Oxygen Movie Ending Explained- Love And Hope Can’t Be Boxed In
Netflix’s latest sci-fi film, Oxygen is a slick puzzler that proves where there is a will; life will always find a way.
Oxygen stars Mélanie Laurent(Now You See Me) as Liz, a woman who finds herself mysteriously trapped in a small capsule with her oxygen supply dwindling. Making matters worse, she has no memory of how she got there or even who she is. With only pod operator MILO(Mathieu Amalric) to guide her, Liz must navigate her tight space to figure out who put her in the pod and how she can save her life.
Director Alexandre Aja(High Tension and Crawl) uses every inch of the limited setting to drive the tension and convey the increasing panic Liz feels. Over the hour and forty minutes run time that feels as if we are with Liz in real-time(in reality, she has less than an hour of cinematic time), she goes through a wide range of emotions. Everything from fear, anger, determination and resolve are felt before the film is over. Aja is known for genre films that rely on their cast to create a mood. Oxygen is no different. Claustrophobic and jittery, Oxygen asks a lot from Laurent, who bears the brunt of the entire film on her spandex-clad shoulders. The well-designed premise and minimalist cast and set make the very most of its talents.
Liz has to use her considerable intelligence to figure out who she is and how to help herself. Enigmatic MILO can only respond to certain tasks and questions, so Liz must outthink the computerized assistant to save herself. After a great deal of trial and error, Liz finally susses out what has happened to her. Here is everything you need to know about the twists and the ending of Oxygen.
Who is Leo?
Liz begins having memories of a man named Leo early on and even sees photos of him included in her pod data bank. She manages to call Leo via MILO, but a woman picks up and promptly hangs up on her. Liz calls the police, and a man named Captain Moreau tells her she isn’t married, and Leo is a figment of her imagination. By that point, the photos she had been looking at no longer show Leo making her doubt her mind. Later that same older woman that hung up on Liz calls her back to fill her in on all the facts she needs to know.
Leo was Liz’s husband, and he, along with millions of Earth’s inhabitants, was infected by a virus. Even though the virus didn’t kill everyone, it killed so many; all humans will die out in two generations. The catch is only a select few know what is really going on, which is why everyone has been lying to Liz since she woke up. Leo is the key to everything, and the woman who Liz had been communicating with told her to find him. Liz is largely unsuccessful until just before she decides to open the pod and die quickly when her memories of Leo come flooding back. He is also in a pod along with 10,000 other humans sent with her to colonize the new planet.
The mid-movie twist
After cleverly making calls to the outside world, including the police, Liz deciphers her situation. Captain Moreau tells Liz he can’t determine her location. Even worse, he claims her pod was destroyed three years ago. MILO can open the pod but only with the administration codes. As she soon learns, it is in her best interest not to open the pod. This is not the only deception.
Moreau claims the police are on their way to the cryo lab that makes the pod. As Liz tries to maintain control of her emotions, she begins to believe no one is being truthful with her. Near the midway point of Oxygen, Liz learns that not only isn’t she in a lab locked in a pod or buried alive, but she is in space. She is nearly 43,000 miles away from Earth, headed for a planet called Wolf 1061 to colonize the planet and give humans a shot at survival.
Liz wasn’t supposed to wake up until she got to the new planet. Something went very wrong, and in the process of becoming conscious, her memory is jumbled. This is why she can’t remember anything, including her mission. The woman claims to be able to help Liz fix her pod and put herself back to sleep with enough oxygen to continue to the new planet. For some fuzzy science reason, Liz has to get back to cryosleep before her oxygen reserves hit 2%, or she won’t be able to be resuscitated once they land. Before the woman can talk Liz through the repair, though, the military arrives at her home and sever the transmission between Liz and her.
The ending of Oxygen explained
While having flashbacks of Leo, she learns that an asteroid hit the ship carrying all the pods. That catastrophe is what woke her up. She asks MILO to see Leo’s pod fearing the worst and finds he is intact but missing a scar she remembers him having. Confused, Liz asks MILO to show her more information on Dr. Liz Hanson and gets information about a memory implantation system that a scientist developed to transfer memories. The transfer includes thoughts, feelings, emotions, and muscle memory. The process is so successful that the most minute details are intact in the new host. The scientist who invented the process was none other than Liz herself.
At this point, Liz begins to suspect she is not who she thinks she is and asks MILO how old she is. MILO responds that the bio unit is twelve years old, which is when the mission began, according to the older woman who helped Liz earlier. Liz, along with all the others in the pods, are clones with implanted memories. She and Leo designed the entire thing in the past. Liz developed the memory implantation system, and Leo developed the ship and the pods that would carry the clones to a new world. If you look closely, the ship’s design mimics the maple tree seeds commonly called helicopters that pepper Liz’s memory of Leo. Fearing it is too late for her, she records a message for Leo and prepares to die.
Just before her oxygen runs out, Liz redirects power to her processor and tries to reactivate cryosleep. Her oxygen had dipped too low, however, and she seems doomed. Before it is too late, Liz asks MILO to use the destroyed pods’ oxygen to keep her alive. The computer diverts the oxygen to Liz’s pod, and she can activate cryosleep. Thirty-four years later, we see a final shot of cloned Liz and Leo on a new planet. The couple has a second chance on the new world.
Oxygen is out on Netflix right now.
As the TV/Streaming Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre tv. I grew up with old school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. When I’m not watching and writing about my favorite movies and series, I’m introducing my family to the wonderful world of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. My only regret, there is not enough time in the day to watch everything.