Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 season 2, episode 12 recap – the ending explained

May 23, 2022
Jonathon Wilson 0
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A contemplative and exposition-heavy finale offers more thematic than narrative closure.

This recap of Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 season 2, episode 12, “DOUBLE THINK / Event Boundary”, contains spoilers, including a discussion of the Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 Season 2 ending. You can read our spoiler-free season review by clicking these words.

You’ll recall that in the penultimate episode of the season, things went badly wrong. At least one major character was seemingly killed by another. Nukes were launched. The world was potentially ending, decimated by extremism operating under the guise of freedom and peace. Only, “DOUBLE THINK / Event Boundary” doesn’t acknowledge any of this, at least not initially. It’s the very antithesis of a finale.

Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 season 2, episode 12 recap

So, what’s going on? Why is Patrick Huge’s death being considered a suicide? What are Section 9 being given medals for? How has Takashi Shimamura apparently made it home safe and sound?

Nobody seems to have noticed that things are all amiss. But once the scene winds back to the start and the same things begin to happen again, the Major gets suspicious. She theorizes that she may be trapped in a cognitive maze. She flicks through files that report Purin has been killed in action and John Smith is being held in a cryogenic suspension unit. When she defrosts him, he cycles through a range of moods and personalities, from utter confusion to complete terror to smug assurance, and the Major theorizes that she’s not in a cognitive maze after all. Instead, she’s plugged into the Net, which means her body is somewhere else.

When the Major deactivates autistic mode, she’s able to wake up in her actual body. She quickly encounters Purin, who claims that everyone safely evacuated after the threat of the smart gas had passed and have been happily living their lives ever since. As for the nukes, that depends. In some people’s memories, the launch was averted. In others, it wasn’t. This giant auditorium full of sleeping chambers supposedly houses all those who had become N, which Purin explains as people who found a way to live in a reality free of conflict while going about their daily lives in the real world. She likens it to being in a video game tailored just for them; or, alternatively, a state of enlightenment. This is what everyone is experiencing now. This is the reality Shimamura created.

Obviously this is a difficult pill to swallow, to Purin offers to show the Major instead. The episode title, “DOUBLE THINK”, is a term Shimamura coined to describe the experience these people are having, living out the lives they were living pre-incident but with an optimum sense of calm and tranquility, devoid of conflict. Purin can trace back the origins of doublethink to when Togusa disappeared, to the nostalgia virus. Shimamura, meanwhile, is hooked up to a giant double helix of fizzing wires, trying to convert the rest of the world, some of whom, because of circumstance or lack of connection to the network, haven’t been assimilated yet. The Major makes Purin take her to Shimamura, who can still hear and communicate, and they have a conversation about his ideology and plan.

The idea was to buy time for those who were on the cusp of elevated consciousness but hadn’t quite become N. The American response was more severe that anticipated, since as Shimamura has observed, the discovery of something different or “other” tends to come coupled with the desire to extinguish it. Before the smart gas was due to be dispersed, all major American intelligence and government agencies had already become N. It just so happened that the Major’s team’s top-level comms allowed Shimamura to broadcast all around the world. This is a technological singularity, a complete post-human victory. Shimamura thanks the Major for her act of kindness that facilitated the survival of his mother.

Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 season 2 ending

However, there’s a catch. Shimamura never created a contingency plan to erase the Major from this place, so the second she woke up there, she threw a spanner in the works. Shimamura is vulnerable, and the Major removes the wires from his neck, she can restore the world to its original state. The Major asks Shimamura a final question — why weren’t she and Purin able to engage in doublethink? He explains that they’re a rare breed of romantic for whom reality and dreams are barely different. Purin never had a ghost. But even without one she could have rejoined Section 9, though she never did because she felt she had betrayed Batou. She sided with a fellow AI.

As the Major grabs a fistful of the wiring plugged into Shimamura’s neck and begins to pull, the scene cuts away.

When we pick back up, the Major introduces Standard and a tearful Purin to Section 9. Chief Aramaki, who’s watching on, is earnestly thanked by Prime Minister Tate.

In the final scene, the Major speculates with Batou about what may happen the next time humanity reaches a critical point in its evolution; will it extend out beyond the stars? She’s leaving again, and warns Batou that they might not recognize each other the next time they meet. So, they agree on a code word: 1A84.

You can stream Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 season 2, episode 12, “DOUBLE THINK / Event Boundary” exclusively on Netflix.

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