So, it was a bit of a letdown, but not without getting its hook into us with a slow-burn unveiling of the mystery surrounding our specter protagonist’s death. Or was giving us a full plate with three episodes last week just “School Spirit’s” way of keeping us wanting more of what it can’t manage with a single episode per week? It may even be that the 4th episode was deliberately heavy with the human emotions of the non-corporeal dwellers of Split River High. A little more co-ordination between the sentimentality and the looming mystery would have been much appreciated in the otherwise revelatory episode that ends with us being compelled to linger on so we don’t miss any further developments.
Passcodes Over Tests
These days, you’ve got to give it up for a high school drama that incorporates an actual test (shocker) in the midst of the convoluted lifestyles of teens. But what good is preparing for a test if your dead best friend relentlessly gnaws at you to get your hands on the teacher’s phone? Of course, that is the reality for Simon, who snatches Mr. Anderson’s phone at lightning speed and skedaddles out of the room. But there’s no way to break into it without knowing the passcode. And holding on to it for longer seems to get increasingly difficult as Mr. Anderson scours the school with his “find my phone” sandwich board on. None of her ghosties seem to be all that enthused about helping Maddie figure out the passcode to Mr. Anderson’s phone.
Asking the perpetually trippy Dawn is out of the question. And the dead marching band stuck in the loopy nightmare of playing the banjo doesn’t even have a clue regarding the teacher Maddie is inquiring about. There’s even a nutty phantom of the opera that haunts the auditorium, which is frequented by Dawn, looking for stray sweets that living kids leave behind. Glum, innit? Mina is too consumed by her rage against the ungrateful kids she protects from the same fate that has befallen her to help out Maddie. Seeing a clue within her grasp yet having it be annoyingly elusive is too much for Maddie, who can’t get herself to show interest in joining her ghost buddies for a movie night Mr. Martin has been planning.
So I guess Simon was spot on about Claire being without a smidge of benevolent inclinations. The girl she had saved from drowning was her key to bagging some hero points for the homecoming queen votes. Claire’s fake tears for the camera as she weeps for the girl she ghosted (oopsie) severely triggers Nicole. On their way to Horror Con to look for Maddie, Nicole learns of what is going on between Xavier and Claire. Furious at her missing best friend’s cheating boyfriend, Nicole proceeds to look for Maddie alone, only to be devastated after not finding her and seeking comfort in Xavier, who is genuinely remorseful about his actions. It’s when Wally and Rhonda witness Simon warping the spiritual veil to speak to his best friend that they begin to take Maddie’s bizarre predicament more seriously. Seeing as there’s no way they can crack the passcode, Simon has but one road left to tread: blurting his guts out to the principal. It’s only childlike of Simon to expect that Mr. Anderson would just leave the money laying around in his classroom.
When the cops arrive and are readily manipulated by the seasoned criminal, they snatch a lurking Simon away to question him. The law enforcement in the town has already proven just how laggard they are in investigating Maddie’s disappearance. The sooner they can come to a convincing and convenient conclusion about the circumstances of the missing teen, the faster they can wrap up the case. Blaming Simon for aiding and abetting Maddie in going AWOL voluntarily is how the cops plan to put an end to the search, which they have no interest in continuing. As he comforts a morose Maddie, who is far from letting go of the life that didn’t want to hold on to her, Charley looks back at his own regrets and reminisces about memories he wishes he could erase. The person that the school knows as Mr. Figueroa is Emilio to Charley. The exchange student, who was the beam of light in Charley’s crestfallen life of hiding who he really was, overwhelmed his heart with more love than he ever expected. That was until the rebel in Emilio overstepped his bounds and outed Charley to his parents, and Charley left him a vile letter denying his love. Drowning in the plate of fries that ended up causing his death, Charley wished that he could take it back. And now that he’s bound to the school grounds forever, only to have his eyes linger on his lost love, who’s now a teacher, Charley hasn’t let go of the urge to undo the heartbreak he prompted.
‘School Spirits’ Episode 4: Ending Explained – Why Does Mr. Anderson Get Arrested? Who Is He In Cahoots With?
Take away the plight of looking for her killer that she has been cursed with, and you’ll see that Maddie is (was?) a sweet kid. If the overwhelmingly ambiguous state of her death wasn’t almost always occupying her mind, she would’ve been a better friend to the other ghosts that roam the halls of Split River High. She isn’t motivated by any opaque agenda when she hands a bouquet of flowers to Mina. What she gets out of it can be considered a worthy reward for a good deed. With the bouquet in her hands, the otherwise grumpy Mina shows Maddie the almost imperceptible door that leads to the dressing room under the auditorium stage. In there, Maddie gets her hands on the most consequential piece of the puzzle so far. There’s a receipt from a store that makes jerseys, and it is signed by Mr. Anderson. Now here’s how Maddie is able to peel away at Mr. Anderson’s criminal proclivities. The school’s old mascot was a figure of the devil. When the bus crashed and killed over half of the students who were in it, the survivors blamed their fate on the devil that adorned their jerseys. Since then, the mascot has changed from the devil to a bandit.
Seeing the old devil logos along with the new mascot logos on the table, Maddie doubts if Mr. Anderson ever actually paid for the new jerseys. And even though this part of the journey is skipped, we can assume that it was Simon who called the place that the receipt belonged to and found out that the place didn’t exist. From there, it was an easy maze to walk out of for Simon, who addressed the principal during a teacher’s meeting and called out Mr. Anderson for his shady activity. Instead of putting the money that the school raised towards getting new jerseys, Mr. Anderson bagged the cash and replaced the devil mascot on the old jerseys with the new mascot. Seeing the perp being dragged away by the cops would’ve comforted Maddie if he was getting arrested for the far worse crime that she believes he has committed.
For now, Maddie’s energy is better spent helping others who have no way of ever getting around to fixing the wrongs they’ve had to leave behind with their lives ending. Handing Charley a notepad, Maddie encourages him to bare his heart and promises him that his words will reach Mr. Figueroa. There’s a shift in Rhonda’s nihilism. For the first time, we see her being vulnerable and asking for Mr. Martin’s help. She’s done sticking around in a plane of existence where she’s bound to watch time pass her by. Finding out that Dawn is a walking encyclopedia of passcodes comes at a crucial time for Maddie, who rushes out to catch Simon. When they finally get to break into Mr. Anderson’s phone and call back the last called number on it, the call goes straight to Claire’s voicemail. Now that we know that Claire and Mr. Anderson are partners in crime, all that is left to find out is how and why Maddie got mixed up with the bad apples.