'Scream Queens' S1E11: Black Friday

★ ★ ★ ★

In Scream Queens’ most absurd episode to date, the KKT sisters discovered Scream Queens’ achilles heel: series regulars just won’t die. In this case, it’s Munsch that clings to life like a toe fungus, surviving both a poisoning and a sabotaged cryo-spa treatment — much to everyone’s frustration. Munsch is no stranger to surviving near-death experiences, but the image of her making it through becoming a human popsicle shows just how ridiculous her survival is at this point. Being the meta series that it is, Scream Queens doesn’t mind making fun of itself and of fundamental problems like Grace’s boring personality, minor characters being "cannon fodder," and, now, how the show’s stars can survive pretty much anything.

Jamie Lee Curtis, with all of her experience, has always done a fantastic job portraying Dean Munsch. It’s a hard character, with all of her tonal changes according to each episode, but Curtis is able to sell even the most ridiculous of scenes: listening to slasher white noise to sleep or being frozen while holding up a peace sign. The Munsch we saw in this episode is completely different from the one at the pool, the more nefarious and murderous facet to her complex personality.

Scream Queens: S1E11

Despite several great performances in this episode, it’s sad to see that Scream Queens didn’t take full advantage of Black Friday and the mall setting. All of the Black Friday scenes feel disjointed in an episode that’s really about trying to kill Munsch, and not about the Red Devil hunting down the Chanels in an empty mall. In fact, the Chanels are only trapped there long enough to introduce the best gag of the season: Denise as police chief. It’s a pleasant surprise that shows just how incompetent the world of Scream Queens really is. Zayday and Grace are the only truly intelligent characters, noticing immediately that the firing of an entire police station is a far worse solution to the police’s ineptitude (they spent a month’s budget on a ghost hunter).

For Grace and Pete, this may have been their best episode despite all of the retcon introduced. While Grace’s short (but great) turn to the dark side was random considering how vanilla and moralistic she has been all season long, her instant chemistry and bonding with Chanel just shows how interesting they are as friends instead of enemies. Even though the two of them are perpetually opposed, their amiable interactions feel far more genuine than Grace and Zayday’s. Like her alignment with Chanel, the topic of her virginity (though a long-honored Final Girl cliché) comes out of the blue.

Much of Pete’s more interesting material, like the Red Devil costume and Chanel obsession, were all thrown out there in the pilot, but haven’t been developed on since then. So the "reveal" that he’s a bad guy isn’t a shock, but it isn’t entirely off base either. It just falls flat. There’s no real twist in any of his scenes and the fact that we’ve known about his Red Devil costume for ages now doesn’t help either. Pete’s character, when treated more like Wes instead of seriously, works more for his character. Pete’s "investigative journalist" persona should be made fun of the same way Wes calls himself a "protective father".

With only the finale to go, "Black Friday" is a last moment of fun before Scream Queens dives into a lot of heart-wrenching drama. Think your favorite will survive?

Scream Queens Suspect List S1E11

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