Brow Beat

The Bonkers Twist Ending of Glass, Explained

Samuel L. Jackson in Glass.
The look of a man not impressed with this twist.
Universal

In Glass, M. Night Shyamalan’s bonkers hybrid sequel to Unbreakable and Split, everyone’s favorite vigilante superhero (Bruce Willis) and lunatic with 23 personalities (James McAvoy) face off in a battle for the people of Philadelphia and for notching Shyamalan’s most absurd rug-pulling twist ending of all time. Does he pull it off? Does Samuel L. Jackson kill everyone again? What is Sarah Paulson doing here? Answers to all your burning questions about Glass’ ending below (spoilers galore, obviously).

Tell me the twist.

No, it’s too good to spoil.

Really?

Haha, no. The twist is … there are actually two twists.

Two twists?!

Yes, but the second one basically undoes the first one.

Please explain.

OK. The first twist is that Dr. Ellie Staple, the psychiatrist played by poor Sarah Paulson—who has been trying to convince David Dunn, Mr. Glass, and the Beast (et al.) that they’re delusional and their superpowers aren’t real—is *drum roll* actually a member of a secret society that exists to cover up the existence of superheroes.

So they’re like the Men in Black, but for superheroes instead of aliens?

Basically. Though instead of erasing everyone’s memories, they just delete any footage they can find and beg people to please not tell everyone what they saw. (Which in this case is a lot of totaled vehicles and James McAvoy screaming shirtless.)

… Does that work?

Nope! Everyone finds out. That’s the second twist.

I don’t get it.

For starters, shortly after Dunn, Mr. Glass, and Beast et al. escape the mental institution, they’re all brutally killed in the parking lot.

Oh.

Yes. The therapy to convince them they’re all crazy is part of a new “humane” method the secret group is developing to deal with superheroes, but when that doesn’t work, the group just murders them.

Why do they want to kill superheroes?

Balance in the world? Every hero must have a villain? Something like that.

Shouldn’t it be … hard to kill a superhero?

You’d think, but Shyamalan has already said he doesn’t want to make a sequel, so.

OK, so if they’re all killed, how does word get out?

Because—and here is the real second twist—it turns out that Mr. Glass, before he died, secretly copied all the security camera footage from the institution and sent it to his mother, as well as Dunn’s son and Anya Taylor-Joy, who narrowly escaped being eaten by the Beast in Split and, for some reason, kind of feels sorry for him in this movie. The three of them upload the footage to the internet, setting up a world in which everyone knows that superheroes are real.

So it was an origin story the whole time?

Indeed, Mr. Glass’ dying words are literally, “This was an origin story the whole time.”

This seems a lot like the twist in Unbreakable, where it turned out Mr. Glass had orchestrated the entire thing all along.

Mr. Glass notes earlier that his superpower is his brain, so that’s just him superheroing. In case we don’t get it, another character helpfully tells us in the end, “He’s too smart. He gets everyone looking in the wrong direction. That’s why he’s the mastermind.”

Oh, God, that sounds like M. Night Shyamalan is making a meta joke about himself.

It does, doesn’t it? Except I don’t think he’s joking.

This has to be his worst twist. Even worse than The Village.

I actually think the twist in The Village

Never mind, bye.