Did you end up with more questions than answers after watching Netflix Original How It Ends? Do you really understand what happened on the West Coast? What destroyed Seattle? Did the credits roll and you had no idea what the hell was going on? Don’t worry, in this post we will try to answer all those questions and a few more. Just keep reading.
1 ^ What the hell happened on the West Coast of the United States? What destroyed Seattle?
Let’s go step by step. What Sam (Kat Graham) and Jeremiah (Mark O’Brien) told Will (Theo James) is that there was a strong telluric movement, accompanied by thunderous sounds, which then gave way to a tsunami of gigantic proportions. Now, what caused the earthquake and the subsequent tsunami? The film takes great care not to detail the exact nature of what happened but gives many clues.
Near the Seattle area, Will could witness the following irregularities: 1) disproportionate heat for the time of year and latitude 2) constant telluric movements 3) lost magnetic north 4) ash rain 5) northern lights at an impossible latitude 6 ) loss of electricity and communications and 7) electrical storms and irregular cloud formations.
We will explain all these phenomena one by one, but the issue is that in the movie, Planet Earth is going through an irreversible alteration of its magnetic fields.
2 ^ Why was it so hot?
Not Theo James, the weather. One of the main consequences of an alteration in the planetary magnetic fields is that the magnetosphere that surrounds Earth loses effectiveness. The magnetosphere serves as a shield to a large part of the radiation emited by the Sun
The excess of solar radiation generates a significant increase in temperature, and consequently forest fires emerge everywhere, such as the one Will and Tom (Forest Whitaker) saw during their journey.
3 ^ Why are there so many quakes? Why did the earthquake and the tsunami happen?
Here science tells us that perhaps the film exaggerates a little in the matter. In effect, the magnetic field depends directly on the activity of the Earth Core, and yes, the Core and the Earth Mantle are connected. And remember, the tectonic plates move on the Mantle. So logic would indicate that a collapse in the Earth’s magnetic field would result in all kinds of seismic activity, as happened in the movie. But the scientists do not agree.
Scientists believe that for the changes in the Core to affect the tectonic plates, THOUSANDS of years must pass, so it is not an immediate effect. Unless in the film the process started a long time ago, and the scientists would not have detected it, or they would not have revealed the information to the public.
4 ^ Why did not the compass point to North?
Because the process of geomagnetic accommodation has not concluded, that is, there is not yet a new North, nor a new South. Now, that the compass rotates so quickly in that area could mean that the new North is in a position very close to the Northwest of the United States.
5 ^ Why was it raining ash? What is the cloud that is seen at the end of the movie?
If we stick with the idea that the alteration of the geomagnetic fields produces alterations in the tectonic plates, obviously a type of related activity is volcanic activity. And taking into account the geographical location of the events, we can even say that the volcano that is generating the ash rain is no other than the Yellowstone Caldera, a volcano currently inactive. In fact, scientists do agree that a supervolcano explosion would release a pyroclastic cloud at a distance of up to 500 miles. From Yellowstone to Seattle there are about 600 miles, so an unfavorable wind disposition would undoubtedly cause not only the ash rain, but the cloud that we saw at the end of the belt around the area.
A pyroclastic cloud is one of the most devastating phenomena that occur on Planet Earth, and is a mixture of gases and particles that covers a huge area of land at high speed. If the cloud reaches you, you are dead, which was what unfortunately happened in Guatemala at the beginning of June 2018.
6 ^ How could Will see northern lights, if Seattle is not in an arctic latitude?
Northern lights occur when solar wind particles collide with atoms and molecules present in the atmosphere. The reason why they are only seen in Arctic and Antarctic latitudes, is that the magnetosphere protects the planet from the entry of these particles, but curiously, as the magnetic field is smaller at the poles, they filter out more easily there.
If Will could see the lights at that latitude, it means that the Earth’s magnetosphere has lost its effectiveness, or that, as I said earlier, the new North is being placed around the Seattle area.
7 ^ Why did the electricity and communications go off?
I will try to explain it in the simplest way I can. We’ve all heard radio in a car, right? Well, radios that use air antennas, like those in cars, take advantage of a quality that magnetic forces have to induce a current in a wire. In fact, that’s how televisions used to work in the past. Now, imagine a magnetic force coming from the sun, thousands of times more powerful. What happens with the wires? Exactly, they are useless. That was what happened in 2012 in much of North America.
Without electricity, the communications network collapses, but this is what happens with the chips inside the electronic devices what eventually would totally destroy any kind of communication. It is similar to what happens when a nuclear bomb explodes, the irradiated magnetism makes these electronic devices unusable. That’s also why it is impossible for commercial aviation to work.
8 ^ Why the storms and the irregular clouds?
Essentially two things: solar particles and ash. The clouds are very sensitive to changes in the composition of the air that surrounds them, and not only in relation to the presence of particles such as ash, but to the energy present in the solar wind. Incorporating both elements is enough to create a storm of huge proportions, such as the one Will, Tom and Ricki (Grace Dove) witnessed.
