There are two major themes to this week’s episode: terrible mothers and terrible hats. Between this show and How to Get Away with Murder, I feel like I spend a lot of my time writing about mommy issues. We get it Hollywood, you’re all damaged.
Grace shows up at Dean Munsch’s office to finally discover the identity of the girl who died in the bathtub 20 years ago, armed with some not-so-empty threats and what must be an entire wardrobe filled with hideously patterned page boy hats. I’m sorry, but growing up without a mother is no excuse to dress like a 19th century Irish pauper on a daily basis.
After finding out for once and for all that her mother was not the bathtub birther, Grace throws a fit and tells Munsch that maybe she’ll start taking this whole red devil thing seriously when someone sneaks up and tries to stab her. Not even 24 hours later, both red devils (accompanied by a third party disguised as Supreme Court Justice Scalia because Ryan Murphy lost his chill somewhere around the second season of Glee and never even tried locating it) show up at Munsch’s home and try to kill her a la Pyscho. No one thinks to question Grace, the murder obsessed girl who predicted this very scenario that very morning.
Back at Kappa, Chanel has convened the rest of the Chanels to present any evidence they found to support their new theory: Zayday and Grace are the red devil team. Both 6 and 5 were absolutely useless, as per usual, leaving 3 to come up with a contingency plan. She offers Denise three million dollars to prove that Zayday is the killer, which realistically Denise would have done for $10 a pack of trident layers.
Denise seeks out Jennifer as the first interview of her official investigation. In case you were confused, Jennifer is the name of the weird candle girl. She has a real name. Who knew? Anyway, Jennifer tells Denise that Zayday is like, so friendly and super chill and would have zero motive to go around murdering privileged white girls…except for that time she vowed to seek revenge on privileged white girls.
Zayday happens to be Jennifer’s suitemate and hears this entire conversation go down (rookie mistake, Jennifer. Always check connecting rooms when accusing friends of murder) and is basically like YO DON’T FUCKING STEP TO THIS. She tells Jennifer to watch herself and Denise to come back with a warrant if she’s trying to make this a legit investigation. File that under things that guilty people usually say.
Later that night, Jennifer is recording what I can only imagine is another scintillating installment of her candle vlog, and it is very clearly homage to the Jen from Appleton video. Sidetrack: If you haven’t seen it, it’s a video in which a slightly unhinged girl rants about a candle fiasco she suffered at a Bath & Body Works, complete with employee callouts. Don’t fuck with the candle community, I guess. The Red Devil sneaks up behind Jennifer in the midst of her vlogging and stabs her right in the neck, his first merciful act all season.
This gruesome murder of a girl who wasn’t widely hated on campus, combined with the triple-team attack earlier in the episode, is the final straw for Wallace University. Dean Munsch finally cracks and shuts down campus, an announcement she makes while an incredibly apt candlelit vigil is being held for “the extremely odd girl with a candle fetish” aka Jennifer. Eternal Flame plays in the background as students hold up their single-wicked low-caliber candles, and even though this episode was overall pretty boring you have to give Ryan Murphy props for the most perfect track placement to date.
Chanel is irate because no college means no popularity, and no popularity means no Chad Radwell. In a last ditch attempt to prove Zayday is guilty, Chanel calls in the Scotland Yard to investigate. She had to threaten to assassinate Kate Middleton to get them there, proving that no one is more dedicated to catching this murderer than Chanel.
Meanwhile, Pete and Grace have continued an extremely flawed investigation of their own. They circle back to the Hag of Shady Lane, deciding that she will lead them to the bathtub baby, who will lead them to the Red Devil. Pete deduces, with his hard earned investigative reporting major, that the Hag probably ended up in an asylum because she was crazy. Conveniently enough, the same woman who painted an entire oil painting of Pete and Grace last episode happens to have kept the two paintings she made of the Hag from Shady Lane twenty years ago, and they both bear a striking resemblance to Gigi. Plot twist: there are two babies in the painting, one boy and one girl. If by some weird stretch of logic Chanel and Chad end up being twins, I am going to laugh for eternity.
Grace runs straight home from the asylum to confront Gigi, who has news of her own: she’s engaged to Grace’s dad. If she was a real homie, her first act as stepmother would be to burn Grace’s hat collection. Instead, she cuts down Grace’s incredibly flawed, albeit accurate, theory that Gigi is the red devil based off one crazy woman’s painting from twenty years before.
