‘School Spirits’ Ending Explained: What Really Happened To Maddie?

'School Spirits' saved the most jaw-dropping twist for the season finale. Let's break down that wild ending and Maddie's fate. Spoilers ahead!

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The School Spirits finale begins with Simon searching through Maddie’s house. He stumbles across her necklace, which makes Simon and Maddie both pause. Maddie demands that Simon bring her mother to school. She’s starting to believe that her own mother killed her.

Simon gets Sandra to the school and walks her to a classroom where Maddie is waiting. Simon interrogates Sandra about why she has Maddie’s necklace. Suddenly, Maddie begins to remember why her mom was at the school the day she disappeared. Sandra lied about seeing her daughter that day because she is ashamed of what happened.

School Spirits
Maddie with her mom and Simon. (Paramount+)

Turns out, Sandra had left rehab early and showed up at the school. She used the money put away for Maddie’s college fund to start a “new life” on a whim. Sandra’s decision devastated Maddie. Maddie took her mom down to the boiler room to try and figure out how to fix the situation.

Sandra remained stubborn with Maddie, which caused Maddie to break. “No one has taken care of me since dad died,” Maddie told her mom. The money wasn’t hers to spend. In frustration, Maddie ripped off her necklace and gave her to her mother. Sandra took the necklace and walked away. “She killed my spirit, but she didn’t murder me,” Maddie tells Simon after she recalls the memory.

Meanwhile, Nicole and Xavier go searching through an abandoned house while Claire is in the car being on the lookout. Claire sees someone go inside and runs to warn Nicole and Xavier. The mystery person bolts and hits Iaxier with their car, which leaves Xaxier seriously injured.

Nicole in the ‘School Spirits’ finale. (Paramount+)

As this is happening, Wally and Charley do some investigating of their own. They discover that Janet also died in the fire that killed Mr. Martin. Janet and Mr. Martin have been lying to them. They find Mr. Martin’s secret lair, a.k.a. a fallout shelter, and realize that he’s been documenting their deaths. They also read an article that claims Mr. Martin is actually responsible for the fire.

Rhonda has known about Mr. Martin’s fallout shelter lair after she started following him. She shows Charley and Wally the barrel that features all the objects they had with them when they died. Creepy.

What Happened To Maddie?

Believing she’s close to answers, Maddie writes her obituary and reads it to Simon. “You’re the only person I can count on,” Maddie says. “You’ve only ever loved me unconditionally.”

But Simon has to break some truly shocking news to Maddie. The person who’s been breaking into houses across town is… Maddie. She’s the one who hit Xavier. Simon believes the reason he can see her is because he’s lost his mind.

Maddie tries to stop Simon from leaving the school, but she’s thrown back into the boiler room. She has no idea how to explain that there are two Maddies. Maddie hears people screaming for help nearby, so she goes to check it out.

Suddenly, a memory creeps back into her mind. After her mother left her in the boiler room, Maddie overheard people fighting. She opened the door to the fallout shelter. She saw Mr. Martin, who yelled, “Don’t move, Janet. No… no!”

School Spirits
Rhonda, Wally, Maddie, and Charley in ‘School Spirits.’ (Paramount+)

Janet literally ran into Maddie’s body, and it appears Janet has now possessed Maddie’s physical body. That explains why “Maddie” has been breaking into houses. Meanwhile, Maddie’s spirit is trapped at Split River High School. Maddie is still alive, technically.

In the present day, Maddie rushes back to the fallout shelter door. Rhonda warns Maddie to be careful and to not trust Mr. Martin. It’s a little too late for that warning. He’s already lurking at the top of the stairs. As these major developments are going down at Split River High, Janet (in Maddie’s body) is getting a bus out of town. The School Spirits season 1 ending leaves a lot of questions to be answered, so bring on season 2!