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Amazon’s The Rig Season 1 Ending Explained – Quorum Sensing, Extinction Cycles, The Ancestor, and What It Means for Season 2

January 8, 2023

Amazon’s latest sci-fi series, The Rig, includes a bit of John Cameron’s The Abyss, a pinch of John Carpenter’s The Thing and a sprinkling of William Eubank’s Underwater. There’s even a tickle of Arrival’s messaging in the later episodes, which is good news for fans of emotional sci-fi. It’s not all great, but it just makes for a compelling watch. Although the pacing is extremely slow at times over the course of the six episodes, which each could have been cut by ten minutes, The Rig’s ending is a nail-biter that sets up a potential season 2 while wrapping things up nicely for the moment.

The platformCalvin Demba in the platform courtesy of Prime Video

A young crewman, Baz (Calvin Demba), has fallen from a tower while trying to restore communications on a troubled oil rig. Although seriously injured, he was up and walking the next day. Over the next two episodes, it becomes clear that the exposure to ash and fog that has inexplicably overshot the platform has the power to mutate and change humans. This can make them better or worse depending on what kind of shape they were in, to begin with.

For Baz, who was young and in great shape, it cured him but came at a price. He is changed. As the group searches for him, he seems to be taking orders from something bigger – a higher power, something more significant and far wiser than us. Cut off from help, their families and their homes, they must depend on each other. When a group of survivors mysteriously show up on a lifeboat, everything becomes clear. Is it too late, though?

The end of The Rig

At the start of The Rig Episode 6, we learn that Coake, Game of Thrones Mark Addy, had been sent to destroy the Rose organism named the Ancestor. That’s what he had done on the Charlie before it exploded. He had been tasked with a secret mission to inject a toxic poison deep under the ocean into the Ancestor in hopes of killing him. Pictor knew all about the spores because the Ancestor had already converted tons of oil back into living plant matter. As Pictor was in the oil business, this was a major problem. Coupled with the seismic events that had begun to occur, Pictor decided it was a us or them situation.

This poison is what Coake had Hutton and the others spray on Baz, Hulmer (Martin Compston), and Garrow in Episode 5. The poison kills the Ancestor and anything infected with it. He is a selfish businessman who doesn’t care who else dies as long as he destroys the organism. Coake tells everyone that two intelligent species can never coexist.

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Meanwhile, Rose (Emily Hampshire of Schitt’s Creek), Magnus (Iain Glen of Game Of Throne), and Fulmer have come to a different conclusion. They believed Baz was right all along, and the body was trying to figure out if they would be an ally or an enemy. They thought that if they could talk to the organization using quorum sensing (which is a real thing), they could let them know they wanted to help. If they could convince the Ancestor that humans aren’t all bad, they could spare us, and we could work together to heal the Earth and the Ancestor himself.

Unfortunately, the Ancestor had already decided that another extinction-level event was needed, and the Holocene circle closed. The rings that Baz and later Fulmer drew were what the Ancestor used to determine time. Like the aliens in The Arrival, time is not linear for the organism, and each circle that closes marks the end of a life form’s cycle. So when the circle closed, that meant our time was up. There have been five previous life cycles on Earth, each ending in extinction. They are the Ordovician, the Devonian, the Permian, the Triassic and the Cretaceous. We are in the Holocene life cycle, and it seems the Ancestor has decided that we should be removed as well.

The group fears that they have failed to convince the Ancestor that we want to collaborate, not compete, and retreat to the helicopter. Baz stays behind, trying one last time to show that the human organism could be good. He willingly sacrifices himself to prove that we are capable of valuing something other than our own lives.

Everyone except Baz climbs onto the two helicopters as a massive wave crashes into the rig. The wave hits the platform just as they take off, and everyone looks shocked. Coake informs them that they are not going home and Cat panics because his wife is in a beach town not far from the shore. She knows that the wave that destroyed the platform will soon hit the mainland. We last see the confused and horrified crew as they fly into the unknown. The series ends with Cat’s wife watching from her home as a massive wave prepares to hit the shore.

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Where were the helicopters heading?

The ominous ending of The Rig leaves the entire surviving crew of Kinloch Charlie in a helicopter flying away from home. Thousands of people are likely to die in the massive wave heading for the shore. Coake says he warned them that they could never return home unless they destroyed the organism Rose named the Ancestor. Magnus, Fulmer, Rose, and Baz tried to communicate with him while everyone evacuated, but it seemed like it was too late. Coake and Pictor had a plan all along, and they probably have a bunker somewhere they can regroup and come up with a new plan.

More than likely, they’re heading somewhere near a military site and landlocked. Assuming they also need to avoid major fault lines and coastlines, they will need a stable and protected location. Groom Lake in the US or Kelvedon Hatch Nuclear Bunker in the UK are the two possibilities. However, unless Baz can convince the Ancestor to retreat, nowhere is safe. We know from Jurassic Park that life always finds a way. The spores are airborne and nothing is safe. I only know that Coake is a nightmare, and those infected with the spore should be very concerned.

The organism on which the Ancestor is based

Several ancient organisms have already been discovered, and more are constantly being discovered. There are trees and bushes thousands of years old, and a variety of flowers called Silene stenophylla found in Russia was revived after 32,000 years. The Pando is a clonal tree colony that shares a massive root system. It is 80,000 years old. The tree part has an average life cycle of 130 years, but since we cannot determine the age of the roots, some scientists believe the root system could be as old as a million years. The Pando is currently dying sadly and they are looking for ways to save the majestic organism. Bacteria found in amber and yeast dating back at least 45,000 million years also exist.

The most shocking is that of the Endoliths. This is what the Ancestor is based on in The Rig. They are over 100 million years old, lie a mile and a half below the ocean floor, and are made up of viruses, fungi, and bacteria. They combine endoliths with Permian bacteria found in New Mexico, which is 250 million years old. The message is clear. We are insignificant.

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All the questions that need answers in The Rig Season 2

The Ancestor does not consider all the enemies of humanity. This spared Cat because she was pregnant and currently lives inside Fulmer, Baz, and Magnus. Can our group convince the Ancestor to stop destroying humanity before we’re all gone? Also, since Coake and Pictor are very business-oriented, what will happen when the group arrives at the secret location? Several crew members have been infected with the spores and I wouldn’t be shocked to find them experimented or killed instantly. Is Baz alive or dead?

Why does the Ancestor keep showing Magnus his dead son? Does he try to tell her that nothing is ever gone? It just changes the shapes. Is this proof that he understands that some people need to be saved, or is Magnus hallucinating from stress? Finally, what will be left when the wave recedes? Is this wave the only one, or did the Ancestor create environmental events all over the world? Will our surviving group continue to evolve and change after being exposed to the Ancestor?

I remember the zombie-inducing spores found in Gaia and HBO’s highly anticipated The Last Of Us. Annihilation also comes to mind. The story of an ecosystem forever changed still haunts me. For now, it seems Fulmer and the others retain their memories and intelligence. As the mutation continues, will this always be the case, or will what remains be something entirely new? Maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad thing if it was new. There are so many questions left unanswered and even more set up by the thrilling final episode. With no news of a possible season 2 of The Rig, we’ll have to watch and hope it doesn’t go Night Sky’s way and be one and done.

Tracy Palm Tree

As the editor of 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.

The post Amazon’s The Rig Season 1 Ending Explained-Quorum Sensing, Extinction Cycles, The Ancestor, And What It Means For Season 2 appeared first on Signal Horizon.