Headscratchers: The World's End
New entries on the bottom. Beware spoilers!
open/close all folders
Switching out the Blank
- How did Oliver turned into a Blank? He was never touched by a Blank for them to get his DNA whilst Gary, Andrew & Peter were the ones being licked/kissed/groped by the Blanks, yet only Peter turned into a Blank with him?
- First off, they don't "turn into" Blanks - As evidenced by the scene in the bunker underneath the World's End and the same Blanks that had been destroyed turning up again, the Blanks are duplicates. Secondly, at around the fourth pub, Oliver heads into the Gents on his own - he was replaced when he was away from the rest of the group.
- My guess would be that when a Blank grabs someone's mouth, they're uploading their consciousness to the Network, where it is then stripped of anything that makes it human and downloaded to a genetically identical body. It's the same mind, it's just altered - if that weren't the case, the Network's offer of being made physically perfect and "retaining chosen memories" would be meaningless. So whether or not they are "turned into" Blanks is a matter of perspective - they are consciously, but their new bodies are completely separate from the originals. This would also explain why Gary, Andy, and Steven's duplicates are kept in storage, as they don't yet have a mind to fill them. But to answer the Headscratcher, the hand-to-mouth action probably forcibly obtains DNA as well as brain information for when more subtle tactics fail or simply aren't necessary. As for Oliver, his birthmark doesn't come back until he returns from the Gents, and he starts acting happier and a lot more comfortable with the peril he's in - he no longer objects to being called O-Man, or the other four's advances towards his sister. He also gains uncharacteristically strong drinking stamina from that point and is the only character of the five who never gets drunk. It's pretty obvious he changed in the toilets.
- What was the point of the Marmalade Sandwich? It's explained that even leaving saliva from an empty glass is enough DNA for them to use. By the Marmalade Sandwich scene the boys had left empty glasses at several pubs.
- To separate everyone and try and entice them into willingly joining up.
- What exactly happened to "Reverend Green" after he gets a call from the supervisor?
- It appears that he was a human collaborator but when he gave Gary too much information he was "mulched" and replaced with a blank. It's obvious that he's a blank at the end when he speaks with The Network's voice.
- How did the guys in the Rising Sun know that Gary's compatriots were Blanks?
- Their faces were scratched up, showing the Blanks' signature blue from the damage. Possibly their posture and demeanor gave it away as well, since most of the Blanks run and walk like they have a stick up their butt.
- The scratching makes sense since several of the toughs in the bar had things like "Human" etched into their heads.
Time Skip and Epilogue
- How much time elapsed between the Network leaving and the epilogue? Andy doesn't look that much older, yet he's telling the story to a group of kids like they don't know where the blanks came from.
- Keep in mind that, as far as the viewer knows, the general population of Earth remains unaware of the Blanks' origin. It's possible that Gary, Andy, Steven, Sam, and the surviving collaborators are the only ones who had any previous interaction with Blanks, and certainly very few people knew of the Network itself.
- But Andy gives them a "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue, so definitely at least a few years have elapsed. And remember that there's widespread prejudice against Blanks, so word has gotten around. I'd say these are either local kids and he's filling them in on their history, or they're from an isolate area and haven't met Blanks before.
- Word of God: The original pub crawl happened in 1990, the second in 2010, the Distant Finale in 2020.
Growing up and not
- Does it bug anybody else that there's a running theme of Gary needing to grow up, only to let him live out the ultimate adolescent fantasy (be a kick-ass adventurer in a post-apocalyptic wasteland with versions of his friends in their "glory days") at the end?
- The entire point of the movie is that to err is human n' junk. The movie is less about Gary growing up than it is gary moving on from his dwellings on the old days. Even though he's living out a childish fantasy, it seems to make him happy so like yeah. Read the quote from "loaded" on the main page.
- He was moving on and finding his own new glory days, albeit in a childish manner and with the blanks of his old friends as teens. He was making his own happiness rather than trying to revive good times that were long gone
- That confused me too. I'm just taking it as a handwave, as obviously there isn't as much "growing up" to do when you've effectively ended the world and are living in a wasteland. It was the only part of the movie that stuck out like a sore thumb though.
- In this troper's opinion, that was a very deliberate choice with a purpose. Gary overcomes his problem with alcohol, comes to terms with his grown up self (symbolized by his destruction of the young Gary blank), but remains clearly in touch with his past as well. The theme that Gary should grow up was present, but it was not as simple as that. For all his flaws, he had good qualities including his charisma and nostalgia. But again, just this troper's opinion.
- Along with going from alcohol to water, Gary finally learned to care for his friends even teenage, Blank versions. He took them under his wing and defended them against Blank discrimination in the bar, when before he didn't care that his friends had been bullied or were unhappy.
- Only as he grew older and became an alcoholic did he stop caring about his friends; during the opening montage when Shane smacks Peter with his backpack Gary leaps to Peter's defense.
- A bit of Alternate Character Interpretation / Unreliable Narrator is present here, however, since we're essentially seeing Gary reflecting back on his own life, where he's positioning himself as the cooler-than-thou white knight who everyone looked up to. There are some implications that Gary's reflections and testimony on their shared past is not entirely to be trusted, since his friends appear to have plenty of fairly valid reasons to hold grudges against him (although it is likely he wasn't entirely uncaring towards them either). At very least, then AND now he appears to have been rather self-centred.
