand up for her, which is not something I would have seen coming. Needless to say, you don’t want to be on the receiving end of Chanel’s insult-o-rama, and she told all concerned exactly what she thought of them before hightailing it out of there, a recommitted Hester in tow, with Chad eventually joining the ad-hoc party that had arisen in the wake of the remaining Kappas and others’ open schedules.

The crew there included Grace and Zayday, who cancelled their trip to the latter’s parent’s house for Thanksgiving, as well as Chanel #5, who actually made it back home, only to discover her family had taken an on-the-fly trip to the Maldives instead, without bothering to let her know. Last but not least, there was Dean Munsch, who thought she could use the Kappa facilities unnoticed, as she assumed everyone would be out-of-town and had noticed that no one else used the kitchen while living there.

Arriving late to the party were Pete, who had been off researching the potential suspects for the killer, and Grace’s father, Wes, who had been doing the same, to a certain extent. Chanel #3, Chanel and Hester were hot on their heels, and as the turkey cooked, the accusations flew one after another, with most everyone getting accused at some point. Zayday, Chanel and Chad managed to emerge unscathed, though Zayday has had to field her fair share of accusations in the past, obviously.

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We did discover some new information along the way, such as the fact that Dean Munsch spotted Chanel #3 looking suspicious the night of the chainsaw attack; that Dean Munsch lied about being allergic to bologna and meats in general; that Grace had visited the campus in the past, at least a year before pledging, and was caught lurking around the Kappa House by some of the girls- around the same time the original Chanel (Melanie Dorkus) suffered her tanning “accident,” perhaps not-so-coincidentally; and that Wes knew about the secret tunnels underneath the Kappa House, and was, in fact, the father of the twins, with Boone confirmed as his son via DNA samples by Pete, which makes them Grace’s half-siblings.

Finally, we ended with our death of the week, as what they thought was turkey was served, only to turn out to be…wait for it…Gigi’s head! (Shades of the “Father’s Day” segment of the classic “Creepshow.”) I guess the remaining Red Devil had had enough of BOTH of his/her accomplices. Although another prevailing theory has Boone actually faking his death a second time, with an assist from the other Red Devil, obviously.

I guess at this point the whole revenge plot is out the widow, or at the very least, the Red Devil has gone completely off the reservation and started making plans of his own. But what is that pesky underlying motivating factor? Hard to say, but we’ve got one last episode before the big two-hour/two-episode finale to figure it out!

Personally, my money’s still on Pete as the remaining Devil, though it could well be one of the Chanels, possibly Hester, who is pretty crazy; or Chanel #5, who lacks any corroboration for a lot of what she claims has happened to her, from the attacks on her life, to the absence of her parents at Thanksgiving. I’m going to give it one more episode, and then I’ll make my final call. (It’s also worth mentioning that Denise was nowhere to be found this week, which may or may not be a clue in and of itself, and we already know she hates sororities, so that could be her motivation.)

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All in all, a fantastic episode, with loads of great quotes and funny scenarios, notably the whole Pictionary sequence, and Gigi’s last supper with the Red Devil, still in full costume, but of course. Director Lehmann was a perfect fit for this show, and I was happy to discover he was very much on board with it, despite some people accusing the show of flat-out ripping off “Heathers.”

If you’re at all familiar with Ryan Murphy’s stuff, you know that he tends to use that sort of thing as a launching pad at best, rather than thinly-veiled attempts to steal from better sources, and Lehmann clearly got that, and came loaded for bear, with the barbed quotes coming so quick that one could hardly keep up with them. But I tried! Here are some of my faves…

Favorite Quotes:

Chad: “Okay Chanel, listen- I don’t want you to take this the wrong way, but I don’t think I can bone you right now. My wanger is way stressed out. I got a kid on the way with a crazy neck-brace baby mama who I’ve now got to marry and be miserable the rest of my life.”

