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The Ending Of The Pentaverate Explained

"The Pentaverate" is a comedy mini-series created by and starring comedy legend Mike Myers. It tells the story of how a Canadian journalist is able to reinvent the world's oldest secret society with integrity and kindness. For all its raunchy jokes and meta humor, the series is, at its core, a scathing satire of disinformation and the dissolution of facts in the modern world.

While Myers' "Austin Powers" films served as both love letters and parodies to '60s spy films, "The Pentaverate" appears to be influenced by psychedelic sci-fi from the '70s. The sets and costumes are exaggerated, the electronic score is ominous and trippy, and a lot of it is just plain weird. With all that in mind, bingeing the series can feel a bit like sensory overload, making it easy to miss some of the more important themes and details.

That is why we will be breaking down the concepts and characters to clear up any unanswered questions you may have. Here is the ending of "The Pentaverate" explained to give you enough context to bring some of the more obscured themes into focus.

The Pentaverate must never be exposed

During the first episode's title sequence, Jeremy Irons gives us the secret origin of an organization called the Pentaverate. He says, "In 1347, five learned men realized that the black plague was caused by fleas on rats. However, the Church believed the plague to be God's punishment, labeling the five men heretics. So they formed a benevolent secret society to influence world events known as the Pentaverate."

This sets up everything we need to know for the rest of the series by demonstrating early on that these men were experts in their field who were shunned by people who would rather live in ignorance. Jeremy Irons (who is credited as himself) also clarifies that what sets this secret society apart from all the others, like the Illuminati, is that they ultimately have humanity's best interest in mind.

Through the centuries, great minds from all over the world have been kidnapped and given a choice — join them or die. This is because their existence is too important to be made public. They can't exactly go around influencing the world and preventing catastrophes if everyone knows they're doing it. That might seem like an extreme tactic, but once you see what evil people are capable of with their resources, it starts to make sense.

The current Pentaverate Five

At the start of the series, there are only four members of the Pentaverate. They consist of Lord Lordington, an Englishman who uses a wheelchair, an Australian media mogul named Bruce Baldwin, a former Russian oligarch named Mishu, and musician Alice Cooper's manager (and friend of Mike Myers) Shep Gordon. All four men are considered experts in their field and are portrayed by Mike Myers.

They kidnapped nuclear physicist Dr. Hobart Clark (Keegan-Michael Key) to work on solving climate change following the recent demise of their fifth member, Jason Eccleston. They also have an assistant named Patty (Debi Mazar) who is sort of an unofficial sixth member of the group. They trust and respect her, but she isn't necessarily one of them, even though she probably should be.

The orientation scene where Rob Lowe (credited as himself) gives a rundown of what the Pentaverate does is crucial in establishing many of the elements which will come to fruition in the final episode. For instance, it is explained that Dr. Clark's official cause of death was a fatal injury suffered while attempting a dangerous and crude internet challenge. While amusing, this also serves as an example of the mindless social distraction the internet deals in that allows the villain to carry out their plan.

Off to the Meadows

Rob Lowe explains that the Pentaverate meets with world leaders in Switzerland for an event they call the Meadows. It is an opportunity for the Pentaverate to congratulate itself on all the good work it has done and announce plans for future world-saving projects. The entire series is leading up to this event. They plan to have Dr. Clark figure out cold fusion to solve climate change before the Meadows begins. 

That is precisely what Jason Eccleston was working on before he died. Since they lost some time, they decide someone as brilliant as Dr. Clark will be able to get them over the finish line quickly. There is another plan, however, which comes from a villain that viewers aren't made aware of until the second half of the series. What soon becomes clear is that even though the Meadows is intended as a time for celebrating good deeds, its connection to billionaires and world leaders can easily be twisted into something evil — just like the Pentaverate itself.

Jason Eccleston and the birth of MENTOR

Jason Eccleston was an eccentric tech genius with some bizarre hobbies, but his most important contribution to the Pentaverate was the invention of the supercomputer MENTOR. The computer, which is depicted as a triangular screen with an eye in it, is so advanced that it contains a human soul. The soul, in this case, belonged to a man from Boston — which is why he speaks in colloquialisms in a thick Bostonian accent.

Bruce Baldwin explains that MENTOR was developed to counteract disinformation on the internet. The idea was to upload all of humanity's knowledge into its database and allow it to calculate which facts are most likely to be true. This would allow society to function based on a set of mutually agreed-upon facts instead of the pick-and-choose reality that internet discourse seems to exist in.

They never quite made it to that point, however. For one thing, humanity's capacity to actually care about facts in the face of confirmation bias and distraction is extremely limited, according to the Pentaverate. Therefore, it doesn't matter how brilliant and effective MENTOR is because people believe whatever they want anyway. As such, MENTOR has been used primarily as a personal computer for the Pentaverate rather than the Earth-saving technology it was desgined to be.

