Audiences are split on whether Glass, the third part of M Night Shyamalan's grounded
superhero trilogy, is a fitting conclusion to the series.
Yippee-ki-yay, movie lovers, I'm Jan and in this video I'm explaining everything you need
to know about the ending to Glass and that surprise twist, plus some crucial details
and hidden messages you might have missed.
Obviously, spoilers ahead, so take care if you haven't seen the movie yet.
Twist endings are M Night Shyamalan's trademark and Glass is no exception with an ending that's
likely to be divisive among the audience.
The final showdown that Mr Glass, aka Elijah Price, has set up outside the hospital sees
The Beast take on David Dunn, who's known as The Overseer.
Elijah wants to reveal the existence of superheroes to the world, but when Kevin and David are
both killed by guards called in by Sarah Paulson's Dr Staple, the movie reveals that Dr Staple
has actually been working for a secret society that suppresses super-powered individuals
and aims to keep their existence under wraps.
The idea for this twist goes back to 1999 when Shyamalan was working on the script for
Unbreakable, and among his file of notes for that film, he wrote down the question, 'How
come nobody knows about these superheroes?'
The answer, of course, is this secret society which has been concealing the existence of
superheroes in the world for around 10,000 years and this revelation basically confirms
Elijah's comic book theory that he expressed in Unbreakable:
"The Egyptians drew on walls."
"Countries all over the world still pass on knowledge through pictorial forms."
"I believe comics are a form of history that someone somewhere felt or experienced."
Despite Kevin and David having been murdered in Glass, Dr Staple explains to Elijah that
comics are wrong about secret groups being evil because the secret society she works
for doesn't choose sides.
Rather, their goal is to maintain balance and order in society, as it's not fair to
have gods among ordinary human beings.
The problem, as Dr Staple sees it, is that whenever one super-powered individual pops
up, his or her opposite also then appears, and the situation escalates.
The Unbreakable, Split and Glass trilogy demonstrates that perfectly.
Unbreakable was the origin story of David Dunn as a super-strong and powerful hero;
and Split, which was a secret sequel, was about the emergence of the super-villain The
These two characters then face off directly in spectacular fashion at the beginning of
Glass, with Dunn hunting down and battling the Beast when he rescues the cheerleaders
kidnapped by the Horde.
By the way, the showdown between these two in Glass was foreshadowed all the way back
in Unbreakable when the young Elijah unwrapped his first comic book "The Battle With Jaguaro".
Dunn, who wears a green poncho, is represented by the caped hero on the left and the Beast,
aka the Horde, whose signature colour is yellow, is Jaguaro on the right.
Interestingly, in Glass, we discover that Elijah is not only responsible for David's
existence as a super-powered individual but also for the Beast because the train derailment
that Elijah caused in Unbreakable, and which only David survived, also killed Kevin's father,
which in turn led to the creation of the Horde inside Kevin.
Elijah proudly proclaims that by engineering this event he's a mastermind who creates superheroes.
And in another curious connection between David and the Beast, David's son, Joseph,
went to the same school as Casey and the two girls abducted in Split.
Now, the way the secret society in Glass operates is that they move from city to city identifying
super-powered individuals and they have a process for dealing with them which Dr Staple
claims is "humane".
They begin by gaslighting the individuals, in other words, trying to convince them that
they have delusions of grandeur as Dr Staple attempted to do with Elijah, David and Kevin
at the psychiatric hospital.
She almost succeeded with David and the Horde, with David beginning to doubt his powers and
Patricia telling Elijah that her "horde is losing faith".
The second stage that Dr Staple employs with individuals like Mr Glass, who refuse to be
convinced, is to perform a kind of lobotomy and remove or eliminate a part of their brain.
She attempts the medical procedure on Elijah, but unbeknown to her, when he broke out of
his cell the night before, he went into the surgery room and sabotaged the equipment so
that it didn't do anything to him during the procedure.
The final stage the society undertakes in the event of the first two failing is to completely
eliminate the individual which is what happens when David and Kevin are taken out by the
By the way, there was a chilling bit of foreshadowing in one of the Glass trailers of how Dr Staple
held David's Dunn hand and watched on while he was drowned in the puddle.
"So you're not going to shake my hand, and let me walk out of here."
And it was even foreshadowed in the scene from Unbreakable when David says to Elijah
"Two skinny little kids were fooling around in a pool dunking me and I swallowed some
"They didn't know it, and it almost killed me."
"Heroes don't get killed like that."
"Normal people do right?"
And if you're unclear how the Beast could be killed with a bullet after he survived
two at close range in Split, what happened was that Casey embraced the Beast and through
her connection with Kevin and by saying his full name repeatedly, Kevin was able to take
the light from the Beast.
That meant that Kevin no longer had super-thick skin like the Beast, so when the sniper shot
him, it injured him as it would any ordinary human being.
In terms of who the secret society might represent, it's not made explicit in the movie, but there
is a hint via the shamrock tattoo that Dr Staple, the henchmen and the members who meet
at the restaurant have near their wrist.
Clovers were considered magical plants in Celtic culture and there are legends of Saint
Patrick using a three-leafed clover to explain what the Christian holy trinity symbolised.
If we think of clovers as having a magical or spiritual meaning then the secret society's
clover tattoos may signify how the organisation is dedicated to suppressing magical or god-like
powers in society.
Shyamalan himself, in fact, has said that "What makes us different is our strength"
but Dr Staple "believes in the status quo."
