After an entire season of Red Devil speculation we learned the entire revenge scheme in the two hour finale episode of Scream Queens, and we now know the identity behind the third killer – Hester Ulrich, aka Chanel #6! The revelation was bold, smart, fulfilling, and utterly enjoyable, but Before I answer the slew of questions created this season, let’s pick up with where we last left off… Pete admitting he’s involved in the murders. Pete tells Grace that though he isn’t necessarily one of the main murderers, he became aware of the killings after stalking Boone (when he killed Shondell.) Grace, who is completely shocked by his involvement, tries to leave but he insists that Grace learns the truth first. Pete’s resentment towards fraternities was already obvious, but after Chanel romantically led Pete on during the previous year, he decided it was a good opportunity to join the plan that was already in motion. Pete wound up killing Roger, the officer at the mall, and Boone. A shaken Grace (the scene is masterfully executed) processes the confession and refuses to accept what he has done. She tries to leave again, but he convinces her to stay so he can at least divulge who the other baby was (who’s also the main killer.) Pete collected the DNA of the Kappa sisters and discovered the identity – but before he could tell Grace who the other murderer is, the Red Devil bursts out from his closet and killed Pete (while Grace provides quite a struggle) and she’s eventually knocked unconscious by the Red Devil. The entire reveal scene uses unique transitions, angles, and writing, making it a powerful start to a thrilling two hour finale.
In a nod to the viral sorority letter that inspired the sorority themed series, Chanel has received nationwide hatred for the vile (but hilarious) message to her Kappa sisters for not following through with their plan to kill Dean Munsch and explains she had to “have a super awkward conversation with her, where I was like, ‘oh derrr, I just like brining enormous chains to pools’ and looked like a total div.” before later going on to question their intelligence. The letter caused a media uproar, and despite telling them off in a very Chanel way, she decides she must take her own life. Chanel purchases a snake to kill her similarly to Cleopatra (just a garden snake in a sweater) and Zayday is surprisingly the person to talk her off the non-existent ledge until someone in a Red Devil costume comes at the two women. Zayday fights back and realizes this person seems a little off kilter, so she removes the mask when given the opportunity and an unknown mans begins screaming at the top of his lungs. Zayday and Chanel drag the man downstairs with the other Chanels meeting them, when Chanel #6 states she saw a veiled woman with scars mumbling “dork-something” (clearly a reference to Melanie Dorkus from the pilot). They remove a gag from the man’s mouth and he tells the girls that a bomb was strapped to his waist while he was only there to deliver a pizza. By the time they realize what has happened, the ladies go running just in time and the delivery man is blown to bits, sparking a house-wide scream session.
Wes and Grace come up with a plan to use the Dean’s records to look into the possible bathtub baby and it involves a steamy romp between Wes and Munsch while Grace and Zayday begin to sift through the information they sought out - and eventually find the real identity of the killer. After the sexual encounter between the adults, Wes has quickly fallen for her and they agree on giving a relationship a shot as long as Wes promises Munsch he will distance himself from his daughter at last. Meanwhile, the Chanels head to the home of Melanie Dorkus to rebrand Chanel’s public image – but Chanel actually hopes to kill the former Kappa president under the belief that she’s behind the killer’s mask. Before Chanel can deliver a killing blow with a pair of scissors, Grace and Zayday arrive in time to reveal the real killer – Hester! When they return to the Kappa house they find #5, who was separately tricked into returning, and Hester is seen lying on the floor of Chanel’s wardrobe with a high heel through her eye socket, claiming she was attacked by #5!
The second part of the episode picks up in January of 2016 with a new selection of Kappa pledges, now led by Zayday and aided by Grace. Another interesting reveal is that the treasurer of the Kappa house is Hester – and through her inner monologue, she confirms that she got away with a murder plan 20 years in the making. Hester’s back story shows that once Gigi overcame her grief, she trained Boone and Hester for murder at a very young age. Hester explains that she made a cover (like Boone’s gay frat persona) and established that she was less likely to be asked personal questions about her life if she amped up her weirdness with an eruptive personality and a neck brace to top it off. Once old enough and ready to make their moves, they found the Red Devil costume and killed the mascot as their first official kill on campus. We also see that Boone and Hester placed the acid into Melanie’s spray tan kit initially, and although the dean noticed major red flags about Hester’s faux transcripts, she allowed her entry to Wallace University. Now living a happy life through a reformed Kappa house, Hester feels at ease knowing the identity of her father and half sister, and is happy to have pinned all of the mayhem on the group she infiltrated – the Chanels.
