A single tear for the end of Scream Queens 2
Scream Queens usually opens with a brief moment of mourning for the eliminated cast member.
Here is them mourning:
For finalists in an acting competition, they have a hard time acting sad. It’s hard to feel sadness or even sadness by proxy when you’ve — as Gabby mentioned — beat out seven other girls and thousands of auditions.
But with another leading lady under Gabby’s belt, Jessica is intimidated. And with no one to share her concerns with in the house, she has to confide in the middle distance.
On the other side of the room, Christine and Gabby know that their chances of going home next is high, since Jessica has rarely, if ever, made a wrong move in this competition.
The next day all three judges are on hand for the challenge, because once it’s done, one lady will immediately get axed. Also, it’s just a really nice day, and Homa doesn’t look like he goes outside much.
Tim explains that the challenge, called “The Gauntlet,” will test all their skills: fighting, movement, blocking, and working with special effects. Homa tells them it’ll require a full range of emotions. The scene is one long continuous shot. Thinking about all this gets one long continuous sigh from Gabby, whose worst mistakes have come from missing her marks.
Tim walks them through the scene, with all of its complicated twists and fight choreography. It’s an actress obstacle course, basically.
Gabby says she’ll follow her instincts. Always a good move for her.
All three judges watch Jessica’s take from the trailer, and they yell at the monitor like they’re watching a football game. When Jessica doesn’t get into the car fast enough, they have to go back and start over.
Next Jessica finds out she’s running too slowly. She must nail the third, last take. And she does.
Jessica tells the other girls that it was way harder than she expected. It’s either a moment of honesty or a way to intimidate the competition.
Christine’s first take is not good for a different reason — Homa thinks she looks too much like a victim from the start. Tim tells her to walk like she just came from “the screw of your life,” or, alternately, like “John Travolta at the beginning of Saturday Night Fever.” Interestingly, picturing Travolta picturing the screw of his life is a great way to get into character when you have to play “terrified.”
The second time Christine makes some inspired choices: honking the car horn, screaming for help. They feel real and authentic. But for some reason, her performance does not. Her second take is a big improvement, though, and she goes back to the dressing room trailer with a lot of confidence.
Gabby is too scared on the first take, then too fast for the camera on the second. The frustrated judges watch from the trailer. This leaves one take for her to get this right. She does, at least in Homa’s eyes.
Jessica’s fears are through the roof now, as she sees that her previous hard work won’t mean much today unless the judges love her last scene.
Now it’s time for the first elimination: Tim gives the girls a talk about how horror is like the rock ‘n’ roll of movies, and how two of the girls are punk rock, and one is classical music, blah blah blah. His speech only seems to make it worse for the ladies.
The girl too delicate for horror is Christine. Her dismissal makes everyone from Jessica to Jamie start crying.
Jamie says they just didn’t see the survivor that they needed. And then Christine gives them a survivor. “Win! F***ing win!” she yells at Gabby. She interviews that she’s just waiting for someone to please, please discover her. Anyway beating out seven girls and a few thousand more at the auditions still puts her in the top .0001%, so she has little to worry about.
The next morning the girls wake up happy, though Jessica is cautiously happy, considering Gabby’s great performance the night before.
They get a call (what, no serial killers/strippers/crazy clowns?) and are told to meet their limo downstairs. They visit the Lionsgate offices where Jigsaw, the star of the Saw Franchise (and their future co-star), tells the girls they’ll be doing a scene from the very first movie. A producer, Mark Burg from Saw, also congratulates them and tells them to get to work.
Last class Homa.
“If you are not better than the person you are looking at, you go home,” Homa yells at them. It’s a variation on Tai’s statement, really — when you look around you, you should only be seeing losers.
This class will be all about working on their scene. One will play the character, while the other will be the character’s sister on the phone. Each actress’s first take is bad. Homa has them sit back down for a berating worthy of a Saw movie. Jessica goes again, and her second take has the commitment she and Home are looking for. Now he wants the transition, from victim to threat. Pretty much the character transformation of Scream Queens.
They switch, but Gabby can’t produce the same tears. Homa tells her if she’s not crying, he won’t be “a happy guy.” That probably goes for a lot in Homa’s world.
She still can’t get there, so Homa employs some of his rainmaking techniques. Bingo!
Seriously, greatest acting coach alive? “Homa was there in a way that I wish my own dad would have been there,” Gabby interviews. To make her cry?
Director’s Cut time. Tim greets them on set, but then reveals a little twist: they’ll be working with Darren Bousman, the director behind Saw II, III, and IV. Tim, it appears, will just be hanging out in the elimination room during filming.
For the first take, Bousman explains that he likes to not give any instruction and just see where the actress wants to go. Pretty convenient, I say. Jessica is up first. Has anyone ever had a cuter outfit for a torture scene?
Bousman stops the first take to encourage Jessica to make some decisions: pull at her chains, look for the exits. All stuff to not make her a “victim.” Unfortunately, since this is the finale, we will never get victims weeks on Scream Queens.
His redirect the second time? She needs to look like she’s actually trying to leave. We learn that Bousman’s more blunt than Tim, not as encouraging or friendly with the actresses. Or, this just means that the training wheels are off. Either way, this just feels more real.
The final take destroys Jessica, who looks physically and emotionally spent by the end. But Bousman is happy, and Jessica is happy, or at least sure she tried her best.
Back in the bedroom, Gabby’s nervous. She says her biggest fear is disappointing Homa. Note: she doesn’t say her biggest fear is losing.
Surprising! Luckily, losing this competition would disappoint Homa, so she’s still got her priorities straight.
Her look here? Punk rock. Or a Hollywood Blvd. version of punk rock. Maybe she took Tim’s words about horror and punk music to heart, or maybe the stylist did. Either way, Gabby looks far more rock ‘n’ roll for this horror scene, complete with Dead Kennedys t-shirt and leather vest.
Bousman wants Gabby more panic to show on her face as she’s putting the scene together in her head.
Next take, he wants a slower progression from panic to anger at the end, he wants, as they say, a “moment.” Gabby interviews that, at that moment, something “snapped.” But in a good, committed-to-the-scene kind of way. She, too, looks spent at the end of her scene.
The Grand Ballroom.
Joining them is Mark Burg, the Saw producer. Gabby is up first. Jamie goes over her story for this season: Big ups, big downs, and a strong finish. Tim echoes Jamie, saying that her highs overshadowed her lows . Last is Homa, who tells her how proud he is. It makes her cry a little bit. And since that’s all she wanted, she’s kind of won already.
Jessica is on the verge of tears when she’s called up. Her story is different because she’s been consistently strong for the whole competition. Jamie praises her skills and her strength, while Homa calls her “fearless.” He mentions her outburst in her class, but also how much he loves all her performances. “You’ve nailed them all,” Tim adds.
Burg says it’s more about who’s best suited for the role in Saw, because both ladies are great actresses. But the one best suited for Saw, and this season’s Scream Queen is… Gabby.
Jessica looks more shocked than sad, and interviews that she didn’t expect to lose. Once again, it seems like she’ll be fine.
Gabby tells the judges, between sobs and smiles, that all the girls in the house would tell her she would be the next one to go home. She gets the last laugh.
And the last tears. Homa must be a happy guy!