Perhaps we should have suspected all along that the Red Devil would be none other than Ryan Murphy muse Lea Michele (a.k.a. Hester, a.k.a. Chanel No. 6, a.k.a. Bathtub Baby), but in a season full of suspicious sorority sisters, devious deans, and peculiar parents (not to mention more than a few red herrings), there really was no way of knowing for sure how it all would end on Screams Queens. And what an unexpected yet satisfying conclusion it was.
The two-hour finale opened right where we left off with last week’s “Black Friday”: Grace balking at Pete’s admission that he’s a murderer. Now, while I suspected that he wasn’t one of the Red Devils, I never would have guessed exactly how many people he did kill in the name of some sort of perverted, vigilante justice. And he’s been involved in the scheme for quite some time. You see, Pete was lurking outside Kappa Kappa Tau the night Denise’s fellow security guard Shondell got a knife to the throat. He followed the Red Devil from the scene back to the Dickie Dollar Scholars’ house, where Boone revealed himself. Pete was going to turn him in but ended up buying all of Boone’s anti-Greek-system rhetoric — ultimately agreeing to help him off a couple of people as long as Boone ensured Grace’s safety. So romantic.
And so it was that Pete killed Roger (or was it Dodger?) and Boone and Gigi. (He had to squelch the source of the savagery, after all.) He was also the one in the mall who took a crossbow to Chanel’s shoulder, as revenge for some Clan of the Cave Bear role-playing gone wrong. However, when Pete wasn’t busy masquerading as one of Wallace University’s angels of death, he was investigating the identity of Boone’s twin by surreptitiously DNA testing the Kappas. He’s just about to tell Grace the results, when the Red Devil emerges from the closet, stabbing him, though sparing Grace. (R.I.P. Pete and your Matthew McConaughey impression. All together now for old time’s sake: All right. All right. All right.)
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Now, Screams Queens isn’t afraid to let its references show, and tonight’s episode was no exception, blatantly recalling through Chanel’s leaked “missive of all missives” the Delta Gamma incident of 2013. It’s fitting here and sets Chanel up for the next phase of her reign of terror. Namely, killing herself. She sends away for a mail-order asp so she can greet death the same way Cleopatra did. But Zayday intercedes, not only with a pep talk but with a biology lesson: That sock-ensconced slitherer is really just a harmless garter snake. Then, yet again, another meaningful moment is interrupted by the Red Devil who bursts in — seeming very much unlike him/herself. Which is explained when the girls pull off part of his disguise to reveal a pizza delivery man with dynamite strapped to his chest, muttering “She made me do it.” No sooner do the Kappas take cover than the pizza man (and his precious pie) are blown into a million little pieces. Gray matter or anchovies? We may never know.
While Chanel decamps for an image-rehabbing apology tour (first stop: Melanie Dorkus’ house), Grace hatches a plot to, essentially, pimp out her father and his righteous playlist to Dean Munsch for an afternoon to distract her long enough so she can look into the Chanels’ permanent records. And what does she and accomplice Zayday find? One particularly iffy file in which the co-ed lists Sesame Street as her home address and Sweet Valley High as her alma mater. They have their suspect — now they just have to stop Chanel from murdering Melanie, who she thinks is the Red Devil. The duo narrowly succeed, and the gang rushes back to KKT in time to find Hester lying on the ground with a high heel stuck in her eyeball — and her finger pointed at No. 5.
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This is where the finale takes a fun, Usual Suspects-like turn. Because we flash forward, to winter semester rush, where president Zayday, vice president Grace, and treasurer Hester are greeting a new class of pledges. Noticeably absent: All of the Chanels. Hester unspools, via flashbacks, the 20-year plan to upend Kappa Kappa Tau: How she was raised in the asylum by Gigi alongside Boone. How they used weapon-of-the-week flashcards to prepare. How she stole a neck brace from a fellow patient as part of her cover.
Outwardly, however, Hester has to work hard to cast suspicion instead on the Chanels — specifically No. 5, who she’s accusing of being the Red Devil — because Grace and Zayday aren’t buying it. First off, Hester explains away her fudged transcript as an attempt to hide her home-schooling background. She then introduces her CIA/deep-cover parents who moonlight as actors in prostate commercials. Next she brings in No. 5’s parents whom she’s convinced to lie and say that No. 5 is adopted. Denise Hemphill — arriving late to the scene — hears the damning evidence and arrests No. 5 on the spot.
Next, Hester calls out No. 3, whom she accuses of killing Deaf Taylor Swift and Predatory Lez. Or, more accurately, she accuses No. 3’s alter ego (No. 3 has a split personality!), Dirty Helen, of the crime. That, coupled with the fact that our ear-muffed friend is Charles Manson’s daughter, is enough for Denise to slap a pair of police-issued bracelets onto No. 3, as well.
Hester saves her biggest fish for last: Chanel, whom she impersonated at a home-improvement store buying an ax and a lawn mower for all security cameras to see. (Insert well-oiled-machine joke here.) Anyway, Chanel says she won’t be taken alive, but as she runs for it, a bevy of stripper-cops-turned-real-cops grab her and cart her off to jail.
Which brings us to the future: May 2016. The highlight of which is Chad and Denise’s short-lived romance. “We were chasing waterfalls,” Denise tearfully tells Chad as she leaves him for Quantico. The FBI needs her.
Meanwhile, the Dean, still shacking up with Wes, has become an author (sort of), with her book New New Feminism. Its premise in three words? “Women are better.” Can’t say I disagree…
Now, if you thought Hester was going to live life without further suspicion, there’s at least one person who recognizes her guilt: Dean Munsch. She’ll never forget the Bathtub Baby’s face and knows it was Hester, not No. 5, who was the second Red Devil killer. But, as Cathy herself has a few skeletons in her closet, the two make a deal not to incriminate one another.
And so it’s the Chanels who are made to pay for Gigi, Boone, and Hester’s crimes. After being found guilty in a court of law, they’re remanded to an asylum…where they fit in quite well! In fact, No. 3 has fallen in love with a lesbian nurse, No. 5 is on meds that make her tolerable, and Chanel has been voted house president. Happily ever after?
I guess it depends on how deep the Red Devil shoves that knife into Chanel’s chest.
What did you think of Scream Queens now that it’s all over and the final Red Devil’s identity has been revealed? Take it to the comments. And thanks for following along these last 12 weeks, idiot hookers.