Warning: This recap of the “Halloween Blues” episode of Scream Queens contains spoilers.
Like the line made famous by that one movie — the name of which escapes me — and spoken by that one guy — can’t remember his name… I just can’t quit you, Scream Queens! Part of my struggle is that just when I had decided that maybe this season was phoning it in like a busted Nokia, it had to go and give us one of the best Denise Hemphill episodes yet! But on the other hand? IT KILLED HER OFF.
*Breathes frantically into paper bag*
You know, I don’t know how often I can get my hopes up that a kill on Scream Queens was a fakeout, like Nick Jonas’s (first) murder last season. For example, despite last week’s hopes to the contrary, Chad Radwell really IS dead! So… Is Denise Hemphill also dead?
*Falls to floor, rolls around on the parquet tearing up newspapers*
OK, I feel better now, and I need to level with you. I’m not even mad at Scream Queens right now! That’s because “Halloween Blues” was a truly hilarious episode overall. Noticeably sharper and weirder than the past three episodes, it managed to reaffirm that this show is completely nuts and unpredictable. And as Chad’s various fantasy sequences proved this week, dead characters don’t necessarily stay away forever. I can live with Scream Queens killing our faves as long as our faves still get to appear in completely ludicrous Brokeback Mountain parodies — Which, why does that movie sound familiar right now? Can’t remember. Let’s talk about “Halloween Blues”!
We began with a truly remarkable opening shot.
Um. Kind of having a lot of thoughts about this extreme zoom-out from Chanel’s vocal chords, but I’ll need a few more days to process. Still, exciting to see such borderline perverted body imagery outside of a Cronenberg film! Anyway, Chanel was very sad and upset about Chad’s murder. So sad and upset that she’d donned her Jackie Kennedy costume before Chad’s body had so much as cooled. Now THAT is love.
But if we’re talking about true grief, look no further than Denise Hemphill’s Shakespearean monologue about her fallen love. If Niecy Nash doesn’t win several important awards for this stirring, beautiful scene, then the world is a dumb place and it can just go jump into a handbasket and go right to heck! It was a great speech and included a flashback to the time Chad and Denise role-played a scene from the steamy erotic thriller Brokeback Mountain:
If you are asking my opinion, which would be a fool’s errand in any scenario, then I need to tell you that the funniest part of this moment was the short wig Denise Hemphill was wearing under her cowboy hat. I had to pause the show and smile out the window for a minute, it made me that happy.
Also I loved that even in mourning Denise Hemphill had an appreciation for the things that matter. Rock hard corpse d***s! (I don’t know.)
Chanel seemed pretty disappointed that her rich, hot fiancé had died on their wedding day, but she was downright TICKED when she discovered that Chad had named Dean Munsch as the sole heir to his family’s fortune. (His family had recently all died in a plane crash attempting to stop his wedding to Chanel, which was a poignant twist!) At this point Chanel leapt up and jumped over the desk (in the best use of Bullet Time slo-mo since the Matrix movies) and beat the ever-loving hell out of the lawyer. A truly inspiring moment.
Oh, but did you remember what holiday was coming up? CHANEL-O-WEEN! And it arrived not a moment too soon, as Chanel was now feeling especially dark and therefore REALLY wanted to send tons of terrible things to random Instagram followers.
Things like pus, maggots, human bile, and, of course, “diseased whore hearts”! (I loved this girl in the GIF above. Related very much to her.) So yes, this year we were treated to another classic Chanel-O-Ween montage! What began as one of the meanest takedowns of Taylor Swift in TV history is now an annual Scream Queens tradition. We are truly blessed.
But distributing grisly organs and riding PowerWheels across suburban lawns wasn’t enough to cheer poor Chanel up. So that’s why Dr. John Stamos gave her an elixir he’d made from colloidal silver and whatever else he had lying around. Unfortunately it had, uh, side effects.
I am not going to lie, I felt that Chanel’s blue skin was actually really lovely! I hope impressionable teens don’t go around trying to get blue skin for real, though. That seems like it would be an unhealthy pursuit of beauty! Surgeries and lasers and injecting poison into faces seems fine though.
