riley holding a hockey stick in inside out 2

We’re All Trying To Unpack Our Emotions With the Ending of ‘Inside Out 2’

Inside Out 2 forced us to confront our feelings once again. Did we all leave sobbing by the end? Because that sure is what happened to me. But the end of the film does have some things to explore when it comes to Riley and her emotions.

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Throughout the movie, Anxiety (Maya Hawke) is taking over all of Riley’s thoughts. She has banished Joy (Amy Poehler) and her other emotions to the back of her mind, and Anxiety, Envy (Ayo Edebiri), Embarrassment (Paul Walter Hauser), and Ennui (Adèle Exarchopoulos) are all Riley can turn to while she’s away at hockey camp. Her core values are being challenged by Anxiety’s constant negative thoughts, and eventually Anxiety fully takes over, giving Riley a panic attack while she’s sitting in the penalty box.

It takes Joy coming back into Riley’s thoughts to finally stop Anxiety’s whirl of emotions, and by the time Riley is free from the box, Anxiety has lessened her hold over Riley’s emotions. With all her feelings back in headquarters, Riley can finish out her weekend at camp with Grace and Bree (her former teammates and best friends, who are going to a different high school) on a high.

Riley doesn’t know if she made the high school hockey team, the Fire Hawks, yet, and she goes to high school with all new friends, knowing that they will have her back no matter what. But the emotions in her head are a lot to deal with, and they all (Joy included) need to learn to work together to be the best they can be for Riley. The end of the movie has Riley waiting for an email about making the team, and the last thing we see is her getting an email and her smiling.

Whether that means she actually got on the team or not, it doesn’t really matter, because Riley learned a valuable lesson about what it actually means to be a team player (and what it means to grow up).

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.