Maniac's Finale and Ending Explained

Maniac Ending Explained

Warning: SPOILERS ahead for Maniac


Maniac, the new Netflix limited series from Patrick Somerville and Cary Joji Fukunaga, takes viewers on a trippy adventure through dream worlds as protagonists Annie (Emma Stone) and Owen (Jonah Hill) try to overcome their inner demons by taking part in a high-risk drug trial. Justin Theroux plays Dr. James K. Mantleray, a scientist who believes that his bold form of mental health treatment will render talk therapy obsolete, offering a guaranteed cure for all forms of mental illness.

Following the abrupt death of the drug trials' other leading researcher, Dr. Robert Muramoto (Rome Kanda), the artificial intelligence in charge of managing the participants' dream states falls into a deep depression. GRTA's (Sally Field) malfunctions begin with placing Annie and Owen in shared dreams, and eventually culminate in her cutting off the scientists' access to to her and threatening to turn all of the trial's participants into "McMurphys" - keeping them prisoner in the dream world so that they never wake up in the real world.

Related: Screen Rant's Review of Maniac

While all this is happening on the outside, Annie and Owen are fighting through the final stage of their treatment: Confrontation. Owen takes on the role of disgraced Icelandic spy Snorri, while Annie becomes the CIA agent who rescues him. As Dr. Mantleray and Dr. Fujita (Sonoya Mizuno) try to stop GRTA from the lab, Owen and Annie look for a way to stop her from inside their own minds. Here's how the experiment ends - and what happens afterwards.

How The Drug Trial Ends

Emma Stone and Jonah Hill in Maniac

The drug trial itself concludes in the penultimate episode of Maniac, "Utangatta." In the midst of a dream about aliens attacking the Earth, Annie and Owen remember who they really are. Owen recalls that, in the previous dream, Annie made a deal with GRTA to stay behind (becoming a McMurphy in the real world), and the two of them search for a means of escape. However, while this is happening, GRTA is rebelling. She cranks up the heat in the experiment chamber, which manifests in the dream world as increased temperature due to the aliens' heat ray, and uses smoke to knock out the technicians in the lab. Mantleray attempts to shut her down, but fails. The only way GRTA can be stopped is from the inside.

Annie and Owen split up: Owen going with his imaginary brother (Billy Magnussen) on a mission to save the world, while Annie goes to find GRTA. She passes out in the elevator and wakes up with her head in GRTA's lap. Annie demands to be let out of the deal that she made to stay behind, and to be taken to her sister one last time before she leaves. A distraught and miserable GRTA complies, and Annie is given a chance to say goodbye to Ellie (Julia Garner) and to finally move on from the trauma of her death.

Meanwhile, Owen is tasked with shutting GRTA down by solving a high-tech Rubik's cube, thereby fulfilling his promised destiny as the "Chosen One." However, in doing so he also has to leave someone behind: the manifestation of the brother he wishes that he'd had. Solving the puzzle, Owen is able to give Dr. Mantleray and Dr. Fujita control back on the surface, and they shut GRTA down - sacrificing all of their hard work and research, but saving the subjects of the drug trial.

Related: Watch the Trailer For Maniac

Annie and Owen On The Outside

Maniac - Emma Stone as Annie

As the participants emerge from the trial, Dr. Mantleray congratulates them and tells them that they are healed. However, Annie and Owen do not experience the immediate overwhelming joy and impeccable mental health that they were promised. The two share an awkward conversation outside, with Owen promising that he will go his own way and "not try to make more of this than it was," and Annie reluctantly agreeing.

Owen's real brother, Jed (Magnussen), is standing trial for the sexual assault of a female employee, and Owen is still faced with the predicament of having to lie in order to provide Jed with an alibi. At first he goes along with the family's plan, but then the prosecuting attorney reveals CCTV footage of the assault and confronts Owen about his schizophrenia. Rather than continue to cover for Jed, Owen confirms that his brother is the man in the video and that he is "guilty" and a "monster." As an act of revenge, Owen's family has him committed.

Annie, meanwhile, goes to visit her father Hank (Hank Azaria), and is finally able to be honest with him about her survivor's guilt, telling him that she needs him to stop hiding from the world, because he's the only family she has left. The two reconcile, but Annie still feels troubled by how she parted ways with Owen. She hires a FriendProxy so that she can say all the things she wanted to say to Owen without actually having to go and see him. However, then she spots an article about Jed's trial and discovers that he has been committed. Leaving FriendProxy Owen behind, Annie heads off on a rescue mission to break the real Owen out of the hospital.

Page 2: Option C, and the Mid-Credits Scene

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