Heathers Series Premiere: Grade It!

Heathers Recap

Listen up, bus trash! We’re about to discuss both parts of Thursday’s Heathers premiere. If you don’t want to be spoiled, you should probably turn back now.

Dear Diary… Nearly two years after being ordered to series, Paramount Network’s long-shelved Heathers reboot — based on the 1988 cult classic — has finally arrived, and no one is safe. (Well, no one named Heather, anyway.)

Thursday’s two-part premiere introduces us to Veronica Sawyer (played by Grace Victoria Cox), a high school girl in the midst of a major identity crisis — that crisis being that she doesn’t have one, and no amount of inspirational Khloe Kardashian quotes displayed in front of the school can help her. In fact, Veronica is so unsure of her place in the world that she turns to Westerberg High’s unholy trinity (aka the Heathers) for guidance: There’s ringleader Heather Chandler (Melanie Field), a body-positive social justice warrior with a robust social media following; second banana Heather Duke (Brendan Scannell), who identifies as gender-queer; and Heather McNamara (Jasmine Matthews), who just wants to be accepted… even if it means lying about being a lesbian.

But everything changes upon the arrival of new student JD (James Scully), a bad boy who just wants to sit back and watch the world burn while knocking back a “blue flavor” slushie. “A little self-hatred is good for the soul,” he tells Veronica, before revealing his twisted revenge plot against Heather Chandler: break into her house and take a picture of her sleeping in a Nazi hat. (Troubling side note: JD’s dad collects Nazi memorabilia to remind him of “simpler times.”) But things immediately go off the rails when Heather wakes up (“What the queef is this?!”), chokes on a bag of corn nuts (with a “German suicide pill” hidden inside!) and falls down dead, shattering her gorgeous glass coffee table in the process. Fortunately for JD and Veronica, Heather just let them film her jokingly saying “goodbye cruel world,” so they upload it to her social media accounts as her official suicide message.

Westerberg High’s administration has no idea what to make of Heather’s apparent suicide (“Fat kids can be popular now?”), allowing her fellow classmates to seize this golden opportunity and restructure the school’s social hierarchy — especially Veronica’s former BFF Betty (Nikki SooHoo), who essentially usurps Heather’s throne overnight. Speaking of the “deceased,” the first half of the premiere ends with Heather waking up (the pill didn’t break!), only to discover that she’s become “f–king famous” for her tragic suicide. Thus, a new plan is born: Heather vows to become “the new face of suicide,” and as long as Veronica and JD don’t want to be exposed as attempted murderers, they’re going to help her.

The second half of the premiere shines a light on Heather McNamara, whose plan for reinvention in the wake of Heather Chandler’s “death” are dashed when her affair with a (male!) teacher is exposed. Though the administration initially doubts the affair (“With all the Photoshop and drug-eating going on, this could be anyone!” the principal says of an incriminating photo), Heather’s secret boyfriend is given the boot after several other girls — including one who “looks like Jim Henson got in one last Muppet before he died” — come forward with similar stories. Already down on herself, Heather McNamara’s self-worth takes another serious blow when Heather Chandler returns from the dead at her own memorial service. “You lied about being a lesbian,” Heather C. reminds Heather M. “You know that’s a hate crime, right?” She then tells Heather M. to take the bus to school on Monday, because that’s what she is now. “Bus trash.”

Now at her lowest point, Heather M. goes to the bathroom and slits her wrists. But even as she roller skates around town, leaving a trail of blood in her wake, no one seems to care. Her own parents don’t even look up to notice that she’s bleeding out on the couch right next to them — although parental obliviousness is kind of a running theme on this show, as it was in the movie.

Speaking of the film, Paramount Network’s Heathers is peppered with nods to its source material, from Veronica’s monocle to the casting of Shannen Doherty (aka the original Heather Duke) as JD’s late mother. Your thoughts on the new series? Grade tonight’s two-part premiere in the polls below, then drop a comment with your full review.

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