Next stop on the list of Grace’s verbal assaults for the day: her dad. She’s justifiably upset that he got engaged to a woman who wears colored acid wash jeans on a daily basis without even saying anything to her. Turns out that Gigi went full psycho girlfriend and bought her own engagement ring, and Wes let her go through with it so he could benefit from the mind blowing sex that would result. This man has literally zero boundaries with his teenage daughter.
During her sleuthing Grace discovered that Gigi was a Kappa at Wallace at the same time as her mom, which lead to this transitive line of logic:
Grace: If Gigi went here, and Gigi knew mom, you must have known Gigi
Wes: Woah, I’m not a serial killer
Grace: Literally no one suggested that
Upon realizing that her dad may be a pyscho, Grace bails and runs straight to Kappa where Chanel is waiting with some solid dirt that The Scotland Yard managed to dig up. Other than pointing out the very unsurprising fact that 5 is actively planning Chanel’s death, they discovered that Grace’s mom was a degenerate alcoholic meth addict, and also the Waterfalls bitch from the pilot. That’s right, Grace’s mom is low-key the reason for the bathtub death, and now it makes a lot more sense that these murders started just as Grace showed up to campus.
Being confronted with how shitty your parents are is rough at any level, but especially traumatizing when you’ve spent your entire life believing your mom was a literal angel who died in a tragic fire. Chanel, with even less regard for other people’s feelings than usual, dumps all of this on Grace and then accuses her of murder, at which point Grace snaps and slaps the shit out of her. We’ll allow it, she’s had a stressful day and her hat is probably cutting off blood flow to her brain.
Reeling from this discovery, Grace heads back to her dad’s for what’s bound to be some more incredibly uncomfortable and dramatic confrontation. Wes admits that yes, Grace’s mom was a mess who he had to sue for custody and ultimately died in a drunk driving accident. He also cops to burning down their entire home to cover up any traces of her degenerate lifestyle, at which point I’m thinking someone should have let him know there were about 1,000 other less drastic routes to take in that matter. Grace adds this to the ever growing list of reasons she resents her father, and threatens him with “I am my mother’s daughter” before she runs out. So, what, you’re gonna go cook up some meth? Cool, Grace. Fuck your hats.
Gigi arrives after Grace leaves and completes her transformation to full evil stepmother by suggesting that Wes have Grace committed. She’s obviously trying to save her own ass and I was about to be outraged until she dropped this little tidbit: Grace has a 1.4 GPA. I mean, this isn’t surprising since I’m pretty sure she hasn’t been to class since like the third episode, but Jesus Christ. 1.4? Even your shitty sorority consisting of six members has to have a study file closet. Use it.
Back at Kappa, Denise has appointed herself house mother for no explicable reason and also taken to stealing 5’s clothes to look the part. She responds to Abigail Breslin’s interrogatory outrage with “the real question is why you wear the same size as a 40 year old woman,” thus establishing Denise as the MVB of the episode. Her first act as house mother is to force Chanel to apologize to Grace for shattering her lifelong perception of her mother, because it was a bitch move even for her.
Shockingly enough, Chanel agrees (mostly because Denise threatened to fuck Chad if she didn’t, but still. Character development). We are greeted with a parallel of Chanel and Grace’s first coffee shop meeting, except this time Chanel brings a real white flag: her mommy issues. As centuries of white girls have done before her, Chanel tries to bond with Grace over their terrible relationships with their mothers. It turns out that Happy Oberlin is a monster and it was at this moment that I realized I would give anything for a Keeping Up with the Oberlins spin-off. The two seem to part on moderately peaceful terms, which I’m sure will be shattered three minutes into next week.
The last 30 seconds of the episode are the most important, as they feature our long lost angel Boone. He is on the phone at the gym (that guy), lamenting how hard his life is now that all he can do is work out and murder people. He’s also being mistaken for Joaquin Phoenix due to his heinous disguise. It can be assumed that Boone is on the phone with the other Red Devil, and he established a new plan of attack: get rid of Gigi.
What will next week bring? Undoubtedly more hideous head wear, more parental resentment, and probably a murder or two. I honestly don't care, because if I don't get a solid 15 minutes of Chad Radwell to make up for his complete absence this episode, I will riot.