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Netflix’s Time-Twisty ‘Bodies’ Ending, Explained

(SPOILERS for Netflix’s Bodies will obviously be found below.)

These days, the Netflix release schedule is a little thinner than usual, possibly due to the Hollywood strikes. However, some sleeper hits are still rising to satisfy bingewatching addicts. In particular, Bodies has captured the attentions of viewers who adore other mind-bending shows like Netflix’s The OA and Amazon’s Undone.

Bodies (co-starring Unorthodox‘s Shira Haas, shown above, who plays Detective Maplewood) dives headfirst into an also mind-melting take on multiple detectives who try to solve (and stop) the same murder in different decades. Somehow, the very fate of Britain lies in the balance of this crime being solved. The series is based upon a Si Spencer graphic novel, and the show was intended to be a limited series, so one shouldn’t expect a followup. With that said, the show actually leaves the door slightly ajar.

To briefly refresh, the series follows the mystery of an unidentified murder victim who is discovered in London, and somehow, this is happening as far back as 1890 and in current times as well as a few other points. Details begin to blend together several times throughout he show, so let’s hash out that ending.

As viewers have already learned, the dead body in question belongs to Gabriel Defoe, who (in the year 2053) tries to shut down a plan by Elias Mannix to travel back to 1890-ish and assume the identity of fallen soldier Julian Harker. In doing so, Harker plotted a cult that would eventually spur a 2023 terrorist attack by his teenage self. Defoe eventually teams up with Detective Hasan, whose son died in that attack. However, the relatively (?) straightforward time-travel business is further complicated by Maplewood, who is, at one point, working at the behest of Mannix.

While Maplewood cannot seem to reconcile that Mannix is responsible for all the havoc, Mannix surfaces and hops in his Time Machine. He’s followed by Defoe, and Maplewood fires her gun just in time to cause Defoe to die in different decades. (Yeah, that was enlightening for her.)

This is where things get extra complicated. Maplewood travels back to 1890 and appears alongside Detective Hillinghead (who found the body, too). Maplewood fills in Hillinghead on what she’s learned. He confronts Harker, and this leads to Harker’s mind being blown. Somehow, this causes Harker to rethink his 2023 plot (which he believes, along with his cult, will actually spark a revolution of human love).

That’s not everything that happens in between, but the ending leads to 2053, where the Longharvest Lane (where Defoe’s body was found) brick wall now contains an inscription that adds Maplewood’s name along with that of Hillinghead and Detective Whiteman (from 1941). The latter has left an indication that Hasan must travel to 2023 and discover another clue. There, Mannix determines to die in order to squash the whole plot of his older self to orchestrate the terrorist act. The plan works, and no bomb goes off. This ends up altering the entire course of time, and Defoe is never found dead on Longharvest Lane in 2023.

So is all well that ends well, and is this truly the conclusion of the story?

No clue. There’s a final tidbit that shows Maplewood as a cab driver in 2023, and somehow, she is familiar with her passenger, Hasan. How she ended up in 2023, we don’t know, and there’s also a visual clue that the Mannix cult slogan is present, too, even though it should have been eradicated in that timeline. Whether or not this points towards ambiguity that we should simply live with, or if the door is kind of open for more, we might never know.

Bodies is currently streaming on Netflix, so get to re-binging.