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The Ending Of Red Rose Explained

Teen horror series "Red Rose" delivers a chilling story about an app that pushes its users to the brink of madness. Our teen protagonists plan to have a carefree summer. But these plans are upended by a mysterious new app called Red Rose. Once downloaded, Red Rose asks its users to perform sinister tasks so they can receive their greatest desires. However, users quickly realize that the demands aren't worth the rewards. This doesn't sit well with Red Rose. Eventually, it starts to drive its users mad and lead them down a horrific path. After losing one of their own, the central group of friends must find a way to uncover the truth behind the app — before it tears them apart.

Originally a BBC series, "Red Rose" has come to Netflix to share its story of smartphone-based terror with the entire world. The series is packed with haunting sequences in which the titular app terrorizes its users, as well as intertwining stories deeply rooted in complex characters. Every teen has something going on in their own lives, which Red Rose utilizes to mess with them. All of the carnage and chaos builds to a thrilling finale, in which some looming questions surrounding Red Rose are answered and a number of shocking twists are revealed. It's exciting stuff — but it's also easy to get lost in all the pulse-pounding drama and action. Not to worry: We're here to explain everything that happens in the ending of "Red Rose."

Red Rose's tactics

Before we look at the events of last few episodes, it's worth examining how Red Rose ensnares its users into its twisted game. Red Rose acts as a companion, which connects to its users by getting to know them and promising to grant their heart's desires. It then tells the user to go home and write three wishes in lipstick on a mirror. After doing this, the user must recite a cryptic phrase the app provides, and then, suddenly, their wishes come true. While this might seem like a blissful dream, Red Rose eventually becomes a nightmare.

Red Rose begins tasking the user with deeds that cut them off from their loved ones. For instance, Roch (Isis Hainsworth) is asked to kiss her friend Noah (Harry Redding), which deeply upsets her friend Wren (Amelia Clarkson). Red Rose also embeds itself into every part of the user's digital life, sending out messages and social media posts as the user that turn everyone against them. As the user becomes more disobedient, Red Rose drives them towards a tragic end, usually causing the user to take their own life. Both Roch and Wren learn this in terrifying ways. The bingeworthy teen drama isn't just intense in "Red Rose" — it's deadly.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

The power and problems of social media

One of the biggest ways Red Rose torments Wren and her friends is by taking over their social media accounts and making posts on their behalf. After Roch is found dead, Red Rose often uses social media to make it seem like Wren caused her demise. This tarnishes her reputation and makes her a prime target for bullies. At one point, an angry mob chases Wren through the streets of Bolton, which climaxes in a brutal fist fight. Red Rose's favorite tool of torture is undoubtedly social media — and it's largely because of how powerful and problematic social media already is.

Literally everyone in Wren's class is obsessed with social media; they act like mindless zombies, driven by their many accounts on various platforms. Tons of classmates flock to Taz's (Ali Khan) house like cattle the second they see an invite for a party on his social profile, even though it's not real. People are also eager to believe Wren is an evil villain, based entirely on what they see on social media. The series is an intense examination of this social media-driven reactionary culture, which makes for a dangerous environment — even without a sinister app. Rather than look for the full story, people just react based on their own biased perceptions and the information fed to them on their platform of choice. This leads to the spread of misinformation and damaging conflicts. Social media's dark side is key to the horror of "Red Rose," and it leaves a strong impact. 

Not so supernatural

In the first half of "Red Rose," the titular app wreaks havoc that appears to be supernatural. From taking over people's social media feeds in mysterious ways to reincarnating the dead through eerie voices and haunting figures seen through the phone camera, it definitely seems like a ghostly entity could be behind it all. However, a clear shift occurs halfway through the season, which proves Red Rose is a creation of reality, rather than the occult.

In Episode 5, "Lockdown," after Simon (Rod Hallett) falls to his death, the group thinks that Red Rose has come to an end. Unfortunately, their torment is far from over: A mysterious man is shown sitting in front of a massive set of screens, watching the whole thing. This is the moment when it becomes obvious that Red Rose has a human antagonist behind it — and he's far from alone. In reality, Red Rose is run by a group of anarchist hackers who simply want to watch the world burn. Wren and her friends are their new playthings. "Red Rose" essentially goes from being a supernatural horror movie to a classic thriller in this moment, and it puts its tech-based horror in a whole new light. 

