Kristian Flores Talks Wild School Spirits Fan Theories, Which Suspect is Slipping Under the Radar

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Kristian Flores plays a teenager communicating with his best friend's spirit in order to solve the mystery surrounding her death on School Spirits.

On School Spirits Season 1 Episode 5, Simon (Flores) and Maddie (Peyton List) are closer than ever to uncovering the truth.

TV Fanatic got the chance to speak to Flores about the bombshells in the latest installment.

Kristian Flores as Simon Elroy - School Spirits

TV Fanatic: I watched episode five this morning. It was an exciting episode and set the tone for the rest of the season.

Kristian Flores: Episode five is one of my favorites. We're preparing for the homecoming dance, one of the season's climaxes, so I think you're in for a treat.

Kristian Flores Photo

Did you know the resolution of the mystery surrounding who killed Maddie when you signed up for the show?

I had never known, and I think that's one of the smartest things the creators could have done because, for my character at least, it made me just as obsessed about discovering what happened to Maddie as Simon is.

A little bit of my preparation was just wanting to know so badly. I can't tell you how many times I reread that script, and I would text the writers late at night and be like, "I know who it is!"

And they'd say, "Okay, shoot your top five." And they'd say, "Nope, nope, nope, nope, and nope." They never revealed it, but it was a good idea.

The show has done a good job of not making it obvious who the killer is, but also setting up a small pool of suspects that make us question everything.

Talking to Other Spirits? - School Spirits Season 1 Episode 4

That's how crafty they are. Because Nate [Trinrud] and Megan [Trinrud], and especially our showrunner, Oliver Goldstick, are all fans of mystery noir movies.

They love horror movies as well. So they're pretty intelligent in predicting the jump scare and throwing people off their scent.

I hope that people will take away anything they want to take away from it. It's the beautiful part of art in general, but I think as the show reaches its halfway mark, the audiences are getting to understand what the show is.

It's not all mystery and murder. It's about relationships, Maddie's mother, what Simon means to her, and Wally's arc. It's more than that.

I like that people identify that the show's mystery is just the surface.

Simon Needs Answers - School Spirits Season 1 Episode 4

Throughout the first season, Simon has really struggled to trust Xavier because of what we've learned in flashbacks, but after they all get the same video, Simon seems to slowly be warming up to him. What can you tell me about how they will work together in the back half of the season?

I think there's a lot of tension between Simon and Xavier, particularly the fact that Xavier cheated on Maddie. Let's not forget that. And when you're friends with someone, you don't truly forgive the person who hurt your friend.

So I think Simon will always be a little bit hurt, but because they both want the same thing, they're willing to join the same journey and hold their breath.

As you go ahead and approach the end of the season, you get the feeling that they're just two teenage guys, and they're going to laugh a little bit.

Simon has mostly kept away from everyone else in his quest to help Maddie and because he is struggling to trust anyone. Could you speak a bit about how you got into that head space to play Simon?

Kristian Flores attends the 2023 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards at Microsoft Theater

I think the key is I did not reduce teenage adolescence to insignificance. I wanted to treat it as painful as real life is.

That's the danger of entering a show set in high school. We want to think that his feelings are immature, but they really aren't. Sometimes you don't love people as much as you do when you're 18, 19, 20.

I think the first step in preparation for Simon is just knowing that I play him like I play a person my real age in real life.

In terms of emotional preparation, I think it's just a lot of understanding the writers' backstory.

He is on his own journey the whole time. He's trying to find out the truth. I think he's kind of dying too. It wasn't very happy to film this show.

School Spirits Cast at Screening Party

It was exciting, satisfying, and fulfilling, but it wasn't happy because there's an irony to Simon Elroy. Deep down, he knows no matter how far he gets or how good of a job he does, Maddie won't be alive again.

And what you learn is that the faster he investigates her death, the less time he has with her. So that, to me, is the first example of unconditional love that's saying, "Hey, I'm going to do this for you and not me. Forget me. I'm gone. Go fly." You know?

So he contributes to his own pain, and it's such a tragic story, as you said. He's like investigating his friend's death, but they could also be losing time.

We are fast approaching the end of this season. Are you able to talk about whether the mystery surrounding what happened to Maddie will be resolved this season? If it does, will we dive into another mystery on a potential second?

By the end of the season, we're going to go ahead and give the audiences what they've been looking for. We will find out a version of what happened to Maddie, and the story will not be fully complete because so many layers need to be untangled in a season two.

