Amanda Young (Shawnee Smith) pulls off a pig mask in 'Saw X'

‘Saw X’ Spoiler Zone: Let’s Unpack That Wild Ending

After two failed reboot attempts, Saw is back on track with Saw X. The 10th installment in the gory horror franchise has everything fans have come to expect (though maybe not actually love) in a Saw movie: Elaborate death traps, an equally convoluted plot, twists and turns, and a delightful third act reveal. Whether you’ve seen the new sequel and need help untangling the plot threads, or you’re a scaredy cat who enjoys reading horror movie spoilers ahead of time, we’re here to help you unpack the wild ending of Saw X.

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It should go without saying, but: Spoilers ahead for Saw X!

Let’s get the basic plot out of the way before we start making sense of the ending: Saw X takes place between the first Saw movie (which seems absolutely quaint in hindsight) and Saw II. At this point, former civil engineer John Kramer (Tobin Bell) has fully become Jigsaw, the serial killer who constructs Rube Goldberg-esque death traps and forces his victims to choose between mutilating themselves to escape or dying an exceptionally gruesome death. As we learned in the earlier films, Jigsaw was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and given months to live. Like many serial killers, Jigsaw has a deranged moral code which he uses to justify his killings, each of which he views as a chance for the victim to choose life. (Cue up the Trainspotting soundtrack.)

This is how Jigsaw meets Amanda Young (Shawnee Smith), a woman who was struggling with a drug addiction until one day, she woke up in a grimy room with a modified bear trap attached to her head. Following Jigsaw’s instructions, Amanda freed herself from the trap before it could tear her jaws apart, thus proving she was worthy of the precious life she had taken for granted. (Jigsaw is obviously not a licensed therapist or medical professional, or else he might have taken a different approach to treating a drug addiction. Also, this is the least of his problems.) For her troubles, Amanda wins a coveted spot as Jigsaw’s protege and continues helping him build his little traps and kidnap his victims.

Which brings us to Saw X. Jigsaw is minding his own business at a cafe when he runs into Henry, a man from his cancer support group. Henry says that a brilliant doctor named Finn Pederson developed a new treatment approach that put his Stage IV pancreatic cancer into complete remission. Of course, given the bureaucracy and greed of the American healthcare and pharmaceutical industries, Pederson must operate outside of the traditional healthcare system. Jigsaw does some light internet sleuthing (not enough, if you ask me) and comes up with the website for Cecilia Pederson, the doctor’s daughter. Cecilia is continuing her father’s work and accepting cancer patients for this novel treatment in Mexico. Jigsaw signs up and heads to the remote villa where Cecilia and her staff—including Gabriela, Mateo, and Valentina—are treating patients.

As he recovers from surgery, Jigsaw learns that the whole thing was a scam. Cecilia is using her dad’s name to lure terminal cancer patients to Mexico with promises of a cure that doesn’t exist and scamming them out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Thankfully, Jigsaw has built an entire brand around torturing morally corrupt a-holes, so it’s off to the races. With Amanda’s help and some intel from Cecilia’s accomplice Diego (who survives his gruesome game), Jigsaw captures Valentina, Mateo, Gabriela, and Cecilia, and begins “testing” them respectively in the large abandoned warehouse where Cecilia “treated” her patients.

In the midst of all of this, a man named Parker arrives and claims to have also been swindled by Cecilia. Jigsaw and Amanda knock him out, take his gun, and keep him separated from the others in a security room where they’re overseeing the games until he agrees to play by their rules—no guns allowed. At this point, Valentina and Mateo have failed to escape their traps and died horribly violent deaths. Gabriela manages to survive her game, but while Jigsaw and Amanda are distracted, Parker frees himself and retrieves his gun. We learn that Parker is actually Cecilia’s lover, whom she managed to contact with Amanda’s phone earlier in the movie. Cecilia cruelly kills Gabriela and forces Jigsaw into the trap meant for Cecilia. He’s not alone: Carlos, the young son of a groundskeeper, has the misfortune of wandering too close to the warehouse, so Cecilia and Parker force him into the trap with Jigsaw.

Synnove Macody Lund as Cecilia Pederson in 'Saw X'
(Lionsgate Films)

The trap itself is a large seesaw, and Jigsaw and Carlos are laid foot-to-foot on the platform, each with a lever in arm’s reach. When activated, large pipes above release a torrent of blood (presumably collected from the cancer patients, or maybe local livestock? This part is not clear) and the person on the lower end of the seesaw is basically waterboarded with blood. Pulling the lever at one end allows the victim to ascend while the other victim is drowned. While Jigsaw and Carlos try to survive, Parker and Cecilia go back up to the security room to retrieve her money. As the enter the room, they trip a wire that stops the blood seesaw and triggers a new game.

Cecilia and Parker are locked in as toxic gas floods the security room. They discover that the money is gone, replaced with Cecilia’s bank records. There is a single hole in the wall that will allow one of them to survive the gas, and the pair fight over who gets to use it. Meanwhile, Jigsaw tells Amanda that Diego—the accomplice who survived earlier—informed him of Parker’s involvement in the scam, so he engineered another game for the lovers. Cecilia kills Parker and manages to survive the gas as Jigsaw, Amanda, and Carlos leave with all the cash.

Cecilia is one of a few threads left to dangle at the end of Saw X, leaving the door open for her to potentially return in another sequel. There’s also Carlos, of course, who is given the money Cecilia took from terminal cancer patients, all of whom are presumably deceased—so it’s okay that Jigsaw gave Carlos the money? Cecilia also maintains that her dad, Dr. Finn Pederson (who bears a striking resemblance to famous ghoul Jordan Peterson), is legit. If not, there’s always Saw XI.

As for Henry, who tipped Jigsaw off about Cecilia in the first place, the film has a mid-credits scene to deal with him. During the brief scene, we see Henry chained from the ceiling in a tiled room that closely resembles the bathroom from the first Saw movie. He’s accompanied by Jigsaw and Detective Hoffman (Costas Mandylor), one of Jigsaw’s collaborators from previous sequels. We learn that Hoffman is the detective Jigsaw called to help him track down those involved in Cecilia’s scam—specifically Henry. The pair laugh as they activate a torture device attached to Henry’s abdomen.

The mid-credits scene really only exists to bring back Hoffman—the second worst cop in the franchise, behind Donnie Wahlberg’s character. The scene itself is tonally off from the rest of the movie, and it doesn’t make sense for Jigsaw to be laughing his ass off inches away from his victim as he activates a device that doesn’t seem to have a game attached. Listen, I wouldn’t complain about continuity except for the fact that the entire Saw franchise is famously beholden to its continuity, and often to its own detriment. I mean, Jigsaw died in the third movie, and they’re still struggling to work around it.

Anyway, that’s the ending of Saw X for you.

(featured image: Lionsgate Films)


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