‘Scream Queens’ Season 2, Episode 1 Recap: Scream Again
Season 2 of Scream Queens, like Season 1, begins with a party in the ‘80s that’s full of horrible people. It’s Halloween in 1985, and a witchy woman — or rather, a nurse dressed as a witch — sways atop a desk to “One Night in Bangkok,” until she’s interrupted by a far more distressed, less costumed woman. It’s Halloween, 1985, and we soon learn we’re at a hospital called Our Lady of Perpetual Suffering.
The witch-nurse reluctantly follows the woman, whose husband is a patient, to a hospital room. Dr. Mike — Jerry O’Connell, for those keeping track of the stunt casting — says her husband’s lungs need to be drained, but not right now, because it’s a party! Dr. Mike and the witch nurse end up dumping the guy in the swamp out back, covering his body in Dr. Mike’s green demon Halloween costume. Aaand we’ve got our new Red Devil — uh, Green Demon.
Back in 2016, the new hot docs are strutting the halls — Brock Holt and Cassidy Cascade, aka John Stamos and Taylor Lautner. They attend to a hair-covered woman with hypertrichosis, or “werewolf syndrome,” and it’s SNL’s Cecily Strong under there. Werewolf Lady says Munsch invited her there after meeting her in a “creepy disease chat room.”
Munsch, Our Lady of Perpetual Reinvention, is now the head of the new hospital. Her newfound hero status after the Kappa massacres led to her apparent revelation that she needed to reopen Our Lady of Perpetual Suffering. In a flashback, a reporter asks her about the imprisoned Chanels, and we get to see a clip of the Making a Murderer-esque show Netflix released about their case, called Entrap a Kappa Kappa (I laughed at that title for 30-60 solid seconds). In a clip that will be easier to enjoy if and when Brendan Dassey gets released, we see a grainy, Brendan Dassey-like interrogation video featuring security guard-turned-police-chief Denise Hemphill interrogating Hester.
Back in the present, Dean Munsch tracks down Zayday, who “hunkered down and finished undergraduate in a year and a half,” because Scream Queens is unapologetically absurd. Now she’s in med school, and Munsch invites her to work at the teaching hospital she’s going to save and pay for Zayday’s medical school — Munsch tells Zayday that she has a “deep-seated, personal reason for wanting to see this hospital succeed,” and she needs Zayday to help. But why?
“Sometimes I like to wheel in rando patients and just start cutting, discovering as I go. And sometimes, I just stare at my hands and cry,” Brock Holt tells Zayday when she arrives at the hospital for her first day. In another flashback, we see that Brock lost a hand in a gory Super Bowl party accident involving a lost ring down a garbage disposal (that old TV/film standby), and has had a hand transplant. Now he and his new hand aren’t the surgeon they used to be.
Zayday touches Cassidy and says he’s ice cold. Is this a Twilight reference? Because Taylor played a WEREWOLF. C’mon, script writer Brad Falchuk.
“I envy ice, at least if you give it warmth it melts,” Cassidy says to Zayday. Huh?
The doctors and Zayday confer in Werewolf Lady’s room, where she is ready to leave this crazy hospital full of crazy people. We then meet another new face: A jubilant, lollipop and razor-proffering volunteer candy striper named Chamberlain Jackson.
Meanwhile: The Chanels are back! They were sprung from the asylum after the Netflix documentary exonerated them, and graduated from college — except the public still remembers they’re terrible people, so they’re social outcasts. They all get jobs that require them to wear matching pink scrubs; Chanel became a phlebotomist after she realized she “loves blood.” The sound of their life desperation must be like a dog whistle to Munsch, who rolls up in a limo and offers the Chanels a gig at the new hospital.
In what could have been a really creepy scene but was sadly just a comedy bit, Zayday calls out to a noise in the hospital’s laundry room, only to reunite with the Chanels and hand them some linens.
The Chanels encounter Brock Holt showering, and are suitably impressed — Chanel #1 so much that she strips down to her underwear immediately, on the pretense of changing into scrubs. They/we catch sight of a red crest tattoo on his back with an “H” inside. Willing to bet that’s gonna come back around later.
The now three-Chanels-larger medical team consults with Werewolf Lady again. Zayday, who’s the smartest/sanest in the room by default, tells her they might cure her by drilling a hole into her brain. “You want to give me a lobotomy?!” the patient cries. That’s actually trepanation, technically.
We and the Chanels meet another staff member: Nurse and hospital boss Ingrid Hoffel, played by ‘80s icon Kirstie Alley. I’ve BEEN ready for a Kirstie Alley renaissance, and praise be to Ryan Murphy for casting her! Hoffel, rightly, tells the Chanels that they aren’t remotely qualified, and says to No. 1, “You mess with me, and I will eat you for lunch.” It’s fun to see No. 1 rattled by someone else.
Munsch and Zayday chew the Chanels out for their terrible bedside manor, and they’re put on academic probation; this is when they find out they’re not being paid for this gig, and scream accordingly. After some Snapchatting and scheming, they hatch a plan that’ll have them starring in a TV doctor show in no time.
In the second fakeout-scare of the night (by thirty minutes in, I wanted more genuinely spooky moments from the episode), Chanel No. 1 returns to the hospital to seduce Dr. Brock, whose transplanted hand starts to get a little strangle-y around No. 1’s neck.
Upon reviewing Werewolf Lady’s dietary records, they realize food is boosting her testosterone levels into hairy overdrive (sure) and interrupt surgery to stop Cassidy and Zayday from boring into her head. Zayday doesn’t seem to love being showed up.
Brock and Chanel’s remedy works, so well that Werewolf Lady now has no hair at all. “You look like a large baby!” Chanel No. 5 exclaims, in what’s meant to be a compliment. This calls for one thing: A 1980’s-style makeover montage!
“You girls changed my life! I’m gonna go take my first Tinder profile picture,” newly-glam and bewigged Werewolf Lady thanks the Chanels, as Zayday and Munsch look on.
“Side angle, dim light,” Chanel No. 1 advises. “We got rid of all your hair, but you’re still a good 15 pounds from being even a New Jersey 6.” Awww.
After another read from Nurse Hoffel — Munsch tells her to keep riding them, saying she’s “got plans” for them — the Chanels head to the locker room, where No. 1 tells No. 5 she’s got graveyard shift tonight. FINALLY, an actual scare is coming. We also learn here that No. 1 and No.. 5 are back to their toxic pre-asylum dynamic, and No. 5 “stopped taking her meds” when they were released.
Chanel No. 5 straps Werewolf Lady into an uber creepy, archaic-looking hydrotherapy chamber, and then gets naked and straps herself in too. The two stew in their water, looking like two heads on metal plates, as the swamp monster Green Demon skulks in with its blades a-swingin’. After putting a Ronettes album on (what, you’ve never seen a record player at a hospital before?), the killer chops Werewolf Lady’s bald head clean off — and then raises the blade to No. 5 as we fade to black.
Murray Head, “One Night In Bangkok”
Adam Ant, “Goody Two Shoes”
Roxette, “The Look”
The Go-Go’s, “Vacation”
The Ronettes, “Be My Baby”
Halloween Costume Inspiration From Celebrity Costumes Past