BlacKkKlansman's Ending & What It Really Means

Spike Lee's BlacKkKlansman is one of 2018's most important films, with an ending that is at once shocking and all too inevitable.

The film follows black Colorado Springs rookie detective Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), who in 1979 accidentally finds himself fronting an investigation into the Ku Klux Klan. He poses as a white racist on the phone to become part of the "organization", having partner Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver) pose for him in real life. With the pair not holding back in their feigned prejudice, the case escalates incredibly quickly: the two-man "Ron Stallworth" rises up the chapter (despite some suspicions) and becomes on close terms with Grand Wizard David Duke, finding information on several military connections within the KKK.

Related: Read Our BlacKkKlansman Review

The movie's ending brings both Flip and Ron face-to-face with Duke, as well as showing a failed terrorist attack against a leader of the Black Power Movement, before framing the events of the movie in the context of the current white supremacist movement and the presidency of Donald Trump.

Beyond narrative, Lee's film is a masterclass in emotional contrast: it's highly comedic yet underpinned by racial hate; it's an enclosed tale, but one with far-reaching consequences. This is best seen in the ending, which is a tense slow-burned that pulls out anger in the audience, twisting an impossible situation, then flips into unexpected elation before finally ending on a more somber, unclear note.

What Happens At The End Of BlacKkKlansman?

Blackkklansman Ron Stallworth and David Duke

BlacKkKlansman finale takes place on the day of Ron Stallworth's initiation into the KKK, an event which brings David Duke to Colorado Springs, motivating a protest from the Black Student Union and inspiring some of the KKK chapter's more radical members to organize a terrorist bombing. Ron is assigned as Duke's personal security, while Flip is there posing as the racist Ron.

Ron's ceremony goes off without any real hitch, with the group going through the ceremony and watching a screening of Birth of a Nation. At the reception, however, things become fraught. One of the Klansman recognizes Flip from an arrest a few years previous, identifying him as a Jewish cop and allowing Walter to uncover the dual-Ron sting. Ron, meanwhile, plays with Duke, getting Flip to take a photo of them together arm over shoulder.

The powderkeg is set to go off, but the three terrorists are pulled away; Ron noticed Walter's wife, Connie, leave the reception suspiciously and figured out the bomb threat, putting out a call and swarming the event with police. Connie panics and calls her husband who tells her to go to plan B: plant the bomb at the home of Patrice Dumas, president of the black student union and Ron's real-life girlfriend. Ron races there, but is accosted by cops unaware he's undercover. The terrorists arrive to blow the house, but Connie planted the bomb by Patrice's car... which is right next the would-be bombers: it goes off only harming them. Flip then arrives and frees Ron.

After the fiasco, the investigation is called off, but not before Ron has one final call with David Duke where he finally reveals the sting. The movie ends with Ron and Patrice together if conflicted by their societally opposing roles before they together address a knock at the door.

The film then plays an extended epilogue that takes the Klan from the 1970s to the modern day, calling out the white supremacist riots in Charlottesville and President Donald Trump's handling of the situation.

Why Was The Investigation Shut Down?

Blackkklansman Adam Driver and John David Washington

Fitting of BlacKkKlansman's tonal flipping, the elation of Ron and Flip making it out alive is immediately undone by the immediate shutting down of the undercover operation. In theory, it would be fine to continue - nobody living in the organization knows of the sting or Flip's true identity, and their in-person meeting only served to prove how deep "Ron" was - but the Captain personally shutters it. It's vaguely handwaved that the failed bombing played a part in the decision, but the implication is that after its initial success, it was deemed too dangerous to continue. The question of where the fear is placed looms large going into the Trump sequence.

What Does The Final Shot Mean?

Ron Stallworth and Patrice in BlacKkKlansman

The final scene of BlacKkKlansman (before the Charlottesville coda) sees Ron and Patrice together, both with guns, confront an unknown vistor at the door. After they open, the pair begin to float through the corridor, side-by-side staring just beyond the camera. It's a slighty-surreal end to the film, and one of its most important images.

Since her introduction, Patrice has represented the other side of the fight: Ron is trying to change the police from within, using his little influence to shift focus, while she views all "pigs" with suspicion, believing the entire system needs overhauling. This debate returns in the final scene, with her stating she can't stay with Ron if he's still a cop. However, we're starting to see both sides work together: they managed to catch a racist cop on tape just before, and when confronting the vistor, they stand right alongside each other.

BlacKkKlansman's concluding note is to not decry either belief, instead positing that the only way forward is for good, like-minded people to work together. While the specifics of approach and verbiage - Ron struggles to even say he wants black equality - may differ between institution and public, the ultimate goal deep down is the same.

Page 2: The True Story of BlacKkKlansman & What The Changes Mean

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Key Release Dates
  • BlacKkKlansman (2018) release date: Aug 10, 2018
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