Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery Ending Explained: Who Did It, What Did They Do, And Why?

Daniel Craig in Glass Onion
(Image credit: Netflix)

This story is going to be filled with spoilers for the new Rian Johnson film Glass Onion: A Knives Out Story, so back out now if you haven’t yet seen the film and want to remain unsullied. 

Back when Rian Johnson’s murder-mystery story Knives Out was released, the world still linked Daniel Craig with his memorable role of 007, thanks to the actor playing James Bond in five films (which we have ranked). His new character, Benoit Blanc, was considered odd and offbeat, though ultimately proved loveable as Blanc made his way through the Agatha Christie-inspired whodunit that Johnson and his team had crafted. The movie was a hit, and immediately spawned a sequel. And that new film, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Story, has received a limited theatrical run for the Thanksgiving Holiday. 

But you know that already. Because if you have read this far, you either saw Glass Onion, or you are not concerned with spoilers and simply want to know as much about Benoit Blanc’s latest case – probably because you don’t want to have to wait until the movie reaches Netflix later in December. Explaining what happened at the end of Glass Onion would require some lengthy set up, as the mystery at the heart of the movie really is quite twisty. But I’ll try to include some background details on behalf of the people who are reading this to be educated and entertained. The real spoilers will begin… now!

Daniel Craig in Glass Onion

(Image credit: Netflix)

What Does Benoit Blanc Figure Out At The End Of Glass Onion? 

Benoit Blanc arrives at the private island of tech billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton) during a getaway Bron prepared for his closest friends, nicknamed The Disruptors. We ran down the full cast list here. Blanc pretends that he has been invited to the party, but in truth, he was hired by Helen Brand (Janelle Monae) to discover which of the “Disruptors” might have murdered Helen’s twin sister Cassandra “Andi” Brand… Bron’s former business partner.

Helen accompanies Blanc to the island, but pretends to be her sister, because the group doesn’t yet know that Andi has been killed. While on the island investigating the motives for Andi’s murder, more members of the Disruptors end up dead, pointing to the existence of a killer amongst their ranks. Then, Helen gets shot… though at the time, the group still believed her to be Andi. She survives, but the attack finally gives Blanc the motivation to single out the person behind these multiple crimes. 

It’s Miles Bron, the man who brought all of his friends to the island for a fake murder mystery party. 

Edward Norton in Glass Onion

(Image credit: Netflix)

Why Did This Person Do What They Did? 

Over the course of Glass Onion, we learn that every member of the Disruptors was in deep debt to Bron, whom they all met in college and stayed with while he and Cassandra built up their tech company, Alpha. Claire Debella (Kathryn Hahn) was a governor running for the Senate who relied on Bron’s campaign donations. Duke Cody (Dave Bautista) was a pro-right YouTube personality bankrolled by Bron who wanted to make the leap to Bron’s 24-hour news network. You get the idea. Each person on the island had a reason for wanting Bron out of their lives… even Andi. 

You see, Andi was trying to stop Miles Bron from completing his latest dangerous invention: Klear, an alternate power source consisting of hydrogen gas that Andi knew to be unsafe. Bron didn’t want to listen to her warnings, so he legally had her removed from their company. Bron blackmailed all of the Disruptors to testify in court that the central ideas behind Alpha were his, not Andi’s. But when Andi uncovered a long-lost cocktail napkin which proved that she came up with the formula for their first invention, Bron snapped and poisoned her. 

Bron wasn’t finished. Because this group consisted of seven self-centered “shitheads” (as Helen lovingly called them), each of them tried to get leverage over Bron during his own celebration. And one of them, Duke, paid for that action with his life. Duke learned of Andi’s death mid-party, and showed the news report to Miles. Bron, knowing that he’d soon be outed, killed Duke by pouring pineapple juice in his cocktail, knowing that the YouTuber was deathly allergic Miles killed Andi and Duke, and also was the one who shot Helen, though a diary she kept in her jacket pocket stopped the bullet from harming her. 

Janelle Monae in Glass Onion

(Image credit: Netflix)

What Was Their Consequence? 

By the end of the movie, Miles Bron was ruined. He confessed to killing Andi, but successfully burned the napkin that would have allowed Helen to prove her sister was the brains behind Alpha. But Helen wasn’t quite done. She begins smashing all of the valuables in Miles’s island home, shattering glass statues and a piano that once belonged to Liberace. The Disruptors join in, finding it cathartic to finally swing back at the man who has held influence over them because of his fortune. 

But Helen has one more trick up her sleeve. Amidst the destruction, Helen starts a fire. She begins throwing couch cushions and articles of clothing into the flames to build them up. Bron finally steps in to stop her little temper tantrum, but doesn’t realize until it’s too late that Benoit Blanc has slipped her a small sample of Bron’s experimental Klear… the dangerous hydrogen-based power source. Helen throws it into the fire, and the fire gets sucked up into the vents of Bron’s island mansion – which is 100% powered by Klear. The entire facility explodes, flames tearing through every inch of the house and destroying everything this egotistical billionaire has collected. Including the actual Mona Lisa, which Bron had rented from the Louvre Museum because France needed money during the pandemic. 

Thus, completing Bron’s goal – which he repeated often – of one day being “responsible for something that gets mentioned in the same breath as the Mona Lisa, forever.” Klear is proven to be too dangerous for public consumption. Bron is responsible for the decimation of a priceless work of art. He’s ruined, and Helen feels like she finally got her revenge.

Kathryn Hahn in Glass Onion

(Image credit: Netflix)

What Happened With The Other Characters? 

It’s kind of a mixed bag, though none of them are better off by the end of the movie than when Glass Onion started. Duke (Dave Bautista) has it the worst: he got killed by Miles. But the rest of the characters all watched their cash cow go up in flames. And so while they all start to pretend by the end of the movie that they DID In fact see the paper napkin that Helen was holding up, proving that her sister Andi came up with the idea that started Alpha, their futures still look incredibly grim. 

As Claire (Kathryn Hahn) points out, she’s a politician who took a vacation during a pandemic, on an island where there was a murder, and Miles Bron’s enterprise was proven to be a fraud. That also will affect Lionel (Leslie Odom Jr.), who worked as Miles’s top research assistant at Alpha and knew of his underhanded tactics. And then there’s Birdie (Kate Hudson), who relied on Miles to bail her fashion company out of problems with sweatshops that produce her pants. Now that he’s gone, she will fall on that sword, taking her personal assistant, Peg (Jessica Henwick), down with her.  

Daniel Craig in Glass Onion

(Image credit: Netflix)

Where Does The Movie Leave Benoit Blanc?

Glass Onion leaves Benoit Blanc on a beach, smoking a cigar and ready for his next case! As he told Helen, his hands were tied with regards to his obligations to the courts and the rule of law, so the minute that Miles destroyed the napkin – the only proof she had to her sister’s accomplishments – there was no legal recourse Blanc had to help his client. But he did hand her the small piece of Klear before he left the room, inspiring her personal mini-riot which led to the explosion that took Miles Bron out. 

Between the two Knives Out movies, this means that Benoit Blanc is two for two solving mysteries, and we can only hope that Rian Johnson is hard at work on a third screenplay that will get the world’s most famous private detective back on the case sometime very soon.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.