[WARNING - This review contains SPOILERS for Scream Queens season 2.]
That FOX chose to renew Scream Queens for a second season was a bit surprising. Though a thoroughly entertaining series, the campy horror comedy had sufficiently dealt with the Red Devil killers in season 1, leaving little reason to return to Kappa Kappa Tau and the Chanels (its season 1 finale cliffhanger notwithstanding). Still, with a gleefully wicked sense of humor and outrageous characters, Scream Queens was a fun show and if FOX felt Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Ian Brennan had it in them to make an equally entertaining second season, then why not?
Scream Queens season 2 takes its serial killer premise away from the college campus and into the hospital ward, ratcheting up the ridiculousness of all that follows. And while that slasher element remains, the Green Meanie (season 2's Red Devil) isn't knocking off soulless sorority sisters but instead innocent patients at the C.U.R.E. Institute. It's a distinction even the characters are aware of, making the motivations behind season 2's string of murders a harder pill to swallow. However, the appeal of Scream Queens has never been its logic, but in the ludicrous situations and how the self-centered Chanels (Emma Roberts, Billie Lourd, and Abigail Breslin) seem to always come out on top.
Ahead of the finale, 'Drain the Swamp', the identities of all three Green Meanies (because a single killer is too simple) had already been revealed: their first suspect, the "baby in the belly", whose father was the inciting victim at that Halloween party thirty years ago turned out to be Dr. Cassidy Cascade (Taylor Lautner); he was then later joined Nurse Hoffel (Kirstie Alley), who it turns out is the sister of the maid who had her face fried off by Chanel in season 1; and lastly, Wes Gardner (Oliver Hudson), Grace's father, returned and became a Green Meanie in order to kill the Chanels, considering them responsible for his daughter landing in an asylum. And if season 1's trifecta of Red Devils seemed convoluted, then season 2's Green Meanies are even more so.
Still, that wackiness is part of Scream Queens' charm, and for the most part, season 2 made the most of its larger, sillier cast. Dr. Cascade, though the main killer, was still a sympathetic character (or as sympathetic as a serial killer can be) and his relationship with Chanel #3 allowed for him to struggle with his mother's insistence he kill everyone at the hospital. Honestly, this season had you rooting for these two wackos to somehow work it out, but it sadly wasn't to be, with Dr. Cascade taking a machete to chest for #3 before dying in her arms. A poignant moment played as only Scream Queens can -- with total irreverence.
Revealing Nurse Hoffel as the sister of KKT's maid was certainly a welcome twist, tying everything back into season 1 and giving understandable motivation for her wanting revenge on the Chanels -- and Chanel most of all. She wasn't at all successful in her revenge, though, failing to kill any of the (non-fodder) Chanels so many times it was as absurd as a Wile E. Coyote cartoon. "It's almost like their narcissism and stupidity create some kind of a force field around them," she at one point exclaims, and that's definitely the point season 2 seems to be making. Hoffel met a sticky, slimy end in the swamp but not before making a real go at killing practically everyone with a fertilizer bomb (before being thwarted by the unexpected but welcome return of the cryogenically frozen Denise [Niecy Nash]). All in all, though, Alley was a great addition to Scream Queens, despising the Chanels and Cathy Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis) in turn and just generally hating on anyone who gave her a hard time.
Another surprising development saw Hester (Lea Michelle) ending up with Dr. Brock Holt (John Stamos). Over the course of the last few episodes of the second season, these two became closer once Hester recognized in Holt the same murderous desire she shares, and they devised a plan to rob Munsch of all her money and jet off to Blood Island where they'd prey on shipwrecked tourists. Again, it's an utterly absurd turn of events seeing as Holt was involved with both Chanel and Munsch throughout season 2, but in the end it's the devious Hester who snags the hot doctor, and the two seem kind of perfect for one another. Season 2 really let Michelle play up the crazy angle, which was way more entertaining than her maligned Chanel #6 last season, and Stamos proved adept at whatever the show asked of him, both the comedy, romance, and medical shenanigans.
As for Scream Queens' returning cast, Curtis made Munsch an even bigger pain in the Chanels' collective butts while at the same time being the conduit for all their success. It's a tricky balancing act, but one Curtis pulls off easily, never letting a setback trip her up or a new dead body deter her from making the C.U.R.E. Institute the best it can be. That is, until her whole purpose for the C.U.R.E. Institute -- curing her of deadly kuru -- turns out to be nothing more than severe dehydration due to her drinking nothing (and she means nothing) but scotch. It's a hilarious reveal, even if it does undue much of season 2's driving force.
Lastly, the Chanels and Zayday, all of whom make it out alive and end on rather uplifting notes. Zayday was pretty underused this season, with Scream Queens more interested in the antics of the Chanels, but she's still the one who has it all figured out in the end. Plus, she gets to take over running the C.U.R.E. Institute once Munsch leaves to become a sex therapist, so she gets exactly what she wants in the end -- to be a doctor and actually help people. Shockingly, Chanel #5 -- who amazingly survived several attempts on her life this season -- also turns out to be a medical genius, passing her MCAT with a near perfect score and joining Zayday in running the institute. And for as much flack as she's constantly taking from Chanel and Chanel #3, it was awfully satisfying to see her get a win.
Scream Queens has no real lesson to it, unless we're considering that staying true to yourself -- no matter how horrible that actually is -- makes it possible for all your dreams to come true because that's precisely how it works out for Chanel (and Chanel #3). The last two episodes of season 2 feature Brooke Shields in a guest spot as a Dr. Scarlet Lovin, a hack TV doctor which all the Chanels adore. She's quickly dispatched in the finale (which was a shame because it was clearly fun role for Shields, but then dying on Scream Queens is all a part of the fun), but it allows for Chanel to step into her shoes and prove herself a capable replacement. That stint leads her to becoming Dr. Lovin's successor, and Chanel becomes television's next daytime doctor sweetheart (with Chanel #3 as her producer).
And again, were you tuning in to Scream Queens to finally see Chanel Oberlin be served her just deserts? This just isn't that kind of show, choosing to rather revel in her horribleness and in the end, celebrate it. It's weirdly satisfying, too, when someone as awful as Chanel gets her happy ending because we have been along with her on this ridiculous ride. 'Drain the Swamp' also puts in a little cliffhanger, with a Red Devil appearing in the backseat of Chanel's car right before credits, but it'd be even more surprising if Scream Queens got a season 3 order. The series is really very funny and smarter than some might think, but its premise of a serial killer hunting down the Chanels did wear thin this season. For it to continue with a season 3, there would need to be a bigger deviation than simply swapping locations. Plus, with everyone (who survived anyhow) getting such happy endings, this might just be time to call it quits, letting Scream Queens stand with its two hilarious, murder-filled seasons.
Screen Rant will keep you updated on news of the future for Scream Queens.