Chris Rock has arrived in the Saw franchise, with Spiral: From the Book of Saw releasing in actual real-life cinemas this week. And, as you’d expect from any new entry in the Saw pantheon, there’s a twist ending that may require some additional explaining.
Despite the fact that Spiral changes up a lot of the Saw formula – with a new killer and a new puppet, and new stars in Rock and Samuel L. Jackson – it just couldn’t resist a traditional Saw-sized twist at the end.
To be honest, we would’ve been disappointed if Spiral didn’t serve up some kind of flashback-laden shock in its final moments, soundtracked once again by the iconic ‘Hello Zepp’ music from the original Saw flick’s score.
And so, while we wait to find out if Spiral 2 will get made, let’s dive into the Spiral ending and explain it in detail. Expect major spoilers for Spiral: From the Book of Saw from this point on!
Spiral ending explained
In classic Saw style, the ‘Hello Zepp’ music kicks in a couple of minutes from the end in Spiral: From the Book of Saw, as the pieces of the narrative puzzle slot into place and Chris Rock’s Detective Zeke Banks realises that he’s been played.
Rookie cop William Schenk, the character played by Max Minghella, is the Jigsaw Killer copycat that has been giving the police a bloodthirsty run for their money throughout the film. William even staged his own death at one point, making it look like a horribly mutilated body was his own.
Tying into events that we saw earlier on in the film, we learn that William is the young son of an innocent witness that one of Zeke’s colleagues gunned down years ago. Now fully grown and a policeman himself, working alongside many of the people he blames for his father’s death, William started the film in the perfect position to enact his plan for revenge. He began targeting the city’s corrupt cops, capturing them and putting them in Jigsaw-inspired traps around the city.
As the fast-paced flashbacks show us, William wasn’t exactly being subtle about it: he used Zeke’s phone to lure Samuel L. Jackson’s Marcus into a trap, and he even said things like “I’ve been waiting since I was seven years old for this!”. In hindsight, that’s not exactly a normal thing to say at a blood-splattered crime scene.
Spiral’s final trap explained
William’s final trap in the film gives Zeke a choice: with one bullet left in his gun, Zeke can either shoot William or save his dad (Marcus, played by Samuel L. Jackson).
Marcus is a corrupt cop, and he’s William’s final victim in the movie. William has strung Marcus up in a trap that is slowly making him bleed out with some help from gravity. There’s a handy button that will bring Marcus back to the ground, but it’s a fair distance away, so Zeke will have to use his one bullet – letting William escape – and shoot the button if he wants to save his dad.
What William really wants is for Zeke to join him on his gruesome quest to punish corrupt people. He wants him to let his dad die. But Zeke doesn’t want to do that, so he shoots the button thingie and Marcus’ trap slowly lowers to the ground. However, William has one more trick up his sleeve.
As the SWAT team arrives on the scene, William activates Marcus’ trap again, forcing Marcus to raise his right arm. There’s a gun attached to this arm, which the SWAT team interpret as a threat. The SWAT team guns down Marcus, and William escapes while Zeke screams out in anguish. Roll credits, complete with a whole new remix of ‘Hello Zepp’.
What does the Spiral ending mean for Saw 10?
Long-term fans of the franchise will note that Spiral’s ending harks back to a lot of previous Saw film endings. The villain doing one big nasty thing before escaping – one final ‘game over’ moment before the credits roll – is a tradition that goes all the way back to the first Saw movie. But this ending could also give us some clues to the future of the franchise: could the next film, like the original Saw 2, see an uncaught William taking his deadly plans to the next level, escalating his traps to encompass more people? If so, surely Zeke will be keen to hunt him down.
It’s also worth noting that the ending of Spiral is particularly similar to the twist to 2017’s Jigsaw film (the last attempt at relaunching this franchise). In that film, it was revealed in the final moments that Matt Passmore’s Logan Nelson – a doctor that had been working with the police – was in the fact the killer they were all looking for. He targeted bent coppers, too.
The key difference between Jigsaw’s Logan and Spiral’s William is this: while Logan was revealed to be a fully-fledged apprentice to the original Jigsaw Killer, who learned directly from Tobin Bell’s John Kramer, William never met Jigsaw (that we know of) and was simply inspired by his murderous methods. Shoehorning in the film’s title, William even mentions that he’s a big fan of the spiral – one of Jigsaw’s quirky calling cards – which he sees as a symbol of change and rebirth.
William is also not the first cop in the Saw franchise to secretly be a killer. The most memorable other one is Detective Mark Hoffman (played by Costas Mandylor), an apprentice of Jigsaw who served as the main baddie in Saw 5, Saw 6 and Saw 3D: The Final Chapter. Hoffman was last seen being left to die by Cary Elwes’s Lawrence Gordon (also a Jigsaw apprentice) at the end of Saw 3D. We never actually saw Hoffman cark it, though.
The very final moment in Spiral sees William making good his escape, just like Logan did in 2017’s Jigsaw and Lawrence did in 2010’s Saw 3D. William, Logan and Lawrence have never been caught, as far as we know, meaning that there could be three different Jigsaw wannabes on the loose right now.
Perhaps that will be the plot of Spiral 2/Saw 10, with the next film in the franchise putting together these spare puzzle pieces from Saw 3D, Jigsaw and Spiral. With three killers and one Chris Rock, it could be the biggest Saw film yet!
Spiral: From the Book of Saw is in UK cinemas from Monday 17th May. See our Spiral review for more info.