Warning: This recap of the “Handidates” episode of Scream Queens contains spoilers.
Like the old saying goes, “Sometimes Season 2 is just not as good as you’d hoped it would be.” It’s an admittedly weird saying, and it doesn’t apply to most situations, but who are we to doubt the old sayings? All the old sayings are trustworthy and full of wisdom, except maybe for the old sayings that are racist, in which case those sayings can probably be ignored on account of how A LOT of old wise men were racists. But we’re not here to talk about racism in olden days, only about the second seasons of television shows. Which, circling back now, brings me to the old saying I mentioned at the beginning of this paragraph as it applies VERY much to Scream Queens Season 2. This season is not as good as I’d hoped it would be!
Friends, I am sorry, I love Scream Queens in general, but after three episodes I think it is safe to say that this season is very bad so far. We gave it a shot! We surely gave it a shot. In its first season, Scream Queens gleefully tossed story logic and coherence out the window in exchange for dizzyingly mean and inventive dark comedy, plus expensive-looking production values, wall-to-wall homages, and insane esoterica. So far Season 2 not only suffers from a fatal creative blunder — inserting the same characters into a premise that required all-new characters — but also feels cheap, uninventive, and worst of all, not very funny. Sure, the same comedy geniuses are behind it, but good punch lines require setups and contexts that make sense. It’s not enough to have recognizable faces prancing around doing whatever — we have to actually know what they’re doing and why. Season 1 had me laughing at this show’s audacity; now I’m alternating between baffled and bored.
And now, to make matters worse, THIS episode went and killed off one of the best things this series had going for it: Chad Radwell is dead! (Seemingly.) Bad job, Scream Queens. Very bad job. Let’s talk about “Handidates”!
We began with poor Colton Haynes’s wart-encrusted, smoking corpse lying on the laser surgery table and presumably smelling pretty bad. But there was no time for Chanel No. 5 to mourn her dead boyfriend, nor for Chanel to blame her for his murder. Dean Munsch arrived and commanded them to hide the body!
Why did she need them to hide the body? Because reasons! Something about how it would buy her time to figure out which of the Chanels was the killer. Remember when I mentioned that I was getting both baffled and bored by this show? That began here! Anyway, they all teamed up to dump the body in the swamp. It was the perfect plan.
Chad’s friend with the shrieking problem woke up in a room full of lava lamps, as their good vibes had apparently cured him. He was very relaxed and untriggered and overall cured, but unfortunately for him, this meant he had to DIE.
In an admirably gory moment, the Green Meanie showed up and stabbed this guy so much. Couldn’t remember his name or be bothered to care about him as a person, but he was now dead. Bye, stranger!
The gang decided to pay Hester another visit to concede that maybe they DID need her help after all. But Hester’s demands for a room with a view were only met with Dean Munsch giving her a VHS copy of A Room With a View, and Hester did not appreciate this gag. But she DID give them a taste of a clue to the killer’s identity, so that was pretty nice of her.
This week’s wacky hospital patient was none other than Cheri Oteri, who could NOT stop having orgasms. Imagine that! Just tons of orgasms all over the place. Judging from her grimaces and wheezing, it was not as fun as that sounds.
One thing this episode did very correctly was give us a return trip to the locker room, where John Stamos and Chad Radwell had another nude-off!
These scenes will never get old and deserve at least a few Emmys for everyone involved. Now that Chad had discovered the secret behind John Stamos’s cursed hand, he was demanding that John Stamos get a different, less murderous hand implanted on his wrist, and Chad himself would perform the surgery. (What?) But even the most ludicrous, least believable plot line seems more palatable when outlined by a nude Chad Radwell. So.
Then, following up on Hester’s tip, four medical students, an FBI agent, and a hospital owner (?) visited the mansion of a former nurse who’d worked at the hospital many years ago.
Played by the always wonderful Alec Mapa, this nurse had not only created a multimillion-dollar empire selling repackaged Jergens lotions as a designer brand but had also been the ONLY survivor of that one massacre in which an entire hospital was murdered yet didn’t make the national news.
Not only that, but recently the killer had telephoned him to threaten that he or she was about to start murdering again. From this, the entire gang deduced that the killer must be the child of the pregnant woman whose husband had been murdered in the premiere. Which meant he was about 30 years old by now, which would rule out John Stamos, but not Chad Radwell, who had been held back in second grade eight times. WAS Chad the new killer? And was Scream Queens really wasting our time with another who-cares-whodunnit? No and yes, but didn’t matter. … Chad had decided he wanted Chanel, and he wanted her bad enough to bestow upon her a prenuptial agreement!
I did love that Chanel treated his offering of paperwork as the most romantic thing that’d ever happened to her. I mean, there WAS a mariachi band, and they WERE at a city park. But their romantic bliss was interrupted by a creepy John Stamos creeping around in the background. What you up to, John Stamos?
In another romantic subplot, No. 3 fell for Taylor Lautner after they each revealed several secrets to one another. She confessed that she’d never had an orgasm nor enjoyed Hamilton, and he confessed he was literally dead after accidentally choking on his puke during a frat hazing. They had a lot in common. And after some truly sensual yoga, he attempted to realign a crucial nerve in her pelvis to hopefully help her have an orgasm!
Later they attempted to have shirts-on sex, but it was hard to do that, considering No. 3 was too distracted by the inaccuracy of the term “R&B” and Taylor Lautner had a body temperature of 60 degrees. Kind of a boner killer.
For some reason Chad needed his enemy John Stamos to be his best man at the suddenly impromptu wedding, and even though this didn’t make sense in the slightest, it did allow us the image of John Stamos tying Chad’s bow tie menacingly. Let it be known that this show is VERY generous with homoeroticism! Can’t fault it for that.
Because the hospital was able to successfully cure orgasm lady of her orgasm problem, it meant the Green Meanie immediately ran up and lopped off her head with a flying scythe! He even stabbed Chamberlain for good measure!
But he did not murder Zayday, so that was a clue of some kind. Why not? Were they besties? (Fingers crossed the killer is Grace from last season. I would love that.)
But too many people had been murdered, so the hospital needed Hester to move in already. Enough was enough. It was time to loose a psycho on a psycho. Great plan, no flaws.
So then everyone showed up to the hospital chapel for some Chad-and-Chanel wedding action! It’s telling that no outside friends or family showed up, and a sizable percentage of the guests was just Denise Hemphill frowning. (Poor Denise! It’s always hard seeing your ex get betrothed to another.)
But within seconds of walking down the aisle, Chanel noticed the blood dripping from the ceiling. And guess whose blood it was?
Chad’s! He’d been murdered maybe! But had he pulled a Nick Jonas from last season and faked his own death? Or had he been slashed just for shock value? Either way, the lack of invention was pretty typical of this season. Scream Queens was either repeating a plot point from last season or just simply killing off one of its greatest characters for no reason. Cool!
“Handidate” had its moments, like any episode of a show with this cast and writers would. But, man, is this season a bummer. Just bad planning, bad brainstorming, bad execution. The most baffling thing is how it clearly wanted to be a separate story altogether — set at a hospital, with a supernatural bent — but instead just doubled down on its most cartoonish nonsense from last season? And now it can’t even get the good stuff right? Denise Hemphill has been wasted, and now Chad is dead? Get outta here, show. I mean, I’ll be watching, but I’ll be watching with the same frown Denise wore to Chanel’s wedding. Maybe I’m wrong and things will improve, but much like that glowing swamp behind the C.U.R.E. institute, things are looking dire.
What did YOU think of “Handidates”?
Scream Queens airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on Fox. Watch clips and full episodes of Scream Queens at Yahoo View.