Nobody expected Alice in Borderland to reach a definitive conclusion, but the finale provides a clear setup for the second season as plenty is revealed nonetheless.
This recap of Alice in Borderland season 1, episode 8 contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
Check out our spoiler-free season review.
The finale of Alice in Borderland opens with handheld footage of Mamoka and Asahi in the earliest days of this new world, and a lingering shot of Mamoka’s corpse that reminds us there’s still plenty to come regarding the identity of the witch.
Case in point: Aguni is still rounding people up and having them executed, which Arisu interrupts. Aguni begins to beat Arisu, so Usagi intervenes and accuses Aguni of being the witch. He admits it, but Arisu knows he’s lying. He also knows that it was Hatter who he killed, not Mamoka.
Cue flashback. As we saw a glimpse of in the previous episode, Aguni and Hatter really were good friends. But the power overwhelmed Hatter, and Aguni didn’t recognize him anymore. Aguni continues to beat Arisu as we dip into another flashback, this one of Hatter and Aguni visiting the gentlemen’s club where Hatter used to host. Aguni wants to end the Beach, knowing that they’re losing control of Niragi and the militants. Hatter won’t have this perceived betrayal, but he isn’t as quick on the draw as Aguni.
Back in the here and now, Arisu confronts Aguni about wanting to kill everyone at the Beach because they’re the ones who made his friend crazy. That’s why this is a game of hearts, to make a fool of everyone. He determines that Mamoka herself was the witch, which sets Aguni off. He starts insisting he’s the witch and laying into everyone, trying to take as many people down with him as he can.
It’s Asahi who brings the carnage to an end by declaring that she’s the dealer of the game, which causes her to be insta-killed by a laser. Ana arrives right on time to reveal that the murder weapon had reverse-grip fingerprints, which proves Mamoka stabbed herself. In light of these revelations, Arisu is finally able to talk some sense into Aguni, but right on time the fire worsens, and badly burned Niragi arrives and begins to open fire on people. Aguni sacrifices himself to save Arisu and take Niragi down. In the aftermath, everyone grabs Mamoka’s body and rushes to the pyre.
In the aftermath of the game, it’s time to figure out more of what’s really going on. Arisu finds and watches the video that opened the episode, in which Asahi and Mamoka explain how they helped to organize the games, and how they secretly participated in them to influence things. The video depicts Mamoka entering the lair of the game master, bustling spires of monitors and revelling architects. There isn’t a single game master, but many.
Arisu and Usagi retrace the girls’ steps from the video. They find the surveillance towers empty, devoid of light and life, completely abandoned. The game masters are all dead, neatly executed. Chishiya is already there with Kuina, having found his way there by deciphering the subway map he found earlier. Of course, these weren’t the real game masters, but humans with someone else above them. As the monitors begin to come to life for an emergency broadcast, that someone turns out to be Mira. She says they want to give the surviving players a present — more games, this time with the face cards too.
What, you didn’t expect a conclusive ending, did you? The first season of Alice in Borderland ends with zeppelins flying over Tokyo, carrying the elusive face cards.