FOX’s Scream Queens
Season 1, Episode 13: “The Final Girl(s)”
Directed by Brad Falchuk
Written by Brad Falchuk/Ian Brennan/Ryan Murphy
* For a review of the previous episode, “Dorkus” – click here
With a seemingly shocking reveal by Hester (Lea Michele), high heel in her eye at the end of the penultimate episode “Dorkus”, #5 (Abigail Breslin) was pointed to as the other Red Devil Killer.
This finale episode begins in January 2016, with Zayday (Keke Palmer) and Grace (Skyler Samuels) at the head of the sorority. Even further, Dean Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis) is there smiling. Plus Hester (Lea Michele), who has an eye patch, and she claims via voice-over she grew up in a mental institution, she is the only Chanel left. Her 20-year plan went off just as planned. Wow! Really? I was all bent on #5 actually being the other killer, but I’m slightly surprised now with Hester’s revelations. We get great flashbacks to Gigi Caldwell (Nasim Pedrad) teaching little Boone and Hester in the asylum all about chainsaws and hammers, and the terrifying things for which they’re quite useful. A ton of fun moments with Hester in the asylum, ranging from darkly comical to full-on horrific. Hester specifically talks about her rockin’ bod, therefore it was necessary to find a “cloak of social invisibility” which came to be the huge brace.
Hester: “What I‘ve noticed is that the more weird and gross you are, the less people wanna know about you. No one asks the kid with terrible acne what their favorite movie is or where they were born.”
Then Gigi and Hester found the Red Devil costume, ironically killing the Red Devil as their first victim. Very eerie scene where Gigi stabs him to death, sort of shrouded in a little darkness and looking completely insane. The filling in of back story is good fun, explaining how Hester and Boone (Nick Jonas) never went to high school, so it became hard for them to get into college; Hester slipped in due to Munsch’s idiocy, Boone simply showed up among the Dickie Dollar Scholas and pretended to be a student. Best of all is watching the eye patched Hester doing a voice-over, as Grace and Zayday talk to the new sorority pledges.
Gigi: “Hammers are good for bashing people in the skull and watching them bleed to death.”
Then we’re back to Hester preparing to jab herself in the eyeball with the high heel shoe. A perfectly nasty little scene. We see her being rushed out by paramedics, still claiming #5 is the Red Devil Killer. Everything is looking rough for poor #5, how could I have doubted her? Well Chanel #1 (Emma Roberts) and #3 (Billie Lourd) are especially convinced, throwing all kinds of accusations at her. New Chief Denise Hemphill (Niecy Nash) strolls in talking about a male body with chiseled abs and possibly a “gay face“, even though everyone is already aware Boone is dead and gone. Still, Grace and Zayday are convinced of Hester’s guilt. Then the crazy shows up, her eye patched with gauze, claiming she was home schooled and that’s why her high school transcript was faked, et cetera. She continually blames #5, trying to sway everyone to believing her obviously fabricated truth. Then up shows Hester’s father and mother, so she says; it’s obviously a fake family, they even say they’re in the CIA, but they’re clearly a couple actors. Chanel #5’s parents show up and they’re not more interested in her than any of her sorority sisters are. They give up a story about her being adopted from Gigi: a flashback sees Hester going to #5’s parents, they actually hate her claiming “our daughter sucks“. So many ridiculous notions flying around. Denise still thinks Zayday is the killer, too.
Chanel #1: “I think you‘re a serial killer because I know you, #5! You bite your own toenails!”
Chanel #5: “Okay, I am flexible. Why would I waste my money buying toenail clippers when God already blessed me with toenail clippers in the form of teeth in my mouth?”
On top of everything, #3 is accused as being in cahoots with #5. We get more hilarious Billie Lourd here, talking about bathroom duties: “I was past number two. I had to go: number three.” I mean, I actually fucking choked laughing at this part. Especially when Lourd refers to taking a dump as “laying pipe“. Then there are more inclusions of #3’s father as being Charles Manson – letters from prison talking about killing people, strapping bombs to people, and so on. Another laugh out loud moment: “Dirty Helen.” So much back and forth between Chanels #3 and #5 and Hester, with occasional interjection from Chief of Police Denise Hemphill. But basically what happens is Hester accuses all the Chanels, even #1, of being in cahoots together. Except we actually see Hester dressed up as #1, buying things at a home improvement store. Not like we don’t already know what’s happening. But I still dig how they’ve combed through so much fabrication on Hester’s part.
