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The Ending Of The Suicide Squad Explained

"The Suicide Squad" is more than just an improvement on its lackluster semi-prequel — it's an awesome movie, period. Following a new Task Force X as they work through the hostile country of Corto Maltese to find a weapon before it can harm United States interests, "The Suicide Squad" is unlike any other film the in the DCEU. It's gorier, it's more chaotic (while never being hard to follow), and it's hysterical.

There's also a lot that happens at the end — a lot a lot. While the movie is largely self-contained and has a clear resolution, there are some nuances worth examining in further detail. If you want a deep dive into how Bloodsport became a leader or the layers of meaning behind rats, you've come to the right place.

In case it's not blisteringly obvious, what with this being a piece explaining the ending, spoilers exist beyond this point.

Learning the truth at Jotunheim

Let's start with a recap of the ending, which — as is the case with most action movies — is pretty straightforward.

After the Suicide Squad finally makes their way to Jotunheim, they split up into two groups: one to track down the villainous starfish-like being known as Starro, and another to plant explosives. Rick Flagg leads the group bringing the Thinker to Starro, where they find out several awful truths. First, Starro spits out mini starfish which latch on to hosts, murder them, and become an extension of Starro. Second, Starro came from outer space — a fact known to the audience, but not to most of the characters. Third, and most damningly, Starro was being researched on and kept in Corto Maltese at the behest of the United States government for maximum deniability.

Meanwhile, the bomb planting squad — partially led by Bloodsport — starts working their way up the tower and setting up explosives. A few crucial miscommunications result in a bomb being destroyed early, which sets off a chain detonation and slowly levels the building. It's right around this time that Flagg grabs a hard drive and declares he's going to reveal the truth to the American press — only to find out that Peacemaker had secret orders from Amanda Waller to make sure that info never saw the light of day. Everyone on the lower level gets knocked out by the blast, and a struggle ensues between Flagg and Peacemaker over the hard drive — one which ends in Flagg's death. Peacemaker tries to kill Ratcatcher II, but Bloodsport manages to survive the explosion and shoots Peacemaker first.

The Battle with Starro

Starro, now free and having killed the Thinker, starts wreaking havoc on the nearby city and kills/mind controls the Corto Maltese military. With the hostile government destabilized, Waller declares the mission complete — but Bloodsport, Polka-Dot Man, Ratcatcher II, Nanaue, and Harley decide that they're not done until Starro is defeated. Waller comes inches from detonating the bombs in their necks, but is knocked out by her own employees. Bloodsport takes charge and organizes a plan of attack. After a grueling battle in which each member uses their own special abilities, Starro is defeated after getting bitten by Nanaue, polka-dotted by Polka-Dot Man, speared in the eye by Harley, and covered in rats by Ratcatcher II. Alas, Polka-Dot Man dies during the battle.

At this time, the Corto Maltese freedom fighters topple the military leadership and plan to establish a new democratic government. By this point, the squad's exploits and the death of Starro are worldwide news and seen by Bloodsport's daughter half a world away. Bloodsport, who held onto the hard drive, uploads it to a secure server, giving Waller a choice: their immediate freedom, or he'll release the info. Waller acknowledges that Bloodsport did indeed become a leader and accepts his terms. Even though America's involvement will be kept secret, the Squad gets their freedom and saves a sovereign nation — a pretty solid tradeoff. As Task Force X flies away in the chopper, Ratcatcher's rat rests atop Bloodsport's knee. Though he just survived the worst rat experience of his life, he cautiously starts petting the rat.

Mid-and-post credit scenes reveal that Weasel survived the beach assault and that Peacemaker barely survived, and that there's a mission ready for him.

Bloodsport became a leader

Now that we've recapped the ending, let's break down some of the themes and how the movie set them up. We'll start by acknowledging what Waller promised at the start: that she'd make Bloodsport a leader.

Bloodsport spends the film showing bits and pieces of leadership. Perhaps the first notable moment is at the bar, where he limits himself to one drink and later leads the diversion group that deliberately gets captured. He and Flagg also do most of the planning for their abortive rescue of Harley Quinn — though, as all parties involved acknowledge, it was a good plan. Bloodsport also acts as the de facto leader of the group at the top of the tower, taking point on the operation.

By the time Starro starts kaiju-ing around the city, Rick Flagg is dead and Peacemaker has betrayed the group — and is also seemingly dead himself. This is also the moment he becomes a leader, and it happens so organically that he doesn't even notice. He's the first member to belay Waller's orders and the one who gives instructions on how they should fight Starro.

He provides specific directions to his team in ways he knows will resonate, telling Nanaue which enemies are "num nums" and instructing Polka Dot Man to imagine Starro is his mother. Even his most counterintuitive instruction — sending Harley to the high ground with a spear — works out, because she ends up in the right place to pierce Starro's eye. Bloodsport even forces himself to deal with his phobia of rats, knowing it's for the greater good. When Amanda says she knew he'd be a leader, she only understands part of the "how" and none of the "why."

Like rats, Task Force X found a place for themselves in the world

If Bloodsport is the heart of Task Force X, Ratcatcher II is the soul. While summoning the rat army, she remembers her late father (played for two beautiful sentences by Taika Waititi). In one of the most tearjerking moments of the whole film, Ratcatcher tells his daughter why he loves rats: because if these vile creatures can find a place for themselves in the world, anyone can.

The surviving members of Task Force X are largely morally decent or at least morally neutral people driven to crime by circumstance. Bloodsport is a mercenary, Nanaue is a creature of pure id too stupid to be good or evil, Polka-Dot Man was the victim of an experiment, and Ratcatcher II robbed a bank after her father tragically died and all she had were the rats. (Harley is a tad more complicated than that, but she's also the only surviving member with an existing arc.) Indeed, Ratcatcher II's rat identified Bloodsport as a good person early on, and she reminds Bloodsport of that later.

More than anything, however, they're misfits. None of them quite gelled with the outside word, with Bloodsport — who is still a neglectful father — the closest to normal. Nanaue never had a friend before Ratcatcher II offered to become his, even if it was partly in her own interest to not get eaten. Polka-Dot Man is a tragic, lonely, figure whose shyness is compounded by a deeply embarrassing power. Harley has thrice been unlucky in love and has struggled to find her place after breaking up with Joker.

It's unknown what each will do with their newfound freedom. But like rats, these vile — now less vile — creatures have found a place for themselves in the world.