“The Ghost of Dead Gay Boone” has a nice ring to it, huh? Unfortunately for Boone, though conveniently for Nick Jonas’ busy schedule, “Ghost Stories” sees Chanel #3’s hysteria become reality—sort of. Ghosts still aren’t real and Boone turns out to not be gay (???), but by episode’s end, he’s most certainly dead.
“Ghost Stories” doubles down on Scream Queens’ strategy of giving the slashers almost as much airtime as their victims. It’s an interesting choice for a series that’s supposed to be at least 50% horror, given how much horror is driven by suspense. Assuming the revenge conspiracy is limited to the two Red Devils and Gigi, though that’s a big assumption, we now know the killers’ motivation and two out of their three identities, just more than halfway through the season. Is the rest of Scream Queens supposed to be driven by the mystery of Boone’s murderous twin sister alone?
Well, mystery and Chanel’s raging insecurity complex, which “Ghost Stories” sees mature, at long last, from an excuse for bitchy dialogue (though it’s definitely still that!) to a genuine driver of the plot. Usually, Grace, Pete, and ZayDay’s snooping does the grunt work of making things happen, while the Chanels burn airtime by sniping at each other in ridiculous outfits. Tonight, Chanel’s desperate need to visit the Radwells’ Hamptons compound and marry into a family almost as rich as hers drives her to murder. Or rather, intentional murder—rest in peace, Mrs. Boone!
Confronted with the inevitable failure of her plan to steal Chad Radwell away from Chanel, and forced back into a (bedazzled!) neck brace by a collapsing spine, Chanel #6 gets desperate and makes up a fake pregnancy. When her taste for sushi, soft cheese, and tobacco-flavored champagne betrays her, she brings up a valid point:Chanel may be smart enough to figure out she’s pregnant, but Chad never will be! Chanel concedes the point by shoving her down a flight of stairs, introducing the series’ first Kappa-on-Kappa murder.
The Red Devils, meanwhile, concentrate on ZayDay, because Boone has fallen in love with her. Even by the standards of Scream Queens, this pushes the limits of both what’s believable and what’s necessary; if you’re going to have Nick Jonas’s character fall in love with a woman, why make homosexuality his one defining trait? Combined with the “once you go black, you never go back” line, Boone’s attempted seduction—drunk with power from #3 thinking he’s a ghost, Boone assumes everyone’s as dumb and takes the ghost thing as carte blanche to do whatever he wants, sans Phoenix beard—is a trainwreck from start to finish, an excuse to kill off Earl Grey that’s way more elaborate than it needs to be. Isn’t “he was hanging around Kappa house” reason enough?
That’s it for major deaths and plot developments, because “Ghost Stories” is really about 60% filler. Campus is about to shut down entirely, and as Denise logically points out, that means the Red Devil is almost certain to go after the Kappas while they’re still in one place. Less logically, she insists the sisters tell each other ghost stories, because that’s how she calms down when she thinks ISIS is in her house—or the Red Devil assaults her in the Kappa house bathroom. Two of the three stories turn out to be foreshadowing for attempted murders: one about a demon who lets his victims choose how they die via colored toilet paper, the other about a killer stowing away in the back of a car.
Once the Red Devil puts these tactics to use on Denise and ZayDay, the takeaway seems clear: the remaining Red Devil is one of the Kappas who hear the stories in the first place. But who? Chanel seems to obvious, #3 and #5 too sympathetic, #6 too dead, and Grace and ZayDay too committed to stopping the murders. Looks like we won’t find out who Gigi’s remaining minion is for a while yet.