Holy... crap. My head is spinning, guys.
Scream Queens Season 1 Episode 12 and Scream Queens Season 1 Episode 13 comprised a seriously shocking two-part season finale. It was a bit exposition-heavy, and the apparent "moral" of the story was questionable at best, but at least it finally fully committed to the off-the-wall absurdity and dark comedy promised way back in the Scream Queens Season Premiere.
To be honest, nothing since the premiere (even the finale) has quite lived up to those first two hours – but I am decently satisfied with where the season ended up.
I was on the fence, as I mentioned in my review of Scream Queens Season 1 Episode 11, about whether Pete's final scene confession was a red herring. Turns out it wasn't.
In the opening moments of the finale, Pete revealed to Grace that he'd been complicit in the murders (#cahoots) basically all along – he explained that on the night of the security guard's murder ("Shondelle, why you got a knife in yo throat?!"), he discovered that Boone was the killer. That was all the way back in the premiere, guys.
I mean, we knew Pete was super into Grace, but it's illogical that he would have risked the Red Devils' wrath by continuously investigating their identities with Grace. Luckily for Pete, I guess, Grace was as dumb and oblivious as a bag of hammers and never put two and two together that she and Pete were going around in circles. Of all the reveals in the finale, I disliked the fact that Pete was in on it the most.
They could have at least used this reveal to make Pete interesting or maniacal or a mastermind or something. Instead, he was a lovesick dude whose flimsy motive for serial murder included Chanel sexually humiliating him and being rejected by a fraternity. Grace rightly called Pete out on what a terrible motive that was, leading to the sole moment of the season when I cheered, "Yeah, right on, you go, Grace!"
Gigi was the planner. The George Clooney in their psycho Ocean's Eleven, but Boone was the muscle. Without him, they could never keep this whole thing going.Pete
Of course, it doesn't much matter what I thought of Pete in the end, because he was dead within the first few minutes of the finale, at the hands of the last remaining Red Devil killer and the second to last murder victim overall. He also had the distinction of being the only student that Hester, the only Red Devil to make it out alive, personally killed, if I understood all of that part-two exposition correctly.
Grace oddly survived the Red Devil's attack, but saw her kind-of boyfriend Pete get murdered. Was anyone else weirded out that Wes seemed more upset that Pete had been killed than Grace did? Grace was over it in no time at all! Stone cold, hat lady.
Grace survived ostensibly due to Hester's line in one of the many, many flashbacks, to the day when she first met Grace and Zayday – Hester cryptically told the two girls that kindness might save their lives some day. And fair enough: Grace and Zayday were always nice to Hester, up until they (correctly) accused Hester of being the murderer.
The weakest part of the first hour of the finale was the "missive to end all missives" nonsense. It was a weak and repetitive plot point, and seemed to have happened only so that Ryan Murphy could have one last shot at penning a scathing Chanel monologue. Which, yeah, it was a great monologue and all, but it wasn't anything we haven't heard Chanel do before. The writing on the walls and various surfaces was a neat visual, though.
Attention all useless Kappa Sluts -- Congratulations! If you're reading this, it means you've overcome the limitations of your tiny manatee brains and opened an email. Now if you're asking yourself 'Derrr, wait, I'm confused, is Chanel talking to ME? Am I a useless Kappa slut?' simply ask yourself the following question aloud. 'Is my name Chanel #3, Chanel #5, Chanel #6, or Zayday Williams?' If the answer to that is yes, then felicitations, this missive is for you!Chanel
Essentially, the missive being leaked to the public was a hackneyed and random reason for the Chanels to wind up at Melanie Dorkus' house (for the beginning of Chanel's apology tour), so we could have our second-to-last Red Devil fakeout (Hester led Chanel to believe that Melanie was the killer). Chanel attacking the deformed Dorkus also later provided ammo to be used against Chanel, proving her capable of being one of the killers because she's violent (and has killed before).
I enjoyed the Melanie Dorkus confrontation, though it effectively shot in the heart my season-long theory that Dorkus was Boone's twin/the other Red Devil killer. I was really trumpeting that theory and I was 100% wrong. Oops. Guess I'm at Denise Hemphill-level detectiving (a.k.a., tunnel vision on one suspect) and not Pete-level detectiving.
Another great moment that resulted from the deeply lame missive nonsense was Chanel deciding that she's pull a Cleopatra and commit suicide by snake (an asp). Specifically, Zayday informing Chanel that the asp she'd purchased was just a harmless garden snake wearing a sweater: that line and Keke Palmer's delivery were absolutely hilarious.
