“Scream Queens” mini-cap: Episode 3


The drama continues this week on Scream Queens, when Lindsay returns to the holding pen to tell the girls that she was crowned “Leading Lady” for the week. Per the norm, no one is particularly happy for her.

Lina admits that director Gunn told her that she needs an “attitude adjustment” and to “stop being a diva.” No one offers up the typically-obligatory, “Oh my God, that’s so not true!”

The girls also learn that “poor Mariss” was told by the judges that she comes across as fake, and she cries about how they must have it out for her and that she can’t possibly change their minds. The girls reassure her that she can appear to be less fake if she really tries. Of course, if all else fails, Marissa can just fake it.

Later, Shawnee meets the contenders at the studio location where she shot the infamous “jaw trap” scene in the original Saw film.

I’m so glad they didn’t have these contraptions when I was growing up. I talked a lot and my mother was into corporal punishment.

The girls learn that they are going to learn how to do their own high dive stunts, or, as Shawnee calls it, “the proper and safe way to fall on your ass.” Lina has a fear of heights, but Jessica is excited because, as she tells us, she’s a "thrill-seeker and a risk-taker,” which doesn’t do much for her reputation as a nutbag with her fellow contestants.

Shawnee reminds them that even though they’ll be jumping out of a window, this is an acting challenge. They will be chased by a homicidal maniac, and each has to choose whether or not to jump or die at his hands. Of course, they’re required to “choose” to jump (Shawnee’s definition of “choice” is apparently much like that of the Republican party), and Shawnee wants to see “the moment of choice” in their eyes.

Sarah prepares to jump, and later tells us that she didn’t give a thought to the “immunity” reward she could win. She just kept in mind “that someone’s gonna come f—–g kill me!”

Due to the past criticism of the judges, Marissa wants to be as honest in her performance as she possibly can. No faking it with this jump. But she sucks, as does Angela, who follows her. Shawnee tells them “Don’t forget to act!” (Isn’t that the actor’s version of forgetting to breathe?) Pageant queen Michelle follows them, but forgets not to overact. Yes, she sucks too.

Lina uses her actual fear to her advantage, works up some genuine tears, and jumps. Success! Shawnee tells her it’s her “sexiest performance yet.”

Tanedra jumps head first and does a flip, raising the bar for everyone else. Shawnee rewards Tenedra with immunity, and not just because she did a “fancy” jump. Tanedra has good instincts, and she proves it.

Crazy Jessica is fearless and can’t wait to jump, until she gets up to the top of the building and looks down at the mat. Then it’s Vertigo-time. Shawnee calls “action” over and over again, but to no avail. Jessica admits that she’s not going to jump, so uses the “way she feels” to act out the scene. She screeches “Just kill me!” to no one in particular (or maybe just to Shawnee).

Their reward for scaring the crap out of themselves? A night on the town in Hollywood at the Kress Supper Club! For some reason, Jessica is allowed to go. They should have left her ass up there on the ledge.

Angela decides to get drunk and orders the first of many rum and Cokes upon entering the club. Sarah is right behind her, double-fisting a martini and a highball.

Sarah does one of my very favorite things that any unemployed actor can do: She makes a big speech about how to give an honest performance and talks about her “craft.” Along the way, she gives Michelle some “notes.”

Actors hate it when other actors give notes. It’s a privilege reserved for directors, agents, and whoever is buying their dinner that night at The Ivy.

Michelle fights back, and Sarah slurs that her comments have been misunderstood. She tries to apologize, then cries, “You guys make me feel like s–t sometimes. I don’t want to feel like I’m always f—–g walking on eggshells.” To help ease tensions, Lina brings makes a joke about “black ebonics” and Tanedra takes offense, which is, according to Lina, to be expected from the “token black girl.”

On the ride home, Angela collapses into Marissa’s lap in tears, then Sarah and Jessica take it to a whole ‘nother level. Jessica is disgusted by how wasted Sarah has become, and Sarah argues she’s only had half of what Jessica’s had to drink. The only difference is, “I weigh like 50 pounds less than you.” The collective gasp of the eight skinny girls nearly sucks all of the oxygen out of the bus.

If you make fun of a woman’s weight, then the gloves are off, right? That’s what Jessica thinks. She tells Sarah, “Do you realize how ugly you are, and how Jewish you look?”

What? These people aren’t auditioning for a role in a horror film — they’re already in one!

