The Signal Ending, Explained: Who or What Lands on Earth?

Netflix’s German science fiction series ‘The Signal’ ends with Sven and Charlie unraveling the mystery behind Paula’s discovery while she was in the International Space Station and the crashing of Flight AE 7606, which kills the astronaut and her colleague Hadi. The father and daughter duo finally connect the dots to uncover the clues Paula provided them before she gets killed. The clues help them unveil the truth to the world, especially after getting crucified for a considerable while without committing any crimes. Sven and Charlie not only find the unidentified, extraterrestrial object but also invite the world’s attention towards it on behalf of their loved one! SPOILERS AHEAD.

The Signal Recap

‘The Signal’ begins with Sven and Charlie awaiting the return of Paula from the ISS after her mission with Hadi. Even though their journey back to their home planet doesn’t turn out to be smooth, the two astronauts finally make it as their vessel lands in Chile. They are greeted by Benisha Mudhi, the Indian billionaire who funded the duo’s space mission. Paula and Hadi then board a flight to return to their respective families in Germany but the aircraft goes missing after the departure. Sven and Charlie, along with the family of Hadi, await the two astronauts’ return, only to get informed that the airplane crashed in the Atlantic Ocean.

The authorities then listen to a recording of Paula, who enters the cockpit of the airplane right before the crash. Several media outlets and the family members of the deceased join hands to appear in front of Sven and Charlie’s house to hold their loved one accountable. The father and daughter struggle to accept that Paula is dead. In flashback sequences, it is revealed that Paula was able to record someone saying “Hello” in outer space, especially while the antenna of the ISS wasn’t facing Earth, which led her to the conclusion that an extraterrestrial being was the source of the sound. Despite her recording the sound, Hadi told her that her listening to the same could be the result of “space sickness,” especially after switching the tapes.

Paula reached out to Mudhi to let her know about the discovery. Her sponsor provided her with adequate support for her to move forward with her research. However, Hadi tried to find the source of the sound himself, without involving her. At the present time, Sven receives a call from Rainer, Paula’s boss. He implies the possibility of a cover-up that has been happening regarding the predicament involving the astronaut. Sven goes to his house and finds a file, in which it is made clear that Paula indeed found an extraterrestrial object that has been traveling towards Earth.

Meanwhile, Charlie listens to the recordings of Paula with the help of an unnamed woman, who leads the girl to her house. Sven follows his daughter and meets with the woman. Despite her suggestion to hide with her from the authorities, Sven and Charlie step out of the house, only to get captured by German soldiers. The officers lead them to Rainer, who clarifies to Sven that Germany is going to destroy the extraterrestrial object that’s coming towards Earth without anyone knowing. Once the missiles are dispatched to destroy the object, Sven and Charlie get released from custody, along with Rainer. The next day, the father and daughter learn from the media that no such object had been coming towards their planet the previous day.

By the time Sven listens to the news, he grows suspicious about the coordinates Paula shared while she was in the ISS. He remembers his wife asking him to listen to their daughter, which leads him to Charlie. On her arm, he finds the real coordinates of the landing site of the alien object, with the date and time integrated into the same. Realizing that the authorities have returned for them, Sven and Charlie run away from their house, only to get into an accident. Still, he manages to reach out to Mudhi, who rescues them. Charlie shares the coordinates with her role model, who takes the father and daughter to the landing site.

The Signal Ending: What Happens to Flight AE 7606? How Do Paula and Hadi Die?

Benisha Mudhi plants explosives inside Flight AE 7606 and causes the aircraft’s crash, which results in the deaths of Paula, Hadi, and over 170 others. Mudhi didn’t spend an enormous amount of money to send Paula and Hadi to the ISS for the advancement of science and the world in general. She is not a philanthropist who aims for the welfare of humankind as she projects herself to be. Mudhi is nothing short of a businesswoman whose sole interest starts and ends with her personal gains and financial advancements. Even though she didn’t reveal her intentions to Paula, she was trying to gain from the astronaut’s findings all alone.

