So you just watched Jordan Peele’s sci-fi horror blockbuster Nope streaming on Peacock on Friday. Maybe you have questions about what happened in this suspenseful finale, or you’re not wondering what the film needs to do actually about.
As I walked out of a screening a few months ago, the feeling that I didn’t get the big message weighed on me like an ominous cloud over the Southern California desert. Peele has touched on what the film is about in interviews, but let’s break down that ending first. Running for more than two hours, Nope follows horse trainers (and siblings) OJ and Emerald Hayworth as they discover something big and mysterious lurks in the sky near their ranch.
Park your horse here if you haven’t seen Nope yet. There are spoilers ahead.
What plan do OJ, Emerald and the others hatch?
OJ and Emerald aim to find evidence (the “Oprah recording”) of the alien creature in the sky, even after eating Ricky “Jupe” Park and others at nearby Jupiter’s Claim amusement park. (I don’t know about them, but the sight of blood rain would have signaled the end of the road for me).
They team up with cinematographer Antlers Holst, who has a non-electric film camera (the beast creates an “anti-electric field” that renders things like digital cameras useless). They also decorate the area with tons of inflatable tube men. When these fall, it’s a sign the creature is nearby. They also know to avoid looking at the animal and that it doesn’t like to eat inanimate objects.
Once they’re ready to invite the beast over, OJ starts roaming around on a horse. He carries a series of triangular flags attached to a parachute, and that comes in handy later when a stranger shows up.
Why is the creature eating the TMZ guy?
When the gang’s plan works, a stranger comes to the ranch on a bicycle. Emerald talks to the man – whose identity is obscured by a helmet – and realizes he’s from TMZ. News is already circulating about the incident at Jupiter’s Claim, and he’s looking for answers.
The TMZ guy drives off in an unfortunate direction. The beast lurking above shuts down his bike and sends him flying. He’s alive but in bad shape, and OJ comes to his aid. However, the guy’s helmet is reflective – just like the mirror that scares OJ’s horse at the beginning of the film – and OJ realizes he has no choice but to get out of there.
The creature sucks up the TMZ representative and begins stalking OJ. Just then, OJ unleashes the flag-parachute invention, which causes the beast to retreat a bit and buys him time to seek shelter.
What does cameraman Antlers Holst say to Angel?
Holst at last grabs the money shot that OJ and Emerald are after. But then things take a turn. He mutters something cryptic about how they don’t deserve the impossible and takes off with his camera.
However, it seems the selfish artist can’t resist getting another shot. Holst aims his camera at the creature, which then swallows him.
Is Angel (of Fry’s Electronics) alive?
Yes, Angel survives the wrath of the beast. His role during the final showdown is to help Holst. When Holst and his camera become alien food, Angel wraps himself in a barbed wire fence to avoid a similar fate. The beast tries to suck him up but the fence on the floor stays up and Angel comes back down to the ground. (Another possible reason he survived: the creature probably didn’t like the taste of wire.)
What is that thing in the sky?
We get to know the creature in the sky as a white, disc-shaped animal that, from a distance, could well be mistaken for an extraterrestrial spaceship. In the film’s final scenes, the creature transforms into something larger and more billowy. It almost looks like a flower to me – well, if that flower had a horrible, vibrant green mouth.
How does Emerald defeat the creature?
Emerald gets to the TMZ guy’s bike, but the creature (having assumed her new form) is too close for it to work. In an emotional scene, we realize that OJ will help her by setting his eyes on the beast and luring it to him.
Emerald’s bike starts and she rides to Jupiter’s Claim theme park. She has the brilliant idea of hurting the beast by releasing a giant inflatable cowboy into the sky.
Earlier in the film, Emerald and OJ visited Jupiter’s claim and Emerald bombarded some strangers by sticking her head in a well containing a camera. In the final minutes of the strip, she grabs coins that are scattered on the ground, loads the machine, and takes several pictures of the sky. The fountain spits out what looks like large polaroid pictures.
Eventually, the beast emerges and consumes the massive floating cowboy. Emerald gets a shot of it. Then the being bangs. It looks lifeless, like a torn plastic bag floating in the air.
What happens to AB?
At the very end of Nope, we see a sinister figure seated on a horse just outside of Jupiter’s claim. It’s unmistakably OJ, still wearing his bright orange hoodie.
what is nope Yes, really around?
To me, the ending of Nope seemed pretty straightforward: a fun ending to a fun adventure horror thriller. But I also figured that the final scenes, and the strip in general, must have a deeper meaning that I hadn’t considered. In a July interview with Today, Peele spent a lot of time talking about the film’s themes.
Speaking to Today journalist Craig Melvin, Peele said Nope is “about a lot of things,” including spectacle, race and human nature.
He said that while he was writing the film, he had the idea of making a spectacle, “something that people need to see.”
“When I was writing this film, I felt like I was fighting for the cinema, I was fighting for the theatrical experience,” Peele told Melvin. “So it’s about spectacle. And from there, I explored that and started uncovering what I think is the dark side of our relationship with spectacle.”
Regarding this “dark relationship,” Peele said, we could use spectacle “to distract us from the truth,” or give too much power to the things we’re obsessed with—things that are spectacular in nature.
“When we’re driving, we’re stuck in traffic and there’s an accident, the traffic slows down,” Peele said. “That’s because everyone takes one look at this horrific spectacle and it slows everyone down.
Peele didn’t unpack the ending directly, but Melvin did ask him what he wants viewers to think about when they leave the theater. Peele gave a sort of non-response: “If I had too clear an idea of what I wanted them to think about, I feel like I wouldn’t be having the conversation with the audience. It’s up to them.”
Then he returned to the one meta-aspect of Nope: yes, it’s a film about spectacles, but it’s also a spectacle itself.
“I hope they’re just fulfilled,” Peele said. “…I wanted to do a film about a flying saucer because I just felt like we can feel like we’re in the presence of something ‘other’, when we feel that real then that’s just an immersive one Experience worth going to the cinema for.”
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