Zayday and Chanel's heart to heart, yet another in the long line of Chanel seemingly having an epiphany only not really at all, was interrupted by a Red Devil attack. This Red Devil was totally inept, and male, which was a surprise – until it turned out that this "killer" was actually just a pizza delivery man who'd been forced into the costume and had a bomb strapped to him.
He explained to the girls that "she" made him do it – a woman dressed as the Red Devil answered the door and wrapped him in dynamite, warning him that if he didn't kill the girls she'd detonate the bomb.
I have to say, that was actually a pretty clever idea on Hester's part, as a last ditch effort to take out the remaining Kappa girls. And it mostly made sense – Hester, a skinny and not particularly muscular young woman, couldn't have expected to kill off the Chanels and Zayday. Since Pete dispatched Boone, the "muscle" was gone.
To derail for a minute, it was interesting and surprising that the show took such pains to clarify that the majority of the murders were committed by Boone, and most of the remaining ones by Pete. We'd all joked about the absurdity of the fact that a girl was supposedly one of the two murderers, and how the figure in the Red Devil costume was clearly always built like a male.
The fact that Hester was mostly the behind-the-scenes killer removed the absurdity from that. I expected the show to just embrace that wackiness and go with it, so it was kind of nice that they went for a bit of realism there.
Anywho, to return to the gist of things: pizza guy blew up as the Chanels comically screamed and scattered. The missive scandal, paired with Zayday's peptalk and the pizza guy tragedy, spurred Chanel to kick off her apology tour with Dorkus.
While Chanel was preparing to apologize to the ex-Kappa president, Wes was distracting Munsch with some sweet, sweet lovin' (to the soundtrack of some sweet '90s jams) while Zayday and Grace rifled through her computer for evidence as to the identity of the killer in the Chanels' school files.
Which Dean Munsch keeps on-hand at her house instead of at oh, say, her office, of course. Logic! Again, kind of a flimsy and badly explained reason for Wes to wind up in bed with Munsch, but I didn't hate it because Munsch deserved a win.
Zayday and Grace went all Nancy Drew on the Kappa girls' files and found one that was clearly fake. They rushed over to Dorkus' house to break the news, just as Chanel #5 suspiciously needed to leave to go meet her fake Tinder date, marking the last red herring as to the identity of the killer.
Instead of apologizing, Chanel attacked Dorkus as #3 recorded the whole thing. Zayday and Grace managed to stop her, and told Chanel and #3 that Hester is the killer.
By the time they got back to Kappa house, Chanel #5 was already there, continuing to look suspicious, and Hester was apparently dead with a stiletto hanging out of her eye.
But surprise! Hester was alive – and also the killer, as was explained (in painstaking detail) in part two.
Hi, it's me, Hester. You may have noticed my eyepatch. It's temporary. The advantage of stabbing yourself in the eye with a stiletto heel is that you know just where to jab it in order to miss the important organs, like your optic nerve or your brain. You might have noticed that I'm the only Chanel left. That's because I got away with it. It was a plan twenty years in the making and it worked.Hester [voiceover]
We time-jumped several times, landing eventually in a future world where Kappa was Chanel-free and ruled by benevolent leaders Zayday (president), Grace (vice-president), and Hester (treasurer). Hester explained her history, who she, Boone, and Gigi killed, and how she managed to get into Wallace with obviously fake records (Munsch wanting to meet a disability quota, basically).
Again, this was unnecessarily detailed. I feel a little bit like this was a Lea Michele showcase more than anything else.
The majority of the second half of the finale was dedicated to Hester methodically pinning the murders of each of the three Chanels. This bit was apparently more Hester's plan than the plan of original trio Boone, Gigi and Hester.
Hester seriously proved her mastermind capabilities in this sequence. Again, I felt it was overly long, but there were some fantastic moments. Hester brought in Chanel #5's parents, as well as her own, obviously fake, set of parents (Mother Delight, Stepfather Clark, and dog Cuddlebear) to convince the group that #5 was the other bathtub baby. The obviously fake stories that the faux-Ulrichs told, as well as the venomous hatred that #5's parents had for her, were equal parts bizarre and funny.
I have to say, I'm a little disappointed that Zayday and Grace fell for Hester's fake parents. They were touted as the clever ones! Also a little disappointed that Hester's success was, in the end, equal parts luck and cleverness. Seriously... she had no way of knowing that #5's parents would go along with her madness.
