*Warning: This post contains spoilers for Netflix's See You Yesterday*
If you haven't watched Netflix's new movie, See You Yesterday, we can't really recommend it enough. It's so much more than your typical time travel movie. In fact, it's something like Back to the Future meets Black Mirror, and Michael J. Fox even makes a cameo.
But if you have and want to learn more about the ending, stay with us while we go over the whole thing. If not, you might want to head over to Netflix and give it a spin.
See You Yesterday's set-up — and why there won't be a sequel.
See You Yesterday follows best friends and science nerds CJ and Sebastian who are working together on building a time machine. The movie begins as lighthearted and playful, but it quickly takes a dark turn when CJ's brother, Calvin, is shot by the police in a case of mistaken identity.
Between sci-fi and reality, time travel and present-day race politics, this movie really has it all and can appeal to any viewer. And although the film is laced with social commentary, it does a good job of not being overly pedantic about its messages.
"I didn't want the film to be wrapped up in a bow," director Stefon Bristol said, adding that there would be no sequel to See You Yesterday. "I personally like when a story ends. And that's all I'm gonna say."
In fact, the only person to give us a straight-forward lesson in the movie is time travel emeritus, Michael J. Fox, who plays CJ's teacher. He notes that time travel is an ethical and philosophical problem because whoever goes back in time needs to weigh what to change with what not to.
CJ's time travel dilemmas.
Through her time travel adventures with Sebastian, CJ quickly realizes that going back in time often creates more problems than it actually solves. At one point, they go back in time to save her brother's life, but her best friend Sebastian gets killed in his stead.
CJ quickly learns that she can save her brother, but it comes at a steep cost, and understands that there are situations in which there is no single right answer. So, CJ comes up with a new plan. She finds a way to go back in time to the previous jump without Sebastian knowing, and from there, wants to stop her brother's senseless killing without ever encountering the police.
The ending, explained.
However, things don't go as planned and we watch the police arrive once more in what's probably the tensest moment of the entire film. In the end, CJ's brother Calvin sacrifices himself once again in order to avert the otherwise inevitable death of Sebastian, which is a really heartbreaking moment.
It really solidifies the idea that there's no right answer, and that in fact, both answers feel like the wrong one. Put another way, this demonstrates that if we don't learn from gun violence and from police's merciless killing of black youths, we're doomed to repeat the cycle.
The main takeaway from the ending is that we can't change the past no matter how hard we try and how many time machines we build. Instead, we have to learn that although we can't get back the people we love, we can further appreciate what we have and stand up for those we love.
CJ's final scene.
See You Yesterday's final scene shows CJ going back in time once again to try and stop the murder of her brother, but we don't know whether she's successful, or if she ends up putting someone else in the middle of the crossfire, as with Sebastian in the past.
The movie ends with CJ running in the same place where the police shooting occurred, and we're left wondering whether she might have sacrificed her own life so that neither her brother nor her best friend would have to die. After all, she's the only one who can stop the entire event and keep Calvin and Sebastian safe.
There's no real answer to this movie, but there doesn't really need to be. This movie leaves us with the message that although we can't change the past, we are in control of the future, and that there's no end in sight to gun and police violence unless we pave the way for change.
It's a powerful movie that will leave you thinking way after the credits roll. Stream See You Yesterday on Netflix today.