The Mill: Who Is Alex? Is He the Guard?

Hulu’s ‘The Mill’ is a psychological thriller film directed by Sean King O’Grady and written by Jeffrey David Thomas. Starring Lil Rel Howery (‘Vacation Friends‘) in the lead role, the movie revolves around Joe Stevens (Howery), a business manager working for a larger corporation. However, when Joe is imprisoned in a cell and forced to work at an old mill, he must find a way to return to his family. In the process, Joe learns about Alex, who could guide him to escape the prison. As a result, viewers must be wondering about Alex’s identity and whether he is connected to another character that plays a crucial role in Joe’s story. In that case, here is everything you need to know about Alex in ‘The Mill.’ SPOILERS AHEAD!

Who Is Alex?

In ‘The Mill,’ Joe Stevens finds himself imprisoned in an open-air prison cell with only an old grist mill. Joe is forced to churn the mill to survive on the orders of an AI system that controls the prison. During his time in prison, Joe finds the name “Alex” engraved in his cell. Joe’s unnamed cell neighbor tells him that Alex is deemed a legend in prison since he is the only person who escaped. However, Joe is surprised that Alex never told the authorities about the prison’s existence. Later, when Joe’s neighbor is punished for helping him escape the prison, he reveals he is, in fact, Alex.

Joe’s neighbor explains that he escaped the prison and wanted to leave the experience behind. However, he was found by Mallard and imprisoned once more. Moreover, Alex also reveals he worked in the engineering department that helped build the prison’s computer program. Alex tells Joe that he, too, had a family and prioritized his work over spending time with his wife and son. Alex regrets his choice and decides to help Joe escape so he can be with his wife when his son is born. However, when Joe is caught, Alex is punished for being an accomplice and terminated.

Is Alex the Guard?

Later in the film, Joe realizes that he cannot outsmart the computer program running the prison. As a result, he rebels against the Mallard AI and refuses to work. As a result, the AI threatens to terminate Joe’s contract. After Joe refuses to work despite being given a second chance, a security guard is sent in to terminate him. However, when the security guard talks about replacing Joe in his personal and professional life, Joe attacks him. Eventually, Joe learns that he has been in a simulation. Joe had signed up for Mallard’s Advanced Career Development Program, a simulated reality that uses the mill to challenge its employees and force them to grow to further their careers.

When Joe comes out of the simulation, he is greeted by Johnny, an HR associate who had also been inside the program. Johnny is the same security guard that Joe attacks in the simulation. However, since Johnny is also an HR guide who knows the ins and outs of the program, it is implied that he was Joe’s neighbor all along. While this theory is possible, Johnny/Security Guard and Alex/Neighbor are credited separately in the film, with different actors essaying the role. Actor Pat Healy plays the former, while Patrick Fischer voices Joe’s neighbor in the movie. Therefore, it is likely that Johnny and Alex are completely different. Furthermore, it is also likely that Alex does not exist and Joe’s neighbor in the simulation was a part of the computer program. The same is confirmed when Johnny states everything inside the simulation was fabricated.

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