Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One Ending Explained (In Detail)

By Marc Miller
Published: July 10, 2023 (Last updated: March 20, 2024)
2023 film Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One Ending Explained

We discuss the Ending of the 2023 film Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One, which will contain spoilers.

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One brings back Ethan Hunt for his most dangerous mission yet. Hunt accepts a mission to recover “half” of a Russian key that can potentially destroy the world. However, a terrorist threat known as “The Entity” also pursues the other half of the key.

Hunt infiltrates a meeting led by Director of National Intelligence Denlinger, which includes former IMF director Eugene Kittridge. They discuss the key and the impending threat. Little do they know, Ethan is present undercover as a staffer and uses an incapacitating agent on everyone in the meeting except for Kittridge.

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One Ending Explained

Hunt informs Kittridge that Hunt has located one-half of the key from Isla but must still locate and identify the second half. However, once he finds them, Hunt reveals his intention to destroy both halves against company orders. To do that, he risks both halves being taken by the enemy to draw out the real threat.

Who is Gabriel?

Gabriel is a terrorist who is searching for both halves of the key. He also has a history with Ethan, which is depicted in flashbacks. Gabriel kills a woman before Ethan, but we are never told who she is or what she means to him. Hunt’s reaction indicates they may have had a personal relationship.

That answer to that question is never officially answered during the film.

What is The Entity?

The Entity was a United States government-funded AI program designed by the military to stay one step ahead of foreign threats. However, fears became a reality when The Entity started acting independently without government control, as later confirmed by Denlinger. The Entity manipulated a Russian submarine into believing it was under attack by “ghosting” a ship.

The submarine defended itself by firing a torpedo, but since there was no ship to destroy, the weapon turned around and sank the submarine. One half of the key was around the Commander’s neck, while the other half was with the Executive Officer. The submarine sank to the bottom; months later, the bodies floated to the surface and were recovered from under the ice.

That’s when someone took the keys.

Who has the second half of the key?

The second half of the key is in the possession of Alanna Mitsopolis, also known as the ‘White Widow.’ In Mission: Impossible – Fallout, Ethan seduces Alanna, an underground arms dealer. She still holds bitterness towards Hunt and orchestrates a meeting between Ethan and Gabriel.

It is revealed that Alanna hired Grace to steal the key from the target and draw Ethan into the situation. Alanna meets with Ethan, Gabriel, and Grace in Venice.

Who kills Ilsa Faust?

Ilsa is killed by Gabriel, who stabs her in the chest with her own knife. She was on the verge of escaping safely but decided to return when ‘The Entity’ took control of Luther and Benji’s communications, leading Ethan in the wrong direction as he pursued Grace, who still possessed the key.

Knowing that Grace was running into a trap set up by Gabriel, Ilsa finds them on a walk bridge before Gabriel can retrieve the key from Grace. During the ensuing fight, Gabriel overpowers Ilsa and turns the knife against her, fatally injuring her. However, it is worth noting that we see Ilsa lying face-first on the ground, similar to the opening scene of the film.

Since no one checks her pulse in the scene, the question remains: Is Ilsa truly dead?

How does Ethan locate the key?

Ethan and Gabriel track Alanna to a moving train with the intention of selling the key to the highest bidder, which in this case is Kittridge. It is revealed that Alanna is the daughter of Max, the arms dealer from the first Mission: Impossible film. Alanna’s mother has a longstanding relationship with Kittridge, who allows her to work without government interference.

Kittridge extends that courtesy to Alanna, who is now ready to sell the key back to the United States government. However, the IMF sets up Grace with an Alanna mask to acquire both halves of the key. This happens as Ethan attempts to board the train using a motorcycle, and Gabriel kills the conductor, causing the train to speed uncontrollably through the mountains.

Grace now possesses both halves of the key, and after confirming their authenticity, Gabriel steals them from her. Ethan and Gabriel engage in a fight on top of the speeding train. Ethan is about to kill Gabriel with his knife when Jasper approaches, forcing Ethan to let Gabriel go. Gabriel jumps safely off the moving train onto the back of a pre-set padded truck.

However, he soon realizes that Ethan pickpocketed the key from him.

How does Hunt escape without being brought in by Kittredge and Jasper Brigs?

Ethan Hunt manages to escape being captured by Kittredge and Jasper by leaping off the back of the passenger train, which is hanging over a destroyed bridge, using a ram-air parachute. This parachute allows Hunt to have control over his direction and descent rate. He steers the parachute to a predetermined location where Benji is waiting for him.

Hunt’s successful escape is made possible because Grace positioned herself between Hunt and Jasper when they entered the train car, ready to apprehend him or use lethal force if necessary. It is worth noting that there seems to be a history between Jasper and Hunt, which we anticipate will be further explored in part two.

On the other hand, Kittredge is primarily interested in obtaining the key that Hunt possesses.

Does Grace tell Kittredge she accepts the mission?

After serving a spectacular train crash scene at the end of the film, Grace does exactly what Ethan told her to do if it came down to her being caught by Kittredge – to accept the mission, which would effectively make her part of the IMF team.

This offers her help in two ways. One, she now does not have to go on the run without Hunt and the IMF covering her back from “The Entity.” The other is to find a purpose in her life, which she had not seen prior to the events of Dead Reckoning.

Does Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One have a mid-credits or after-credits scene?

No, Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One does not have a mid-credits or after-credits scene. So, please feel free to run for the bathroom after the film’s 163-minute running time.

What did you think of the Ending of Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One? Comment below.

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