How It Ends is a horror/thriller from Netflix and if you don’t watch, Netflix will probably make you. The story begins with Will, an up and coming lawyer who is seeing the ultrasound of his soon to be son with beloved Samantha. Will is sweet, but the least manly man to ever unmanly. He’s wound tight, nervous, and hyper-insecure. Will needs to get Sam’s father Tom (Forest Whitaker) to give his blessing so Will and Sam can wed. Will flies from the greatest city on Earth- Seattle to a totally ok City of Chicago to see Tom.
We meet Tom and his wife. Tom is everything Sam is not. Tom was a career Marine, manly, confident, and determined. During the dinner, Tom does everything, but say to Will- You are a wimpy worthless un-man. Tom’s response is both whiny and defensive. It’s just all kinds of awful. Then, the power goes out nationwide with F-22s buzzing around Chicago AND all communications are down as well nationwide. Tom asks if Will rise to the occasion and road trip to Seattle to find/rescue Sam.
I know, I know… this sounds like Taken et al, but it’s not. It becomes a Father (in-Law) and Son survival story and we watch Will become a Man. They leave in Tom’s Cadillac and hit the road to Seattle. Immediately, they find that they cannot stay on the main roads to get there because rednecks try to steal their car at the first rest stop and then an escaped convict tries to murder them. This is within the first half hour of this very action packed show and we still don’t know what caused the catastrophe. We get hints, but it’s not Aliens …. I don’t think. Frankly, I’m still not totally sure of all of the details of the disaster even now.
They decide to stay off the main roads and team up with a teen who has mechanical skills. Along the way, people are trying to murder them for gas and supplies. The teen that goes with them becomes part of Will and Tom tribe for a short time and has to kill to protect her new tribe. Unfortunately, this is too much for the teenager to accept and she abandons Will and Tom to find her way forward alone. It’s a very accurate depiction of societal breakdown. During Katrina, towns setup armed checkpoints to prevent looting and mayhem. I had friends in Mississippi during Katrina and they did exactly that. They needed to shut ingress and egress from their communities to survive and they did so. The communities acted like a tribe would.
Will has to learn how to shoot, drive and shoot, do a chest-tube, read people, give up trust, and murder. We watch him change from a spineless nerd to a confident leader who will readily kill to protect his tribe. During Will’s transformation, the tribal bond between Will and Tom becomes as strong as steel. It’s a story that gets to the very foundation of what family does and what it means to be part of a tribe. The moment the lights go out, we will go from Facebook likes to being real tribal humans again.
When Will gets to Seattle, it’s heartbreaking. Seattle is totally destroyed….sniff. It just gets you. Even the Clink…The Home of my Beloved Seahawks is gone. THE PAIN, THE PAIN! It’s like 2015 all over again! Will’s beloved is gone, but she left a note for her coordinates. Therefore, Will has to go back on the road to find her and save her from whomever.
Will finds Sam with a neighbor Randy who is at his mountain lodge getaway. Randy is the epitome of our current society. He is a wealthy-techie-know-it-all-socially-awkward-creep who thinks that all of his thoughts are facts. He believes that in this new society he will continue to be on top and he tries to take Sam as his own. Not so fast, the world has changed- sorry the power was down forever so no more facebook updates for you. Life has reverted back to a tribe-based system and Randy is left behind literally into dust.
I would recommend this film because it has tremendous suspense and dares to show us what we’ve lost trading our friendships for likes and retweets. You never really know what caused the disaster because that is not the story. The story is about the immediate reemergence of tribal life and how it enables people to determine rapidly who is a friend and who is a foe. In essence, the film challenges us to see a possible positive to this new reality. People are closer and snakes like Randy are easily identified and remedied for the good of the tribe. We still survive, but we have to do it as human beings.