The Girl in the Woods Season 1 Ending, Explained

Image Credit: Scott Green, Peacock

Written by J. Casey Modderno for Peacock TV, ‘The Girl in The Woods’ is a teenage supernatural mystery drama packed with ghastly demons, a secret cult, a small-town ambiance, and quite a lot of adolescent angst. Carrie, the cult leader’s daughter, makes a motley team with Tasha and her non-binary lover Nolan to hunt down the demons and close the gate to a literal hell.

Stefanie Scott, Kylie Liya Page, and Misha Osherovich lead the cast ensemble with an effortless dynamic, the story is decidedly gender-aware, and the ambiance gives off a Stephen King vibe. The cliffhanger ending is one worth pondering over, and if you can’t get your head around the finale, let us help you out! SPOILERS AHEAD.

The Girl In The Woods Season 1 Recap

Carrie leaves her post of the guardian of the gate of Gehenna, making demons come out and haunt the small town of West Pine. Sassy teen Tasha is bored because nothing ever really happens in the town, and when she gives runaway Carrie shelter in her own house, she unwittingly meddles in the cult business. The cult, called the Disciples of Dawn, is led by Carrie’s father, Hosea. Following his orders, Carrie’s trainer Arthur scours the town looking for her.

Tasha’s non-binary friend Nolan Frisk is an easy target for bullies. He is freaking out since his cousin Lumi is mysteriously missing. Lumi’s mother Melanie is soon to follow, but the trio saves Nolan’s mom Victoria in the nick of time. Carrie is worried that the demons from the blood-herd are feeding on humans.

Tasha and Nolan meanwhile take Carrie to a party, and to make things worse, Tasha posts an online video of Carrie doing a weird dance. Arthur retrieves Carrie, but Carrie, adept in the art of war, kills Arthur. In another part of the town, Nolan is corrupted, and he posits the risk of killing his own family. Tasha and Carrie must rush to save their loved ones before it is too late.

Carrie confesses to Tasha that she was the one who opened the gate to the other world, letting monsters run amok in the small town of West Pine. An otherworldly creature guts Spoons at the party. Tasha is haunted by a demon at her home, a demon that is only visible in the mirror. When Carrie comes around to regroup with Tasha, she kills the invisible monster at Tasha’s insistence. They find out that the demon is a human underneath, corrupted by a parasite insect. One gate to Gehenna is in the forest, while the new gate opens in the mines.

As demons proliferate the small town in the finale, Nolan is corrupted, and Tasha’s dad is too. Nolan is corrupted from the first tryst with the demon in the forest, although he is late to discover the corruption in his body. After murdering Arthur, Carrie goes to her dearest Sara to make amends. In Carrie’s absence, Sara is made the new guardian. Carrie is hellbent to close the new gate in the mines, but she needs the ledger of terrible secrets. Sara knows that Carrie has murdered Arthur in cold blood, and she would not forgive Carrie unless she presents herself before the counsel.

The Girl In The Woods Season 1 Ending: Does Carrie Close the Gate? Does Nolan Become Human Again?

To obtain the book, Carrie goes to the village of the cult, where her father is waiting for her. Carrie enters her father’s room discreetly, and when she hears her father’s voice, she tears a page from the book and keeps it in her boot. The page talks about the “Pestilence Stream,” an instrumental ritual in defeating the demons. Hosea seeks to comfort Sara into obedience while directing the other disciples to capture Carrie from his home. The others come rushing to discover that Carrie has long fled the scene.

Carrie comes looking for Tasha at her home and finds Tasha’s father, Alex, packing his bag to blast the mines in search of apparent gold. Carrie tries to convince Tasha’s father that the substance they have discovered is dragon’s bone instead of gold. But when he attacks her, Carrie has little option but to tie him to a chair. Tasha comes back from the encounter with demon Nolan, and terrified at the escalation of the situation, they vow to close the door to Gehenna at the earliest.

The members from the Disciples of Dawn raid Tasha’s house, but they flee the scene, throwing dust in the eyes of the cult members. It is seemingly too late when they reach the mine, as demon Nolan has been early to penetrate the mines. Most of the workers are dead, and the demon soon appears in front of their eyes. Tasha tries to communicate with Nolan, who is presumably still inside the monster. The devil runs after Tasha and traps her in a narrow enclave. Carrie binds the demon with the steel rope of mine workers, and when Tasha frees herself, Carrie performs the surgery.

Carrie succeeds in getting the insect out and urges Tasha to take the demon out of the cave. By the time the monster is out of the cave, it has morphed back into Nolan, the person, although the black scars on their body are still present. With the others out, Carrie utters the charm, “Vast Gehenna, I pray to thee/Close the door and set me free.” While Carrie’s mother takes the form of a demon to lure her back into the world of Gehenna, she rejects the illusion. The door closes while the retractable blade disintegrates to seal the gate. The gate is closed, but a threat still lurks in the colony.

Why Does Carrie Send Her Friends to Gehenna?

Carrie comes off as an antihero in the story. Neither wholly black nor white, she treads in the gray area of ethics. This characteristic trait of Carrie perhaps comes from her rigid upbringing in the colony, and her deceptive nature is ingrained in her by her father, Hosea, the cult leader. Carrie has conned her way to the post of the guardian, and she is the one who opened the gates and caused the bloodshed. She has also assailed Arthur Deane, her childhood trainer. However, in flashback, we see that other cult members in front of the gate took their own lives, and Carrie cannot exactly be blamed for the bloodshed.

However, in the finale, Carrie faces a grave test, which leads to a cliffhanger ending of the season. Hosea promises to forgive Carrie and assimilate her back into the cult. Impressed by Carrie’s bravery, he also suggests that Carrie should take up the post of late Arthur. But in exchange, Carrie has to prove her love and eliminate two final obstacles. To Carrie’s dismay, they are Tasha and Nolan. Carrie tries to evade the situation by confessing that her blade is destroyed, and Hosea lends her his blade. Carrie presents a hateful monologue before suggesting that Tasha and Nolan live their “empty” lives in Gehenna.

In the end, the disciples lead Tasha and Nolan into Gehenna, while Sara and Carrie exchange glances. They make their secret love gesture, and we hope that Sara will take care of them. At least, Carrie hopes so. Although Carrie is steel-willed, she cannot take the lives of her friends. In the end, she counts on Sara to keep them safe, and since she has come back to the colony, she has perhaps won Sara’s trust. But a final shot keeps us further hooked.

Is Carrie Corrupted?

In the mine, Carrie gulps down one of those insects. She probably does this to get even with the cult, and this can be a symbolic act of Carrie embracing the demon in her. In the final shot, we see the black lines crawling out of her neck. The suggestion made by the scene is that Carrie would slowly turn into a demon. We have seen the same thing happening with Nolan, and it is just a matter of time before Carrie turns into the beast. This cliffhanger keeps the audience guessing for the future course of the story. Would Sara team up with Nolan and Tasha to save Carrie? Hopefully, we will find the answer in a possible second season.

Read More: Where Is The Girl In The Woods Filmed?