Jordan Peele's Nope Ending, Explained | POPSUGAR Entertainment

2022-07-25 13:27:45 By : Ms. Angelia Zhang

Watch out! This post contains spoilers.

Over the last few years, Jordan Peele has changed how people view horror films. With elevated concepts that are both creative and dripping in social commentary, movies like "Get Out" (2017), "Us" (2019), and even a new installment of "Candyman" (2021) have delivered entertaining stories that stay with the audience long after the credits roll. Due to the overwhelming success of each of Peele's films — including a Best Picture Oscar nomination for "Get Out" — expectations ran high for his latest project, "Nope." Well, the movie delivers in an unexpected way, proving that Peele's range of horror is vast and unpredictable. Fans weren't entirely sure what to expect because of the movie's vague and suspenseful marketing. Still, we all had a feeling it would be a masterpiece.

"Nope" follows brother-sister duo OJ and Emerald Haywood, the owners of a California horse ranch in the isolated valley of Agua Dulce. Emerald spends most of her time away from the ranch pursuing her own dreams, while OJ stays home to help his father care for and train the horses.

The film opens with a scene of OJ watching his father work with an unruly horse named Ghost. As OJ heads towards the house, objects fall to the ground in loud collisions. At first, the audience and OJ might mistake the noise for hail. Then, his father is struck by something, causing him to fall off his horse. OJ rushes him to the ER, where an X-ray reveals a coin had been lodged in his skull during the incident. His father is dead, but the mystery of the falling items is on. For emphasis, the shot of a key buried in Ghost's backside flashes.

The death and the mystery of the falling objects are quickly explained away with claims of loose articles falling from a plane passing overhead. After months alone on the ranch and struggling to make ends meet, Emerald returns to the farm with her brother. The siblings begin to witness a bizarre phenomenon they can't explain. Electronics stop working. Even cell phones with an independent battery source fail. All the while, a single cloud sits in the sky that doesn't move and has been there for months.

They soon suspect that an alien UFO might be causing these strange occurrences and seek to prove their theory. With the help of Angel, the Fry's Electronics technician, the siblings install cameras around the ranch to get their money shot — or, as they call it, their "Oprah shot" — and prove there's an alien hovering over the valley.

Yes and no. The bizarre occurrences are caused by aliens, but it's not a UFO — at least not in the traditional sense of the word. While UFO stands for "unidentified flying object," most people associate it with alien spaceships or crafts — vehicles that aliens use to travel and beam up cows. The creature in "Nope," however, is not a ship or vessel but an actual organism living in the clouds.

Essentially, it's hungry. It sucks up organic life, digests it, and regurgitates the things it cannot digest (which explains why OJ and Emerald's father's eye was impaled by a coin). That's why when Emerald sets up a decoy horse to lure the alien out of the cloud, it sucks the horse (and a rope of decorative flags wrapped around it) up but is unable to digest it because it's a statue. The rope of flags can be seen hanging from its mouth several times throughout the film, displaying how it's stuck in the alien.

Steven Yeun's Ricky, the owner of an amusement park in the valley, discovers the alien early on and has attempted to "train" it to host weekly shows that will bring in money. To accomplish this, Ricky has been buying horses from OJ to offer as food. At the weekly show, Ricky presents a single horse to draw the creature out and allows it to be devoured for the audience's entertainment.

The creature has grown used to being fed and having a constant supply of horses, so why would it wander? Since Ricky sacrifices horses to the creature, it becomes fixated on the ranch and its abundance of horses to feast on.

Ricky's final show doesn't go according to plan, though. When the creature arrives, Ricky attempts to usher the horse out of the safety of its container, but it refuses to move. Foolishly believing that he has managed to tame the cloud creature (even claiming he's earned its trust), Ricky does nothing to get the audience to safety. When the horse refuses to come out, the being in the sky grows angry and begins sucking the crowd up instead. Forty people, including Ricky's wife and three sons, are sucked inside the creature.

