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How Spiral's Killer Connects Back To Jigsaw From Saw

Darren Lynn Bousman's "Spiral: From the Book of Saw" had a tough job to follow up the previous eight films in the "Saw" franchise, all of which revolve around Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) and his various apprentices who test their victims through excruciating traps to see if they really want to live. But "Spiral" took things in a completely different direction, with the killer taking direct aim at the corrupt police force who had wronged them in the past. While the subtext about systemic corruption isn't exactly subtle, the film definitely succeeded in exploring a bloody new chapter in the "Saw" franchise.

It's definitely got a different atmosphere to previous films thanks to leading man Chris Rock, who plays the sarcastically brilliant Detective Banks. The resilient detective is forced to unravel aspects of his own life and career because of the ongoing killings. But just because the ninth film in the series took a new approach to the idea of savage traps torturing morally ambiguous victims doesn't mean that John Kramer's presence isn't felt throughout the film. Here's how the killer in "Spiral" connects to Jigsaw.

The killer exploits Jigsaw's legacy

Surprise, surprise – the real killer in "Spiral" caught audiences off guard, with many loving (or hating) the reveal that Detective William Schenk was actually the one behind all the killings. Schenk's real name is Emerson, and he wants to root out corruption in the city's police force in retaliation for a dirty cop executing his father at home when he was just a boy. It's an emotive reason behind Emerson's traps, and the story added an interesting level of politics to the gory franchise. But surprisingly, John Kramer had nothing to do with all these new elaborate traps. Well, not directly anyway.

Emerson is obviously a copycat killer inspired by Kramer's work and his methods of testing his victims to change their lives for the better by threatening them with an excruciating experience. This is the same kind of crucible that he forces on the police department, hoping to put a stop to corruption just with the threat of an extremely painful demise hanging over any would-be dirty cop. But he also uses the legacy of Jigsaw to get the department riled up in the first place.

By using similar imagery — that pig mask and a new doll — Emerson whips the city into a frenzy over the situation, putting even more pressure on the police. By borrowing Jigsaw's legacy, he makes sure that his attacks are in the spotlight, which lets his plan play out almost exactly as he wanted. John Kramer's influence in the world of "Saw" will always be remembered, but time will tell if any future installments return to the original Jigsaw killer.