WARNING: This review contains spoilers
As I watched the fourth episode of Scream Queens, ‘Pumpkin Patch’, one thought came to my mind: this is no longer a horror/comedy, this is just a comedy with a few horror clichés on top.
While it was fun to see Chanel in Orange is the new black for a couple minutes, there was not much development for her character in comparison to last week’s glorious feminist moment. Chanel keeps acting like the brat she is and whining about how she wants to make the best Halloween party to ensure her presidency and keep Chad around. Meanwhile, the other Chanels seem to be plotting again her. As I suspected, Hester does have an ulterior motive and is now trying to convince others to sabotage the elections. It was clear that sooner or later there would have to be some discrepancies among the Chanels. It seems like it’s going to be sooner than later.
On the other hand, Zayday is confirmed to have been captured by the Red Devil, who seems to be in love with her. She’s also confirmed NOT to be the Red Devil then (sorry, Denise). Grace and Pete, along with the new couple Wes and Gigi, are the only ones working to save her. I mentioned in the premiere that this show’s characters seem to be divided between the rich, arrogant people and the ones who were more ‘normal’ and sensible and with whom the audience could identify more. However, this difference is now also found in the way the show uses its genres in their scenes.
Let me elaborate. There were two potential scary moments in ‘Pumpkin Patch’: the chasing in the maze, and Zayday’s rescue, and they were played so differently! Any chasing scene is made 100% more tense and exciting when it happens in a maze (Maze Runner anyone?). Needless to say, I was very excited and had very high hopes for this scene but oh, I was SO disappointed. Yes, one of them ended up dead but I didn’t really care. At all. This was the perfect occasion to drop the comedy and focus on building the tension. And this goes back to what I said in the beginning about balancing horror and comedy, two genres that are very hard to combine but that Ryan Murphy himself has already combined in American Horror Storys‘ Coven, for instance. At this point, Scream Queens almost resembles the Scary Movie saga, which is probably the movie franchise that I dislike the most. Compare the maze scene with Zayday’s rescue. The setting was creepy and the Red Devil was also there. There were some brilliant comedic moments coming from Denise as well (to me, the funniest character next to Chad), but those didn’t erase the fear elements that could come from being in a torture room with the Red Devil in the dark. Now THAT was scary. Made even more interesting by the fact that Gigi is 100% confirmed to be working with the Red Devil.
Sure, the comedy is still gold and the pop culture references are still top-notch: The Shining, Gone Girl, Maroon 5, Led Zeppelin… But this show has clearly gone downhill from the premiere. Once we have gotten used to the characters and the setting, the only entertaining thing left at this point is to see the stupid things these spoiled rich people say. Perhaps it’s because the show intents to drag on this ‘Chanel-o-ween arc’ during all month, but the plot seems to be advancing very slowly in these couple past episodes if we compare them to the two-part premiere. We will have to wait and see whether the resolution is actually worth it.