Questions get answered, answers get questions, and everyone gets to be a detective in the shocking School Spirits finale!


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Aired (Paramount+) April 13, 2023
Director(s) Hannah Macpherson
Writer(s) Megan and Nate Trinrud, Maria Nguyen
Previously Noted Characters
Maddie Nears Peyton List
Simon Elroy Kristian Flores
Xavier Baxter Spencer Macpherson
Nicole Herrera Kiara Pichardo
Wally Clark Milo Manheim
Charley Nick Pugliese
Rhonda Sarah Yarkin
Sandra Nears Maria Dizzia
Mr. Martin Josh Zuckerman
Mr. Anderson Patrick Gilmore
Claire Zahler Rainbow Wedell

Recap

This content contains pertinent spoilers. Also, images and text in this post may contain affiliate links which, if a purchase is made from those sites, we may earn money or products from the company.

“Madison’s Body,” the season finale, begins with Maddie (Peyton List) looking over the school rooftop, able to see all yet incapable to do anything about it—a true ghost.

After Simon (Kristian Flores) sneaks an envelope away from Maddie’s mom and returns it to Maddie, they discover Maddie’s necklace inside. Maddie’s not wearing it as a spirit; all arrows tentatively point to Sandra Near as the cause of Maddie Near’s death.

Outrage and disbelief kick off this episode as the ghosts question Dawn’s ability to “cross over.” Wally, Charley, and Rhonda all felt Dawn transition from the spirit world. Unlike the last spirit, Janet, no one felt a thing. Mr. Martin (Josh Zuckerman) grows so upset by his students’ questions that he shares how he died and confesses that he doesn’t quite know how spirits cross over, but he’s there to help.

Maddie’s not part of the therapy session. Wally (Milo Manheim) finds her outside, and in the last moment they share this season, Wally comforts her by telling her she’s helped others find closure and confront their fears. Now it’s time she gets the same answers.

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Simon gets Sandra (Maria Dizzia) to accept a school award on Maddie’s behalf. But Maddie and he corner Sandra about the necklace and why she lied when she last saw her daughter. Sandra admits that she and Maddie fought when they last saw each other because Sandra left rehab and bought a cabin with money meant for Maddie’s college. Maddie remembers that she confronted her mom about having to take care of herself all her life and threw the necklace at her mom. Maddie quietly shares with Simon, “She killed my spirit but didn’t murder me.”

Sandra accepts the award for Maddie, and in a tearful speech, Sandra explains how Maddie always took care of others, and she wishes she could take care of Maddie now. As Maddie watches from the bleachers, Mr. Martin joins her, and she shares that she’s ready to write her obituary in hopes to cross over.

school spirits episode 8 nicole claireMeanwhile, Xavier and Nicole check out a deserted house while Claire stays behind as a lookout in a truck. Xavier and Nicole see signs of someone squatting, and outside, Claire sees who the squatter might be as a hooded stranger enters the house.  Claire follows them inside.

The tense moment is split with another tense moment as the ghosts play detectives, trying to figure out how Dawn and Janet crossed over. Wally, Charley, and Rhonda’s findings lead them to the school’s fallout shelter. They discover that Mr. Martin has not only kept detailed journals and artifacts of how each of them died but also lied about his death. He caused the fire, and it killed another person, too: Janet. As all of this comes to light, the doors of the fallout shelter close and lock them inside.

Just as Claire explains that she saw someone enter the deserted house, the stranger knocks over Xavier. He chases after the figure as the person runs outside and jumps in their truck. The stranger reverses the truck and hits Xavier, leaving him badly injured. But before the truck leaves, Nicole takes a video of the person behind the wheel and sees a face.

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Maddie meets with Simon and shares her obituary with him. In it, she writes that Simon is the only person who’s ever shown her unconditional love, and Maddie understands and declares that she loves Simon too. Simon is surprisingly distraught by this news, sharing a screenshot of the video Nicole just took with Maddie. In the photo, we see Maddie behind the wheel. MADDIE IS THE STRANGER, STILL ALIVE! Simon starts to panic, believing the Maddie he’s talking to is a figment of his imagination. He abruptly leaves, and Maddie chases him but is transported to the fallout shelter too.

She hears the voices of her spirit friends behind a locked door, and her memory starts to come back. When she was alive, she heard two people fighting behind that door. When she opened it, she saw Mr. Martin talking to a shadow figure. The shadow figure ran into Maddie, inhabiting her body. The shadow figure was Janet. JANET IS INSIDE MADDIE’S BODY! As Maddie remembers this, she looks behind her and sees Mr. Martin.

The finale’s last scene shows the Maddie/Janet/Jamaddet figure getting a bus ticket. To where? Who knows. No one. That’s who.

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. Ghosts can get stuck behind doors?!
  2. Why was Jamaddet squatting in the abandoned house in the first place? Would teen ghosts from the 1950s know how to drive a modern truck?   
  3. Schools have fall awards? Homecoming was just a few weeks ago. There’s always something happening at this school. 

What Could Happen Next

  1. Now at the season finale, it’s still uncertain if the show will continue. But the end opens up more possibilities of the spirit world clashing with the living world, and Peyton List will have the chance to play two characters. There might be a shift in the genre as the core mystery was wrapped up.school

Notable Performances

Peyton List gets the chance to grieve, crumble, heal, and morph into someone new all in one episode. Reminiscent of Laura Palmer in “Twin Peaks”, Maddie’s death is tragic but her life was even more so. List embodies all the rage and despair of being forced to grow up (and die) so soon, and through this, the character finally has agency in her own story. 

Review

Highlights

The Final Twist is Truly Unexpected

I haven’t read the series, so the reveal of Maddie’s face behind the wheel was shocking, spooky, and a silly theatrical delight. I’m unsure if the series dropped enough mentions of Janet crossing over, but they provided plenty of suspicion around Mr. Martin. Now if rewatching, the more intriguing aspect will be the spirit world.

The Finale Provides Answers with Plenty of Options in Storytelling

We now know what happened to Maddie, but why, how, and what happens next is a sly question mark the first season puts on the story. The finale did a fine job of tying together the season’s loose ends and providing character growth for all of our dead and alive detectives. It sets the groundwork for a more fun and chaotic second season.

On The Fence

All the Mystery Clues Surrounding Maddie’s Death Might Make a Tedious Rewatch

After eight episodes and nearly every character being suspected of killing Maddie, Maddie is not dead. Well, her body’s not dead. While the journey to get to this moment was fun, to experience those long moments of suspicion and discovery of clues again on a rewatch feels more taxing than rewarding. One could argue the whole mystery was a red herring, but it also gave us solid insight into each character.

And I hope you have solid insight into this show. Thanks for watching with me!

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School Spirits: Season 1, Episode 8 “Madison’s Body” (Season Finale) – Review/Spoilers
Overall
School Spirits' season finale answers our primary question while setting up more twists and thrills in its potential future!
Highlights
Peyton List gets to finally shine as Maddie
The twists and answers leave the audience wanting more
Disputable
Maddie's non-death may make a rewatch less desirable
80

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