Spiral ending explained: Who is the new Jigsaw killer?

Samuel L Jackson stars as ‘Marcus’ in Spiral. Photo Credit: Brooke Palmer
Samuel L Jackson stars as ‘Marcus’ in Spiral. Photo Credit: Brooke Palmer /

Warning: The following post contains spoilers for Spiral: From the Book of Saw and explicitly the Spiral ending!

It wouldn’t be a true Saw film without a twist ending or whodunnit aspect, and the Spiral ending delivers that in spades. Throughout the film, we’re left questioning who this new wannabe Jigsaw killer is as he started targeting corrupt cops, all of whom shared some relation to Det. Zeke Banks (Chris Rock).

John Kramer (Tobin Bell) does not return to reprise his role of Jigsaw in the movie, which is a franchise first, but his spirit is very much alive and well. When we learn the identity of this second, copycat Jigsaw, we find out they’re not a real disciple of John’s teachings but have studied their craft well enough.

Spiral ending: Who is the copycat Jigsaw killer?

To understand Jigsaw II, you have to understand Zeke’s background. Over a decade ago, Zeke’s partner, Pete, was a dirty police officer. Through flashbacks, we see Pete killing a witness after confirming that he would testify against another corrupt cop on the force. We don’t see until later that the man Pete killed had a son, William Schenk (Max Minghella), who saw the whole thing unfold from another room in the apartment.

Instead of abiding by the cop code of “loyalty,” Zeke turned Pete in, alienating him from everyone else on the force.

Fast-forward to the present-day, and guess who becomes Zeke’s partner? Rookie cop, William Schenk! Yes, William is the new Jigsaw killer. Remember that gross pile of skin the killer sent, made to look like he’d killed William?? William faked his own death and killed Benny, the guy who Bos was chasing in the opening sequence.

He tattooed “Charlie” on Benny’s arm because Charlie is the name William gave his fake son, and he has a similar tattoo on his own arm. He wanted to make the skin look like his, after all. Also, the name Charlie was really the name of William’s dad. The baby crying heard on the phone call between Zeke and William earlier in the film was just a sound effect.

He spent his life working hard to land this specific job and take revenge against the system that murdered his dad. That includes killing dirty cops, including Det. Bos, who lied more than anyone else on the stand and Det. Fitch, who murdered an innocent man at a traffic stop.

William was also responsible for kidnapping Zeke’s dad, former Police Chief Marcus Banks (Samuel L. Jackson) and Capt. Angie Garza (Marisol Nichols). It wasn’t enough for William to kill the low-level cops. He wanted to make those who were in charge at the time his dad died pay, too.

According to William, Marcus and Angie covered up tons of corruption under the controversial police policy of the time. Angie continued to cover for her dirty cops when she became captain.

Spiral: From the Book of Saw
Max Minghella stars as ’Detective William’ in Spiral. Photo Credit: Brooke Palmer /

Spiral ending: Why did William let Zeke live?

But because Zeke spoke up against his partner, William considers him to be the only good cop in the bunch. When they finally come face-to-face, William proposes they become partners. Zeke will root out the bad cops, and William will take care of them. As more dead cops start turning up, a tongue here, a pile of skin there, it will scare them straight.

Zeke says he’ll be his partner, so long as he lets Marcus go free. But he has to earn William’s trust first. First, he calls in the SWAT team to the building and then William takes Zeke to see his dad, who is strung up in some kind of blood-sucking machine that is quickly draining him of his blood.

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Spiral ending: What happens at the end of the movie?

William gives Zeke a chance to play the game. He can either kill William and thus kill his dad, too, or he can shoot the spiral-shaped target above Marcus’s head and save his life. Zeke has no clue what will happen if he shoots the target, but it obviously has something to do with the SWAT team’s arrival and subsequent swarming of the building.

Having already lost everyone, Zeke chooses to shoot the spiral, and his dad is set free from the trap –– or so it seems. When the SWAT team finally gets to the door, they use a saw to cut through the steel and inadvertently trigger another part of the trap.

Since Marcus is still attached to the pull device, he’s yanked into the air again, and a mechanism forces him to raise a gun attached to his arm and start firing. This action earns him a brutal death by firing squad as the SWAT team unleashes on Marcus. The arrangement of Marcus’s body is similar to the pig puppet we saw earlier in the film, which foreshadowed this very moment.

Poor Zeke is left screaming on the ground as his father is massacred while William slinks off into the elevator to escape. The final image we see is William holding his index finger to his lips as he looks at Zeke, just like Zeke did to younger William when he saw him in the apartment 12 years ago.

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What did you think about the Spiral ending? Did you expect William to be the killer? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Spiral: From the Book of Saw is now streaming in theaters.