Scream Queens S2 E1-2 Review: "Scream Again" and "Warts And All"

Note: This article contains spoilers for character deaths in episodes one and two of the second season. You have been warned.

Scream Queens is one of the many programs helmed by Ryan Murphy, known for shows that feature unconventional plots and diversity not normally seen on network television. In this case, the plot is most definitely unconventional. The first season was a send-up of college slasher films, taking place primarily in a sorority. You have your standard “mean girl” characters, potential love triangles, and obvious red herrings. As the season progressed, it also became a cartoonish, ludicrous farce of a mystery. Characters were able to survive increasingly deadly attacks, bizarre personality quirks were revealed, and the last semblance of realism died a bloody death.

Just one memorable moment from the first season.
And yet, under all the stereotypical characters and offbeat plot developments, Scream Queens still has a progressive streak, even if it is hidden under a veil of exaggerated social satire. One notable scene has a group of sorority members taking a stand against catcalling by calling the frat members out on their actions. Of course, said ‘calling out’ involved beating them up: your mileage may vary. Additionally, the show’s first season had a pansexual character, very rare for the media to portray. The season finale even celebrated feminism: the college became a wonderful safe space and the dean championed a cause called “New New Feminism.” Of course, because this is a satirical show, it was immediately followed by the dean leading a chant of “Women are better!” at a book signing for her new book.

This new season seems to be partially moving on from feminism on campus to America’s healthcare system. Having grown bored of feminism (in her own words) Dean Munsch has now acquired the C.U.R.E. Institute, intent on making it the most successful hospital in the world. The show quickly sets up all of the new characters, showcasing Saturday Night Live’s Cecily Strong as a patient suffering from "werewolf syndrome" and John Stamos and Taylor Lautner as two doctors. Since the season finale, Zayday Williams has worked to become a doctor and is in training to complete her educational journey. Based on her request for more female workers at the hospital, Munsch has hired Chanel Oberlin and her underlings, all dubbed with her name and a number, as assistants.

The remaining Chanels, in all their glory, proving that mean characters can still be protagonists.

The first two episodes primarily set up all of the characters and how they feel about each other, with a few potential clues as to the new killer added in for flavor. Unlike last season’s "Red Devil," the new killer is known as the "Green Meanie," based on the legend of a mysterious swamp man. I have to say, while I was hoping for the name of the new killer to be the "Green Demon," I still like the assonance in the names of both antagonists.

“Scream Again” and “Warts And All” are both great episodes, showcasing the absurd comedy and tense situations that slowly made me a fan of the first season. While I still believe that Chanel and her compatriots are awful people—and they are—it’s interesting to see how they interact with the other characters. Zayday is an interesting protagonist: I’m rooting for her to complete her medical studies and become a full-fledged doctor. I don’t know a lot about music, but the background music in the show is absolutely excellent; from the keening screech that plays before something awful happens to the bouncy tunes that normally play, it all fits the situations perfectly. I especially enjoy the songs that play during the murder scenes, mostly for their comedic irony.

Now, because I adore "who dunnit" stories, I want to do something different with this review. I want to give my personal ranking of the characters from the least likely to the most likely to be the Green Meanie.

- Catherine Hobart, aka “Werewolf Lady” and Tyler: They are the least likely to possibly be the killer, as they are both very dead. 0/4 skulls

- Ingrid Hoffal: So far, she’s acted suspicious every time we see her, asking about the whereabouts of Chanel’s gang and harboring an extreme hatred of them. I think her character is a red herring. .5/4 skulls

Special Agent Denise Hemphill: Maybe she’s trying to frame Zayday Williams for the murders, seeing as she irrationally sees her as a suspect for everything. However, her incompetence most likely precludes homicide. 1/4 skulls

Chad Radwell: Somehow, he managed to break into the asylum that previously housed the Chanels merely to pull an immature prank. Additionally, he has certain morbid proclivities that make him fairly high on the list. 1/4 skulls

Chanel Oberlin and Sadie Swenson, aka “Chanel #3”: Chanel Oberlin seems to be on the friendliest with Chanel #3 and they have disparaged Chanel #5 multiple times. It’s possible that they’re sabotaging her. 2/4 skulls

Zayday Williams: Despite being relieved to see the Chanels, they have previously acted horribly towards her in the past. Maybe she has a secret motive in trying to discredit them. Chanel Oberlin managed to solve one of the medical cases through sheer dumb luck, making her look bad. She could want to eliminate them or scare them badly enough to make them leave, thus securing her position at the hospital. 2/4 skulls

Cathy Munsch: I don’t buy her excuse for starting the hospital. I think that if she really is dying, then she’s using this as an excuse to finally kill the Chanels, seeing as she hated them in the previous season. Hiring Zayday could be an attempt to frame her, or subtly lead her into mistakenly getting someone else arrested. 2/4 skulls

Libby Putney, aka “Chanel #5”: She was trapped while Catherine was killed and not present at the time of Tyler’s murder. Seeing as she saw the Green Meanie during Catherine’s demise and was dating Tyler at the time of his murder, I doubt that she had anything to do with the events. However, the past two episodes have mentioned that she was off her medication and she displayed extremely violent tendencies in the second episode. Seeing as the last season had multiple partners working together, it could be possible that she engineered Catherine’s killing with an ally. 2.5/4 skulls

Doctors Cassidy Cascade and Brock Holt: Cascade hasn’t had a lot of screentime thus far, but he wasn’t shown during the murders. As for Holt, episode two revealed that his transplanted hand comes from a notorious serial killer. Combining that with the way his hand seems to act on its own volition and his violent temper, I don’t think he’s trustworthy. Perhaps they are working together. 3/4 skulls

Hester Ulrich: She is the only surviving killer from the last season. Trained from birth to be the perfect slasher, I have no doubt that she could escape from prison or, at the very least, organize the affair from the comfort of her cell. So far, she knows about the killings, despite being trapped in jail. 4/4 skulls

Zachary Krishef is an evil genius. Do not question his knowledge of Saturday Night Live trivia or Harry Potter books.