We return to the moment Hester stabbed herself through the eye (December 2015) and actually witness the gruesome self infliction to help her story, but before she’s wheeled off to the hospital she makes sure to remind the room of witnesses that #5 is the actual Red Devil. Later, the others grill #5 on her supposedly acting as the Red Devil, and even her own close “friends” the other two Chanels are quick to believe Hester. Hester returns to the Kappa house sometime later and says she miraculously missed any major damage, but Grace and Zayday remain adamant that they have proof of Hester’s identity as the killer. Unfortunately for the others, Hester has come prepared with a trove of random and damaging evidence against #5 and others. Grace claims that Hester’s family seems to be nonexistent, until the doorbell rings with paid actors agreeing to play her parents “Hester is our biological daughter, she is definitely not adopted.” The fake mother claims, taking the series back to its comedic tone that is such a major part of the series. Unfortunately for #5, her parents also arrive and have been convinced by Hester in advance to say she was given to them by Gigi (#5’s parents don’t like her – what’s not to love?!) Chief of Police, Denise Hemphill arrests #5 – but first Hester chimes in again and says that Chanel #3 also needs to be taken into custody.
Hester starts out her accusations by claiming #3 began her murder spree with deaf Taylor Swift as her first victim after leaving a less-than ritzy bar named The White Stallion. (In reality, Hester slipped eye drops into her drink which made her rush back to the Kappa house for a restroom visit.) To make things look worse for #3, Hester brings out letters written from her father Charles Manson who mentions a pizza delivery guy with a bomb strapped to him…as you can imagine that also doesn’t look good for #3. In addition to the plethora of real and falsified information, Hester reads a signed letter from #3’s psychiatrist (that she doesn’t even have) claiming she had another personality known as Dirty Helen who threatened to kill the fake doctor’s family. #3 begins to believe the claims and fears her alter ego was in #cahoots with #5, but that isn’t nearly enough for Hester, who jumps to her final accusation that Chanel Oberlin is responsible as well as the others. It’s shown that Hester previously made a shopping trip to a home improvement center where she found typical items – you know, chainsaws, axes, and a crossbow – but in disguise as Chanel, which she uses against her amongst the group condemning all of the Chanels. Zayday begins to believe the accusations, mentioning the Ms. Bean incident (also done by Hester) and #3 is even swayed because of her most recent attack on Melanie.
Chanel confronts Hester and her unknown “angle” to which Hester claims everything points back to the sorority sisters on top, with murder being a natural next step for the women in power. After Hester finishes with her successful and single handed diversionary tactics, Denise deduces that the women will be brought to justice – and the Chanels each make a last ditch effort at fleeing the scene. The dramatic scene takes a comedic turn yet again when the cops arresting them turn out to be former stripper police in their old “uniforms”. As much as I love the entire cast, Lea Michele, Emma Roberts, Abigail Breslin, and Billie Lourd make this an iconic scene with the range of emotions required in the last whodunit moment of the season.
Months later (May 2016) Dean Munsch is seen walking the campus reflecting on how things have returned to normal – noting that Chad and Denise continued a fling until she decided to leave for Quantico. Chad was heartbroken, but managed to from a “charitable foundation” named after the fallen Dickie Dollar Scholars… but the so called charity doesn’t exactly have any charitable cause just yet. Munsch has become a famous best-selling author for writing (hiring a ghost writer) the “new, new feminism” spawning a legion of female fans seeking empowerment. While strolling through the campus, she finds Grace, Zayday, and Hester polishing a memorial for the students killed by the Red Devil with an odd shape and emotionally detached message courtesy of the Radwells. Grace tells the dean that she needs to prepare the reformed Kappa sorority for an “eat your feelings” sisterhood night consisting of food and – well, feelings. Grace and Zayday both leave, and Munsch allows it to be known to Hester that she realized Hester was the bath tub baby, feeling the responsibility to inform the police that she was the real killer. Hester argues that had she grown up with Wes as a father, things would have played out differently and assures her that now she won’t ever need to kill again after exacting revenge on the people she credits to creating murderers like herself, Gigi, and Boone. Munsch continues to insist she will turn in Hester as a moral obligation for the victims, but when Hester threatens to exploit the dean for murdering her husband – the two shake hands in casual agreement that they will let things slide. It is definitely a major transition from one of the most serious scenes of the finale, to a casually hilarious conclusion to their discussion.
