‘Triangle of Sadness’ is a black comedy-satire that follows the story of a group of passengers on a cruise ship who go through a tumultuous series of events. The film, divided into three parts, touches upon the issues of gender equality, capitalism, class divide, and the inherent hunger for power in people. All of these things are threaded into the DNA of the story so intriguingly that one can’t help but think about all these factors while analyzing the ending. If you, too, are pondering over the uncertainty of the final scene, the direction it could take the story in, and what it means for the passengers stranded on the island, then allow us to shed some light on the matter. SPOILERS AHEAD
Triangle of Sadness Plot Synopsis
Carl and Yaya are models and in a relationship. Yaya is more successful than Carl, and it’s clear that both of them are in it for their Instagram following. However, Carl seems more inclined toward taking things more seriously. In exchange for its promotion, they are invited on a cruise ship, with all of its guests being super rich people. It’s the job of the crew members that the guests receive whatever they want, no matter if it’s a recreational drug or a unicorn.
Things take a turn for the worse when a violent storm hits and almost all passengers get food poisoning. At the same time, the pirates attack, and the ship is destroyed, leaving a handful of people stranded on an island. While the majority of them are passengers, it is a woman named Abigail, whose job was to clean toilets on the ship, who takes charge of the situation. It is clear that she is the only one who knows how to survive in the wild, which leaves everyone depending on her for their survival.
Triangle of Sadness Ending: Does Abigail Kill Yaya?
Abigail’s skills help the passengers survive on the island. She catches fish, builds the fire, cooks the food, and this is why she becomes the group’s leader. Days go by and the passengers settle down into the new order of things. Carl uses sexual favors to get more food from Abigail. When the others start to tease him about it, he asks her to go public about their relationship. The only thing that he needs to do before that is to break up with Yaya. Before that can happen, Yaya shows up in the morning and reveals that she is going to take a hike and see what else is there on the island.
Abigail decides to join her, believing that it would be dangerous for her to go alone. At the end of the hike, Yaya discovers an elevator and realizes that the island houses a luxury resort. She wants to go inside immediately, but Abigail asks her to wait a moment. She goes into the bushes under the pretense of urinating but then sneaks up behind an oblivious Yaya with a rock. The film doesn’t reveal what Abigail eventually did, but it ends with a shot of Carl running through the forest. What does that mean? Did Abigail kill Yaya or not? Here are our theories.
Theory 1: Abigail Does Not Kill Yaya
Whether or not Abigail kills Yaya depends on where she lands when it comes to her hunger for power and her inherent morality. Not much is revealed about Abigail’s backstory, but the way she immediately takes to her new surroundings, it is clear that the island resembles the place where she has lived before. She has grown up near the sea or a river, at least, and has spent a lot of time fishing and cooking with the bare minimum. But she has done all of these things with the people who shared her responsibilities.
On the island, she has to deal with the people who feel entitled to food for which they haven’t moved a single muscle. Still, Abigail shares it with them. Even though she keeps most of the share for herself, it isn’t something that the passengers can’t understand. After all, most of them have spent their lives with capitalist leanings and that’s exactly what Abigail is doing. Once it is established that the one doing the most work gets to decide the rules, things settle down. Abigail seems comfortable with this system and gives no indication of any malice in her heart.
In the end, when she considers killing Yaya, she hesitates for a moment. We see her wavering, especially when Yaya offers to help her once they are back home. Perhaps this offer makes her drop the rock, as working for Yaya would certainly be a much better job than the one she had before the ship sank. The only reason that Abigail didn’t want to leave the island was that there was nothing for her in the world out there. But Yaya offers to change that and considering that Abigail isn’t an inherently violent or evil person, there is a chance that she’ll choose to stay that way.
Another possibility is that she is stopped mid-act. In the last scene, we find Carl running feverishly in their direction. Maybe he figured out that Abigail might harm Yaya or perhaps the passengers found out about the resort from the vendor that Therese met. In any case, he is on his way to find them, and there is a chance that he reached there just in time to stop Abigail and save Yaya.
Theory 2: Abigail Kills Yaya
Abigail’s life before getting stranded on the island was not very good. She was poor and powerless and that’s not something she wanted to return to. Especially when she becomes the leader of the group and gets to exercise power over the people who would refrain from even talking to her in the real world. On the island, even with the bare minimum, she lives the life that she’d only dreamed of, which is why she feels immediately threatened when it turns out that there is a way out of the island.
When she looks at the elevator, she realizes that all the power that she’d enjoyed all these days would vanish the moment the rest of the passengers discover that they don’t need her anymore. She would become worthless to them, and this is not what she wants to be reduced to. Because Yaya is the only one who knows about the elevator, Abigail finds it better to just kill her, go back to the beach, and pretend like the resort doesn’t exist.
While she does hesitate a bit, the film doesn’t confirm that she backs down. In fact, her wavering might be just another indication of the fact that she is steeling herself to do something she’s never done before. She doesn’t like it, but killing Yaya is something that she needs to do. In a way, this whole situation was foreshadowed in a previous scene, where Jarmo kills the donkey. He wouldn’t have done it in normal circumstances, but times are desperate for the whole group. He hits the donkey one time and is happy to think that the task is done. But then, it turns out that the donkey isn’t dead yet and it will take at least a couple more hits to properly kill it. Once Jarmo sees it, he knows that there is no going back. He does it, even though, by the end of it, he is both emotionally and physically exhausted.
The same can be said for Abigail. She might not have killed someone before and she might not have considered it in her previous life, but things are good for her on the island. She is the leader of the group, everyone wants to please her, and everyone wants to be her friend. She even has a handsome boyfriend now. None of this would be possible out there in the real world. And so, to keep things that way, she kills Yaya.
Do the Passengers Survive?
Regardless of what happens to Yaya, the ending of the film hints that the rest of the passengers survive. The fact that there is a resort on the island increases the probability of someone finding them on the beach tenfold. We actually see that happen before we find out about the resort. A vendor finds his way to Therese, and even though she is unable to tell him anything, it doesn’t mean that he won’t eventually figure out what happened to all of them. There are at least four other people on that beach at that moment, and the vendor is sure to have come across one of them.
If not this, then there is a possibility that someone else will stumble on them soon enough. And the final scene gives some weight to the theory that this has already happened. Perhaps the vendor or someone else from the island found the passengers on the beach and offered to take them to the resort. Knowing that Yaya and Abigail had gone on a hike, Carl decides to find them and bring them back to the beach. Perhaps that’s why he’s in such a hurry. He is excited that they are finally saved and can go back to their lives. Whether or not he reaches there in time is a completely different argument, but it’s certain that the rest of the passengers will make it out of the island.
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