WARNING: This review contains HUGE spoilers
When writing fiction, there is one rule that all writers are (or should be) very familiar with: show, don’t tell. It seems that Ryan Murphy didn’t go to class that day. The Scream Queens season finale was divided into two episodes: ‘Dorkus’ and ‘The Final Girl(s)’, which were both full of long explanations and exposition, but little to no slashing.
I was glad that ‘Dorkus’ picked up where ‘Black Friday‘ left off with Pete revealing to Grace that he is a murderer, but I was not so glad that that argument went for over 10 minutes. This is one of the first issues I noticed in this finale: it had very unnecessary long scenes. And the worst part of it is that these scenes were only about people talking and explaining things. It probably didn’t help that I wasn’t buying Pete’s speech at all: did he really need to make Rodger’s death so brutal and painful? I was happy that they did kill him off and not because I didn’t like the character, but because this was supposed to be the big finale of a slasher series. After Grace got away from the Red Devil God-knows-how, she meets up with her father to tell her everything. I have previously addressed how I find it a bit unrealistic that none of the characters seem to be reacting to all these deaths. Both Grace and Wes have recently loved their romantic partners and, even though they were killers, it would still be only natural to see them affected by it.
I didn’t care much about Chanel being named “most hated woman in America” and attempting to apologize to/kill Melanie Dorkus. It actually seemed as if the writers weren’t really sure what to do with them until the accident with Hester and #5 happened. The show actually had some fun making us go back and forth on who was the killer, Hester or #5. I’m actually glad it was Hester. Chanel #5 being the killer would have been definitely a surprise, but it would have also been bad writing as she’s the least developed character out of all the Chanels. She also happens to be the one that I feel more sorry about. She’s not only the one that Chanel chooses to pick on the most, but she was also betrayed and abandoned by her parents. For no reason whatsoever.
I wasn’t so unhappy with ‘Dorkus’ as I was with ‘The Final Girl(s)’, as I expected all the killing to be in the second episode, especially given its title. ‘Dorkus’ had already killed off Pete, the pizza delivery guy (quite irrelevant, but still counts) and we had a severely injured Hester. The thing about ‘The Final Girl(s)’ is that, despite beginning with a pretty neat one-month timeskip revealing that Hester was the second baby, the rest of the episode was just the same: countless explanations through time jumps.
Sure, Hester’s revelation had its crude, thought-provoking moments “the more weird and gross you are, the less people want to know about you” as an explanation for her neck brace, but it was still a bit insulting that Boone decided to play gay because of that (at least they gave us more bisexual #2, even though the “B word” was never used and replaced by “going full lesbo”). It would have also been nice to see some flashbacks of this season with actual foreshadowing, but, instead of that, all the flashbacks we saw were new material from Hester, Boone and Gigi’s twisted and still mysterious relationship.
Aside from that, and given that a Season 2 is not yet official, the finale still left us with many questions and plot holes: How come no one asks Hester why she isn’t wearing a neck brace anymore? Are we assuming that Dean is immortal because reasons? And why does she suddenly have a conscience? What would have happend if #5’s horrible parents hadn’t accepted Hester’s offer and had gone to the police instead? If Hester spared Zayday and Grace, why did she still kill innocent people? Who was that Red Devil at the end and why was he after Chanel if she’s already being “punished”?
The finale still had some great moments though, like that awesome sequence of the Chanels being arrested by stripper policemen while ‘Toy Soldiers‘ was playing in the background, or Chanel’s speech about being happy in the asylum because “there is no popularity, no boys to stay skinny for” or the students building an actual memorial for the victims in campus.
Even though I believe the second part of this season was much better than the first half, the finale failed to deliver a shocking resolution that would make the show worth watching for more than just a few laughs. In fact, ‘The Final Girl(s)’ was one of the most anticlimatic season finales I have ever watched. This is probably because Ryan Murphy is very good when it comes to writing interesting, yet comedic situations with funny and quirky one-liners, but struggles to create overarching narratives with a satisfying ending. The outcome is that, instead of getting a big explosion, all the build-up felt more like a balloon slowly deflating. Scream Queens certainly excelled in its comedy, but completely forgot about all the horror and slashing that was promoted. No, I’m not asking for characters to get killed for no reason, it’s just that that’s what we were promised.