[This is a review of Scream Queens season 1, episode 6. There will be SPOILERS.]
While most TV series are doing their best to avoid genre tropes, familiar character archetypes and stereotype-based humor, FOX's Scream Queens has managed to embrace those hokey and hacky slasher whodunit elements with a giddy self-awareness that's not only refreshing, but quite comforting as well. Perhaps even more impressively, it's done so with such a brashly confident and assured approach, that the only thing we are questioning about the series at this point is exactly what it wants us to wonder: Who is the Red Devil Killer?
Even though we know the answer won't come for several weeks, the show's irreverent wit, charmingly campy quality and appealing cast still have us hooked, as we're simply satisfied to go along for the ride. In this way, the series has become akin to a popular weekly parlor game that we just can't help but play along in. So, even though last night's episode, 'Seven Minutes in Hell', fails to offer any solid clues to solving the show's central murder mystery, it's hard not to enjoy it anyway.
Despite not dropping the type of juicy bombshell we've come to expect at the end of Scream Queens episodes, last night's hour managed to stand on its own as another delightfully entertaining installment. That's thanks in large part to the sheer amount of laughs and enjoyment we got from its character moments - most notably from Chad (Glen Powell), whose amazingly blunt and unapologetic douchey demeanor never ceases to be hilarious.
Fortunately, the Kappa ladies each had great moments as well, which were expertly and cleverly set up by the predicament they found themselves in after being locked in for the night. With the majority of our characters all under one roof for a slumber party featuring classic sorority games like "Spin the Bottle" and "Truth or Dare", there were plenty of funny interactions - including Chanel's (Emma Roberts) exasperated reactions to the whole slumber party concept and Sam's (Jeanna Han) slip of the tongue that clued everyone in to the identity of Chanel #3's (Billie Lourd) biological father.
Of course, this setup also gave the Red Devil easy pickings, which included Sam and the other half of Chanel #5's (Abigail Breslin) Eiffel Towel, Roger (Aaron Rhodes). But the death of the week has to go to the zero-armed Caufield (Evan Paley), who finally and hilariously met his demise after failing to climb a ladder to safety.
As funny and entertaining as this episode was, several of its best scene-stealing characters were completely or mostly absent this week, with Denise (Niecy Nash) taking an episode off and with Dean Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis) appearing just briefly at the end. Their respective presences were definitely missed, but this ultimately allotted for more bonding time between the Kappa sisters - which is certainly a good thing for the series going forward.
And an initial and very positive byproduct of that bonding came with the unlikely pairing (and perhaps unlikely alliance) between Chanel and Zayday (Keke Palmer), as the two new Kappa co-presidents teamed up for the first time to investigate the sorority house's secret tunnel system. Their escape from the Red Devil was not only one of the episode's best sequences, but Chanel's reluctant indoctrination of Zayday to Kappa's ways and history was equally enjoyable to watch.
That all said, the episode still failed to add anything significant to the central mystery, which was a little disappointing - as previous episodes had done such a stellar job of building intrigue by providing clues and revealing character motives. While narrative concerns are often secondary for Scream Queens, it still would have been nice to get another piece to the season's whodunit puzzle. I suppose we'll get a little closer to finding out who the Red Devil is next week when super sleuths Denise and Pete (Diego Boneta) are (hopefully) back on the case.
Scream Queens season 1 will be taking a brief hiatus as FOX airs the World Series, but is scheduled to return with 'Beware of Young Girls' on November 3rd.
Photos: Steve Dietl/FOX