The Rig ending explained: How Season 1 of new horror series sets up Season 2
The Rig is a new aquatic horror that debuted on Amazon Prime today. Here we explain the show’s ending, and what that might mean for a potential Season 2.
The Rig is a new six-part thriller about an oil rig being enveloped by a mysterious mist off the coast of Scotland, and the terrifying fallout that follows.
The show is written by David Machpherson, while the first three episodes are directed by Line of Duty helmer John Strickland. Line of Duty star Martin Compston appears in the show, alongside Iain Glen (Game of Thrones) and Emily Hampshire (Schitt’s Creek).
We’ve written up everything we know about The Rig here, while a spoiler-free review of the first episode can be found here. But now we’re going to dig into the show’s ending. So BEWARE OF SPOILERS AHEAD.
What is The Rig about?
Here’s the official synopsis for the Rig…
Magnus and his crew aboard the Kinloch Bravo oil rig are stationed off the Scottish coast in the dangerous waters of the North Sea. When they are due to be collected and return to the mainland a mysterious and all-enveloping fog rolls through. The rig is hit by massive tremors, and they find themselves cut off from all communication with the shore and the outside world.
As the crew endeavour to discover what’s driving this unknown force, a major accident forces them to ask questions about who they can really trust. Bonds are broken, allegiances formed and generational fault lines exposed. The crew of the Bravo will be driven to the limits of both their loyalties and their endurance, into a confrontation with forces beyond their imagination.
What happens to the workers on Kinloch Bravo?
When the mist rolls in, the workers on Kinloch Bravo are plunged into darkness. Then when that fog leaves they are changed, with some of their number seemingly possessed by some unseen force, Invasion of the Body-Snatchers style.
The first to succumb is Baz (Calvin Demba), who falls from a great height and suffers life-threatening injuries, only for them to suddenly heal.
He then starts claiming that his thoughts are no longer his own, and that he’s being shown sights and told to do things. Others suffer injuries then fall under the same hypnotic spell, wreaking havoc on the ship.
But Baz is the key, warning at the start of Episode 2 that “a wave’s coming.” Which prove to be prophetic words.
What’s the threat the workers face?
The crew questions if the threat they face is a monster, or the Russians, or even fallout from a volcano. But turns out it’s something even older than that.
The threat are spores that act like parasites, attaching to a host through their injuries, fixing them up, then having said host do their bidding.
They are hundreds of millions of years old; bacteria that has laid dormant for epochs of history only to now wake up and make contact.
The spores do this via possession, but also via circles, which they use to chart the passing of time, and also to warn of the extinction level event that is coming. As they have previously done in the past. Due to their age, characters start calling them The Ancestors.
What do ‘The Ancestors’ want?
That’s the question at the heart of The Rig – why the ancestors are here, and what they want. The workers seem to suspect from the off, with one character claiming “We keep punching holes in the earth, eventually it’s going to punch back.” While another states that we’ve f**ked the planet, and “now it’s f**king us back.”
It soon becomes clear the Ancestors are a living network, threaded throughout the sea floor, that has “memory of every struggle the planet has ever faced.”
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Now it seems they aren’t happy with Pictor – the company that owns the rig – for pulling oil out of the ground. Making The Rig an environmental story as much as an aquatic horror.
The question then becomes, do the Ancestors want to collaborate or compete; a question that doesn’t exactly get answered at the end of the series due to the ambiguity of the finale.
Who is the villain of the piece?
The Ancestors initially seem like the show’s villain. But then David Coakes shows up in Episode 5 – played by The Full Monty’s Mark Addy – and he becomes The Rig’s antagonist.
Coakes is in charge of Research and Expansion at Pictor, and he sees the Ancestors as a cancer that will spread and destroy. He therefore wants to kill them first, before they can reach water and food and people on the mainland. As he puts it, “If there’s a threat, we destroy it.”
But Coakes also has another motive. The Ancestors have woken up all over the North Sea, and when they reach reservoirs, they turn the oil back into organic matter. Which is not what his company wants.
Meaning the character’s real motivation is protecting Pictor’s oil fields, and he’ll stop at nothing to make that happen. So where Aliens had Carter Burke, The Rig has David Coakes.
What happens at the end of The Rig?
At the end of Episode 6 – the final episode in Season 1 – Coakes endeavours to leave the rig, while the rest of the workers try to reason with the Ancestors.
The wave that Baz warned of in Episode 2 then approaches; a tsunami that will wipe the place out. Helicopters arrive to evacuate the crew, but Baz insists on staying, saying the Ancestors need to be protected or all this will all start again.
Baz believes that if the Ancestors see what we can give – and are willing to sacrifice ourselves for their sake – then extinction might be avoided. He states “Life remains life, as long as we can keep it going,” then steps into the Ancestor’s light.
How does The Rig Season 1 set up Season 2?
Everyone else – including Coakes – departs on a pair of choppers, believing they are heading for home. That wave then hits the rig.
But Coakes has another surprise – they aren’t going back – the character smugly stating: “I told you, if you wanted to go home, you should have listened to me.”
He’s asked where they are going, but there’s no answer, the ending setting a mysterious new destination up, with new drama, and new horror, should Season 2 of the Rig happen.
The final shot is of that same tsunami hitting the mainland, so a second series could take proceedings off the water and only land so we can find out how the events of Season 1 have affected the planet.
While we still don’t know if the Ancestors will compete or collaborate with mankind going forward, meaning there’s lots of directions in which The Rig could go should a second series get commissioned.
The Rig is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.