Hester?! The killer is Hester?! I had dismissed her because she was such an obvious choice: weird, twisted, venal Hester wanted to be a Chanel so badly and got turned on by death and had sex with corpses and stuff. I mean, duh! That's more obvious than nominating Meryl Streep for an Oscar or saying that bacon is delicious.
I'm having a very interesting reaction to this finale. I think it was both brilliant and awful. Anything that didn't involve the mystery was amazing — the sex scene, the great wrap-up at the end, Hester's long soliloquy accusing the Chanels — but everything about the actual mystery was total crap.
Hester, with the Louboutin to the eyesocket, convinced the cops that the Chanels killed everyone, so no one was looking for the real killer. But she claims that the only person she killed was Pete*. She says she jumped out of his closet and stabbed him, but let Grace get away. I know Grace was nice to Hester, but she shouldn't killed her for those ugly hats. When Pete was the Red Devil, he shot Chanel with the crossbow, murdered Boone and Doger (Roger?), and terrorized Chanel and Zayday in the basement catacombs. Other than that, I guess Boone did most of the killing. When was it Hester? Was it ever Hester? Was she the one who was really bad at killing people? I guess we'll never know. Does it really matter? I think it should, yes, for the integrity of the show as a murder mystery. I'd be interested to go back and try to piece all of the Red Devil attacks together, knowing what we know now. Would they make sense? I bet they don't. But apparently, we're not supposed to care about that.
While the Bathtub Babies and Pete had a clear motive — destroying Kappa and Greek life because of what happened to their mother — the crimes don't make any sense now. Why kill Shondell, the Pizza Guy, and Coney the new mascot? How does that exact revenge? Why kill the Kappa pledges? As outcasts, wouldn't they be the ones to make Kappa a better place? And why kill Chanel No. 2, but none of the other Chanels?
If vengeance were really the motive, why didn't they go after Dean Munsch? She was the one person still alive and on-campus the night their mother died in the bathtub. Why let her live? That doesn't make any sense either. How could they feel any real satisfaction when the one person literally responsible for the cover-up is still alive? Dean Munsch can still be a scourge to feminism everywhere, especially now that she still knows Hester is the killer. Also, wouldn't Hester be mad that Pete killed Boone? Wouldn't she have gone after him?
Actually, yeah: Why not kill Pete? Scream Queens, a show based on slasher movies, really skimped out when it came to killing off major characters. If The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones can do it, why didn't it happen here too? If Hester was plotting revenge, why didn't she kill Chanel Prime? Why not take out Jamie Lee Curtis? After all, she's a horror-movie star who has never died onscreen. It would've been fitting. Ryan Murphy could have nailed the one who (always) got away. And what about Grace or Zayday? A major character's death would've given the finale some sort of shocking twist, but we never really got that.
I wanted a "say what now?" moment. The only one we got was Denise Hemphill's reaction to Hester pinning the murders on the Chanels. That said, that scene was absolutely genius. Hester shifts the blame in such a hilarious and outrageous way — a way that was laughably unbelievable — but everyone seems to fall for it. Chanel No. 5's parents never liked her: genius! Hiring an actor from a prostate commercial to play her dad: perfect! Convincing Chanel Beige that she has a split personality named Dirty Helen: delightful! None of it made a lick of sense, but it was captivating.
Clearly, the best scene of the night is Wes and Dean Munsch's roll in the hay. Sure, hilarious sex scenes are a dime a dozen, but Wes in his underwear, holding a rose as he gets pounced on by Cathy Munsch made me LOL IRL [pot-of-gold emoji][laughing-with-tears-of-joy emoji][salsa-dancing-girl emoji][salsa-dancing-girl emoji]. The two are totally committed and it paid off in a big way, especially when we find out that the characters end up together.
Speaking of love stories, let's talk about my favorite four-named super-couple: Chad Radwell and Denise Hemphill. Their parting is approximately 17 different levels of amazing. They are so mismatched physically, but comically, they are on the exact same page. They both think Denise is the bomb, and she's actually the only person that Chad thinks is better than her. When he's standing there with a dumb grin on his face and lipstick smeared all over his mouth, I had to watch twice. (Also, Chad's butt in those khakis.) This brought "Waterfalls" around full circle and set Denise up to go to the FBI, which means we'll see her again next season or on True Detective. Hopefully with Chad, too. #Chanise4Eva
In the end, there are a lot of problems with Scream Queens — the plot holes, the weird motives, Grace's hats, that whole stupid interlude about Dorkus, the completely forgettable email Chanel sends to everyone for no good reason — but then again, we also have Pete dressing up as Clan of the Cave Bear to seduce Chanel. All is forgiven. Well, maybe not all, but most.
My favorite part of the finale — maybe even the entire series — comes at the very end when the Chanels are in the asylum. Scream Queens rarely showed such a strong streak of social commentary. When Chanel acts out in court, we see that the difference between "Millenial entitlement" and actual insanity is simply context. That's why Hester can indict the Chanels. They're so awful, the jury has already convicted them.
But after they're put away in the asylum, they love it. They're finally free from society's demands to be pretty, popular, and successful. They can go through the same rituals as before, but being elected the president of the criminal asylum will never bring the same pressures as being president of Kappa. As Chanel says, "There is no more judgment, no more popularity contest, no more social-media pressure to be the meanest — and most importantly, there were no boys to stay skinny for."
Strangely enough, their murder conviction is a gift. Hester was the one who committed the real crimes, and they might have been justified if they matched her original motive … but they didn't. The Chanels, on the other hand, were convicted for crimes against humanity — against other women — and ultimately, they're the ones who learned something. Maybe crime does pay.
A Collection of Funny Lines Taken Completely Out of Context:
- "You killed people, you're not allowed to say you had a super good reason for it."
- "We just have to avoid places gay people go, like behind every Bennigan's."
- "I just have to be honest, I find [Grace] unbearably annoying."
- "I lost my virginity to a Nickleback song."
- "You probably think growing up in a mental institution would be fun, lots of cigarettes lying around and Monopoly."
- "Jesse Helms Stadium."
- "Nickleback is in town playing some kids bar mitzvah."
- "As soon as she wanted to talk, I wanted to disown her. She sucks. Our daughter sucks."
- "Messing with someone's regularity. That's screwed up."
- "You rich, dumb hoes are going downtown."
- "I'm never gonna kill again, as long as I'm not texting and driving."
- "I always forget your real name is Libby Putney."
*A previous version of this recap incorrectly stated that Pete's fate was unknown.