Netflix’s Love, Death, And Robots is a gorgeous animated series that is hard to define. Each of the short stories reflects a universal truth about life. Some are maddening nihilistic messages, and others are oddly hopeful in their vision. There is as much optimism as fatalism, depending on the lens with which you view the plot. Season 1 Episode 7 Beyond The Aquila Rift delivers a haunting look at survival and manipulation and whether it is better to know or finish life in ignorant bliss. Here’s everything you need to know about the ending of Beyond The Aquila Rift and what it meant for the crew of the Blue Goose.
A spaceship named the Blue Goose is on its way back home from an unexplained mission. Unfortunately, they are in deep space, and the entire crew must go into cryosleep during the long trip home. Suzy(Rebecca Banatvala), who is in charge of navigation, mentions that she thinks she has found a short cut and Thom(Henry Douthwaite) and Ray(Delroy Brown) note the Q-Jibs are acting wonky. We have no idea what those are or what they do but what happens next confirms they are very important. After plotting the course and inserting themselves into the pods, they fall asleep only to awaken and discover they are way off course. They are light years beyond where they should be, and four years have passed.
We follow Thom as they wake up and realize they are nowhere near Earth. Thom’s ex-girlfriend Greta(Madeleine Knight) is inexplicably in the middle of nowhere with them. The two reconnect and begin a passionate affair. Numerous times Thom tries to wake Suzy, but each time she insists that Greta isn’t real, and Greta convinces Thom to put her back into stasis until she can accept reality. We never see him wake Ray.
Greta and Thom rekindle their romance, but Thom begins to question reality when her wounds come and go without explanation. Greta tells him he isn’t ready for the truth. It is too late, though, and the veil is pulled back to reveal that the Blue Goose, along with a bunch of other ships, are caught in a massive space web. An extraterrestrial arachnid has woven her web and ensnares ships. She consumes the humans inside for sustenance, but she keeps them suspended in a dream state, so they do not know what is really happening to them.
The spider reveals itself to be the illusion of Greta made by the spider, and Thom freaks out. As he looks around the ship, he realizes his crew is dead in their pods, he has aged terribly, and the ship is in bad condition. Lots of time has passed, and none of it was kind. The spider puts him back to sleep, and he awakens again with Greta, the human. Thom believes once more that he hasn’t seen her in four years, and the cycle starts again.
The ending of Beyond The Aquila Rift explained
There are two ways of looking at the spider’s actions. Either she is sympathetic to her victims and keeps them suspended in an illusion to spare them the horror of being slowly eaten alive, or she keeps them ignorant and compliant so that she can consume them in her own time. After Thom realizes what is really happening to him and the rest of the crew, he sees Suzy and Ray are desiccated and presumably dead. Since we have no point of view beyond Thom’s, we have no way of knowing if the others also have delusions that they were lost in before their death, but we have hints. Without this vital information, we cannot know the spider’s true motivation.
She claims to be kind. The spider posing as Greta can clearly read her victim’s minds and uses that information to formulate the illusion they get lost in. She tells Thom she tricks them to allow her victims to live out the remainder of their days in peace but that may be just a story she tells to keep those who see through her delusion calm. We don’t know if she also did this to Ray and Suzy, but Suzy seems to know what they are experiencing isn’t real, which would mean the spider is trying to control all their minds. She likely uses a different story and personal connection for each victim. However, every situation would be unique. Some would entail romantic relationships, and others could be familiar love like for a child or parent.
Considering there are a number of ships on her web, this is something that has been going on for a while. A normal spider’s life cycle isn’t very long, but a space spider might live a ridiculously long life. How many people she will eat likely depends on how long she lives. We also don’t know if the crew accidentally veered into her web because of faulty equipment or miscalculation or if there is something the spider does to make ships land in her trap.
Whether you believe the spider’s story in Love, Death, And Robots Beyond The Aquila Rift depends on your ability to forgive. She is a predator who eats to continue living. That doesn’t make her evil but it does make her dangerous. The spider would be no more a monster than a lion hunting gazelle unless the lie is part of the appeal to her. She says she doesn’t like to hurt her victims, but that might be the delusion she sells herself to allow the ruse to continue. Maybe she needs social connections and food, and her victims provide both for her?
We all lie to ourselves and each other. Mostly we do it to spare ourselves hard facts we aren’t ready to face. To spare hurt feelings or deny facets of ourselves we would rather not acknowledge. In the spider’s case, it may be both. Unfortunately, the space spider just seems better at bending the truth than most.
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As the Managing Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre entertainment. I grew up with old-school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. My work can be found here and Travel Weird, where I am the Editor in Chief.