For Halloween, Denise Hemphill had decided to wear Chanel’s actual wedding dress as a costume, which was surprising in that, as Denise pointed out, her body type was “woman” whereas Chanel’s was “malnourished Victorian paperboy.” Anyway, just as Denise was setting up the STAFF HALLOWEEN PARTY (which was asking for trouble, in my opinion) she had an encounter with the Green Meanie! Luckily Denise fought him off with the use of the gun she’d tucked into her garter belt. Phew!
At this point Chanel received another piece of bad news: Her OTHER romantic prospect (Dr. John Stamos) occasionally has casual sex with Dean Munsch! “I don’t understand how all these middle-aged women keep stealing my men!” Chanel exclaimed. But honestly, Denise Hemphill and Dean Munsch can both GET IT. No further questions.
Because the murders had begun to reach fever pitch, Denise Hemphill texted the state prison system via WhatsApp and managed to get Hester released into her custody. But would you believe it? Within MINUTES Hester had dressed up as Ivanka Trump (complete with a truly frightening mask) and attempted to murder Chanel in the hospital hallways! Something told me Hester was not very rehabilitated from her stay in the psych ward.
Because Chanel No. 5 had intended to dress as Ivanka Trump for Halloween, Chanel began pointing fingers. Blue fingers. (Which, again, that is a lovely shade! Relax, teens, it’s makeup.)
There was just something so right about Dr. Taylor Lautner dressing as Ryan Lochte for Halloween. Also, Chamberlain seems to have recovered pretty quickly from his scythe-ing! And I lolled pretty hard when a dot-matrix printer factored into an important reveal. During the staff Halloween party, dozens of costumed patients flooded in, having all fallen sick at the same party and as it turned out, the Green Meanie had spiked the bobbin’-for-apples water with ayahuasca! Weird that they all went to the hospital rather than form a drum circle, but then again I’m not sure what drugs are or what they even do.
While all THAT was going on, Chanel and Denise busted out the Oujia: Origin of Evil Board and attempted to commune with the ghost of Chad Radwell. And even though we heretofore had not considered Denise Hemphill to be a psychic medium on par with Whoopi Goldberg in Ghost, Chad suddenly inhabited her body!
While their conversation afforded Chanel A LITTLE BIT of closure, they were interrupted before Chad could reveal the identity of his own killer. Better luck next time! (Also, farewell for now you mega-dreamboat.)
THEN CHANEL NO. 5 GOT STABBED. After she accidentally dressed up as Ivana Trump instead of Ivanka, she found herself cornered between Hester (as Ivanka) and whoever the Green Meanie is. And then the Green Meanie stabbed Chanel No. 5 in the back with a machete! Though, due to her writhing and sputtering on the floor, we might be able to assume she’ll survive this attack. Less uncertain, though, was the fate of Denise Hemphill after the Green Meanie came at her with a pair of fully charged shock paddles!
Despite Denise’s protests that heart disease did not run in her family, the Green Meanie kept shocking her! Until she died!
Maybe? She certainly looked dead, and I am not about to get my hopes up AGAIN after Chad’s death. But on the other hand I would not be mad if Denise survived. In fact, that would solve a lot of my problems both mental and otherwise. Bring back Denise, oh Lord! Denise Hemphill died for our sins also, I’m pretty sure!
Like the preceding episodes this season, “Halloween Blues” did not seem to care AT ALL about story logic or coherence. But it made up for it with killer jokes (by ‘killer’ I mean very funny in this case) and also just straight-up audacity by wounding and/or murdering TWO main characters. Ultimately it won’t matter what the setting or mystery is so long as the show remains borderline experimental when it comes to dark comedy. What a strange, wonderful show Scream Queens can be when it wants to! Denise will be missed, but here’s to hoping her brazen, hilarious energy will live on.
What did YOU think about “Halloween Blues”?
Scream Queens airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on Fox. Watch clips and full episodes of Scream Queens for free on Yahoo View.