Murder is afoot

Although just five men make up the Pentaverate, they employ a massive amount of people to run effectively. That's why we see strange folks in yellow robes all over the place, celebrities like Maria Menounos handling important announcements, as well as the Liechtenstein Guard and Sasquatch overseeing various operations. One of the Pentaverate's most devoted employees is a man called the Maester of Dubrovnik, who is played by comedy legend Jennifer Saunders.

The Maester is brought in by Patty to investigate the death of Jason Eccleston. Patty suspects murder because Jason's eyes used to be brown. When he died, however, they turned blue. Her findings conclude that he was poisoned and one of the five Pentaverate leaders was the murderer. Shortly thereafter, Dr. Clark successfully figures out cold fusion just in time for the Meadows.

However, the following morning he is found dead. Not only that, but his eye color has changed, indicating that the same method has been used to kill Dr. Clark as well. A cocky billionaire named Skip Cho (Ken Jeong) is brought in to replace him, and the Maester announces he will be investigating the murderers and exposing the Pentaverate member who is the killer. However, shortly after that, the Maester himself is also murdered. Only this time, the murderer doesn't use poison, and the Maester leaves a message: Parce Clavem.

A nice guy from Canada

The hero of the series is a kind Canadian journalist named Ken Scarborough. He's a legend in his country, but he'd been working so long that the network he works for, CACA News, wants to force him into retirement. Although he is heartbroken, a young CACA News employee named Reilly suggests he visits a Canadian conspiracy theory convention to see if he can uncover a story so massive that the network will give him his job back.

While at the convention, they meet a conspiracy theorist who tells them about the Pentaverate and agrees to take them to their headquarters in New York City. This is Ken's first time out of Canada, and he navigates this new environment with all the integrity and kindness he displayed in his native land. He is soon able to join the Pentaverate's private security force, the Liechtenstein Guard, and get inside access to their secret organization.

At no point in the series is Ken able to be corrupted. He cares only about the truth and treating people fairly. Even when things get dark and Ken is at his lowest moment, he powers through by sticking to his convictions and lifting up others who need his help. In a cast of zany characters, he is a comforting presence.

Parce Clavem and the Da Vinci Lock

The Pentaverate has a Da Vinci lock device, which is composed of five locked boxes connected together. Each member has a key hanging around their neck, and each key can be used to cast ballots within the box. Since there are only five of them, they only need a three-person majority for a decision to be made. There is an extra key, however — the Parce Clavem, which the series continuously assure us is Latin for extra key. The key is held in Dubrovnik, and anyone who uses it is given an extra vote.

When Ken and the head of the Liechtenstein Guard find that the Maester had written "Parce Clavem" in his own blood, they think it is a secret message telling them to visit Dubrovnik and get the key. They immediately run off to do exactly that but are pursued by Sasquatch. Upon arriving in Dubrovnik, they are forced to confront the fierce creature. Luckily, they are saved at the last minute by someone dressed as Shrek.

Ken meets the Maester's sister. — the Saester of Dubrovnik, who is also played by Jennifer Saunders. The Saester is heartbroken to hear about her brother and requires Ken to drink a potion that will make him mean. It doesn't work, but Ken does manage to get the key and head back to the Pentaverate headquarters. Unfortunately, as punishment for his actions, he is immediately locked up.

Bruce is the bad guy, duh.

Ken escapes his cell and is reunited with Reilly. This strange, silent man with a curled mustache — who is first seen at the conspiracy theory convention — tells them to escape in a helicopter, which Ken can fly because of his experiences in the Canadian army. However, the controls are taken over by Bruce Baldwin, who appears to be sabotaging the flight so Ken will crash. This suggests that the Pentaverate wanted Ken to think he escaped so they could kill him by making it look like an accident.

The truth is a little more surprising but not wholly unexpected. The helicopter lands safely, after which Ken and Reilly are forcibly removed by the new and improved Pentaverate security team dressed in red robes. They are placed in a private plane to the Meadows, where Skip Cho and Bruce Baldwin are waiting for them. Bruce announces that he is the bad guy, while Skip remarks, "Duh."

The reason this reveal isn't entirely unexpected is that Dr. Clark calls Baldwin out on his first day. He demands to know why an organization committed to doing good would have a manipulative, fear-mongering media mogul amongst its ranks. Mishu explains that they needed "a thief to catch a thief," and Lordington comments that Baldwin has been reformed. As such, Baldwin revealing himself to be the bad guy isn't a shock, but the reasons behind his actions are far more interesting.

