In a double-episode finale, Scream Queens’ jigsaw plot finally came together in a semi-coherent manner. The Red Devils were all revealed, and most of the guilty parties were punished. But the satisfaction of knowing the truth wasn’t enough to redeem a show that’s consistently cloaked its satire in grating shrillness.
We knew already Boone was one of the bathtub twins, and that Gigi was their insane aunt who raised them on a steady diet of revenge-plotting. In the first moments of episode 12, “Dorkus,” we learn that Pete—always a bit unhinged—has been in cahoots with the killers nearly since the murder spree began, having discovered Boone’s involvement early on.
Supportive of the Red Devil mission to annihilate Greek life on campus, Pete admits to Grace that he killed Roger, Boone, and the cop in the mall, as well as wounded Chanel with the crossbow. His twisted logic and Nietzsche quotes inspire the above-pictured expression on Grace, as well as the best line of Scream Queens’ entire run: “You’re quoting Nietzsche? You’re already a murderer, Pete. You don’t have to be a douche as well!”
Just as Pete the Douche is about to tell Grace who the female bathtub baby was—“Spoiler alert: the other killer is one of your sisters”—the Red Devil appears and murders him, though she spares Grace. (We’ll find out why soon enough.)
The plot, which was just getting interesting, screeches to a halt so that Chanel Oberlin can deal with the fact that her poison-pen email—sent to her sisters excoriating them for not meeting her at the pool to kill Dean Munsch as planned—has gone viral. (Naturally, the Red Devil who is also a Kappa sister forwarded that shit to everyone on campus.)
This seems like a time-waster, to be honest, and it doesn’t really go anywhere at all. Chanel, inspired by a surprisingly generous Zayday pep talk, briefly decides to try and be nicer. (“Briefly” being the key word.) There’s more time-wasting when a man in a Red Devil costume bursts into Kappa, only to reveal he’s a pizza delivery guy with dynamite strapped to him. Boom!
That might be the most blood that’s ever appeared on Scream Queens, actually.
Convinced that acid-scarred former Kappa prez Melanie Dorkus is behind the bomb, the New Fake Nice Chanel decides that as part of her reputation-restoring “apology tour,” the girls should go visit her. It doesn’t go well, since Chanel’s real intention to stab Melanie (whom she believes to be the killer—and if this was a real 1980s slasher movie, she absolutely would be) with a pair of fancy scissors.
Fortunately, she’s stopped midair by Grace and Zayday, who’ve snooped through Dean Munsch’s files to discover the identity of the real killer: Hester. Which, duh—obviously it’s Hester. Why else would Ryan Murphy dream girl Lea Michele agree to be on this show wearing an unflattering neck brace unless she got to be the true center of it all?
However. Just because the evidence clearly points to Hester doesn’t mean Hester—who has spent literally her entire life plotting revenge, and despite being a psycho/sociopath, is one of few characters on the show with a working brain—is going to take the fall. She will, however, take a stiletto heel to the eyeball to throw the blame elsewhere, and exchange her bedazzled brace for a bedazzled eye patch.
Most of episode 13, “Final Girl(s),” consists of flashbacks and exposition, as Hester explains how she got away with it. And most of how she got away with it came down to a farcical scene in which she convinced Police Chief Denise Hemphill, Grace, and Zayday that the Chanels were the real killers—right down to hiring actors to play her own parents, and convincing poor Chanel Number Five’s parents to inform her that she was adopted from the bathtub.
Chanel Number Three, the daughter of Charles Manson, is all too easily convinced that she has an evil other personality named “Dirty Helen” with murderous tendencies. And Chanel Oberlin had more than enough motive, knocking off pledges she was forced to accept despite them not being Kappa-worthy.
The trio is arrested as Martika’s “Toy Soldiers” plays poignantly in the background. “You rich, dumb hos are going downtown,” Denise says.
We learn that after growing up in an insane asylum, twins Boone and Hester—who have an antagonistic relationship, to put it mildly—faked their way into Wallace University (Boone apparently just showed up and started going to classes; Hester, whose transcript says she attended Sweet Valley High, got in because of her fake “disability”). They got the ball rolling by putting the acid in Melanie Dorkus’ spray tan, before starting to pick off Kappas in earnest.
Grace and Zayday were spared from the carnage because they were super-nice to Hester that first night of Kappa rush. (Also Grace is Hester’s half-sister.) And now Grace, Zayday, and Hester oversee a nicer, kinder version of Kappa, one that’s approval-stamped by Dean Munsch, who’s a nicer, kinder version of herself—thanks to her best-seller on “new new feminism,” and her scorching relationship with Grace’s father, Wes.
Dean Munsch even agrees to let bygones be bygones with Hester, though she fully knows that she’s the real Red Devil, and Hester knows she knows. All it takes is Hester reminding her of all the dirt she has on Dean Munsch in turn (covering up the bathtub baby incident; murdering her ex-husband; etc). It’s a superficial shrug-off of everything that was driving the show’s entire plot, and quite revealing of how much we were supposed to care about the plot in the first place. Which is to say, not a lot. But the costumes were memorable, no? When have you ever seen so many high-fashion uses of feathers, or earmuffs?
Speaking of relationships, we learn that Chad Radwell and Denise have kept up their own scorching affair—until they must break up, because Denise is joining the FBI.
I mean, sure. We’ve gotten this far. And that was pretty much the only funny scene in the entire finale.
The Chanels, who represented themselves in a serial murder case, are about to be found not guilty—until Chanel Oberlin shrieks about how she deserved a jury of her peers, and this particular jury is way too fat, old, and ugly to be considered her “peers.” So they’re found guilty instead, and sent to the same insane asylum where Hester grew up, and where Dean Munsch spent a few relaxing weeks. As it happens, the girls love it there.
Why? Well, maybe they really are insane. That would explain a lot.
And while Scream Queens may have stopped following the pattern of 1980s slasher flicks many, many drawn-out episodes ago, it does end on one last appearance from the killer, as the Red Devil appears in the asylum to torment Chanel a final time. Will she die, finally? We’ll never know, and we don’t care. Sayonara, Scream Queens!