7:00pm PT by Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya
'Scream Queens' Premiere: The Body Count Begins
[Warning: This story contains spoilers from "Pilot" and "Hell Week," the first two hours of Scream Queens.]
Scream Queens, Fox's horror-comedy anthology series from Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan, opened its season with a bloody two-hour premiere.
In a bid to keep up with everything that happens in the opener, THR takes a look at each of the players introduced in the premiere. For more on what to expect from the remainder of the season, check out our postmortem interview with co-creator Falchuk here.
1995: The year 1995 is almost a player in and of itself, as flashbacks start to unspool a dark mystery spanning a decade. The premiere begins in 1995 at the Kappa Kappa Tau sorority house at Wallace University, where one of the KKT sisters sneaks away from a party to deliver a surprise baby in a bathtub. The other sisters are having none of this. After all, this is supposed to be a fun party, not an icky birth scene. Plus, “Waterfalls” starts playing, and “Waterfalls” is their jam. They’re not going to miss “Waterfalls” for this nonsense, so they leave their sister to bleed out in the bathtub. She dies, and the camera zooms in on her in a canted angle as strings crescendo — all signs that we have officially entered the realm of horror.
Chanel Oberlin: Chanel (Emma Roberts) is the queen bee of KKT in present day. She’s unapologetically mean and will stop at nothing to get what she wants. Specifically, she wants minions to do her bidding, so she handpicks a group of KKT sisters to become her minions and renames them Chanel #2, Chanel #3 and Chanel #5 ... there was once a Chanel #4, but she got sick and left school. Chanel also has her eyes on the coveted internship with Diane Sawyer (also a KKT sister!) given to KKT leaders. Don’t get her pumpkin spice latte order wrong, or she will probably kill you.
Dean Cathy Munsch: The dean of students (Jamie Lee Curtis) is not a fan of the Greek system, but she especially dislikes KKT. Early on in the premiere, she drops a folder of exposition in front of Chanel as she explains that KKT is under extreme scrutiny after a violent incident the year before. In flashback, we learn that the former president of KKT had it out for Chanel. But someone filled the former president’s spray-tan machine with hydrofluoric acid, which burned her entire body. Munsch thinks it was Chanel, but Chanel informs us that the tanning company totally settled with the girl’s family outside of court. Case closed! But the dean, who we also learn played some sort of role in the cover-up of the 1995 bathtub birthing incident, remains rightfully suspicious. Mostly, she just really hates today's young folk, which she reveals first in a monologue given as she smokes a joint in bed with a student she’s blackmailing for sex, and then again in hour two of the premiere as she slow-motion walks to the scene of another murder. The dean checks off a lot of classic villain boxes, and even talks to herself in the mirror at one point. She’s hiding something. Everyone is.
Gigi Caldwell: Perpetually stuck in the 1990s because of a traumatic incident, Gigi Caldwell (Nasim Pedrad) is the president of the national chapter of KKT and also a lawyer. She steps in to mediate between the dean and Chanel and suggests a solution: KKT has to accept anyone willing to pledge the sorority.
Ms. Bean: Played by Jan Hoag, Ms. Bean is the maid of the KKT house and basically just a punching bag for Chanel. Unhappy with the new pledge policy put in place by Gigi, Chanel decides to stage a fake fight with Ms. Bean in order to scare off the new girls. At the end of the fight, Chanel shoves Ms. Bean’s head into what she thinks is cold oil, but someone has turned the fryer on. Ms. Bean comes up, rips the fried skin off of her face, and dies. Chanel manages to convince the other girls to keep quiet by promising to get them all hot boyfriends. They store Ms. Bean’s body in an industrial freezer, but the body mysteriously vanishes.
Jennifer: One of the undesirable new KKT pledges, Jennifer (Breezy Eslin) is a candle vlogger, which is exactly what it sounds like.
Hester Ulrich: Nicknamed “Neckbrace” by Chanel, Hester (Lea Michele) is another one of the new pledges. She has some psychopathic tendencies, including an intimate knowledge of how to properly dispose of a dead body. She also asks if she can start calling Chanel and the other Chanels “mom.” Michele’s excited, whispered delivery of “oh my god, thank you” when Chanel calls Hester a psychopath is one of the funniest moments of the premiere.
Tiffany: Chanel nicknames Tiffany (Whitney Meyer) “Deaf Taylor Swift,” because she’s deaf and loves Taylor Swift. During the first challenge of KKT’s hell week, Tiffany is killed by The Red Devil, who runs over her head with a lawnmower in front of all the other pledges.
