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The Ending Of Clickbait Explained

"Clickbait," the latest drama mystery series from Netflix, is a perplexing show that explores society's relationships with social media and how our real-life and internet personas differ. While it's divided critics (per Rotten Tomatoes), fans seem a little more receptive to the execution of the show and its themes. The series focuses on family man Nick Brewer (Adrian Grenier), who is suddenly abducted and appears on a video on the internet. Nick, clearly physically beaten during this time, is seemingly forced to hold up a sign that proclaims that he abuses women and another sign that claims he will die once the video reaches 5 million views.

Naturally enough, this is where "Clickbait's" commentary on the internet kicks in properly, as the video attains massive attention and quickly surpasses 5 million videos. Not long afterward, Nick's body is found, and it's clear he's been murdered. This is not the end of the show, however, as Nick's wife Sophie Brewer (Betty Gabriel) and sister Pia Brewer (Zoe Kazan) set out to prove that Nick was innocent of abusing women and find out who murdered him. 

Through a series of twists and turns, the pair find their answers. However, as with most mysteries, the solutions lying at the heart of "Clickbait" are not exactly easy.

In a surprising twist, Nick actually is innocent

In the end, it turns out that Nick actually was innocent of any wrongdoing. He was abducted by a man named Simon (Daniel Henshall), who believed that Nick was indirectly responsible for the suicide of his sister Sarah (Taylor Ferguson). Someone using Nick's photos and name created a dating app profile and began an internet romance with Sarah, before suddenly ending it coldly. Sarah then died by suicide, which, in turn, led Simon to find Nick and abduct him. He forced Nick to hold up the signs and recorded the video, alongside his friend Daryl (Jamie Timony).

However, in yet another twist of events, Nick convinced Simon that he had nothing to do with Sarah's death and that the profile was not his. The pair eventually let Nick go free. This really illustrates "Clickbait's" theme of internet personas and how easily they can be constructed. This time, one was constructed that cost someone their life and nearly cost Nick his own at the hands of Simon. Of course, Nick tragically dies anyway, which leads into the other major twist that "Clickbait" offers.

Nick confronts his true murderer

After his ordeal with Simon, Nick realizes that the person behind the profile is Dawn (Becca Lish), a coworker whom Nick gave all of his personal information to when he set up his work account. He confronts her at her house and she reveals that she catfished Sarah simply because she was bored. Sarah was not even the first woman who fell victim to this ploy. However, her husband Ed (Wally Dunn) found out and she stopped. Nick threatens to reveal what Dawn has done but in a rage, and in defense of his wife, Ed murders Nick. This eventually leads to Ed being killed by the police, which finally allows Nick to be totally proven innocent, albeit posthumously.

During an interview with Entertainment Weekly, show creator Tony Ayres revealed that Nick's fate was always going to be this. "We wanted to show that things that happen on the internet can have real-world consequences. Personally, I love the surprise of his death," Ayres revealed. The showrunner also defended the twists, as Ed was a character who only showed up in the very last episode. He also noted that he thinks "people are really going to love it, or I think they're going to throw their remote at the television."

Again, it's an ending that fits with "Clickbait's" themes and criticisms of the internet, but it's not necessarily one that every fan is going to love. Given how divisive the critical response has been, Ayres' prediction of how viewers will react has mostly come true.