Before anyone can come to blows, the driver announces that the bus has “broken down.” These dumb girls actually believe this bit, instead of knowing instinctively that when you’re on a show about horror films, being on a creepy dark road in a broken down vehicle is probably a joke or a challenge.

This time it’s a joke.

Shawnee boards the bus with a guy in a Saw mask in tow and presents them with a preview of their next challenge. They are going to learn how stand and deliver stand up and fight. They don’t seem too impressed with this information, probably because they’re all drunk, so she tries to get them excited about it.

“Are you guys ready to kick some homicidal maniac ass?”

Um, how about some anti-Semitic maniac ass?

The next day, the girls go to a stage combat class to help them fight back believably.

Tedious Michelle brags, “So I’ve never had any formal training in stage combat, but I’ve definitely smacked a b—h in my day. So I think I’ve got this one in the bag.”

Lina adds, “You know I’m Asian, we all know kung fu, we all know karate, so I’m like ‘bring it on b—–s!’”

This show is really just a collection of sound bytes, isn’t it?

The girls are paired up as “heroine” and “bad guy”, and the judges want the emotion to be “real.” If that’s the case, they should have paired Sarah and Jessica (if you consider “drunk” and “bigoted” to be emotions), but they don’t. They first pair Lindsay and Jessica.

Macho acting coach John Homa tells Jessica, “You look crazy! You’re supposed to be playing the heroine, not the homicidal maniac!”

When Michelle and Sarah are paired (there’s some real drama!) but Sarah is told she’s being too emotional. Tanedra and Lina are up next, and Lina makes the mistake of really hitting her. Tanedra says, “Oh, you done f—-d up now!” But she resists the urge to roundhouse kick her into next week, and keeps her cool instead.

Later, the queens-in-training face another Director’s Challenge. In this scenario, they wake up, don’t know where they are and see an “ugly massive” guy come at them. They think they’re about to die, but find strength to fight him and win. In this challenge, director Gunn wants to see the transition from “helpless victim” to “hard-a-s heroine.”

The girls are painted up in red goo, and when they’ve been sufficiently fake-mauled, the challenge begins.

Jessica is first, and her creepy, unblinking greeting of “I’m good” to the director, is truly frightening.

Sarah admits, “I think Jessica got the psycho down. I was scared of her.”

Marissa brags again about her professional stage combat experience, but then sucks at her scene all over again. It’s forced and over-thought. I think her days on the set may be numbered.

Much to my amusement, Michelle’s scene is even worse. The always-charming Angela says, “She looks like she’s taking a freaking power dump.”

When Michelle wraps her last take, it’s so bad that the girls and the director can’t contain their laughter. Michelle, however, thinks she rocked it.

Lina does a little better, but has to work to convey the all-important moment of transformation.

Though she has immunity, Tanedra still gives it her all, as does Lindsay. The girls are impressed with them both.

Sarah goes last and is “prepared to do work.” By this, she appears to mean do weird things with her mouth and grab the fake cut glass from the floor.

Afterward, she admits, “I didn’t bring it.” The director is disappointed, and it’s so bad that Sarah says she can’t even cry about it. But she does.

At judgment, Sarah is criticized for being a big drama queen, but spared because of her past accomplishments. Lina is rewarded for her improvement, gets a callback and is named the Leading Lady for the week

Jessica is told that she too often goes to a “crazy place” which is okay for some roles but not for a true scream queen. Then Soma tells her, “I’ve been watching you since you walked in here, and you’re nuts. You look like you’re having some kind of mental breakdown… I would like to think I can hire someone to play an axe murder who’s actually not going to kill me. But I like ‘ya! Take it easy on yourself, will ‘ya?”

Michelle and Marissa are in the bottom two. Marissa is criticized again for being too much in her head, not progressing enough and being better suited for the stage.

Director Gunn is most disappointed by Michelle, who was, “the worst, by far.” And, unlike Sarah, she didn’t even know she sucked! She cries at their criticism, then — just like on Top Model! — they criticize her for not showing any emotion until this very moment. She cries and says that because she’s had such a wonderfully charmed life, she just doesn’t have the wellspring of emotion to draw upon like her screwed up, less-attractive, less-privileged castmates.

In the end, the judges determine that being a head-case is more offensive than being a stuck-up bitch. Marissa gets the axe and the dreadful Michelle is given a chance to suck all over again next week.