The sequence afterwards where the Chanels are arrested, perfectly by a bunch of deputized male strippers in police officer uniforms, all of which is accompanied by a great tune.
Flash to May 2016. Dean Munsch is very happy, about the campus open and free, the Chanels having their bail revoked, and other fun stuff. Turns out Chad Radwell (Glen Powell) and Denise Hemphill have broken up their long steamy affair, including her TLC “Waterfalls” quotes; great return to the pilot with reference to the song. “We got too close to the sun baby, we shined too bright,” she says. To which Chad replies: “I promise I‘ll never bang anybody like I banged you.” Moreover, Chad starts a ridiculously abbreviated charity in the name of Roger, Dodger, Earl Grey, and the boys. He can’t exactly explain to which charity the money will go, “I don‘t know – all of them.” Then there’s Munsch with a book out on “new new feminism”, making lots of light of her past terrible year. So when will all this break? When will the lives of these survivors be impacted by the reality that Hester was one of the Red Devil Killers?
Then, Dean Munsch reveals to Hester she knows the truth. She remembers the baby in the bathtub, the girl, she knew it was Hester all grown up. To all this, Hester replies she needed a real father, she needed good influence instead of the painful upbringing she experienced. Even with all her amorality, Munsch knows the death of all those people was wrong, they did not deserve her wrath. Only Hester strikes a tentative deal: she won’t say anything about Munsch covering up the death of her mother those two decades ago, or the suspicious death of her husband, if dear Cathy won’t say anything about her murderous rampage. Deal struck. For now.
Grace is showing Wes (Oliver Hudson) around the new sorority house, including lifelines for girls like his wife who were forced into situations like happened twenty years ago, when she gave birth and died in that bathtub. They have lots of nice father-daughter catching up, including some typical hilariousness.
Then the courtroom scene with the Chanels is pure comedy gold. Especially when we see the jury’s ballot as marked NOT GUILTY, before Chanel #1 makes a scene, then the jury foreman crosses those decisions out and marks off GUILTY on “all 47 charges“. There are amazing instances of surreal comedy throughout Scream Queens and this whole scene is a perfect example of that. Even while the Chanels are complete pieces of shit, there’s something tragic about them being sent away to an asylum while Hester still walks around, murder in her heart. My favourite part of the episode is when the Chanels are shipped off to the asylum, as Simple Minds’ hit “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” plays throughout. Even after a bit Chanel #1 & #5 become best friends, as well as they all gorge on food because there are “no boys to stay skinny for“. Most laughs here: Chanel becomes House President of the asylum, toasting with prune wine brewed in lock-up. I mean, how can you not laugh? Such a downright funny sequence.
In the night at the asylum, Chanel tries to go to sleep. Only above her bed appears the Red Devil Killer. And so comes the end of Season 1.
I know others weren’t as pleased as I am, but I’ve got to say: I loved this finish. The whole thing didn’t wrap up completely, so Season 2 will come organically out of this finale. I’m excited to see where Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan take their unique horror-comedy vision for the next season. People are saying it was a predictable end. Why does everything have to be so twisty that you NEVER see it coming? Part of the fun of a slasher movie, and in turn a slasher styled series, is that you keep guessing. Sure, maybe you guessed with blind luck early on. Or maybe you guessed, then second guessed yourself, over and over, until finally your first guess was right. Either way, it’s all part of the fun. If you didn’t enjoy it, be done; don’t tune into Season 2. Me, I’ll be back with bells on. Looking forward to more hilarity and horror mixed together, with new adventures for the remaining Final Girls to look forward to down the road.
Will Dean Munsch pay for her indiscretions? Will Chanel #1 survive? Is Hester still the only one in the Red Devil Killer costume, or does she have new help? We’ll see next year.