Boy Swallows Universe Season 1 Ending Explained – Who is on the red phone?

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: January 11, 2024 (Last updated: 5 weeks ago)
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Boy Swallows Universe Season 1 Ending Explained
Boy Swallows Universe | Image via Netflix

WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS

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Summary

A deeply satisfying finale leaves some things to interpretation but mostly provides a happy, conclusive ending for these great characters.

Episode 7 of Boy Swallows Universe is, like the penultimate episode, more of a straight-up mystery than the more spirited and fantastical opening installments. But this, at least in my opinion, is a deliberate choice to reflect the time skip and the aging of the protagonists, and while the ending of Season 1 doesn’t outright answer some of the mysteries such as the ringing red phone and Gus’s prognostications, the answers are there between the lines if you’re looking for them.

The finale begins with Eli finally getting a job at the paper by selling Alex Bermuda’s life story, though he’s only employed to write fluff stories. However, when Gus and Shelly are announced as Queensland Champions for their charitable endeavors and Eli is assigned to write about the awards, it gives him an excuse to keep digging further into Tytus Broz, who’ll be presenting the award as usual, alongside Caitlyn Spies.

What did Tytus have built?

Caitlyn’s suspicions around Tytus were raised after Bich Dang’s lawyer sent her a file showing he had been paying her off for years. She and Eli get in touch with Raymond Leary, the guy who was banging his head against the doors in a previous episode, and he reveals that Tytus commissioned him to build a complex facility on the sprawling grounds of his home.

Eli and Caitlyn are later able to infiltrate this facility and discover that Tytus has been using it to farm human limbs. There are many animals and body parts inside, legacies of experimentation, and the heads of many of Tytus’s victims, claimed by Ivan Kroll, are stored in tanks. Lyle’s is among them, and a tearful Eli takes it with him as evidence.

How does Ivan Kroll die?

After killing Tim Cotton on Tytus’s orders, Kroll is then sent to the facility to take out Eli and Caitlyn. They’re able to give him the slip after Caitlyn wounds him with a fire axe, and he chases the two of them to the Queensland Champion award ceremony where Tytus is giving his speech.

Eli arrives mid-speech waving Lyle’s head around. The police, who by this point have already discovered the facility after Caitlyn called them, arrest Tytus. However, Ivan arrives, slashes Robert’s throat, stabs Eli, and chases him up the clock tower, bringing to life another of Gus’s worrying visions.

Gus is able to race to the clock tower and push Ivan Kroll to his death, saving his brother’s life. The dying wren did mark the end for Eli, but not of his life – just the version of himself he was before.

Who is on the red phone?

Before Eli wakes up in the hospital he has a dream of Tytus roaming the corridors, passing right by the ringing red phone. He picks up a scalpel and opens the door, but then the ringing stops and Eli wakes up properly.

This brings us to the disconnected phone in the secret tunnel Lyle dug. Throughout the season, both Eli and Gus have heard the phone ring, answered it, and heard a voice on the other end. Earlier, Gus had theorized to Eli that he thought their interlocutor was himself from the future.

Episode 7 does not explain any of this, but I have a theory. I don’t think that anyone was ever on the other end of the phone.

In the early episodes, Eli heard Gus’s voice on the other end because he trusted his brother to protect and advise him. However, the ringing and the voice were probably figments of his imagination, a traumatized young boy manifesting supernatural guidance from the only person he trusted.

Likewise, Gus hearing the phone and the voice is the inverse; a representation of his desire to protect Eli, his perceived responsibility to keep him from harm. Note that it was only when Eli was getting closer to Tytus and thus to danger that we saw Gus use the phone in this episode. He was worried about his visions coming true.

When Eli wakes up in the hospital, the phone remains unanswered and stops ringing. A young boy who once had to rely on his imagination to survive is now surrounded by his family, a grown-up, and does not need the support the phone represents for him.

How does Boy Swallows Universe Season 1 end?

Boy Swallows Universe ends happily. Eli is now a full-fledged journalist on the crime desk, and Brian has commissioned multiple stories about Tytus for him to write. He and Caitlyn are also clearly about to start a relationship.

Robert survived being attacked by Ivan. He and Frankie are now together, and the whole family still lives in his house, happier than ever.

What did you think of Boy Swallows Universe Season 1 Episode 7 and the ending? Let us know in the comments.


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