Unraveling the truth about what happened to Maddie has been the key driving force of School Spirits Season 1, but School Spirits Season 1 Episode 7 gave the sense that the conflicts at the show’s center could continue beyond the resolution of the mystery.
Many mystery series struggle to bounce back following the resolution, but the writers are doing a great job of creating nuanced characters that the main attraction of the show isn’t the mystery.
Granted, we did get our biggest taste of the truth to date on “Seance Everything,” and it served as a nice set-up for the season finale.
We’ll start with Simon and his worries about moving on from the school or Maddie crossing over.
Their bond has been one of the best parts of the series because they have this rich history and would go to extreme lengths to save the other.
But in doing so, Simon knows he’s getting ever so closer to a future without Maddie, and for him, it’s not something to be happy about.
It’s heartbreaking watching the teenagers navigate these questions about the future they should never have to consider, but the performances continue to tug at the heartstrings because everything is falling into place.
Maddie knows she needs to get the answers because she knows her best friend is derailing his future to hold on to her.
Simon was initially optimistic about a future at Northwestern, and it’s sad that he didn’t think it would be worthwhile proceeding with those plans without Maddie.
By the end of the series, I hope Simon realizes that, even if Maddie’s spirit has crossed over, he can still do things to honor her memory.
Dealing with a loss like this will shape him into who he becomes as an adult.
Simon had the potential to ace his interview, but instead, he went out of his way to derail it. It’s a decent way to give Simon another year in town if the mystery surrounding Maddie’s death isn’t resolved soon.
Nicole has been doing so many sketchy things that the show basically confirmed she was innocent.
If Nicole was confirmed as the killer at this stage, it wouldn’t have landed with a thud because the show has done so much to make her look bad.
It was hard not to feel sorry for her when she opened up about why she’s been so sketchy and needed the money, but it was surprising she didn’t feel the need to tell Simon sooner.
Simon: Don’t bother, Nicole. We already know the truth.
Nicole: What truth? What are you talking about?
Simon: That boot print you found in the woods? Was that to give Maddie’s mother hope or let yourself off the hook?
Nicole: I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Simon: You sent Anderson that video and blackmailed him. Didn’t you? Why? Why’d you need the money?
Nicole: Simon, you’re seriously having some kind of breakdown. You need meds.
Simon: Buying those Horror-Con tickets, helping Maddie’s mom pass out missing flyers at homecoming, leaving the dance to “help” her, was that all about creating some kind of smokescreen? So what really happened? How did you get out of that boiler room alive, but Maddie didn’t? What did you need the money for? Huh? So you could split town?
Nicole: No, you asshоlе. So I could be with you. And Maddie. I needed the money so I could move to Chicago and be near your frickin’ college.
Simon: What? Why, the art schools you’re applying to are in Chicago.
Nicole: Yeah, and I can’t get into either one of them.
Simon: You don’t know that.
Nicole: When I showed them my portfolio, both admissions counselors said there wasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell I was getting a scholarship. They basically said my portfolio sucked, and there’s no fսcking way my parents are gonna pay for me to go to Chicago and hang out with my friends. We don’t have that kind of money. Did you actually believe I could ever intentionally hurt Maddie? I mean, yeah, I stole the teacher’s number, but I did that so I could keep us together, not tear us apart. But I screwed up, okay? I didn’t know Maddie was the only one who had Mr. Anderson’s number. How was I supposed to know that? I spent weeks thinking I was the reason she got hurt. You should’ve said something.
Simon: Why didn’t you tell Maddie and I about that portfolio review?
Nicole: And give you more reasons to think I’m pathetic? No, thanks.
Simon: Nicole. Can I ask you something? Where’s the money? If you turn it in to the police, they’ll know Mr. South doesn’t have it. We’ll be closer to finding out what really happened to Maddie. Nicole, that money could help a man prove his innocence.
When your back is against the wall, you do things you wouldn’t usually do, and for Nicole, the only way she could secure her future was if she had the money to move to Chicago with her friends, even if she didn’t qualify for a scholarship.
The end of school is a big thing for everyone, and it’s clear that, even though Nicole wasn’t as close to Simon and Maddie as they were to each other, she was a big part of the friendship.
Even at that, though, this could have been avoided if Nicole had been more upfront with Simon.
Her actions have unwittingly put Mr. South in the frame for a crime he didn’t commit — or so we’re being led to believe.
You never know with this show what’s around the corner, so it is difficult to rule any of the characters out.
The only positive about Nicole’s lies is that they’ve probably bonded her and Simon together like never before, and maybe he’ll be more conscious of cracking jokes at her expense in the future.
The missing money is a significant cause for concern because the editing led us to believe Sandra has it.
However, someone else showing up where the money was supposed to be hidden means there’s another suspect we haven’t considered, or that scene could be linked to Dawn.
Claire: I’m thirsty, my slushy’s melting, and… I’m hearing you call your son a loser.
Claire: Last time I checked, a “loser” is an insecure bully who gets his kicks by intimidating people. For the record, your son doesn’t fall under that definition. Can I have my slushie, please?
Claire: Thanks. Now maybe you can take me home. My parents don’t like for me to be out after dark. They don’t think this town’s a safe place anymore.
Dawn has been undermined throughout the season, and her storyline was difficult to hear about.
There was much emphasis on whether the other ghosts had the same experience when Dawn crossed over as when Janet crossed over.
Is it possible that Dawn didn’t cross over, and the ghosts got the goosebumps because she — somehow — returned to the living?
It’s a wild theory for sure, and one that everyone will probably be laughing at me for when the season finale drops, but I’m sticking to it, for now, at least.
Charley: What’s going on?
Maddie: I need to talk to my mother.
Maddie: I think she may have killed me.
The Sandra could be the killer cliffhanger was absolutely bonkers.
We know she and Maddie have had their issues, but I never even entertained the possibility of Sandra killing her daughter.
The show’s brilliant writing made me suspect just about everyone else before landing on Sandra.
There’s a lot we don’t know about the day of Maddie’s death, and hopefully, the show fills in all the blanks on School Spirits Season 1 Episode 8.
Dawn: I’m really sorry I wasn’t able to help you.
Maddie: Dawn, please. You don’t need to apologize to me.
Dawn: But I really wanted to take you back.
Maddie: No, it’s okay. If anything, you deserve an apology. And I’m sorry if anyone ever made you feel like a joke, ’cause you’re not.
What are your thoughts on the Nicole of it all? Did you expect her to have a sane reason for her actions?
What’s your take on Sandra with the envelope and yelling at her daughter on the day she died?
What’s your best theory about the person constantly lurking in the shadows?
Do you think Simon will be able to move on from the school, or do you believe bombing the interview was a tactic from the writers to keep him around next season?
Hit the comments.
School Spirits continues Thursdays on Paramount+.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.