The curvy “glass onion” end, explained

Warning: The following contains spoilers for Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.

It is official: glass onionRian Johnson’s successor too knife out, is a killer thriller. Johnson takes us through a whole maze of twists and turns before bringing us to a convincing, satisfying conclusion.

But before we reveal the ending, let’s reconsider the premise. Tech billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton) invites his closest friends to a murder mystery party on his private island. His friends include Congresswoman Claire Debella (Kathryn Hahn), brilliant scientist Lionel Toussaint (Leslie Odom Jr.), former model Birdie Jay (Kate Hudson), her assistant Peg (Jessica Henwick), right-hand streamer Duke Cody (Dave Bautista), and his girlfriend Whiskey (Madelyn Cline). Also joining the cast are world-class detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) and Miles’ ex-business partner Cassandra “Andi” Brand (Janelle Monáe). Everyone on the island (besides Benoit) has a reason to want Miles dead, and with tensions higher than ever, it’s only a matter of time before we witness a shocking murder.

Like the eponymous glass onion, this mystery has layers. But also like the title onion, this mystery is fairly transparent about its culprit. We just have to overcome all the distractions to see the killer for who he really is. In honor of Benoit Blanc, let’s put on our best Southern drawls and break it down.


‘Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery’ spoiler-free review: Rian Johnson delivers a great crime thriller

Who dies in it glass onion?

RIP Duke.
Credit: John Wilson/Netflix

Miles may have invited his friends to his island to solve his murder, but he’s not our victim. No, that honor goes to Duke, who collapses and dies after mistakenly drinking from Miles’ glass instead of his own. Miles panics and claims someone is trying to poison him. Then, to make matters worse, all the lights go out. In the panic that follows, someone shoots at Andi, which increases our body count to two.

Except Andi isn’t even Andi – she’s Helen, Andi’s identical twin sister in disguise. Not only that, Helen isn’t dead. The bullet lodged in one of Andi’s journals that she carried around, allowing her to survive the assassination attempt.

However, our body count stays at two because Andi really is dead – she died before the Miles Island invites were sent out. All along Benoit and Helen have been trying to solve their murder, but Duke’s death is an added complication. A donut hole in another donut hole, if you will.

How did Andi die? glass onion?

A woman in a black and white dress peeking over her shoulder.

Andi deserves better.
Credit: John Wilson/Netflix

Authorities believed Andi died by suicide. However, after reviewing Andi’s journals and emails, Helen has a suspicion that her sister was murdered by one of Miles’ closest circle.

Andi and Miles were business partners with technology company Alpha, but when Miles wanted to launch a volatile new energy source called Klear without testing, Andi went on foot. In the ensuing lawsuit, Miles locked her out of Alpha entirely, claiming that he came up with Alpha’s main idea. His evidence? A cocktail napkin on which he wrote his plans. Originally, however, it was Andi who detailed her ideas on a cocktail napkin from the Glass Onion Bar where the “Disruptors” gang was staying. Unfortunately, she couldn’t find the napkin in time for the trial – because honestly, who keeps track of napkins for years? – Giving Miles the ability to fake his own. He got her friends to swear on his behalf, promising to fund ventures like political campaigns or sweatpants companies.

Cut to the aftermath of the trial. Andi finds her original cocktail napkin and emails Claire, Lionel, Birdie and Duke to inform them of their discovery. Helen suspects that one of those four drugged her, stole her cocktail napkin, and staged Andi’s suicide because if Andi exposed Miles, they would all perish too.


All those ‘glass onion’ cameos, ranking

So who killed Andi?

A woman in a white suit hides around a corner and looks scared.

Helen (not Andi) on the hunt for her sister’s killer.
Credit: John Wilson/Netflix

In a twist, none of Helen’s original four suspects killed Andi. Instead, the culprit was none other than Miles, who found out about Andi’s email via a fax from Lionel.

As Benoit points out, it’s almost also obvious but most sensible: who will lose more if Miles is exposed than Miles himself? Like the glass onion, the truth always hid in plain sight.

Wait, then who killed Duke?

Two men stare at each other in the middle of an argument.

A murder planned in real time.
Credit: John Wilson/Netflix

Believe it or not, Miles too! Everyone who got Andi’s email rushed to find her, but only Duke saw Miles speed away from the scene in his iconic baby blue car. Throughout his stay on the island, Duke kept hinting that he saw Miles leave Andi’s — the word “pancake” does a lot of heavy lifting here – and trying to win Miles for a spot on Alpha News. When news of Andi’s death spreads online, Duke secretly alerts Miles and forces him to intervene.

Is Miles concocting an elaborate poison to take down Duke? Not exactly. He’s just taking advantage of Duke’s pineapple allergy, which is hinted at in the scene where all the guests are given a potential COVID cure before arriving on the island. Miles gives Duke his own glass of tropical cocktail with a hint of – you guessed it – pineapple juice. Then he just has to convince everyone that Duke just made a mistake when he picked up Miles’ glass, turned off the light and shot Helen (whom he thinks is Andi) with the pistol he stole from Duke. In short, Miles has to break free with Gaslight, Gatekeeper and Girlboss.

Benoit is obviously upset about the multiple murders, but amusingly he’s almost angrier about the fact that Miles’ guilt has been hiding in plain sight. He almost gave Miles the idea that the lights go out and someone gets shot. And to make matters worse, pineapple juice is being used as a murder weapon? Ridiculous! But that’s Miles to you – a tech billionaire jerk who’s never had an original idea in his life.

Will Miles stand trial for Andi and Duke’s murders?

A man in a gray shirt in a glass dome.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Netflix

There really is a moment when it seems Miles might get away with his crimes. Helen finds Andi’s cocktail napkin, but Miles burns it to a crisp. Then all the islanders say they don’t remember seeing any evidence of his murder of Duke. Of course, they side with the richest person in the room…even though he’s an admitted killer.

But Helen won’t back down until Miles pays for what he did to Andi. She destroys his elaborate glass statues in a largely cathartic scene, then sets his house on fire. Remember that Miles boasted that his entire house ran on Klear hydrogen fuel. When that comes in contact with fire, we get an explosion, which Claire aptly describes in one word: “Hindenburg.”

In the ensuing explosion, Helen shuts down the security system protecting this mona lisa which Miles borrowed from the Louvre during lockdown. Yes, the In fact mona lisa. The world’s most famous painting bursts into flames fueled by Klear, taking delicious detours to ensure Miles gets what he’s always wanted: to be remembered in the same breath he did mona lisa. How does that immortality fare for you now, Miles?

When his so-called “friends” witness the carnage and Miles’ total collapse, they move against him one by one, agreeing that they all saw him burn the napkin and switch Duke’s drink. As police boats land on the island, Benoit enjoys a cigarette with houseguest Derol (Noah Segan) and Andi prepares to go home, knowing she has avenged her sister.

So there you have it: glass onion shows a double murder mystery with pineapple juice, a red envelope, two deaths, an explosion and the mona lisa. It’s the kind of twisted mayhem you can only get from a crime thriller involving our favorite Southern detective. We hope Benoit Blanc and Helen have a good rest after returning from Greece. After they’ve peeled off the layers of this wild mystery, it’s the least they deserve.

glass onion will stream on Netflix on December 23.

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