"She believes in the way that it is right now, and she can't see past that."
There's still one final twist in this story, and although Dr Staple told Elijah his theory
was right all along, it seemed like she'd contained the situation at the hospital, even
if it meant Elijah, Kevin and David all ended up dead.
However, as we know, Elijah is a Lex Luthor-style genius, and even calls himself a mastermind.
And the night he broke out of his cell after switching his sedatives for aspirin, he reprogrammed
the security cameras so they'd send all recorded footage offsite.
Then during the breakout, Elijah deliberately took The Beast through the basement as he
knew that area was monitored with cameras and that the parking lot fight would all be
caught on camera too.
In the final scenes of the movie, Elijah's mother, Joseph and Casey receive the footage
and agree to upload the evidence to the internet for anyone to see.
A couple of hours later, they meet at a location that's been crucial throughout the trilogy:
the train station, and the movie ends there as we see the footage start to go viral, popping
up on people's phones and devices and on the TV news.
And in a nice little final nod to the three fallen supers, at the end of the film, Mrs
Price, Casey, and Joseph are each dressed in the signature colours of Elijah, purple,
Kevin, yellow, and David, green.
As these scenes play, we hear Elijah's voiceover telling us "there are unknown forces that
don't want us to realise what we are truly capable of."
"I believe that if everyone sees what just a few people become when they wholly embrace
their gifts, others will awaken."
"Whoever these people are who don't want us to know the truth, today they lose."
The real message that Shyamalan seems to want to tell us in Glass is that difference is
a strength and extraordinary abilities are within the grasp of many people.
On top of that, the three films, Unbreakable, Split and Glass, exist to prove there can
be grounded and realistic superhero stories that are different to the more fantastical
superhero stories we typically see in franchises like the Marvel Cinematic Universe and many
other comic book movies.
In Unbreakable and Glass, Elijah always emphasises that although real-life superheroes exist,
they look very different to those in comic books.
"The thing to notice about this piece... the thing that makes it very, very special...
is its realistic depiction of its figures."
"When the characters reached the magazine... they were exaggerated... as always happens."
"It's all right to be afraid, David... because this part won't be like a comic book."
"Real life doesn't fit into little boxes that were drawn for it."
In Glass, at one point, Elijah says, "this is not a cartoon […] this is the real world"
and, just before Pierce is killed by the Beast, he jokes that "this is where they paint you
with big eyes and bubbles of confusion above your head."
The Osaka Tower where Elijah threatens to stage the final showdown is referred to as
a "true marvel", in a wink to the famous comic-book publisher and movie studio.
So, when it's revealed that Elijah's threat is just a ruse and the showdown was always
planned in the less showy setting of the hospital car park, Shyamalan is deliberately pointing
out that this isn't meant to be a big-budget superhero blockbuster with an epic CGI finale
where the hero goes home after defeating the villain.
This choice is perhaps one of the reasons why some viewers haven't enjoyed the movie's
After all, some fans have been waiting nearly two decades for the sequel to Unbreakable
and since then we've all been exposed to a deluge of superhero movies, and big-budget
comic book movies are typically the most hyped tentpole releases right now.
Glass kicked off with a thrilling start as Dunn rescued the cheerleaders from The Beast,
but the rest of the movie played out more like a slow-burn psychological thriller.
And I suspect some in the audience were indeed hoping for the final showdown to take place
on the Osaka Tower.
So, when instead two of the main characters are killed in a much more understated fashion
by some nameless henchman from a secret society, that's bound to provoke a reaction.
The thing is, though, that's what the movie wants to do; it's pointing out that real-life
heroes and villains don't have these epic fights, and these characters aren't invincible.
The low-key nature of the final showdown in Glass is also in keeping with the feel of
both Unbreakable and Split, so it would have been odd for the film to suddenly pivot to
an epic climax on top of a shiny skyscraper.
The movie intends to subvert flashy superhero tropes and instead prove that the big spectacles
we see on film or in comic books are just an exaggerated version of more realistic yet
still extraordinary powers people can have in real life.
In light of this, it's also interesting that on her desk, Dr Staple has a book by Euripides,
a playwright in ancient Greece whose tragedies are often noted for their realistically drawn
characters, psychological realism, and mythical heroes portrayed as ordinary people living
through extraordinary situations.
Glass doesn't achieve the brilliance of Unbreakable and falls into Shyamalan's trap of inserting
too much exposition into the mouths of his characters.
There's an overabundance of explaining literally what we've just seen or are about to see on
screen, for example, when Mrs Price comes on to tell us that this is "what they call
the showdown", it seems a pretty redundant line to have in a movie released in 2019,
given that almost everyone will be familiar with comic book movies by now.
And Shyamalan has some great actors in this film, but his insistence on sticking firmly
to his script and generally not allowing actors to improvise, also seems to lead to some rather
Something that fans are inevitably interested in is whether Glass represents the final chapter
in the Unbreakable and Split universe.
Obviously, all the main characters are dead, however, the final scene implies we'll see
new heroes and villains emerge and any of those could be explored in future movies or
a TV show.
So far, Shyamalan has said he's not particularly keen for another follow up as, with the exception
of this trilogy, he generally doesn't do sequels.
Glass is also supposed to be a satisfying conclusion to the series and, for me, it seems
in keeping with the idea of a grounded superhero series not to expand it out into a much larger
Now, what do you think about the end of Glass?
And what were your favourite or least favourite parts of the movie?
Let me know in the comments below.
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