This week’s Scream Queens was titled “Chainsaw” as a nod to the killer’s (or killers’, ahem) new weapon of choice—and, just maybe, to acknowledge that this is perhaps the shrillest, most broadly-hewn TV show ever. Also, calling it “Red Herring” might’ve been too obvious.
Last week, we rounded up the most obvious suspects, but “Chainsaw” added one more name to the mix: Chad Radwell, Chanel Oberlin’s on-again, off-again hunk of man-cheese. Preppy, peppy Chad’s main interests include golf and having sex with as many chicks as possible (including, as we saw last week, Dean Cathy Munsch), and we learn he’s actually slept with all the Chanels. Chanel Number Five makes note of his fondness for knives—so add that to his list of hobbies—and Chanel Number Two (RIP ... though where’s her dead body, and who’s been updating her Instagram?) actually invited the guy to spend Thanksgiving with her family (Roger Bart and Charisma Carpenter, who cameo as her Heathers-esque parents) the previous school year.
Grace and Pete, who are somehow buddies again after that whole business where she accused him of being the Red Devil killer, realize they both believe Chad is the guy. They speed off on a road trip to investigate a woman whose sudden decision to drop out of college in 1995 might have had something to do with the Kappa bathtub baby ... who just might have grown up to be Chad Radwell.
This may be so—anything is still possible—but the best bet for bathtub baby is still Chad’s best friend Boone, who faked his own death last week. Viewers have the benefit of knowing what Grace and Pete don’t, which is that unless there are THREE Red Devils, Chad ain’t the killer. We learn this when Chad and his sweaters-’round-the-shoulders posse dress up like droogs and prowl the campus with baseball bats, looking to mete out street justice on the serial slayer. The end result is a visceral lesson in why you don’t want to bring a baseball bat to a chainsaw fight.
A double chainsaw fight, actually, since the bros are confronted by two Red Devils—apparently, there’s a surplus of costumes now that Dean Munsch has changed the school mascot to a soft-serve ice cream cone. (That doesn’t end well, since the kid who plays “Coney” gets chainsawed to death soon after his debut, which is preceded by a nifty Halloween homage shot through the eyeholes of his giant, swirly head.) And neither of those Red Devils could be Chad, because he’s in the scene, too. But ... notably ... he survives the attack. Could that be because best buddy Boone is in one of the suits?
At this point, the likely other killer is still slithery Dean Munsch, though Scream Queens makes it so freaking obvious, it might be TOO obvious. The episode ends with Grace’s father, Wes, outright accusing Munsch of being the killer, in case the viewer at home was too slow-witted to notice all the neon signs pointing to her guilt. But it’s only episode three, and presumably we’re not going to find out who the killer is until the finale.
That said, Dean Munsch sure does seem awfully suspicious, what with her white-noise machine set to “slasher movie” and all.
Other clues of unreliable usefulness sprinkled throughout “Chainsaw” include:
- Zayday, the show’s only truly likable character, is outed as a fan of How to Get Away With Murder. She also keeps a chainsaw under her bed for protection.
- Earmuff-obsessed Chanel Number Two confesses that though she’s heir to a massive frozen-food fortune, her biological father is actually Charles Manson.
- Grace’s father Wes, having taken the creepily overprotective step of becoming a professor at her college, takes over teaching Grace’s film studies class. On the first day, he shows his favorite film, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and dreamily remarks, “Aren’t we all running from the chainsaws of our past?”
“Chainsaw” also includes the scene WE ALL knew was inevitably coming, in which Chanel—who’s been losing her minions at an alarming pace—gives Neckbrace (aka Lea Michele) a glamorous makeover and christens her “Chanel Number Six.” That didn’t take long. Now how long until she regrets it?