The origins of Red Rose

While viewers are made well aware of Red Rose's creator, Jacob (Charlie Hiscock), early on, it's not until the last episode that Red Rose's origins are fully disclosed. Jacob created Red Rose to get to know Alyssa (Robyn Cara), a girl he liked. While this initially sounds sweet, Jacob's clearly got issues. He lacks the confidence to just ask Alyssa out — which most of his online "friends" from the dark web make fun of him for –and gives off creepy vibes once he refuses to accept that Alyssa doesn't feel the same way. Jacob is insecure and gullible, and he falls to new depths when he hacks into the master controls of Alyssa's house to impress his dark web friends. It all eventually comes back to haunt him.  

Once Jacob fails to get Alyssa to date him, his more sympathetic friend, the Gardener, suggests giving them full access to Red Rose, allegedly to help Jacob out. Unfortunately, the Gardener has ulterior motives and promptly uses their new power for nefarious deeds. The Gardener begins torturing Alyssa and leads her to the roof of her house, where they get a lackey to push her to her death. It is here that we realize that no one has actually been taking their own life. Eventually, Jacob becomes targeted by the Gardener himself, and becomes another victim of his own creation. In this sense, he's destroyed by his own worst flaws.

The Garden's desires

At first, the motives of the Gardener and their faceless audience seem a little unclear. They don't have a personal connection to Wren and her friend group, and are shrouded in mystery. But as they start to get a little more screentime, it becomes obvious what they're after. Tormenting Wren and her friends is pure entertainment for the Gardener's group; they're simply amused by how much they can hurt these poor kids. They're a group of incredibly cruel people with no sense of mercy, and listening to their banter can be truly disgusting. 

The sinister group can be heard cheering and laughing as Ashley (Natalie Blair) is confined to the freezing body locker at the morgue. They even make bets on what's going to happen. Their commentary on the group is also incredibly shallow, and the way they cheer for the Gardener is seriously haunting. Sadly, their behavior doesn't come as a surprise after a while: It's all basically the same stuff they did to Jacob. But as the show develops, the group evolves into something much more vile. The Gardener's followers are essentially a tech-based cult grown from the internet's worst hidey-holes. Destroying people's lives for entertainment makes them downright evil — and all too recognizable in our modern age.

A far reach

Once viewers know who the Gardener is and what kind of control they have, they're left pondering one question: How far does their reach truly extend? Obviously, the Gardener has quite an audience at their disposal, who shout out their thoughts and feelings in the hopes of offering new ideas and input. But with them locked behind a computer screen for most of the series, it's hard not to wonder how interactive they truly are towards Wren and her friends. As it turns out, the Gardener has a hidden army at the ready. 

Noah and Antony (Ellis Howard) find themselves stalked and tormented by some of the Gardener's hired help. Anthony's brother is lured into their horrifying game when the Gardener starts talking with him through a video game. Even Ashley, who's being guarded in the hospital, is taken into the morgue, where she nearly dies after being stuffed into a body locker. Wren and Taz also discover that even the most common-looking people on the street might be working for the Gardener. Thus, the Gardener proves to be incredibly powerful: They literally have eyes on Wren and her friends wherever they go. 

Jaya's quick escape

One of the more heartbreaking moments of "Red Rose" comes after the chaotic ending of Episode 6, "Results Day," when we learn that Jaya is dead. After we see the Gardener light Jaya's house on fire while she's still in it, due to her figuring out Jacob's password, she definitely seems like a goner. Still, her mother proclaiming she's died in the following episode stings — even more so because she's the group's biggest asset in finding the truth, and stands out as an easily likeable figure within the series as a whole. Jaya's arc takes her from outsider to key member of the central friend group, which is really fulfilling to watch. She also has an innocent aura that makes her fate hugely devastating. 

Luckily, viewers only have to deal with a short mourning period, as it's revealed that Jaya is still alive when she calls Taz. After seeing how badly the fire spread, Jaya quickly escaped through a window and ran towards her hacking desk to set up shop. Jaya always seemed a little too crafty to be taken out so easily, and now that the Gardener has incensed her, she's ready to become a real threat to their plans. It's a tipping point in the series, and it couldn't rest on a better character.

Unexpected assistance

Before Noah is able to reunite with his friends at the hospital, he finds himself in a terrifying cat and mouse game. As he walks along the road, a dark car pulls up behind him and starts honking. He knows that the Gardener is likely to be on his tail, and he tries to run through the woods. Sadly, he gets shot with a dart and becomes unconscious. When he wakes up, he's doused with gasoline, and a mysterious female figure is threatening to drop a match. 