Because the internet

Bruce gives Ken a rundown of his past. He explains that he used his tabloid empire to spread disinformation and control the masses. After being forced into the Pentaverate, he and Colonel Sanders prevented the Y2K bug from shutting down the world's computers. With the proliferation of the internet, Bruce warned his peers that bad guys would use it to corrupt society far beyond anything he'd ever managed. He wanted to use MENTOR to establish universally agreed-upon facts, but that program failed.

Bruce continues that society was too interested in confirmation bias, conspiracy theories, and other internet nonsense that dulled its interest in actual truth. Disgusted with humanity's inability to help itself, he decided to auction off MENTOR at the Meadows to anyone who wanted the ultimate power to manufacture any "truth" they want. He poisoned Jason Eccleston to create an opportunity to recruit Skip, but Dr. Clark was brought in instead. After murdering Clark, Skip was finally brought in, effectively giving Bruce two votes.

The next phase of Bruce's plan was what led to the Maester's death, who was killed because he was getting too close to the truth. The Parce Clavem was meant to be Bruce's, which would have given him three votes. However, Ken interrupted that plan by touching the key, making him the only person who could use it. As such, if Bruce is going to have the three votes required to sell MENTOR, he needs Ken with him to cast the deciding ballot. Ken, nice guy that he is, refuses to let him destroy the world, at which point Bruce tells him the internet has already destroyed the world.

Reilly wasn't always Canadian

Throughout Ken's quest to get his job back, Reilly is his constant supporter. She comes across as a caring and kind Canadian who just wants the best for him, but she is harboring a secret. As Ken and Reilly enter the final stretch of their unexpected journey to the Meadows, she finally reveals what she has been hiding when she begins speaking in a natural-sounding English accent rather than her exaggerated Canadian one.

She explains that the Pentaverate hired her out of college. At first, she was excited to take on racism, xenophobia, and fascist capitalism. However, she realized the men in charge were your typical powerful white men who made it impossible for marginalized people to succeed past a certain point. When she expressed her concerns to Patty, she was given a special mission by Lordington: get Ken Scarborough into the Liechtenstein Guard. To achieve that goal, she went to Canada undercover and fabricated nearly every element of their journey together — except getting kidnapped by Bruce, of course.

Her original objective was to diversify the Pentaverate and create opportunities for other people besides old white men. She had no idea that Bruce was planning to usher in the end of civilization. Her mission changed, but her belief in Ken Scarborough and the potential of the Pentaverate never wavered. In fact, she believes in Ken so much that she continues to risk her life to help keep him alive. 

Ken accepts his destiny

The last act of Episode 6 is filled with so many jokes, characters, and twists that it can get a bit confusing, but here is what you need to know to understand the final moments of "The Pentaverate." First, Ken inspires the Liechtenstein Guard to stand up against the red robes. Next, conspiracy theorist Anthony Lansdowne arrives to help save the day by pushing Bruce through the moon door. Finally, the remaining Pentaverate members take cyanide pills to destroy the organization and make sure no one can manipulate their resources again.

Before Lordington dies, he thanks Reilly for bringing Ken. The kindness in Ken's heart makes him the perfect soul to be transferred into MENTOR because he cannot be corrupted. With a serene look of peace, Ken willingly offers his soul to MENTOR, knowing that his gentle nature and empathy will be put to good use by helping mankind appreciate truth and dignity again.  

For his entire career, Ken has sought to inform and entertain people. As the soul inhabiting MENTOR, he will continue that mission and help save the world.

The Septaverate and a sweet tribute

From the ashes of the Pentaverate comes a new, inclusive secret society called the Septaverate. With more representation and diversity, the Septaverate is better equipped to serve the wide array of human beings that make up the Earth's population. With the help of their supercomputer KENTOR, they will approach these problems with grace and integrity. However, they'll have their work cut out for them because it seems that Bruce is still alive. He has had the "Face/Off" surgery to make himself look like an overweight Rob Lowe and could still threaten the world if he wants to.

After the credits, there is actual news footage of Mike Myers with Canadian journalist Glenn Cochrane. His resemblance to Ken Scarborough is immediately evident. After the two hug, the words "dedicated to local journalists everywhere" appear on screen, and the message of the entire series becomes crystal clear. In our modern world of internet echo chambers and 24-hour news networks, local news organizations are often in the trenches of their community, providing valuable information regarding events that directly affect readers. While the success of some cable news organizations depends on keeping readers scared, as an investigation of "fear-based media" by Psychology Today concluded, local news broadcasts and papers that offer perspective on local issues are in rapid decline, as observed by the Brookings Institution.

With this touching tribute, a whole new dimension to the series can be seen. Every single hurdle in Ken's journey is a metaphor for local reporters continuing to spread the truth in the face of overwhelming opposition.