Mudhi hoped that she would be able to capitalize on the discovery of Paula, only for the astronaut to let her know that she doesn’t want the truth about the extraterrestrial object a secret anymore. After giving Hadi the fake coordinates to find the unidentified object, she is ready to reveal the real coordinates but only if she can unveil it to the whole world. Paula doesn’t want a billionaire to take advantage of her findings all alone, creating a rift between that individual and the rest of the world, even if that person is her sponsor. She wishes the whole world to gain from what she knows, which is not acceptable to the billionaire.

Thus, Mudhi makes sure that Paula won’t live long enough to reveal the true coordinates to the rest of the world. The billionaire always knew that she couldn’t trust the astronaut to prioritize her business interests. That was the reason why she threatened Hadi to keep an eye on Paula. To ensure that his kids wouldn’t get harmed, Hadi tried to convince Paula that the sound from an alien source was the creation of her imagination so that he could find it and pass the information to Mudhi alone. However, Paula’s intelligence turned out to be far superior to Hadi’s hard work as the latter failed to garner the true coordinates of the unidentified object’s potential landing site.

Mudhi kills Paula and Hadi when they cease to be useful for her alone. Since Paula also finds out that the billionaire has been threatening his colleague, Mudhi may have wanted to safeguard her reputation. Due to these reasons, the Indian woman sentences both Paula and Hadi to death before they can even see their loved ones for one last time.

What is the Alien Object? Who Sent It?

The unidentified, extraterrestrial object Paula found turns out to be Voyager 1, a probe launched by NASA to study space beyond the solar system or the Sun’s heliosphere. When Paula first heard a “Hello” from an unknown source while she was in the space station, she believed that it was from an extraterrestrial being or an alien in other words. She thought that the alien was able to decode the communication pattern of the human beings in the ISS to establish contact with her. Since she heard the sound while the antenna of the space station was pointed in the opposite direction of Earth, she didn’t have any reason to consider a man-made object’s presence lurking in outer space.

Paula, however, forgot the existence of Voyager 1 and the golden record attached to the probe that contains greetings in several languages, including English. During its journey through outer space, the needle that plays the record must have moved a bit, only for the word “Hello” to repeat several times as Paula and Hadi heard while they were in the ISS. The word is a part of the sentence, “Hello from the children of planet Earth,” recorded by Nick Sagan. Even though an alien doesn’t step out of the object as several individuals anticipated, the return of Voyager 1 seemingly indicates the existence of extraterrestrial life.

Voyager 1 is an object that is traveling away from Earth second after second. Since its launch in 1977, it has traveled over fifteen billion miles. There’s no reason for it to return to Earth without anyone sending it back. In the fictional realm of ‘The Signal,’ Voyager 1 must have encountered an alien civilization and the members of the same must have sent it back to its home planet, which explains its unexpected landing. Due to Paula’s sacrifice, the world gets to know about the return of Voyager 1, which may inspire governments and space agencies to collaborate and explore space for the welfare of humankind in general rather than for the limited and personal gains of certain individuals like Mudhi.

What is the Significance of the Fox and Hare Game?

When Sven and Charlie set out to unravel the mystery behind Paula’s discovery and her death, they have to rely on several clues their loved one left behind before getting killed by Mudhi. One of the most important clues is her promise to excel in the Fox and Hare game the family had been playing before her departure to space. Regardless of how many times they played the game, Charlie defeated her mother, only for the astronaut to ask her husband what’s the way to win it. Sven then revealed to his wife that the hare should be two steps ahead of the fox. When the unidentified object doesn’t show up on the date Paula revealed through Charlie, Sven remembers her promise.

If Paula was playing the game with Mudhi, the only way the former could have won is by doing things way ahead of the billionaire. After confronting the true intentions of Mudhi, Paula realizes that she cannot reveal the real date of the landing even to the world explicitly without Mudhi knowing about it. That’s why she sends a voicemail to her husband about celebrating their anniversary on Saint Nicholas Day despite celebrating it in the summers over the years. Paula’s promise regarding the game convinces Sven that she was not babbling about the wrong anniversary date. He connects the dots and realizes that his wife became a hare and tricked the fox.

Even if Mudhi could listen to the voicemail, she would have ignored it thinking that it was just a reminder of the anniversary of the couple. Sven then goes to the coordinates on Saint Nicholas Day to find the unidentified object, which turns out to be Voyager 1.

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