Scream Queens is far from a perfect show – very, very far – but this week, it asked us to love it anyway. Warts and All is the name of the second episode of the already underwhelming second season, and it gives us more clues, more mysteries and more returning characters.
We pick up right where last week left off, with Chanel #5 thankfully alive and telling the police about the new killer, the Green Meanie. The police, led by a detective who admits she never graduated high school, is useless as ever and assume Chanel #5 is making it all up. Chanel and Chanel #3 agree, assuming #5 did the murder herself out of jealousy that they had dates and she didn’t. Dean Munsch doesn’t buy it and calls in now-FBI agent Denise Hemphill, who once again thinks Zayday is the killer.
With most of the crew thinking the Green Meanie doesn’t exist, everyone shifts focus to the incurable patient of the week, a wart-faced Colton Haynes. He’s covered in tumours and the hospital staff actually know a cure right away, but the hospital can’t afford it — and neither can he, as he makes a living writing Encyclopedia Brown fanfiction. He and Chanel #5 end up having a heart to heart in the hallway where she laments that no one believes her about the killer, and he laments losing his previously hot face to this disease. They vow to help each other: he’ll use his mystery-solving skills from Encyclopedia Brown to find out who the killer is, and she’ll find the money to treat his disease. If that makes him hot again and she gets a cute boyfriend out of this, well that’s just a bonus.
Zayday, meanwhile, is more concerned about figuring out what’s up with Dean Munsch. She thinks it’s fishy that the millionaire Dean decided to up and start a hospital, and hire the Chanels of all people. Zayday recruits Chamberlain to help her figure out what Munsch’s real motive is, and why there are no records of the hospital’s past available online.
Chanel is on a date with Dr Brock at the movies, where his re-attached hand is acting on its own accord. They get back to the hospital and Chanel’s old boyfriend Chad Radwell is there to scare her in the Red Devil costume as a joke because nothing’s funnier than reminded your ex of her traumatic experiences. He’s apparently the one who dressed up as the Red Devil at the end of last season as well, tying up that loose end. He’s at the hospital now with his friend who has fallen ill with a mysterious disease that makes him unable to stop screaming. He contracted it while shooting quail with the Cheneys, in the most timely joke ever. Chad is jealous that Chanel has moved onto the handsome Doctor, and confronts him in a homoerotic shower scene. It’s funny, and Chad Radwell is a breath of fresh air as always. He’s so ridiculous in exactly the right way, something the show doesn’t always nail.
Zayday and Chamberlain get their hands on old documents from the library that explains the hospital’s troubled history: the Green Meanie murdered the entire hospital staff at a Halloween party in 1986, one year after Jerry O’Connell had murdered a patient. So if the Green Meanie already got its revenge on the doctors, what’s it doing back at the hospital now? Also, why is the obviously gay Chamberlain hitting on Zayday, much like the gay Boone did last season? Is this a weird running gag? Zayday confronts Dean Munsch gets the truth: Munsch thinks she has a rare disease herself and started a hospital to find a cure. Why she hired the Chanels is still unknown. Nurse Hoffel eavesdrops on the conversation and earlier she asked Zayday for information on the Chanels, so she’s clearly up to something.
Chanel #5 and wart-face are on a date at a diner when a couple of guys start to insult his. Chanel #5 gets up and beats the crap out of them, saying she over reacts sometimes when she’s off her meds. He’s so impressed that someone defended him despite his looks he’s not even worried by that statement. When they go to kiss at the end of the night, the other two Chanels are there to celebrate. Wart-face has proven himself worthy by overlooking Chanel #5’s obvious flaws (and not the other way around) that they agree to pay for his surgery.
Another familiar face is back this week: the gang goes to visit Hester behind bars to see if she knows who the Green Meanie is. She does, of course, but in a full Silence of the Lambs homage, she demands a quid pro quo before she reveals any information. She needs to be transferred to the hospital and gifted with some seriously expensive skin care before she’ll tell them who the killer is. Meanwhile, Chad Radwell is solving some mysteries of his own: he’s hired a private detective to look into Dr Brock’s crazy hand. His hand donor was a squash playing champion/serial killer, and the hand seemingly follows its previous owner’s orders as much as Dr Brock.
Zayday solves Munsch’s rare disease with a stroke of genius based on Munsch’s food cravings (New Guinean?) – she has kuru, a real disease that effects cannibals. Munsch caught it in Paupa New Guinea earlier that year when she was on her book tour, eating some delicious food (human brain) that she’s been craving ever since. There’s no cure, and Munsch has about a year to live. I guess this is where the “find a magic cure now please” hospital comes in.
Chanel #5 gets a call from her warty boyfriend and he has good news: his Encyclopedia Brown fan forum has solved the case of the Green Meanie. He’ll tell her who it is right after his surgery which was suddenly moved up to right now! Except there are no doctors at the hospital right now, and the Chanels run in to find his butchered by the Green Meanie. There’s officially a new serial killer in town.
This time around, we only have a handful of potential killers. It’s safe to assume the returning characters aren’t the murderers, so it’s down to the new staff. If the killer is connected to the 1980s murders (which it is, according to Hester) it’s likely the unborn baby from 1985, making it a 30-year-old today. Pretty much none of the new characters are 30 (unless we’re going to suspend major disbelief), and there’s no other connection to speak of as of right now. So who’s the killer? And what’s the motive? This season is struggling to grab hold in any real way, from the mystery to the characters to the setting, so it’s really going to need to step up it’s game. More of Chad and John Stamos in the showers, maybe.