Noah pleads for his life and proclaims that Wren isn't the monster Red Rose makes her out to be. While the nameless woman doesn't initially seem to care, she does let Noah go. It seems like his pleas have a greater effect on her than might have been expected. Later, at the hospital, the same woman appears to Noah, now completely visible in the light. She tells Noah where Wren is, but keeps her identity and motives shrouded in mystery. Seems positive, right? Wrong. Although it might seem like Noah gets one of the Gardener's cronies to defect in this moment, it eventually becomes obvious that this woman's assistance is all a part of the Gardener's plan, which is more twisted than we could have imagined.

The Gardener's identity

Upon entering the final room, Wren is ready to face the Gardener once and for all. The projection of the rose-covered gate certainly gives the moment some major meaning, and when Wren enters the room, all she sees is Rick (Adam Nagaitis) tied to a chair. Before long, we see someone step out from the shadows. It is, unsurprisingly, the Gardener himself. While we never get his real name, we learn that the Gardener is a tall bald man with a horrific grin. He's got the kind of demeanor that screams "total monster"; we instantly believe he's the guy behind everything.

But, as Jaya and the audience eventually find out, this man actually isn't the Gardener. In truth, he's just another pawn in the Gardener's game. The real Gardener is the woman who told Noah where Wren was. This is another shocking twist the series delivers in its final moments, and it's a real doozy. The Gardener's uncaring attitude is what makes her all the more terrifying. She clearly doesn't mind coming out from behind the computer screen to cause some havoc up close, and acts perfectly unsuspecting throughout the last couple of episodes. 

Facing the Gardener

With the Gardener — or at least who Wren thinks is the Gardener — in her sights, Wren is ready. She's going to take him on, regardless of what her father wants her to do. Even though Rick screams for her to leave after the Gardener stabs him in the leg, she stays, and a big fight promptly kicks off. The Gardener comes off as domineering and confident as his audience of anarchists cheer him on — but when Jaya turns them off, he clearly loses some of his power and ego. 

Thus, when Noah is able to distract the Gardener by breaking the skylight, Wren takes the opportunity to tussle with him one-on-one. Eventually, she's able to knock him down, and decides to beat him to death in truly brutal fashion. While this might seem empowering in the moment, since Wren is finally dishing out some much-deserved vengeance, it's actually kind of devastating. Rick has hoped that Wren wouldn't follow in his violent footsteps. Now, he has to watch her brutally kill a man with her bare hands. It's a decision that'll definitely stick with her, regardless of how good it feels in the moment. Luckily, Rick is able to give her a second chance — but the memories will last a lifetime.

Is it over?

Even though Wren defeats the Gardener, she and her father are still in quite a predicament. They don't have any proof that can explain why they're standing next to a man who's been brutally murdered, and the police are just around the corner. So, Rick ultimately decides to sacrifice himself to save Wren from being thrown in jail. Rick already has a violent past people know about — they'll  likely suspect him already, and not ask too many questions. In the end, he's escorted away by police. Wren feels awful that her father is once again being seen as a killer. 

Jaya also discovers that the real Gardener is still on the loose, as she runs into her as she arrives on the scene. It's revealed here that the Gardener is actually the woman who led Noah to Wren's location, and that she might have more chaotic plans in store for the world. When asked by Jaya if things are really over, she just shrugs and claims that she only helped for, essentially, kicks. It's made even clearer that the Gardener is only getting started when we see a boy in Tokyo download a new Rose app. Although Wren and her friends are able to escape this ordeal, there's definitely more trouble brewing. Social media is global and instantaneous — and so is the Gardener.

Could there be a Season 2 of Red Rose?

At the time of this writing, there's been no announcement of a Season 2 for "Red Rose." However, the door is definitely open for the series to return. The Gardener is still out there, and that shrug she gives to Jaya means that this group could easily find themselves ensnared in another game. Even worse, the Gardener and her cohorts are taking Red Rose worldwide. In the series' final scene, a boy in Japan receives a link to a new app that features a white-colored rose as its logo. 

It seems like the Gardener has more tricks up her sleeves and games to play. Season 2 could easily see a new cast of characters deal with the tricks and terrors of Red Rose, or follow Wren and her friends as they try to stop the Gardener's worldwide efforts. It's tough to say if we'll ever see more of "Red Rose," but if we do, there's plenty more technological terror for its main group of internet anarchists to unleash.