IO Netflix Movie Ending Explained

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IO now streaming on Netflix

If you managed to get through to the end of IO on Netflix, you may have a few questions regarding a few of the film’s choices and question the ending. Here’s our guide to the ending of IO on Netflix. 

You should be familiar with the film by now but in case you aren’t, go and check out our in-depth preview of the movie. While I won’t go too much into a review here, I would warn most against this movie. It’s a dialogue-heavy movie that really struggles to get going. If you did stick to the end, welcome to the club. Now let’s run through some of the major spoilers and discuss the films ending.

Let’s start at the beginning and ask and answer the question as to what exactly happened to Earth.

Why is the Earth uninhabitable in IO?

This was explained briefly at the beginning and struggled to really be fleshed out later on in the film.

As Sam explained “It’s like we were doomed to destroy our planet. Some say it was due to increasing pollution. I just call it human nature.” Sam then goes onto say “An unexpected change in atmospheric composition,”. From there, she says it was simply the planet desperately trying to survive by kicking us out.

The Earth’s atmosphere, at least in lower regions, is polluted to the point where it cannot sustain life. It’s only in the upper regions, like where Sam was living, that could sustain life. However, weather systems could bring in the toxicity.

The seas are affected too with Micah saying all sea life is dead too.

Sam used fire to gauge whether it’s safe to breath

Our best guess is that pollution got to the point where it was so bad that it was causing the two health effects of black blood in veins and suffocation. The film, however, suggests that the Earth naturally produced this toxicity that kills humans.

What happened to Lucy the pig?

Lucy is a pig that was raised by Sam and her father. She was used as an experiment (as was Sam) with different strains of DNA to help become immune to the effects of the smog.

Sam suggests that Lucy died in the end but likely only due to natural causes. The camera was being held by Sam pointing up at her father suggesting it was many years ago when Sam was younger.

Remember that Lucy was successfully able to live in the polluted air a little later.

How did one of the queen bees survive?

After the bee colonies are destroyed by the weather event, all hope is lost. It’s only until later that Micah stumbles upon a virgin Queen bee still alive but trapped.

This could suggest hope that it was able to survive but without new mates, it’s unlikely to live onwards. Bee experts may catch me out on this one, however.

What was Micah going to do with Sam’s father?

This is possibly the most bizarre plot twist of the movie. Micah heard the radio frequency put out by Sam at the end of every day.

It’s only revealed later on that he’s actually come to visit them with ill intentions. He expresses that the only reason he and his family stayed on Earth was that of her father and he watched his family die because of him staying.

Micah in IO played by Anthony Mackie

Micah was carrying a gun so it’s very likely that he was there to kill Henry as revenge.

Did Sam survive at the end?

This is the big question at the end. Was the final sequence all a dream or did it happen? Sam finally got to go to the art museum and decided to stick it out on Earth by pulling off her mask.

If you remember earlier, we said Lucy the pig was able to survive. That was because they were testing various strains of DNA in her. Sam was also doing this throughout the movie.

We believe Sam did survive and after spending the night with Micah, became pregnant.

Of course, Sam had constant dreams of being at the beach with other life throughout the film. Are we just seeing a vision of her dreams?

Let us know what you think in the comments.

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Founder of What's on Netflix, Kasey has been tracking the comings and goings of the Netflix library for over a decade. Covering everything from new movies, series and games from around the world, Kasey is in charge of covering breaking news, covering all the new additions now available on Netflix and what's coming next.