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The Boat Ending Explained-Greek Trickster Gods of Wind, Purgatory, And How It Relates To Triangle

The Gods have been messing with mortals as long as we have existed. Their meddling never ceases to shape and destroy our world. More times than not, they mess with us to mess. Trickster gods who are obsessed with the trick and never the treat, these powerful beings waste their time content to screw with us like a child with an anthill. The Boat may be the clearest example of a Greek myth coming to life.

The Boat
Official Trailer Screengrab

Written and directed by Winston Azzopardi and his brother Joe Azzopardi who also stars, it is an ambiguous film that rides the line between horror and thriller as more supernatural elements come into play. Although The Boat has been compared to Triangle, another middle of the sea story that mixes horror, the supernatural, and the metaphysical into a tight and relatable story about guilt and consequence, there are some differences. Here’s everything you need to know about The Boat and that wild ending.

The ending of The Boat

After boarding the Aeolus at the beginning of the film, the sailor goes through one ordeal after another. First, he was locked in the restroom and the bilge. Then, after trying to escape on a man-made raft, he was thrown into the water, almost hung, almost drowned, and nearly capsized in a storm. Something or someone was clearly out to get him. Finally, after going through everything, the boat brought him to an island he did not recognize. The island had buildings that were falling apart and was deserted, although a few ships can be seen.

The sailor walked across the island until he returned inexplicably to the other side, which looked exactly like the island he left at the movie’s beginning. He looks shocked at his small sailboat, which went missing early in the film, now moored to the dock, and the camera pans over to the rock formation he sailed through earlier. In the distance, we see the ship which held him hostage and hear what could be his distress signal. What exactly does it all mean?

Aeolus and Greek mythology

Throughout the movie, the boat seems to act against him. While it could be bad luck, it is more likely the act of something supernatural, presumably a trickster god with too much time on his hands and a rigid set of morals. The abandoned boat which our sailor’s smaller sailboat runs into and he boards is named the Aeolus. Coincidentally this is also the name of the ill-fated sailboat that the crew of Triangle board at the beginning of that movie. More on that later.

Aeolus is one of three characters in Greek history. All three are intertwined and difficult to distinguish from one another. Homer’s Aeolus is the Keeper of the Winds that gives a bag of winds to Odysseus to use to return home. Unfortunately, his crew opened the bag, accidentally releasing all of the winds at once and sending their ship on a much longer mission. Aeolus is a God who protects his winds on an island called Aiolia. He had six sons and daughters.

Another Aeolus is one who was married to Enartete. He had several children, including Sisyphus, who was fated to roll a boulder up a mountain forever. After seeing everything, the sailor went through, the parallels are evident to this doomed character. Sisyphus was punished after trying to cheat death. Is our sailor Sysyphus? We don’t know what he might have done to anger the Gods, but if he is Sisyphus, he played fast and loose with some rule. The third iteration of Aeolus was the son of Poseidon. He shares much of the same DNA as the first and is thought to be a Keeper of the Winds as well.

Whether or not you believe someone human was on the boat is dependent on your belief in the afterlife and outside forces. There could be people on board who hide and pop out at opportune times to wreak havoc with our sailor. They lock him in the restroom and cut the rope. We do hear someone jump into the water shortly before the rope is cut and hear footsteps on deck after the sailor is locked in the bilge. It is plausible there is a perfectly normal if diabolical rationale for everything that happens, but another option is more intriguing.

Like Stephen King’s Christine, the boat could be possessed. Whether it is possessed by Aeolus or something even weirder, we don’t know, but it definitely harbors ill will. It deliberately steers him into a storm and prevents him from leaving multiple times. The dangerousness of the storm lends me to believe that everything we see happen in The Boat is supernatural and not the work of kids playing games. At another point in the story, the boat tracks him down as he tries to row away on top of the door and some floats. It is unlikely that someone unseen on the ship would be able to steer the ship towards him and make it move fast enough to catch up with him without being seen, much less make it go at that speed out of the blue.

No matter what he does, he can’t seem to escape the ship. After being run into and forced to swim in the ocean in the dark, he swims with dolphins. Dolphins are a symbol of love, intelligence, and good luck. They are often associated with the protection of sailors as they are thought to both keep them safe and be a sign of land. After being locked in the bilge, the ship steers towards land rapidly, but at the last minute, it steers away and cuts the motor. Why did it save him? Did it save him? Like the Island of the Lotus Eaters, maybe the whole point was to steer him to this island. Or perhaps the ship was simply bored and needed someone to play with for a while.

Where does the ship take him?

The ship takes him to an island that is initially not familiar but becomes his fishing community. He hears and sees other people and recognizes his small sailboat. Did he return home? If so, why did the ship nearly kill him, only to bring him back home? The island could be Purgatory. It is a place where you live out the rest of eternity, or it could be something even stranger. Since we do not know anything about the sailor before or after the events of The Boat, we have no way of knowing if he died, and all of this is an elaborate boat ride on the River Styx or something more peaceful designed to allow you to come to peace with what happened gradually.

Are the caves near the dock the portal to a time warp that can’t be escaped once entered? The sailor takes this route at the beginning of the film. The ship that the sailor is stuck on later is shown in the distance waiting. Is she waiting for the sailor or some other victim? The ending seems to indicate that you can return home, but you may not be able to escape the loop you are in. This could be why the backside of the island is decayed and unfamiliar while the front side is his home. They could be two sides of the same island from different points in time. It’s also possible the Aeolus warps time. Was he on the ship much longer than he thought?

The  Boat
Official Trailer Screengrab

How does it relate to Triangle?

The Boat and Triangle obviously share a similar setting. They both begin on a sailboat named the Aeolus, and both feature other ships that inevitably do nothing to save them. The large boat that most of Triangle takes place on looks similar to the vessel that the sailor sees from the bathroom window in the first act of The Boat. Is The Boat an extension of the universe in Triangle? Triangle warps time as it collapses in on our protagonist, who may be living out a terrible last day because of guilt and grief. Might the same be happing to our sailor? Although they aren’t directly related, they share many of the same bones.

The Boat is currently streaming on Tubi TV and Amazon Prime.