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'Brave New World' Ending Explained: Lenina, Bernard and John go their separate ways while AI Indra evolves

Bernard Marx with Helm and AI Indra go to the Savage Lands as Lenina starts rebuilding civilization in the fields the Epsilons once farmed and John, in a callback to the novel, becomes a hermit
John "the Savage", Lenina Crowne and Bernard Marx (Peacock)
John "the Savage", Lenina Crowne and Bernard Marx (Peacock)

Spoilers ahead for 'Brave New World'

In a surprise twist, World Controller Mond outplays AI Indra to stop her plan to end all lives in the New World. In a quick visual reminder of how the AI was birthed, Mond shows AI Indra at the center of the Go game as a white game piece. This central piece is surrounded by a circle of ten black pieces -- the original "World Controllers". Each of the original ten then connected to the next larger circle, who in turn is connected to the next layer of human minds and so on. 

Since AI Indra exists only as a networked consciousness, she is downloading (rather devouring) every consciousness connected to her as each human dies, until she is the only one left -- a snake eating its own tail. Mond cuts the snake's head by killing all the other original World Controllers with a little help from CJack60. AI Indra instantly loses her control over most of the population without being able to absorb their consciousness. The mass killings and human-on-human violence stop immediately.

But to avoid "being alone" and unconnected, she merges her consciousness with Bernard Marx and Helm Watson, her new inner circle, through whom she will explore the Savage lands. AI Indra looks like a handy shiny box at the end of it all -- possibly an illusion to represent herself in the 'real world' that Bernard carries around.

When Bernard shows this box to Shiela, the savage rebel who almost killed him in the third episode, she is intrigued. It is indicated that AI Indra will learn about freedom in Season 2 from the "free people" of the Savage Lands, investigating "feelings", possibly evolving in a new way since the New World experiment has come to an end. Mond describes her as "an angry child" who will "do bad things".  

There is a huge plot hole in all this of course. Since World Controller Mond is still alive, AI Indra was still connected to some portion of the population in the New World and thus was able to stay alive. If Mond was serious about getting rid of AI Indra, she should have killed herself too, thus pulling the plug on AI Indra and isolating her. But she does not. Why? Instead, by staying alive, Mond essentially enables AI Indra to jump ship and connect to Bernard and Helm instead, who set out to colonize the Savage Lands.          

It is also not like Mond herself will build civilization again from scratch -- she is too old (as has been repeatedly iterated in the show). Instead, she entrusts the task to Lenina Crowne, who had unplugged from AI Indra prior to AI Indra taking control of the population. 

But plot holes aside, we see the three main leads of the show head off on three separate paths. Bernard Marx (with Helm), goes to the Savage Lands. Lenina starts rebuilding civilization in the fields the Epsilons once farmed -- it is assumed that the surviving population of the New World helps her and everyone is finally equal -- no one above, no one below. We see a last shot of Lenina smiling, at last master of her own destiny. 

John, in a callback to the original novel, becomes a hermit, convinced that he brings death and destruction wherever he goes. Staying away from Lenina, he comforts himself with a holographic image of her and lives the simple hunter-gatherer life -- a life he had once envisioned sharing with Lenina in the ruins of the abandoned New World.

However, it remains to be seen how long he, Lenina and the surviving New Worlders will be allowed to live in peace, once the 'Bernard-AI Indra' combo joins hands with Shiela to take revenge on the world that has excluded them. We'll find out in Season 2. 

'Brave New World' premiered on July 15 on Peacock and is available to stream.