Zayday Williams: Played by Keke Palmer, Zayday has a genius IQ and isn’t interested in sorority life until her new roommate Grace convinces her to rush.
Grace Gardner: Every horror story needs its resident good girl, and that’s where Grace Gardner (Skyler Samuels) comes in. She’s sweet, pretty and innocent. Her mom is dead, which she reminds us of twice within the first 10 minutes of meeting her. Her dead mom was a KKT sister back in the day, which makes Grace want to seek out KKT sisterhood, despite the protests of her father, who compares sororities to Game of Thrones. After killing Ms. Bean, Chanel threatens to tell the authorities it was Grace who pushed her into the fryer and uses her leverage to try to convince Grace to become a new minion. Grace teams up with her new love interest Pete to try to solve KKT’s darkest mysteries.
Pete Martínez: Pete (Diego Boneta) is a classic “nice guy.” He works as a barista on campus as well as an investigative reporter for the school paper. Chanel calls him a “gay Jimmy Olsen” (does Chanel read comics?). A year before, Chanel accused Pete of stalking her (“True Tori was over, I was bored”). Pete witnesses the murder of Ms. Bean as well as the cover-up and agrees to work with Grace to help bring down Chanel. He breaks into the dean’s office to try to access files, but is knocked unconscious by The Red Devil, who politely tells him to mind his own business. Pete has a Red Devil costume of his own as the school mascot, and when Grace discovers the mask and costume in his closet, she does some simple math and starts to suspect he could be the baby from the bathtub ... which is a bit of a jump.
Wes Gardner: Grace’s father Wes (Oliver Hudson) is very close with Grace, because remember, her mom is dead. He loves making playlists, which leads to a bonding moment with Gigi. He just wants his daughter to be safe, so he asks the dean for a teaching job at Wallace so he can keep an eye on her, to which the dean replies: “I find good parenting incredibly attractive.”
Chanel #2: She loves a creepy college, and who can blame her? Chanel #2 (Ariana Grande) becomes spooked when Chanel insists that the other minions join her in taking a blood oath that she finds online, believing it will ensure their silence about Ms. Bean. Chanel #2 runs out on the blood oath and goes to her room, where she receives a text message from an unknown number asking her to open the door. She does so, because she has apparently never seen a horror movie, and The Red Devil is on the other side. He texts her that he’s going to kill her, and she texts back her shock, and they continue to text each other in the same room as he stabs her to death. She breaks free for a brief moment and composes a tweet about how The Red Devil is killing her. He stabs her one last time mid-tweet, but she comes to just in time to hit send before dying.
Chanel #3: All we really know about Chanel #3 (Billie Lourd) is that she inexplicably wears earmuffs.
Chanel #5: Played by Abigail Breslin, Chanel #5 sometimes sucks up a little too much to Chanel. She also becomes horrified at the idea of Boone joining Kappa and threatens him.
Denise Hemphill: Denise (Niecy Nash) is hired to be KKT’s security guard, but she doesn’t really seem capable of protecting anyone ... not even herself. Denise’s friend and fellow security guard Shondell is killed by The Red Devil.
Chad Radwell: Chad (Glen Powell) is Chanel’s on-and-off boyfriend. The two break up and get back together at least three times in the premiere. He has a weird fetish for dead bodies and spends his days golfing on the quad with his best friend Boone. He’s also sleeping with Dean Munsch and thinks he loves her. Michael Bay is his favorite director.
Boone: Chad’s best friend Boone (Nick Jonas) is not-so-secretly in love with Chad. But when Chanel finds them in bed together, she outs Boone. He then decides he wants to rush KKT, but before he has time to inform his brothers, they come home to find his dead body on a table, surrounded by candles. However! The twist at the very end of the premiere reveals that Boone faked his own death and is likely in cahoots with the killer.
The Red Devil: Well, we don’t know who the killer is, but he or she keeps very busy in this premiere, first appearing in the flashback to the former KKT president’s spray-tan incident. Grace also spots The Red Devil on the first night of pledging. At the end of the premiere, Chanel claims The Red Devil tried to throw her out a window. By the time the other girls get to her room, The Red Devil is gone, but the words “SLUTS WILL DIE” are written in blood.
Scream Queens clearly introduces a lot of characters in its first two hours, and pretty much everyone on this list could be The Red Devil. Who do you think the top suspect is?