'Jigsaw' Ending and 'Saw' Connections Explained
(WARNING: Major Spoilers Follow!)
The Saw franchise makes a comeback with Jigsaw (read our review HERE), a soft reboot that reintroduces the world to the brutal teachings of John Kramer / The Jigsaw Killer, a decade after the killer's death in Saw III.
It's been a tradition since the very first Saw movie to throw some big twists and reveals into the mix alongside the gruesome "games" the franchise is known for - and Jigsaw honors that tradition in full. Of course, it's also been a longstanding custom for the Saw franchise to confuse the hell out of viewers with its convoluted mythos, intersecting timelines, and swollen cast of characters; Jigsaw manages to follow in that tradition as well, and could leave some viewers struggling to understand this latest game of murder.
Here's Jigsaw's ending and connections to larger Saw franchise explained in full:
The New Jigsaw
The first question to clear up, is: who is the new Jigsaw? John Kramer died in Saw IV and was definitely dead in later installments (we saw his autopsy for god's sake...), but somehow the killer's voice and presence are felt throughout this new film.
In the climatic scene of movie, we get the reveal that medical examiner Logan Nelson (Matt Passmore) is behind the new set of Jigsaw murders. It's further revealed that Nelson was actually John Kramers original disciple, at a time when Kramer was first testing out his "games" and shaping the twisted philosophy if the Jigsaw killer.
Nelson (a former Iraq War medic turned doctor) was actually the man responsible for first mislabeling John Kramer's cancer X-Rays, which led to Kramer's condition not being diagnosed until it was too late. Kramer abducted Nelson and made him a player in his very first prototype game; however, when Nelson was severely injured, Kramer decided to show him mercy (more on that later). As a man dealing with PTSD form his time as a POW, Nelson was a prime candidate to fall under sway of Kramer's brainwashing.
After helping Kramer launch his initial Jigsaw games, Nelson settled into life with his wife and daughter. That all changed, after Kramer died, when corrupt police detective Halloran (Callum Keith Rennie) let a criminal walk free, and that same criminal ended up murdering Nelson's wife. That trauma triggered a burning need for retribution in Logan, and he spent two years preparing (tracking down criminals that Halloran set free and creating red herrings using John Kramer's voice and DNA) for a new Jigsaw game. Nelson's game ultimately ends with him faking his own death to get Halloran's confession of corruption, before he kills the dirty cop and seals his body away where it won't be found, with full intention of framing him for the new Jigsaw killings.prevnext
Saw Franchise Connections
Jigsaw recycles the classic Saw trick of showing us events in two different time periods, while making us think they're happening at the same time. The big reveal and connection to the first Saw movie is that the main story thread we see (the actual "game" that is the main focus of the film) is actually set before the events of the original Saw.
The game we watch unfold actually took place in the 2000s, and follows the first batch of guilty people that Kramer abducted for a prototype of what would later become his games. That lineup includes a boy who got Kramer's young nephew killed by selling him a defective motorcycle (Mitch); a shady businessman (Ryan); Kramer's former neighbor, who killed her baby and framed her husband for it (Anna); and the medical examiner who messed up Kramer's cancer X-Rays (Logan Nelson).
Nelson is revealed to have been the mysterious person who was still unconscious when the group first wakes up to a message from Jigsaw, explaining his rules. When the group escapes from the first room of the game (a wall of buzzsaws), they hear the mystery man being cut to shreds. But since Nelson was still unconscious during Jigsaw's speech explaining the rules, he's totally confused as to what was happening, and ends getting severely injured by the buzzsaws. In that moment, Kramer realizes a major flaw in his twisted logic and saves the Nelson, making him his first disciple out of gratitude for showing him the principle that mindless killing is not the same as focused and fairly-balanced acts of retribution.
The second story thread is set in present day. Nelson puts the criminals that Detective Halloran set free through the exact same trials as the prototype game he was part of, recreating Jigsaw's very first killings (which were never actually reported to police, since Kramer hid the bodies). In the end, Nelson kills Halloran in the exact room where the final two players of Kramer's first game (Anna and Ryan) died with the ten-year-old corpses still there, rotting. Inspired by his new string of killings, Nelson vows to be "the one who speaks for the dead," meaning both the innocent people men like Halloran have killed, and Kramer himself. Look out world... Jigsaw is back.
Jigsaw is now in theaters. It is 1 hour and 31 minutes long, and is Rated R for sequences of grisly bloody violence and torture, and for language.prev