OK, before we get started with this one, please do make sure that you’ve watched the last episode of ‘Maniac’ on Netflix, because we are about to drop some almighty spoilers.
We repeat, if you haven’t watched the ‘Maniac’ finale, it is now on you if we spoil what happens in the end.
Last chance, folks…
Great, now they’ve cleared off, let’s dish.
The 10th and final episode of ‘Maniac’ sees Owen and Annie going their separate ways at the end of their drug trial, only for her to seek him out once again when she discovers that his family have had him committed.
In the last scene, as every bit as stirring as the touching moments in their shared “reflections”, Annie helps break him out of his psychiatric facility, and the two plan a journey to Salt Lake City, accompanied by their new rescue dog companion.
Elsewhere, doctors Mantleray and Fujita left the trial after rekindling their romance, with the latter seemingly having turned over a new leaf, and the former appearing ready to commit to a relationship with an actual living human.
Like Owen and Annie, they also drove off together, in Fujita’s rather surprising set of wheels, adorned with flame stickers.
However, some fans on Reddit have suggested there may have been more to the final episode than initially met the eye.
In the final “C pill” sequence, it was up to Owen to save the day with the metallic Rubik’s cube, all while Annie was potentially threatened by Gertie with being kept in her own mind as a so-called “McMurphy”.
Owen was able to pull it off, though, with his success heralded by Gertie’s message: “Subject 1 has saved the day!”
However, some fans of the show on Reddit have suggested the scenes that followed, supposedly set in reality, were actually an extension of their reflections, with the pair having never actually woken up.
For one thing, when Mantleray and Fujita left the Neberdine clinic, the passcode for them to leave is 5-6-7-8, the very same number sequence used in the ‘Furs By Sebastian’ episode, to help them free Wendy.
As we discovered in the penultimate episode, the GRTA controls pretty much every aspect of the clinic, so it might have been that she was including details from the real world into Owen and Annie’s imagined universes. But also, it could be an indicator to the viewer that we were still seeing the inside of the pair’s imaginations.
Harder for Gertie to know would be the two vehicles we see in the carpark, only one of which was owned by Fujita, but both of which were driven by Owen (same license plates and everything!), in his imagination, at different points in the show.
And then let’s take the last scene where Annie paied a visit the psychiatric facility that Owen has been committed to, chewing gum in the style of her ‘Furs By Sebastian’ reimagining, Linda.
She checks in under Linda’s name, also noting down Bruce’s to help him escape, while the fake patient she’s pretending to visit is Wendy Lemuria.
Only… we didn’t actually get to see Annie/Linda write this down, meaning it could well be something that Gertie created, rather than Emma Stone’s character.
Over the course of the 10 episodes of ‘Maniac’, the show was positively littered with blink-and-you’ll-miss-it easter eggs and clues for the viewer, so there’s also a strong possibility these details in the finale were special clues to make sure we’ve been paying attention.
Either way, with ‘Maniac’ being billed as a one-off miniseries, it’s unlikely we’ll get answers to this question in a follow-up season. Therefore, it’s up to the viewer to make up their own mind as to whether Owen and Annie are now able to live their days freely, or they’ve unknowingly been held in their own minds by Gertie.
‘Maniac’ is now available to stream in full on Netflix.