'Alice in Borderland' Ending Explained: Who is the Game Master? Arisu's quest could continue with Season 2
To find the answers, Netflix must first confirm that there will be a second season. Given how eerily prescient the adaptation is and the popularity of the manga, it is quite likely
Spoiler Alert for 'Alice in Borderland' Season 1
In what is potentially one of Netflix's best releases this year, the first season of Japanese manga adaptation, 'Alice in Borderland', dropped recently. The series is a live-action adaptation of the manga series of the same name by Haro Aso and follows the lead character Arisu (Kento Yamazaki) who is trapped in an alternate universe of sorts with his friend Chota (Yuki Morinaga) and Karube (Keita Machida) when they get into a restroom in a subway station while trying to get away from the cops. The trio's friendship is as sweet as it could get, and it's hard to find another series where you would get as attached to characters so quickly. Before we proceed any further, here's another warning that spoilers follow, so stop reading if haven't gotten to the ending yet.
Chota and Karube
Let's be honest: it really was not hard to get attached to Arisu and his friends, who find themselves in the alternate universe. Using Arisu's expertise playing games, these friends survive the first two episodes, but they do get injured. The third episode is where things got really serious and involved a game of hearts that could potentially be a cruel betrayal. The aim of the game was for one person to remain the wolf till the end, and while at first they tried for their own survival, the three friends decided to give themselves up for each other. Chota and Karube hid themselves from Arisu, who was the wolf, and when the time ran out, they were killed.
Usagi and Arisu find the Beach
Before his friends were killed, Arigu was given an important clue - find the Beach and he would find some answers. Arisu sets out with Usagi (Tao Tsuchiya) to find the Beach and when they come across it, they realize that it is not what they sought. Unfortunately, once they enter the Beach, they cannot leave it and they are forced to stay by the Hatter and the other executive members, who include Aguni, Ann, Niragi, Mira, and Chishiya (Nijiro Murakami).
Unlike the others, it is clear that Chishiya is playing the long game, though it is not clear who Arisu can trust. When the Hatter is killed and Aguni is named the new king of the Beach, Chishiya comes up with a plan for Arisu to steal all the cards that the Hatter had collected - his theory was that once a player collected all the cards (each game was assigned a difficulty level according to a playing card), they could return to their original world. However, Chishiya betrays Arisu just so he could glean the real location of where those cards might be stored.
As Arisu is trapped in a room, bound and tied up, Niragi and the other militants take Usagi for their own ill intentions. But just as Niragi gets started -- and Chishiya gets ready to leave the Beach with Kuina, the Beach is sealed as a game starts. The guests of the Beach are all asked to gather in the lobby, where Momoka lies dead, with a knife to her chest. The card to be won with this game is the elusive ten of hearts and their goal is simple - find the witch who killed one among them.
Who is the Witch?
With the goal being to burn the witch in the Fire of Judgment burning outside, the guests turn on each other, with the militants choosing to kill everyone and burn them in the fire. The first suspect is Asahi, but Usagi and Ann step in to save her. Usagi runs to find Arisu and is able to find him. When Arisu thinks about what the intention of the game could be, he understands the answer.
It turns out that Aguni was, in fact, best friends with Hatter, and when the Beach changed him and he thought he was going to be killed, he shot Hatter. On inspecting Hatter's gun later, he finds out there were no bullets. As such, Aguni believes himself to be the witch and wanted everyone at the Beach to be killed because of what happened to his friend. However, Arisu tells him that he is not the witch -- it is, in fact, Momoka herself, which her friend Asahi confirms, as does Ann who did some forensic investigation. Aguni still wants the violence, however, and as he instigates it, Asahi yells that she is the game dealer, which causes her to be killed by a laser.
Who is the Game Master?
As Arisu inspects Asahi's phone that was left behind, he sees videos that she recorded where she shows the path to the dealers' lair underneath the subway. She reveals that she and Momoka were game dealers who were tasked with setting up the games and pretending to be players themselves. As people died with each game, they would earn the visas to live longer. However, the guilt proved too much for them, which is why Momoka turned the knife on herself.
Arisu and Usagi go to the lair, but they find that Chishiya and Kuina are already there. The dealers who were there were all killed after they won the game for the ten of hearts. Chishiya now has all the number cards -- but the games are not over. The screens in the lair light up and it is revealed that Mira -- who was earlier thought to be an executive member at the Beach -- is much more involved with the game. We are not certain yet whether she is the final game master or whether there is someone above her, but she informs the four of them that the next stage of the games is set to begin. And this time, the winnings will include the face cards.
Will there be a Season 2?
Was Mira the source that Hatter was talking about? In that case, is it really true that winning all the cards will help them return to the original world? To find the answers, Netflix must first confirm that there will be a second season. Given how eerily prescient the adaptation is and the popularity of the manga, it is quite likely.
All eight episodes of Season 1 of 'Alice in Borderland' are now streaming on Netflix.