School Spirits Poster

But to be honest with you, just kind of living here in LA and getting some emails and messages and Instagram direct messages, I'm kind of surprised at the number of people who think that Simon killed Maddie.

I'd love to talk about that with you, Paul, because people are, like, "yeah, he kind of gives obsessive vibes. He definitely killed her."

That just shatters my soul. That it. You know, I'm not truly shattered, but it does kind of hurt to see how resistant we are to true selflessness, that if that's the natural response that people think that her best friend killed her, no one thinks that unconditional love is real.

That's how mistrustful we are today. It's very cold. And so I hope the show warms them up because I'm not trying to be that actor who defends their character, but I just want to comment on the modern-day reaction to friendship and our sort of delusion.

I can confidently say that Simon has never registered on my list of suspects.

Tracking Claire - School Spirits

This is why you have a good heart. This is why we're friends!

Switching gears a little here. We also witnessed Nicole pointing fingers at people like Claire throughout the first five episodes, but there was a certain scene at the end of episode five that made it seem like something would be revealed about her. 

She looks uneasy when she puts things in her trunk at the homecoming match. What can you tell me about that?

There's some suspicion about Nicole, and I think I would only like audiences to remember that Nicole isn't as close to Maddie as Simon is. They only really met freshman year, so I wouldn't rule anyone out of the whiteboard of suspects.

What have you enjoyed the most about working on School Spirits?

Learning More About Ghosts - School Spirits Season 1 Episode 4

Two big things come up to me. The first is Peyton List, who blew my mind pre-production while filming and post-production because every single weekend when we had a day off, she and I would be so committed to just meeting up in our hotel rooms and rehearsing the hell out of these scenes.

I have a lot of respect for her, but as they send us the episodes and we start to see the edit, she's a great actress, and she does a good job, and she understands scenes. She gives her character a lot of texture.

That's one of my favorite things about the show: working and watching her.

The second thing is what the show means because when you're filming a show, you're kind of in lala land.

You're in the world of the writers, you're in your trailer, and you're thinking about the script. It's heaven. And when you wrap, you're sent back into the real world where there's hyenas and thunderstorms.

Kristian Flores attends the "School Spirits" screening and after party

I just came across something in my recent life experience today that showed me that people are kind of cold, and they'll take all your fragile feelings and tell you to harden up and not be so dramatic.

But I think the show teaches me you can love to the moon. Simon loves. There's no real reason why we have to reduce fiction to fiction.

All I'm trying to say is that the world could be kind of tough and tell you to roll with the punches, but yeah, sometimes it's okay to say, "slow down, I'm gonna live a romantic life."

I think there's a quote from Maxim Gorky in a play called Barbarians. Someone like the husband says something really mean to the wife and says, "stop, stop being like that. You're so annoying. Every time I see you, you're so romantic."

And then the wife says, "Romantic. Is that such a bad thing? If that's the way life should be?"

Kristian Flores, Peyton List and Spencer MacPherson attend the "School Spirits" screening

My favorite part of the show is that the show is ultimately kind of romantic. Again, not in the love sense, but in terms of living life fully, feeling things, and keeping it real.

I have to say, while watching the show, not a single scene has been wasted. Everything is there for a reason, and I really appreciate that as a viewer.

That's awesome. It's really nice when people write, and they say what exactly they loved about it, some people are like, "oh, I really like this scene and this moment."

And I'm thinking, of course, you like that scene because it's no coincidence that's the one that the writers worked on the most and the director was struggling with, and the actors on set were having a hard time.

I think it's no coincidence that the scenes we work on the hardest are the ones that people gravitate toward. There's no magic involved, in other words.

Kiara Pichardo and Kristian Flores attends the "School Spirits" screening

Thank you for your time today, Kristian. My questions are complete!

Who do you think killed Maddie?

I don't think it's clear. There was a lot of emphasis on Claire on Episode 5, but I don't think any of it was a motive for murder.

I really don't know. That's the thing about this show. A lot of shows, by this point, you have a lot of theories, but everything on the show has been so well-balanced, so I can't put my finger on one person yet. I'm excited to find out!

I accept this answer, but not Claire?

Nope. Not yet, anyway!

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Catch new episodes of School Spirits every Thursday on Paramount+.

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

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School Spirits Quotes

Thank you all for coming. As you know, we are here to spread awareness about the disappearance of Madison Nears, while we work to bring her home.


Maddie: Thank you, Simon.
Simon: Maddie?
Maddie: Simon?

  • Permalink: Simon?
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