- Also, he now seems to have a purpose in his life, which he had been sorely lacking before and was the cause of most of his personal problems.
- It has to do with his conversation with Andy in The World's End, and Andy's ending narration: he has something to fight for. His friends had their families, jobs, etc. worth fighting for; Gary only had his friends and good times, both of which he'd lost. By the end of the film, he's got both of those back, albeit in different forms than before.
- The Network complains that humanity is the least civilized race in the galaxy, and so when it leaves the Earth it destroys what little civilization we do have?
- Not entirely sure that was deliberate. If all our information technologies were planted and sustained by the Network, an EMP may just be what happens when they stop and leave. At least, I didn't get the feeling they were deliberately spiting Earth... Alternately, the Network was trying to sabotage Earth so they couldn't make the rest of the galaxy worse.
- Without technology, humanity won't be able to go into space and screw up the Network's enlightened civilization.
- It's stated the Network didn't arrive until 1990, the night of the pub crawl [shooting star]. We got to space in 1961, almost 30 years before the Network arrived.
- It didn't arrive in Newton Haven until 1990. The Network has other colonies on Earth, as they said when confronted by Gary. It's anyone's guess how long they'd been here.
- Getting into space =/= getting to other habitable planets.
- It destroyed all technology, not just post-90s technology.
- The chances of humans reaching any extrasolar world were slim—the destruction of the world's industrial infrastructure would probably make it outright impossible, or close to it.
- The Network is consistently shown to be a massive hypocrite. It curses and rants while accusing humanity of being uncivilized, and it's plan to uplift our species involves mass genocide. Destroying all modern technology just to spite us is totally in character for it.
Gary being a man child
- Is Gary always a Man Child, or is he just trying to act more like a child for this one night?
- He acted just as cringingly cocky at the AA (rehab? whatever) meeting, he apparently hasn't held a real job, and he still dyes his hair black and wears that duster around...I'd guess he's an actual Man Child.
- I'm not sure. He was wearing normal clothing at the rehab meeting, and only went and went into his teenage goth mode once he was reminded that he never finished the Golden Mile. It's safe to assume that the rehab meeting he was attending was due to his attempted suicide: "'Help' was a lot of people sitting in a circle talking about how awful things have got." If anything, the meetings were making him feel *worse*, which made the idea to attempt the Golden Mile an appealing one possibly by ending it all right afterward.
- Why was Andy so insistent that Gary not have that final pint, after all the other ones?
- Last straw thing, isn't it? I'd want to smack him for the actual trying to drink a pint at the Hole in the Wall. It's idiotic and infuriating that he'd keep trying to finish the crawl when there wasn't even the excuse of keeping their cover from the Blanks anymore.
- I'd also imagine that, since he's just learnt why Gary is so insistent on completing the pub crawl, it's a sort of attempt to try and get Gary to take the first step to moving on with the rest of his life.
- Also, according to the Word of God, when it comes to Gary getting dressed in his old goth clothes, it was like he was a soldier dressing up before committing suicide. So, this troper believes by looking at that detail, one can assume that Gary's attempt to do the Golden Mile was meant to be another suicide attempt via alcohol poisoning (as at a couple of the bars on the route, he drank more than just one regular pint. He drunk at least a pint and a half at the Famous Cock and about a quarter of a pint before he had to get himself a new one during the Beehive fight). So, by Andy trying to keep Gary from completing the Golden Mile with that last pint, he thereby is trying to keep Gary from killing himself.
- Does the Network control all the planets that it showed off when showing how barbaric Earth is, or did the planets send the Network down to Earth. Who controls what?
- Considering Gary gave the middle finger to the Network, we'll probably never know.
Understanding and replicating technology
- Do no actual humans know how 21st century technology, or even electricity, etc. works? The Network supposedly only arrived 23 years before, in 1990, so why has technology regressed so far with no organized attempts to get it back?
- It's not about it being regressed—it's about all the stuff that did exist not working anymore. So nobody can turn on their computer to retrieve the designs to build more computers. The computer-controlled drilling systems no longer work. Industry and manufacture has been destroyed.
- Human tech will probably get back up to speed within a few hundred years, because a lot of people would remember basics of how stuff worked, but the lack of resources and mass communication would be a hindrance.
- I may sound outdated, but what about about books? Handbooks, designs, specs, manuals. Surely all that still exists on paper? Also, if it was an EMP blast, then how could it have destroyed all the technology? Sure, it would've regressed quite a bit, but Middle Ages? That seems quite a stretch.
- Bear in mind that the pace of technology has been extremely quick during the 20th and 21st centuries. In the early part of the 1900s, we hadn't even developed flight. Over the course of a single war, we went from biplanes to jet planes. Middle ages might have been an exaggeration, sure, but it's as much about losing those stepping stones as it is the technology itself - knowing how to make concrete doesn't mean you necessarily have the resources to get the materials to make it. And some places would be entirely dependent on continual modern maintenance (Las Vegas for instance has no natural water) on a scale unavailable post-Network.
