Split: Spoilery Thoughts

Split: Spoilery Thoughts

Let’s talk about the ending of Split. Massive SPOILERS ahead. Turn back if you don’t want the ending spoiled.

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Alright. Here we go.

At the end of Split, we find out that this takes place in the same universe as Unbreakable. Split wasn’t the story of a man with multiple personalities: it was a supervillain origin story. That’s a pretty cool reveal, but the way it is reveals makes absolutely zero sense.

After Casey is rescued, the news runs a story on the events. Basically, a man with multiple personalities kidnapped three girls, killed and partially devoured two of them and killed his psychiatrist by crushing her to death with his veiny, mini-Bane arms.

Those exact details come out (except for the part about Bane). We see this on a TV at a diner. Immediately after hearing this news, a woman at the counter says, “Wasn’t there that guy in the wheelchair 15 years ago? What was his name?” Then Bruce Willis – David Dunn from Unbreakable – says, “Mr. Glass,” and the Unbreakable music swells and tells us that we should be feeling a lot of feelings.

But here’s the thing: to the casual observer, Mr. Glass and The Horde (as James McAvoy’s amalgam of personalities in Split was being referred to) were absolutely nothing alike. The Horde kidnapped and ate people. Mr. Glass was an art dealer with brittle bones who derailed a train and caused a number of other small-scale disasters (airport bombings, hotel fires, etc.).

We – the audience – know they’re connected, but the random person living in that universe wouldn’t have any reason to connect those two. These are two seemingly unconnected events that happened 15 years apart. The Horde is a kidnapper/murderer. Mr. Glass is a terrorist. Aside from the fact that they were given nicknames, there is nothing to suggest that these two criminals are connected in any way.

The events of Unbreakable and Split both occur in Philadelphia. For a woman to connect these two events this quickly seems to imply that no criminal activity has occurred in Philadelphia in 15 years. If she sees one crime and immediately connects it to another totally separate crime, that means nothing else of note has happened in 15 years.

But let’s say that there has been crime in Philadelphia over that time, because of course there has been. David Dunn started on his superhero journey 15 years before the events of Split when he encountered Mr. Glass. Since Unbreakable served as Dunn’s superhero origin story, it’s safe to assume that Mr. Glass is not the first criminal that he helped put away. If we have learned anything about superhero movies it’s that the arrival of a superhero seems to be quickly followed by a series of supervillains. Following that well-worn formula, The Horde wouldn’t have been the first supervillain to emerge in Philadelphia in 15 years. If we assume Philadelphia has become a sort of hub for supervillains, a more realistic response would have been, “Wasn’t there that guy that shattered concrete with his mind 6 months ago? What was his name?” Then David Dunn would have been all, “The Concrete Juggler,” then get hit with the Unbreakable music.

Okay, so, from our perspective that wouldn’t have worked because we have no frame of reference for any supervillain other than Mr. Glass. So try this one one: we see the news report on the TV in the rec room of a mental institution. The camera pans around the room until it settles on Mr. Glass in a wheelchair. He smiles and slowly begins laughing. The Unbreakable music starts. As the camera pans out, we see the entire room is watching the TV and laughing in sinister unison. Abrupt cut to black.

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