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Oxygen on Netflix ending explained: Does Liz survive?

Unpacking the ending to the Netflix sci-fi film.

Published: Monday, 17th May 2021 at 2:55 pm

Acclaimed horror filmmaker Alexandre Aja's latest movie has just dropped on Netflix, and sees the Frenchman collaborating with Inglorious Basterds star Mélanie Laurent on claustrophobic survival tale Oxygen.


Adding a sci-fi twist to a fairly familiar format, the film sees Laurent star as Liz, a woman who wakes up in a cryogenic pod with no idea how she got there – or indeed who she is.

Over the next hour and forty minutes, the increasingly panicked Liz struggles to piece together her identity, all while the pod's HAL-esque AI M.I.L.O continues to calmly inform her that she is quickly running out of oxygen.

Along the way, the film slowly teases out more information about Liz's whereabouts and identity and also reveals why she has suffered from such drastic memory loss in the first place.

If you've reached the end of the film and have been left with a few questions, we're on hand to answer them – so read on for everything you need to know about the ending of Oxygen.

Oxygen ending explained

The first major reveal comes roughly 50 minutes into the film's run-time, when it emerges that rather than being in a hospital on Earth, or in an underground bunker, Liz is actually in Outer Space, being transported to another planet as part of a colonisation effort.

So that's where she is, but what about the even more pressing question of who she is?

Throughout the film, we are shown fairly regular flashbacks to Liz's past life on Earth as she recalls fragmented memories of times spent with her fellow doctor and husband Leo, who at one point in the film we are led to believe is now dead (we are later given deliberately contradictory information that he is travelling in a separate pod).

Alongside these fragmented memories, we are also shown other images – of science labs and lab rats – and it is these images that prove to be key to working out exactly what is going on.


It transpires that Liz is not actually Liz at all – but rather a clone of the real Liz who has been sent as part of a mission to propagate human life on the planet Wolf 10-61c, and she had been given memory implants so that she could recall Liz's memories as her own.

Liz makes this discovery when she is shown a visual of Leo in his own pod and realises that he does not have the facial scar that she remembered – in other words, he is a clone too.

At this point, with the help of M.I.L.O, she carries out another search about her past life and discovers references to memory transfer – which takes her to a video of a much older Liz giving a lecture.

In the lecture, she explains that while many scientists believed that memory transfer was impossible, she carried out experiments on rats that proved successful and then continued those experiments with humans.

After watching the footage, clone Liz asks about the identity of the woman who she had earlier spoken to via phone – and she realises that this was the real Liz.

After making these discoveries and realising that her oxygen levels have almost run out, clone Liz leaves a voice message for clone Leo and in the process discovers that she still wants to live.

After forcefully stopping the lethal injection that was programmed to kick in as a mercy measure shortly before oxygen runs out, Liz then hatches a plan to divert the oxygen from the other nearby pods that have also malfunctioned – but she is told by M.I.L.O that there is not enough time to do so.

However, there is a fix – preservation can be provided if M.I.L.O places Liz in hypersleep until the diversion of oxygen is complete.


The film's final shot sees clone Liz and clone Leo – without his scar, of course – seemingly reunited on the new planet.

Oxygen is currently streaming on Netflix. Looking for something else to watch? Check out our guide to the best TV series on Netflix and best movies on Netflix, or visit our TV Guide.

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