Alice in Borderland Season 2 spoilers follow.
It was a blur of explosive viscera, blood, missing limbs, and death-defying challenges, but somehow Arisu (Kento Yamazaki) and his buddies (most by any means) made their way to the final round of games.
In the second season of Alice in Borderland Players are becoming more and more drained on the quest to return to the real world, and the possibility finally seems to be at their fingertips. The only person left standing in their way is the Queen of Hearts, also known as Mira (Minako Kotobuki).
Not surprisingly, it’s up to Arisu and Usagi (Tao Tsuchiya) to defeat their last strong opponent in a card face. However, like a lot of missions that have been thrown its way so far, this challenge is not easy at all and is full of twists and turns. All this insidiously leads to an ending that leaves our players in a dangerous situation.
How is that? Let’s untangle this ending to find out.
Alice in Borderland Explanation of the end of the second season
The end begins with a bittersweet victory for Arisu and the gang.
Their united attack on the King of Spades leads to victory. He is dead, which brings them one step closer to the freedom they seek. But they did not escape from that battle unscathed.
Kuina (Aya Asahina) and Ann (Ayaka Miyosh) appear to be mortally wounded along with Aguni (Shô Aoyagi) and newcomer Heiya (Yuri Tsunematsu).
Sadly, Nijirô Murakami’s Chishiya this episode starts bleeding from a gunshot fired by Niragi (Dori Sakurada) who also shoots him, but like a cockroach he insists not to die.
Needless to say, the team isn’t in good shape, so when the airship Queen of Hearts hovers ominously over her, it’s the knife-piercing Arisu and Usagi who are going to take it on.
They meet up with Myra in an immaculate-looking garden where the two are told the shaggy about the mission. They must play three rounds of croquet. Winning is not the goal – they simply must get through three rounds without quitting in order to successfully complete the game.
It sounds easy enough, which means something far more sinister is afoot.
This becomes apparent when Arisu makes it through the first two rounds and Mira begins to stop the game. At this point, Usagi’s wounds need urgent attention – she is limping but is forced when Mira insists they sit down to tea.
Mira pours but wisely the two refuse to drink. This doesn’t stop Arisu from being drawn into the Mira games.
He constantly presses Mira about what happened in the real world and she plays along with him. Mira lies at first, giving false accounts of what happened before being able to convince him that the trauma of losing his friends Karube (Kita Machida) and Chota (Yuki Morinaga) in a car accident was so traumatic that it made him fantasize about the games.
Illusion served as a way of coping with loss and was his way of exploring the fundamental question he grappled with all along: What is the purpose of his life?
Mira convinces Aresu that he is in a hospital receiving psychiatric treatment from her and his doctor, and that Usagi is a patient with whom he has formed a strong bond. The deeper he goes into this belief the further away he is from ending the game with the final round of croquet.
Usagi does her best to reach out to him and convince him otherwise, but her attempts fall on deaf ears. Only when she is forced to slit her wrist in an attempt to get him to save her does he slowly awaken from this hypnotic state. Just in time too, as Mira comes close to convincing him to “end the game” in order to let go of the illusion’s hold on him.
Instead, Arisu and Usagi exchange feelings of wanting to be together, living life together with Arisu getting through the outpouring of passion with:
“I simply want you to live, Usagi. I want to protect you,” he says, bleeding profusely from another wound. This is enough to bring them back to the pristine reality of gardens and away from the sterile environment of fake hospital facilities.
Mira is tearful of their feelings for each other and continues with the match without further delay, thus conceding defeat.
There is gloom in their gameplay after that. A whimsical melancholy that ends with Arisu asking Mira one last time, what is this place they have ended up in?
Which showed him that he would soon find out and out of his two choices, the one he made would reveal the kind of person he really is. He quickly follows her coded words by shooting her with a laser, killing her.
With the games now over, all surviving players are asked whether or not to accept permanent residence in this land and thus become citizens making them similar to, if not the alternatives to, counterparts to the owners of the face card games.
Arisu and Usagi both retreat. As do Kuina, Chishiya, Aguni and Heiya who manage to survive until the ninth hour. Even the horribly despicable Niragi declines the offer, but Banda (Hayato Isomura) and Yaba (Katsuya Maiguma) accept, suggesting that they could become the next Game Masters in a potential third season.
However, the rest share a different fate.
do the Alice in Borderland Players return to the real world?
It certainly seems so. They all wake up in the hospital to find that the fireworks they saw in Season 1, the ones that preceded their arrival on the game grounds, were actually a meteor.
The catastrophic damage took many lives but they survived. They all sustain various injuries of varying size including Anne, who is presumed dead but is left fighting for her life in a coma.
The only thing they have in common is the fact that their hearts stopped for a minute in the aftermath of the disaster.
They also have no memory of the game’s land or their relationships with each other, so when Arisu and Usagi meet again, they have a sense that they know each other but don’t know how.
Anyway, they decide to walk together in the hospital gardens and the sumptuous, uplifting music makes you think they’ve met their happy ending. Not perfect, but at least they are home. barely.
What does the joker card mean?
As the second season comes to a close, the camera pans to a table in the gardens strewn with several cards. A gentle breeze carries them away, leaving one card left. the Joker.
What does this mean? everything?
Its mere existence meant that the players did not exit as they thought but instead entered the third stage of the games, adding to the severity of the fact that they are unaware and have no memory.
Joker is meant to represent the wild card and thus suggests more unpredictability, if you can imagine that.
In many card games, the Joker can take on the properties of other cards, which means it can represent any of the dangerous challenges they’ve faced before or it can be a whole new hell for them to take on.
Either way, it’s probably the hardest and nastiest thing yet. A trick card lured them into this false sense of security by wiping their memories and bringing them “home”, when in truth, like Dorothy, they could never get away from Kansas.
The first and second chapters of Alice in Borderland Available to stream now on Netflix.
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