Spiral Ending Explained: What Happened, And How It Could Change The Saw Franchise

Chris Rock stands in front of a spiral halo in Spiral: From the Book of Saw's poster.

Warning: we’re about to discuss the ending of Spiral: From the Book of Saw in full detail. If you haven’t played this game yet, go back to square one until you have all the clues. Oh yes, there will be spoilers.

In the history of the Saw movies, a twist ending that puts everything together is a pretty standard tradition. Sure enough, Spiral: From the Book of Saw is a film that doesn’t deviate from that hallmark, and Spiral’s ending is certainly going to be a source of much discussion. But more importantly, the conclusion to this Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson starring adventure has quite a lot of clues as to where the Saw franchise could go, thanks to the new direction that was taken by this new entry. Consider this your last chance to avoid spoilers, as we’re about to begin taking apart the game that sits at the heart of Spiral: From the Book of Saw.

Chris Rock stands at the subway tunnel crime scene in Spiral: From the Book of Saw.

What Happened At The End Of Spiral?

Throughout Spiral: From the Book of Saw, a Jigsaw copycat terrorizes Detective Ezekiel “Zeke” Banks (Chris Rock) and his colleagues at the South Metro Police Department. Taking out dirty cops one by one, through traps inspired by the legacy of the original Saw franchise antagonist, this copycat has a message, and an offer for Zeke to consider. And it’s all because of his reputation as an honest cop, despite the fact that his revered father, former Chief Marcus Banks (Samuel L. Jackson) actually aided such corruption.

Spiral’s Jigsaw copycat sets up an elaborate web that, if he’s not careful, will frame Zeke Banks as the most likely person pulling all the strings. Which leaves Zeke with one last choice to make: save his father, who’s slowly dying from a bloodletting trap, or join him in cleaning up the South Metro Police Department, Saw style. Zeke chooses to try and save his father, which allows the copycat to get away, and leaves Marcus gunned down, thanks to the last Spiral trap making it look like he pulls a gun on a SWAT team. Game over.

Max Minghella sitting in a hot car in Spiral: From the Book of Saw.

Who Is Spiral’s Jigsaw Copycat?

The identity of the Jigsaw copycat in Spiral: From the Book of Saw is something that plays out rather well, with a twist that rivals even that of the first Saw film revealing John Kramer’s still living body. If you were guessing that fresh faced Detective William Schenk (Max Minghella) was the true culprit, congratulations, you know the Saw franchise! Not to mention, you picked up on the little clues here and there that sealed the deal.

Clue number one was the fact that even though William was claiming to have a wife and kids, we never saw either of them on screen. In fact, William was playing a recording of baby cries during a phone call with Zeke. The second clue is something so subtle, it would be mistakenly passed over as an inconsequential detail, as William admitted that Chief Marcus Banks was the person that made him want to do the job in the first place. But the third clue is something that ties into the overall motive of Spiral’s new criminal mastermind, which is a similarly innocuous statement: as “William” has been wanting to do this job since he was 12 years old.

Chris Rock and Max Minghella examine a piece of evidence in Spiral: From the Book of Saw.

The Motive Behind Spiral’s Web Of Murder

“William Schenk” isn’t a real person, or, at the very least, he has a different last name. Spiral: From the Book of Saw reveals that Schenk is really Emerson, a young man who lost his father when he was 12 years old. The method was what pushed him into Jigsaw territory, as thanks to a vague directive known as “Article 8,” Chief Marcus Banks let dirty cops run rampant, in order to clean up the streets.

One of those cops was Peter Dunleavy (Patrick McManus), who during his time as Zeke’s partner shot a witness that swore he would testify against a fellow officer who threw a suspect off a rooftop. The name of that witness was Charlie Emerson, the father of Spiral’s killer, and it was a moment that would forever define his sense of justice. It also ended the lives of several members of the South Metro Police Department, and left behind another chapter in the Book of Saw for fans to ponder over.

Tobin Bell stands in one of the trap rooms in Jigsaw.

Is Jigsaw Really, Truly, Honestly Dead?

Ding dong, the Jigsaw’s dead! Tobin Bell’s John Kramer is not still alive and kicking, despite what some may have hoped when Spiral: From the Book of Saw was announced. Though he appears in file photos, and gets name checked every so often, Saw’s legendary game master is still very much deceased. May his memory, and soap opera style shenanigans rest in peace.

However, John Kramer does live on in one way, thanks to “William” Emerson. Citing Kramer’s usage of the spiral as a “symbol for change, evolution, and progress,” Emerson wants to do the same thing, only on a wider scale. Posing the question, “Why limit that to an individual, when you can apply it to a whole system?” we’ve got the proof as to why Spiral doesn’t need John Kramer to be alive. But we’ve also got a clue as to how “The Book of Saw” can move forward from this point on.

Samuel L. Jackson investigates a room, gun drawn, in Spiral: From the Book of Saw.

How Spiral’s Subtitle May Be Hinting At The Saw Franchise’s Future

There’s one of two ways that Spiral: From the Book of Saw has set up the franchise’s potential future. One method is the tried and true following of one singular killer, as Emerson is seen escaping from custody at the end. Though Zeke Banks will swear up and down that he knows the identity of Spiral’s killer, the web is woven so perfectly that South Metro PD probably won’t believe his cries of innocence. Emerson can move from precinct to precinct, cleaning up the system everywhere he goes.

However, as this is “the Book of Saw,” there’s an opportunity that could provide more excitement when progressing in the world of Lionsgate’s legacy horror franchise. Instead of merely following Emerson’s path of deadly lessons, we could see new Jigsaw copycats in each new film, targeting another socially relevant system in the name of cleaning house. Much like the symbol it takes its name from Spiral has set out on a path that can diverge from the usual Saw formula from the past.

Another game has been played and the twisted story of Spiral: From the Book of Saw has revived the franchise it’s spun off of in a way that could change the game entirely. As the film is currently debuting in theaters, the audience response will be the telling sign of whether this spiral continues to spin, or if it winds up in a dead end. However, if you’re reading this, and have already seen Spiral through to the end, don’t forget to check out the 2021 movies coming soon to a theater near you. And if you haven’t seen Spiral yet; hope you enjoyed the spoilers!

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.