Wes decides to leave the city with Munsch to explore different locations and enjoy some romantic time, telling Grace she now has his trust – knowing that she has the capability to take care for herself and others. This brings their relationship to a different place than before, and yet another sad goodbye, but more optimistic than the pilot. On the other hand, things are going slightly different for the Chanel’s who faced sentencing for the murders (now completely cut off from their families.) Before the jury could announce they found the three not guilty, Chanel insults them stating she’s above the jury, which changes their decision to guilty on 47 charges. Instead of being sent to prison like they expected, the judge tells them that they are the worst humans he’s ever encountered and they will spend the rest of their life in an asylum. (Nooo!) When they decided to represent themselves, threaten the jury, and sleep through their trial, the judge concluded that they truly belong at an insane asylum.
The Chanels exit the court to board a bus en route to the asylum and Chanel ponders that perhaps they are sociopaths, and explains that though their life now consists of, “mentally unstable women totally divorced from any sense of reality and therefore capable of anything.” But goes on to explain that, “From the second we stepped foot in that asylum…I knew we were gonna feel right at home.” Chanel continues to share that #3 has found a full-fledged girlfriend, #5 began taking medicine that made her “tolerable” and that #5 and Chanel finally (FINALLY) bonded – becoming best-friends. The Chanels all have found happiness, feeling no pressure by society (or boys) and even share meals other than cotton balls! We also see that by unanimous vote, Chanel has become the house president of the Palmer Asylum, and they celebrate her ongoing leadership with toilet-made wine. Chanel surprisingly seems to be at her happiest, and even considers those around her as actual friends, a major change for the former queen of Kappa Kappa Tau. Giving the Chanels a somewhat silver lining (despite being punished for crimes they didn't commit) consists of scenes that are crucial to the series and one of the most enjoyable dynamics of SQ. A final scene of the series shows Chanel make her way to her bed, and when she lays down – she’s awoken by the sound of a knife and the Red Devil standing over her, ending the series with a final scream. This seriously better have been a dream, because I’m not prepared for the notion of a world without Chanel! If we are lucky enough to receive a second season, I can only hope the Chanels (and Hester) will return to the quirky world of Scream Queens
After delivering a season with consistent entertainment from horror, comedy, and drama, the final episode found enough time to incorporate both aspects of the series perfectly. The reveal of the Red Devil(s) provided answers to every question created over the course of the season, and Lea Michele gave a solid performance as Hester/#6/Red Devil. The star studded cast was at their absolute best, with a special shout-out to Emma Roberts, Abigail Breslin, and Lea Michele who were easily three of the best characters in the series. The finale was filmed beautifully with spectacular cinematography, and a great use of narration closing a chapter to Scream Queens, but leaving me eager for what would undoubtedly be a thrilling second season. Scream Queens two-hour finale receives an ‘A+’
for keeping things fresh and fulfilling the mysteries of the first season. Well done Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, thank you for creating another masterpiece. I genuinely have no clue where the series goes from here, and that's what is so brilliant about Scream Queens!
Aedan's Final Thoughts:
-The reveal was superb and very well acted by Lea Michele, as well as filmed perfectly. Hester was a character I’ve suspected from the beginning (as mentioned in my previous recaps/reviews) but the series cast enough doubt over others to still leave an impact.
-The Chanels are the true Scream Queens and I absolutely adored their blossoming friendship with their unusual happiness, but I am far from ready to say goodbye to three of my (and fans) favorites.
-The notion of using Pete as a mostly unrelated killer worked very well, and was a nice way to start off a nail biting finale.
-Season 2 is a must, so let’s hope Fox realizes what a unique series they have with unlimited potential.
-Farewell for now to my fellow Scream Queens fans (or Kappa pledges) it’s been such an amazing season and I’m hopeful for a season 2. I’ve loved covering a series that combines many of my favorite qualities in television as well as film, and if Scream Queens returns in 2016 you can guarantee I will be back for more of the incredible horror-comedy!