Viewers are treated to a disorienting, confusing, and disturbing scene of the victims inside the creature. Though what's happening to them inside the alien isn't seen, it becomes clear when the alien later empties the undigested items the people were holding — repainting the ranch house with blood. The creature devoured all those people.

After recruiting the help of legendary director Antlers Holst, the siblings and Angel come up with another complex plan to lure the extraterrestrial out and film it. But, interrupted by a TMZ reporter who is quickly devoured by the beast, hope seems to dwindle for the group. One trick, though, seems to work. After years of working with horses and knowing not to look them directly in the eye, OJ realizes that if you don't make eye contact with the creature, it will spare you.

Obsessed with getting the impossible shot, Holst ends up sacrificing himself to the creature with his camera in hand. Angel's nearly lunch, but he accidentally gets wrapped up in loose fabric that covers him from the beast. He has just enough time to anchor himself down, so when he's sucked up into the air, the creature can't pull him all the way in.

During the climax of the film, the creature transforms. For most of the film, it does resemble a sort of classic spaceship: round, with a giant circle in the center that would generally be where the beam of light comes from, but it is a mouth in this case. "Nope"'s alien, however, transforms into an otherworldly butterfly of sorts and gets caught between OJ and Emerald as each attempt to get its attention to give the other enough room to run to safety.

Emerald manages to escape on the bike the TMZ reporter rode in on, and she floors it to Ricky's abandoned amusement park. Once there, she releases a giant inflatable "Ricky" that towers above the entire park. Held down by the same ropes with flags the creature choked on, Emerald hopes the beast will take the bait. As the alien butterfly approaches the park, it is easily distracted by the massive balloon.

During its struggle with Inflatable Ricky, Emerald gathers coins left from the devoured parkgoers to siphon into a photo-taking attraction. The camera is placed at the bottom of a fake well, so when the crank activates the camera, whoever (or whatever) is looking down at the well will be caught on camera. As the creature fights with the balloon, Emerald gets a picture of it. The impossible shot. Meanwhile, the alien, unable to break down the balloon and eject it from its body, ends up choking and exploding.

The irony of this ending is that while Emerald and OJ ultimately get their impossible shot of the creature, it's just a photograph, and photographs are easily faked. So they have proof, but it's evidence that many people will discredit.

Like all of Peele's films, "Nope" is filled with social commentary designed to make the audience think long after the film has ended.

At the beginning of the film, Emerald explains that her ancestor was the first man ever recorded in a motion picture, and many posters throughout the ranch pay homage to Black talent in Hollywood. However, the jockey riding that horse was long forgotten. It isn't until Emerald points out who he is that anyone pays attention. This directly reflects Hollywood's unwillingness to recognize and feature Black talent throughout history.

In addition, "Nope" plays on modern society being tied to our screens. As a society, we are fed information through television, movies, news, social media, YouTube, and anything that can be placed in front of us on a screen. OJ, Emerald, and Angel are obsessed with getting proof of this occurrence because no one will ever believe them without it. Fame and fortune may also be factors, but the reality is that without clear evidence, the rest of the world will never believe what they've seen is real. Even with evidence, there will always be people there to tear it apart and call it fake.

Even the way to avoid getting devoured by the alien is to simply look away. It's become so ingrained in people today to look at the horror, the suffering, or the latest viral trend. People can't help themselves. Curiosity gets the better of most people, and if curiosity doesn't, then the fear of being left out does. We want to look, and we want to be looked at. Having to look away from the creature, not engage, and pretend it's not there goes against everything that most modern-day people would do.

OJ figured it out because he has little desire to participate in current fads and online culture. In purposefully avoiding it, OJ is the first to understand it. He's the one who suggests that it's not a ship, but a living thing. He's the first to figure out how to survive it. In not engaging, he's got a clearer perspective than anyone else.

OJ and Emerald getting a still photo of the creature right before it dies — an impossible shot that no one will ever believe because pictures are easily faked — leaves the audience with many questions. Was everything that the group went through for nothing? Will it ever be taken seriously? Will people even remember the creature, the survivors, or all its victims? That is for the audience to decide, but the idea that there is even a possibility of the answer to every question being no speaks volumes.

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