Easily the best fake Hester accusation was #3's supposed Dirty Helen alternate personality. Which #3 totally bought, because sure, she could have an alternate personality and not remember anything she'd done. Shrug.
Hester also managed to frame Chanel by buying all of the tools used for the murders in a Diner's Club card in Chanel's name. She then slapped Chanel down with a rant, akin to Pete's, about the awfulness of the Greek system.
Long story short: due to a combination of the Chanels' willingness to turn on one another, their general idiocy, and their terribleness, Hester was able to successfully pin the murders on the Chanels. Denise, with the help of deputized strippers, arrested the Chanels, who were then sentenced to life in an insane asylum after they epically FUBARed their self-represented capital murder trial.
And Hester got away with it all. I kept waiting for Hester's comeuppance. It never came. That part was a bit strange. It seemed incredibly unlikely that Zayday and Grace would so easily brush off their suspicions of Hester.
I do buy that Dean Munsch would agree to keep Hester's secrets in exchange for Hester keeping Munsch's. But Hester's speech railing against Chanel and claiming that murder was the ultimate form of hazing, seemed weirdly like Ryan Murphy and Co. were kind of excusing Hester's actions.
Plus, Hester's rant to Munsch about her circumstances not being her fault and thereby vindicating her actions seemed much the same. I mean, kudos to Lea Michele for playing unhinged remarkably well, but I have a little bit of a problem with the message being imparted here.
Was that just me? Are we really to believe that Hester's stiletto-to-the-eye levels of insanity just magically melted away, as the show seemed to be trying to insist upon?
Everyone got what they wanted. And even though the Chanels didn't actually kill anyone, they perpetuated the system that created me, my brother, Pete, and Gigi. So if anyone should pay for this, it should be them.Hester
Finally we ended on the Chanels, living it up at the insane asylum, all having embraced their crazy and a life away from boys that they needed to stay skinny for. Chanel #3 went "full lez" with a nurse there, and Chanel and #5 wound up best friends after #5 went on meds that made her "tolerable" (easily the most shocking development in the finale).
In either a dream or reality, Chanel was confronted by a Red Devil killer. Hester coming to finish the job, a new killer, or Chanel simply having a bad dream? Since Season Two would follow a new murder mystery, it's unlikely we'd ever find out. And that's OK with me. This was a neatly tied-up conclusion to this particular saga, even if some of it was problematic.
Though I still would've preferred the Clue ending where everybody was a little bit of a murderer.
Other Plot Points:
- Cathy Munsch and Wes Gardner lived happily ever after because Munsch is a sex goddess and rocked his world, basically. Wes, thanks to the deal between Hester and Munsch, was none the wiser that his brand new girlfriend is actually an ex-husband murderer. Wes finally left campus, giving Grace the space she needed.
- Chad Radwell (TOTALLY UNDERUTILIZED HERE) got together with Denise Hemphill (ALSO TOTALLY UNDERUTILIZED), also a sex goddess. That bit was irreverent and silly and fun. I liked it, and could have done with 3x more this and 3x less Hester exposition. I'm sad that they don't get their happily ever after since Denise is off to Quantico to join the FBI. I'm also a little sad and concerned for the FBI that they get Denise Hemphill.
- Chanel #5 would have been OK hooking up with Chad Kroeger. Egads!
- Hester addressed Boone's unnecessary and nonsensical decision to pretend to be gay. I liked that! He was just dumb. As good an explanation as any.
- Who was the second Red Devil with Boone and Scalia/Gigi at Dean Munsch's house? It must have been Pete, right? Why did he leave that out from his very detailed confession? Why would he have agreed to go murder Dean Munsch?
- Why did they kill Coney? Seriously, that was funny and all but logically made absolutely no sense! And most of the other murders, if not all, were explained in painstaking detail. Coney wasn't part of the Greek system or someone that could have ratted the killers out.
- Remember when Hester was plotting to overthrow President Zayday? Did she just kind of get over that idea and decide she was fine with being treasurer instead?
- Who killed Gigi? That wasn't specifically addressed, unless I missed it. I guess it was Hester, but why didn't she bring that up at all?
- Where did all those bodies in the meat locker go?
Thoughts on the finale? Did you see this reveal coming? Who do you want to see in the still-unconfirmed Season Two? If you already miss all those crazy Kappas, you can watch Scream Queens online here at TV Fanatic to relive all the madness.
Caralynn Lippo is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.