'Grand Army' Ending Explained: Tim's guilt could bring Joey peace but is Leila's darkness dangerous?
Things are not going to go great for Leila in season 2. A bomb threat is no joke and will be investigated. The police could find her sketchbooks, filled with violent imagery of a school bombing
From the very start of the series, we see these cryptic phrases that seem to refer to the events in each episode. But in this episode, we see how Leila's dark imagination and attention-seeking ways is behind those dangerous words. She emails her 'manifesto' as a bomb threat to the school administration's email, scheduled for 10:45 am, just when all the students will gather for the sit-in for Owen.
In the short term, this seems to work out for her. Her ex-best friend Rachel comes running back to her as the bomb threat makes her temporary hostility disappear. It also gives her the boost of confidence she needs to ace her essay project and finally shut down the bullying by the Chinese girls in her class.
She also feels "dominant" enough to show Umar her sketchbook full of her zombie-horror fantasy scape that she uses to picture the world around her as "more dangerous" than it really is. But Umar also sees her other sketchbook that has an elaborate drawing of Grand Army school being blown up and the students all dying inside.
Leila has been a constantly volatile figure chasing identity, acceptance, attention, with deep-seated resentment when she doesn't get it. When she sends the bomb threat, she wants that forced coming together among people that happened right after the bomb went off in the first episode. But is she really capable of violence that replicates her dark fantasies?
Possibly not. However, it can be predicted that things are not going to go great for her in season 2. A bomb threat is no joke and will be investigated. We already hear some students shaming whoever sent in the threat because "they wanted some attention". If Leila's personal laptop at home is traced from the email, it will mean a house search. This means the police could find her sketchbooks, filled with violent imagery of a school bombing.
Joey in a last-ditch attempt to get some kind of closure asks the boys to meet her in the park. There, despite their denials, she begs them to just acknowledge what they did to her and that it was wrong. This is essentially what Joey has been after ever since the incident. Not an apology but rather an understanding of the gravity of what they have done. She also begs Tim who saw the whole thing, to tell the truth. And he does... after Joey leaves. Anna is devastated to hear that Joey was telling the truth all along. Tim and Anna might make it possible for Joey to finally get the justice she deserves, even though Luke and George try to shut Tim up. We see Tim text Joey saying "Can we talk?" and this could be hugely momentous in season 2.
Meanwhile, we see Joey grasp a bit of her old self back after talking to another rape victim in her new school who never told anyone what happened to her. For Joey, it is like seeing her pain mirrored in someone else and she suddenly feels not so alone. She sets on her healing journey by going to a dance class, slowly shedding several layers of bulky clothing and moving to the front of the class in a slow progression, taking back her body and her confidence with every dance move.
Sid also gets through to Harvard and is finally acknowledged by his father once he hears the news. We see Sid finally take his chance with Victor who is overjoyed about Sid's good news. Dom's story also finds a happy status quo as her mother tells her she needs to be a teenager again and that she doesn't have to go through with the 'green card' marriage. She also gets her dream internship and finally gets to ask John Ellis out to prom. But toward the very end of the episode, we hear a news broadcast about the coronavirus epidemic starting in the US. This means that in season 2, Dom's family on the edge of poverty will have to face even more economic uncertainty and jeopardize Dom's dreams again.
After Leila's email disrupts the sit-in for Owen and the administration make polite noises about their concerns about racism in the school, Jayson sacrifices his shot to make a stand for Owen. He tapes his mouth shut at his competition recital in front of the hundreds of people gathered there at the event. He raises his fist in protest as his sax stays silent in his other hand. This is the powerful moment of mute protest that can and will go viral in season 2 and bring real attention to the systemic racism at Grand Army. Jayson is no longer the braggy kid at the start of the series. He is a mature young man who is doing the right and selfless thing and despite every authority figure telling him to be selfish. It is a brilliant end to season 1 and we just hope season 2 is as good as this last episode, where the show finally finds its 'voice'.
'Grand Army' premiered on Netflix on October 16.