Chanel, upon finding Hester gone from the walk-in freezer: “I don’t understand how this keeps happening- is this meat locker like a wormhole to an alternate universe or something?”
Chad: “Okay Chanel, you’ve got to relax- believe me, no one’s more disappointed that Hester’s hot dead bod isn’t in here.”

Gigi, about to regret her request (and choice of words) real soon, to the bellboy: “Oh, I had asked for an electric, serrated carving knife? It just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without the whir of a small motor cutting through flesh.”

Chanel #3: “I understand that Thanksgiving is supposed to be about family and being together and thanking God that we were born rich in America and not Uganda or Venezuela or any of those African countries, but modern Thanksgiving, at least in the Swenson family, is basically a Tinder date. It looks so good at first, inviting…the possibility of a real connection. But when you actually arrive at Swenson Thanksgiving’s door, the whole thing is just fat and upsetting and disappointing, but since you came all this way, you figure you might as well go through with it, even though you know when you’re done, you’re probably gonna hate yourself.”

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Thad Radwell, giving a toast: “This year, I’m so thankful for the lax indecency laws in Eastern Europe that inundate our internet with millions of hours of hardcore porn, which helps to just generally raise the bar on the stuff that chicks feel like they have to do now. I mean, am I right?”

Brad Radwell, doing the same: “You know, ever since I was a little boy, I knew what God wanted me to do, and that was to make money off the backs of creative people.”

Bunny Radwell, upon Hester declaring she’s carrying Chad’s baby: “The only thing you’re carrying is water weight, you bloated little tramp. That’s not a baby bump- that’s a Pooh belly.”

Chanel #3, offering up her explanation for looking guilty to Dean Munsch the night of the chainsaw attack: “I have bathroom shame issues. I always wait until everyone else is asleep, and then I sneak down to poop in the little powder room downstairs. That way, no one will disturb me. I usually wait a week or two between movements, so it can be kind of an intense workout. I sweat a lot.”
Zayday, coughing: “TMI!”

Chad, summing up the situation on Hester and Chanel: “You said she was dead, she’s says she’s not dead. I’m kind of inclined to believe her. Plus, are you going to make a habit of, like, pushing people down the stairs? Cause I think we can agree, not the most adult form of conflict resolution, Chanel.”

Chanel #5, upon her arrival: “Hey all! I brought some of my famous 8-meat stuffing! It’s beef, venison, alligator, buffalo, rabbit, goat, rattlesnake and Spam! I cut all of the meats super-thin, so that you’re guaranteed every meat in every bite.”

Pete, upon his arrival, after Grace asks how he knew they were all here: “Zayday has been live Tweeting the whole night.”

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The Radwells, shouting out guesses during Pictionary, after Brad points at Hester: “Homely…ugly…gold-digger…not welcome…unattractive, short person…Pooh belly! Is it Pooh Belly? Uh, doesn’t belong here, should have left hours ago…girl with a weird big neck…overfed girl with a neck-brace…too chunky to wear that outfit!”

Chanel, going off on everyone BUT Hester: “Chad, your leathery excuse for a mother looks like an ostrich-hide clutch from last season that’s somehow learned to talk. And Mr. Radwell, I have never seen anyone spend so much money to make a house look this tacky. I’ve honestly seen more tasteful décor at a Sizzler. And you, Thad, have a bright future ahead of you…in the sex offender wing of a super-max prison. (To Brad) And you, sir, give the kind, hard-working, deeply moral people who work in such a wonderful industry as Hollywood a bad name.” (Well-played, Ryan Murphy.)

Hester, brandishing a knife: “This one is definitely sharp enough to glide easily through roasted flesh.”
Chanel #3: “What a weird way to put that.”

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That about does it for this episode. Goodbye to Gigi- she will be missed in all her crazy glory and ridiculous face of death, and can’t wait to see who drops next. Have a happy Thanksgiving, all, and hopefully, a damn sight better one than the ones seen here!