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The Ending Of Boss Level Explained

Time loop movies — the concept isn't new. In the 1993 classic Groundhog Day, Bill Murray wakes up to the same Sonny and Cher song for more mornings than we know. In the 2014 sci-fi adventure flick Edge of Tomorrow, it takes endless repeated days of training with Emily Blunt for Tom Cruise to become a competent soldier. And in 2020's Palm Springs, Andy Samberg has relived the same day so many times that he's just given up. 

But the Hulu original Boss Level sets itself apart with a narration by Frank Grillo — who plays the time-looped special ops professional Roy Pulver — that almost comes off like a private eye from a Raymond Chandler noir flick. It also has a sense of bloody and dark humor, and a colorful cast of killers you might expect to find at a serial killer convention or maybe just a Quentin Tarantino film festival. 

In Boss Level, Roy Pulver relives the same day hundreds of times, and what he wakes up to is a bit more jarring than Sonny and Cher. Roy's eyes open to a machete hacking into his headboard, a screaming dental hygienist running for her life, and not long after that a helicopter hovering outside his apartment and a guy with a minigun making like Neo in The Matrix. We watch as a small army of eccentric hired killers take Roy out again and again, from the unwashed Smiley (Michael Tourek) who spears Roy through the chest with a harpoon and drags him around the city, to the sword-wielding Guan Yin (Selina Lo) who yells her name dramatically after each of her many kills.

It takes the memory of a waiting birthday present for Roy to start unraveling the mystery.

In order to get to his goal, Roy Pulver has to die. A lot.

During one of his time loops, Roy survives long enough to call his estranged wife Jemma (Naomi Watts) only to learn she's dead. A flashback reveals that the day before Roy's time-looping begins, he visits Jemma at Dynow Labs under the pretense there may be a job waiting for him there. Jemma acts suspiciously, dropping hints and insisting Roy open the birthday present she sent him.  

It takes until Roy's 141st attempt at surviving the day that he remembers the birthday present. He opens the package, revealing the book The Mythology of Iset and Osiris, though it takes him a couple of more kills for him to successfully read the book — due to trying to read the book at inopportune times. We eventually learn the book refers to the Osiris Spindle — the device Jemma has developed for Colonel Ventor. Roy happens upon his son Joe (Rio Grillo), who doesn't yet know Roy is his father. Roy follows him to a retro video game convention in Underground Atlanta, and shortly afterward realizes this is his first time surviving the day past 12:47 pm. 

Outside Underground Atlanta, the killers track him down and execute him as he protects Joe with his body. This is Roy's second big clue, as it lets him know the killers couldn't find him because he was underground, meaning he has some kind of electronic tracker on his body. In the Chinese restaurant where he's been killed so many times, Roy talks to the annoying security consultant Dave (Sheaun McKinney), who helps him discover he has a tracking device in his tooth. With a lot of booze and a pair of plyers, Roy takes care of the tracker, finally giving him a snowball's chance of surviving.

The key to Roy's victory is rediscovering the will to live

Roy's only able to get so far on his own. At one point he gets Colonel Ventor dialoguing enough to use the Osiris Spindle to remake time as he sees fit. Using his wealth of days to become an expert swordfighter courtesy of the visiting Dai Feng (Michelle Yeoh), Roy is able to penetrate Dynow Labs and even kill the villainous Colonel Ventor, only to discover that on almost every attempt, Ventor has sent someone to kill his son Joe. Arriving at the scene of Joe's murder, Roy goes wild and moments later an energy wave encompasses the entire city, killing not just Roy but everyone.

At this point, Roy loses the will to go on. He wakes every morning to the machete and lets it fall, simply accepting his murder. Finally, he resolves that he'll live his endless days with his son. Roy spends many attempts with Joe, usually ending them on a park bench just as the world ends. It's because of his time with Joe that Roy discovers there's a chance he can save Jemma. But he only has 14 minutes from the time he wakes up.

With a helicopter, a minigun, and a whole lot of vengeance, Roy finally saves Jemma moments before she'd be murdered. He learns Jemma purposely set him on a time loop so he could figure out what to do, and that the only way to stop the Osiris Spindle from destroying the world is for him to enter the machine's core.

Entering the core not only stops the Spindle from overloading, but it pulls Roy out of the loop. The problem is he has to relive the day one more time. And this time, without any do-overs, if he dies then he dies for good. The movie gives us an upbeat but purposely ambiguous ending. Roy's last piece of narration is "Piece o' cake" as the machete hacks into his headboard one more time and Roy gets up to take care of his attacker.

Does Roy survive that final day? We have to hope he does. And if Boss Level does well enough to warrant a sequel, maybe we'll find out for sure.