The final episode of Netflix’s ‘Black Mirror’ Season 6 takes a break from science fiction and delivers a horror thriller that subverts expectations. It follows the story of a meek sales assistant who is frustrated with the people around her but can only hurt them in her fantasies. This is until she finds out that she has to start hurting people in real life if she wants to save the world. This is a complete role reversal for her as she is forced to leave her moral high ground and become one of the people she detests. In the end, she is presented with a choice that seals her fate. Here’s what the ending means for her. SPOILERS AHEAD
Black Mirror Season 6 Episode 5 Recap
In 1979, in Northern England, Nida lives alone in her apartment. She works at a shop selling shoes, but she is not appreciated for all her hard work and dedication. Instead, she faces racism from her colleague and her employer. She is told to bring normal things for lunch, like a sandwich, because her co-worker cannot stand the smell of the food she brings. She is asked to have lunch in the basement, where she comes across a strange talisman.
Nida finds the small piece of wood with strange carvings and accidentally bleeds on it. When she goes home, the talisman comes to life. She hears a voice from it. The voice asks her to say yes, promising that it will go away if she does so. However, as soon as she says yes, a demon appears before her. Because its form terrifies her, the demon decides to turn into something that would seem more pleasing to her. He reads her mind and finds the picture of the guy from Boney M.
Identifying as Gaap, the demon reveals that Nida’s blood activated the talisman, and now the clock is ticking toward Armageddon. The world will end if she doesn’t kill three people in three days. Everything will be destroyed, and billions of people will die. At first, Nida thinks that she is hallucinating Gaap. However, the demon convinces her that the murders need to happen because his fate, as well as that of the world, depends on it.
Black Mirror Season 6 Episode 5 Ending: Does the World End?
When Nida sees Gaap for the first time, she tells herself she is dreaming. It must be a dream, or she has lost her mind and is hallucinating things. Why would she, who has never had a confrontation, let alone hurt someone, be chosen to kill three people and save the world? Gaap explains that this has to do with the demons corrupting good people. Even when she accepts that Gaap really is a demon and not her imagination, the doubt persists because the demon never actually exhibits its power or does anything.
It appears only to Nida and talks to her about things that could easily have been made up or could be extrapolations of the stuff she already knows. Because Nida was mentally frustrated and cooked up scenarios where she would hurt people, it looks like the stress might have finally got the best of her, and she has brought those things out into the real world. When she is arrested for her crimes and tells the cops about it, they believe she has a mental illness. They even point out that the talisman doesn’t have the markings she’d described, which means that Gaap was simply in her mind.
If it all happened inside her head, then the deadline doesn’t matter. The world is not in imminent danger and will not be destroyed if she doesn’t kill three people. Nida had already killed two people: the random one she met under the bridge, and Keith Holligan’s brother, Chris. She killed Keith, too, but he didn’t count because he was a murderer. After giving a lot of thought to who should be her third victim, she settles on Michael Smart, the politician who spewed hatred and had fascism written all over his future. Gaap advises her to choose an easier target, but she has her mind set on Smart and follows him after one of his speeches. She crashes his car into a tree, but when he comes out it unscathed, she decides to kill him like she did the others. She brings out her hammer and is about to finish the deed when the cop, Len Fisher, shows up.
Len becomes suspicious of Nida after she kills the Holligan brothers. She was seen in the pub Keith visited the night of his murder. She was the only thing out of place that day because she’d never visited the pub before. She also knew Keith from the shop where he had purchased shoes fairly recently. When Len asks her about Keith, she feigns ignorance, raising his suspicion. So, he follows her and finds her attacking Smart.
With Nida arrested and barely enough time left before midnight, the world’s fate is sealed. When Nida tells the officers about Gaap and the impending apocalypse, they dismiss her as mentally unstable. However, soon after, things happen exactly as Nida predicted. Before Gaap arrived, things were already volatile between the US and Russia, the nuclear superpowers in the midst of the Cold War. If Nida didn’t kill three people, the war would escalate, and everything would be destroyed.
The cops find her explanation unlikely, but then things start to go awry. They hear sirens outside, and there is fire everywhere. In the distance, they watch as a nuclear missile approaches the city and blasts everything. This is exactly what Gaap predicted, which means that had Nida killed Smart, the world could have been saved. It wasn’t a hallucination or mental illness. Gaap was real, and so was the talisman and the deadline. Because Nida didn’t kill the third person before the deadline, the world met its end.
What Happens to Nida and Gaap?
When Gaap tells Nida about the deadline, he mentions that this is more important to him because it is a part of his initiation ritual. He doesn’t care whether the world is saved or not, as its destruction wouldn’t really have any effect on him. However, the initiation matters because if Nida fails, it would mean failure on Gaap’s part. As a punishment for this, he will be banished to a void where he will have to live alone till the end of time.
For the world, it’s just death, but failure leads to a much worse fate for Gaap. Things would be simpler if they could just kill him. Instead, his superiors will throw him into a place where nothing exists, not even time. He will float endlessly and purposelessly all alone. When Nida fails, Gaap’s fate is sealed. He knows what’s going to happen to him. He also knows that Nida will die because the world will end. They are both doomed, but wouldn’t it be better if they were doomed together?
In the three days that they spend with each other, Nida and Gaap bond with each other. He fears the perpetual loneliness that waits for him if he fails. Nida understands it because she has already been living that way. More than saving the world, the need to help Gaap becomes her priority. Meanwhile, being with Gaap also changes Nida. She becomes more confident and finally has a purpose in her otherwise meaningless existence.
As the world outside the police station crumbles to bits, Gaap visits Nida. He tells her that he is about to be sent to the void. However, he has discovered a loophole in the rules, w which say nothing about bringing a human companion to the void. He proposes Nida join her so that they can be together for the rest of eternity, even if they will spend it in the void. Nida accepts his offer because she has nothing left to lose. It is either this or dying. She has already found a great friend in Gaap. He is better than anyone she knew when the world was normal. So, she decides to go with him. Ultimately, as the nuclear missile crashes into the city and destroys everything, Nida and Gaap go hand in hand, ready to face the void.