School Spirits Season 1 Episode 5 Review: The Twilight End Zone

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    Many TV shows with a mystery spread across an entire season struggle to find the right pace between characterization and answering questions necessary to advance the plot.


    At its core, School Spirits Season 1 Episode 5 was filled with mystery, characterization, and, more importantly, heart.


    Maddie’s predicament is unique because we’re watching her spirit come to terms with the world she’s leaving behind while simultaneously trying to uncover who was responsible for her death.

    Uncovering Another Piece of the Puzzle - School Spirits


    It’s a harrowing thought, but despite its name, School Spirits is telling meaningful stories grounded in reality.


    Maddie’s realization that she needs to help her mother have closure came out of the left field, but it was widely governed by her watching Wally with his mother almost 40 years after his death.

    Wally Cheers - School Spirits


    The dynamic between Maddie and Wally has been interesting because their bond has been a slow burn.


    They’re slowly gravitating toward one another, and while I’m unsure whether there are any romantic intentions from either of them, the friendship between them has helped them both change their perceptions of why they’re still roaming the halls of the school.


    The writers did a great job of using the event to bring all of the characters together in one place to drive home the fact that the living and the dead are dealing with some of the same issues.


    Sandra is filled with hope that her daughter is somehow alive, and it took that to make Maddie realize that her mother won’t be able to proceed with her life unless she gets closure.

    Questioning Their Decisions - School Spirits


    Unfortunately, the only closure here is in finding out who killed Maddie.


    By the end of “The Twilight End Zone,” the series desperately wants us to think that Claire is involved in Maddie’s death.


    Knowing Claire has been up to some dodgy dealings behind closed doors in exchange for high grades was a surprise.


    It’s hard to believe that anyone thinks Claire is the killer because it’s rarely the person the narrative implies, with so many episodes remaining.

    Tracking Claire - School Spirits


    Claire’s hatred towards Maddie came out of the left field, and while it was hard to watch the younger versions of their characters going through something traumatic, it’s doubtful that alone would be enough to make Claire kill her one-time BFF.


    Another thing to consider: Claire doesn’t strike me as the kind of person to go out of her way to kill someone. Her secrecy makes a lot of sense when considering what she’s been doing to perpetuate the narrative that she’s a top student.


    People want to believe Claire is the killer because she’s easy to blame. When people try to come to terms with something, they look for answers in places they wouldn’t normally look.


    Unfortunately for Claire, her actions put her in the frame, but School Spirits has a knack for pulling the rug out from under us when we least expect it.

    Reuniting - School Spirits


    The addition of the fallout shelter adds a different element to the mystery because now we also might know how Maddie’s body was removed from the school.


    The tension inside the room when Simon and Maddie realized its existence was well played by Kristian Flores and Peyton List.


    The development does create more questions than answers, however.


    The parameters of the veil between the living and the dead are still very much up for debate, but how would the people in the school not know about another death in that area of the school?

    Wally and His Mom - School Spirits


    It’s entirely possible that someone has been missing for years and will be rendered dead because it’s been covered up.


    If School Spirits has taught us anything, we should expect the unexpected.


    Nicole’s journey throughout School Spirits Season 1 so far has lived up to that, and she should be high up on the list of suspects.


    We’ve witnessed her pointing fingers at Claire, complaining to Simon for ghosting her, and more sketchy things.

    Claire Ponders - School Spirits


    The series wanted us to think something huge would be revealed when she put things in the trunk of her car, but instead, we got this knowing look as though opening the trunk brought back bad memories.


    It makes me question what we know about Nicole. Looking back, it feels like she’s been deflecting to the point that she’s been trying to make herself look too innocent.


    Whatever the case, I can confidently move Nicole ahead of Claire in my list of suspects.


    Admittedly, the list of suspects is small because the series tells a tight enough story that the red herrings are few and far between.

    Knowing Something's Wrong - School Spirits


    What I would like from the final half of the season is answers, but I wouldn’t mind Simon and Xavier working together to track the killer down, assuming those two are as innocent as we’ve been led to believe.


    What are your thoughts on the latest wave of answers? Do you think Nicole could be the person who killed Maddie?


    What are your thoughts on the fallout shelter miraculously becoming a plot?


    Do you think Maddie realizing her mom had to find closure was the best way forward for the narrative?

    What Does the Teacher Know? - School Spirits Season 1 Episode 4


    Hit the comments below.


    School Spirits continues Thursdays on Paramount+.

    Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.



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