9 ^ Why Tom and Will do not get along at the beginning of the movie?
Well, no father is amused that there is a man having sex with his daughter on a regular basis, living together without getting married. Maybe someone could say that there is also a built-in race component, considering that Sam and Tom are African-American, and Will is Caucasian. But the film is smart enough not to get into those clichés.
Tom knows that Will loves Sam, but he resists being nice to him, perhaps preparing him for the role he should assume as protector of his daughter. In addition, the issue of the boat increased the tension between the two.
10 ^ What happened to the boat?
At some point in their relationship, Sam and Will borrowed Tom’s boat to spend a weekend together. Both got so drunk, that Sam took the boat and hit it on a rock. Will and Sam left the boat in their place in the marina of Chicago, without knowing that it was broken. When Tom went to verify the state of the boat, it had sunk into the lake.
Will, thinking that Sam should not bear the responsibility of having sunk his father’s favorite toy, pleaded guilty.
11 ^ How far is Chicago from Seattle?
From Chicago to Seattle, using Interstate 90, there are 3300 kilometers covered in 30 hours of travel by car, at an average speed of 110 kilometers per hour. Of course, it took Will about five days to get to Seattle, taking into account ALL the trouble they had, in addition to the moments of rest and the fact that they did not always take the Interstate, since it was full of criminals.
12 ^ Why were people willing to commit crimes on the roads?
Two things: survival and absence of authority. People understood that what happened was not a temporary matter, that they had to stock up and move to safer places. And the survival instinct, especially if there is a family involved, often leads to behaviors like those seen in the film.
Also, without an authority to regulate what was happening, the anarchy of the strongest eventually prevailed. The only exception shown in the movie for this situation was the town of Ashland Heights, where the Sheriff quickly armed a group of men and consolidated a local authority.
13 ^ Why did Ricki decide to run away from Will and Tom?
Ricki is a girl who has suffered all her life the absence of someone to take care of her, so it is very likely that others have abused her physically, emotionally or even financially. For her, hurting others is not an option. For that reason, when in several times she was forced to take the life of someone, the remorse ended up eating her up and she decided to get away from Tom and Will whom she considers guilty of her corruption.
Ricki wanted to fulfill his dream of reaching California, not so much to reach an specific dream, as she told Will, but because she wanted to show that she could do anything. A pretty Millennial order of ideas.
14 ^ What happened to Tom?
When Tom and Will crashed their car on the run from the fake cop, Tom broke some of his ribs. And the problem was not just the broken ribs, the problem was that the ribs perforated his lungs, causing them to fill with blood and threaten to collapse. Which was what Tom warned when he asked Will to stick the tube in his chest.
But the solution was temporary. Tom needed urgent medical attention to restore lung function and prevent infections, in addition to lots of rest. And finally, in his adventure on roads full of evildoers, he ended up overworked. That is why he died.
15 ^ Why did Jeremiah attack Will?
For this I have two theories. The first is that Jeremiah was secretly in love with Sam for quite some time and when the opportunity presented itself to have it for himself, he considered Will’s presence a nuisance. Maybe that’s why he tried to manipulate them with the story of the war, in order to have control over them wanting to pretend that he had more information than he really had.
The second is that Jeremiah suffered from some mental condition or post-traumatic stress that reduced him to paranoia. He sincerely believed that they were under attack and Will ridiculed him for the idea, so Jeremiah felt that the only way to survive was to eliminate him. What do you think?
16 ^ What is the meaning of the final scene of How It Ends?
At the end of the film we see Will and Sam expressing their love and their commitment to one another, while a huge cloud goes after them. This scene implies that Will could finally be able to love Sam out of his fears, which was what inspired the strangled relationship with Tom. And that both are willing to sacrifice everything for the feeling that unites them, embodied in the baby that both expect.
The pyroclastic cloud surely finished destroying much of the Seattle area and Sam and Will head north, where they hope to start a new life. No, the pyroclastic cloud did not kill them.
17 ^ What is the message of the movie How It Ends?
The message contained in this film is quite peculiar for a feature film in which the world ends, and goes through the idea that LOVE MAKES YOU CAPABLE OF EVERYTHING, and not only of positive things like crossing a continent to find the mother of your unborn son, but to kill others to feed your wife and children, to become part of a militia to protect your friends and your parents from being killed or from hunger.
Perhaps what we should learn after watching this movie is how to choose what kind of actions are appropriate with the idea of love and what corrupts you as a human being. After all, the great criminals of human history, were not inspired by sadism or destruction, but by the love they claimed to profess for their families or their people.
But at the end of the day, what defines us is the final choice we make, which goes far beyond any justification.
Questions? Annotations? Doubts? Insults? The comments section is open just below this post. See you in another post of Ending Explained, here on El Sabanero X.
 What will happen if the Earth’s magnetic poles reverse? – Quora.
 No, we’re not all doomed by Earth’s magnetic field flip – National Geographic.
 What would happen if Yellowstone supervolcano erupted? – Business Insider
 How do solar flares affect electrical equipment and wiring on Earth – Quora.