- There's a bit about exactly this in World War Z, where one of the survivors points out that pre-zombie-war root beer had ingredients coming from all over the world, so even something as simple and ubiquitous as soda became impossible to manufacture. So, sure, someone might have schematics and notes to make computers, but without planes, trains, automobiles, and a phone, he's not going to be able to get the materials to make it.
- There's a well-documented sociological phenomenon known as "deskilling" or "Mc Donaldization", which talks about how modern day tasks have been stripped down to their bare basics. In other words, every worker finds himself contributing only a very small part to an overall machine, in order to make workers more expendable/cheaper to train. This has the downside of making all of us very sufficient on the apparatuses that control these "assembly lines" we all work in. With communication down, how many people in industrialized countries have the skill to rebuild any modern tool without somebody else to provide us with instruction, assistance or raw material?
- Gary clearly has a scar through his right eyebrow, evidence of his hard life since graduating, and also gets a red wound in the center of his forehead when he smashed it into glass during the first fight. Both of these are ignored when his friends demand proof that he's not a Blank.
- For all they know, the Blanks can fake minor injuries to convince people they're human, whereas a scar that happened long before that night is more conclusive proof.
- They've all agreed at this point that blanks have blue blood and cannot replicate scars or remove birthmarks.
- See the 'drunk and paranoid' bit below, then. It's not exactly conductive to coherent or logical reasoning.
- Plus, they're a bit drunk and paranoid by this point.
- They instantly remove the previous group members from suspicion for showing off a scar, and then accept Gary for simply doing something stupid, so they're not that paranoid.
- I said "a bit drunk and paranoid", not "hopelessly and insanely consumed with paranoia". They're paranoid enough to demand proof from Gary that he's still human, so clearly any existing evidence isn't convincing, and then when he furnishes proof they're willing to accept, they drop it. Simple.
Masking the fight
- What exactly is it with the hand dryer in the first blank fight and the alarm bell in the second? At first thought it might seem like they are trying to mask fight, but that would make little sense, consindering that pretty much the whole town consists of blanks and they all know what is going on. Personally I think it's simply a matter of Rule of Cool to imitate the Voice of the Legion bellows they emit while being controlled by the Network directly. Anyone got a better idea?
- It's as you said, it's to mask the sound of the fight, but not for the characters, for the audience. If they didn't do that, then the audience would question how did the rest of the pub not hear the fight and the twist of the entire town being Blanks would be more easily worked out.
- What happened to Basil? He escapes the World's End with the other survivors and takes off on his own, but the entire town of Newton Haven is then destroyed in an explosion. The only possible way he could've made it out in time is in a car.
- Considering that Ollie and Peter are shown in the epilogue sequence when they would have taken the explosion at point blank (pun absolutely intended) range, perhaps it wasn't as lethal as it appeared to be. Sure, you see everything burned and apocalyptic in the aftermath scene, but who knows - maybe it's some weird alien explosion technology that doesn't hurt people?
Random DNA samples
- How did the Network get the DNA of the boy that Sam liked? At first I figured that they already had him as a blank, but if that was the case then they should have known that he was already dead. The fact that his actions (and fate) were insofar unknown to the network means that he couldn't have still been in Newton Haven in the months surrounding his death (in which case it's also unlikely he was a collaborator like the Reverend Green, or else they wouldn't have let him leave).
- As soon as he is introduced, Steve says "They must have had his DNA on file".
- Two words: carrying capacity. Sixty million people, two hundred thirty thousand square kilometers, shaky climate (which seems to have worsened with the catastrophe), no electricity or (if Andy's to be trusted) cross-channel trade, infrastructure in ruins - how does this add up to anything other than mass carnage? The explanation some have offered is that enough people were replaced by Blanks to make up for it, but that only makes sense if many of the "access points" were major cities, which seems hugely thematically inappropriate.
- Whose to say it doesn't end up that way? We only see a few scenes of how our main characters live, we don't know how the rest of the country is fairing.
Britain and Europe
- On a related note, how did destroying the electronics cut off Great Britain from Europe? Can no one build so much as a canoe anymore?
- As I recall, it's not that they were completely cut off, it's just that no one knows what's going on beyond a certain radius from where they live because communications have been cut. All of your news would be word of mouth in a post-apocalyptic society.
- Finally, as for the electronics themselves, what exactly did happen to them? It's been referred to in many places as an "EMP," but any electrician could get the generators and simpler machines up and running after that. Batteries being drained by shorts would do a number on nonrenewable resources, but that wouldn't mean a complete end to electronics.
- It's about the amount of people having access to them. There will be some people who can make generators, but those people will be few and they cannot travel to other places to make others with the parts needed as easily. So when they are saying it is a complete end to electronics, its pretty much true since that statement effects the vast majority of the population.
- Anyone with the skill to re-build generators etc in a world like that would be valuable, as would actual re-built generators. In a world where an axe wielding maniac can walk into a pub and kill its occupants with seeming impunity, you'd think people would be a little cagey about that sort of knowledge or tech falling into the wrong (or right) hands.
Number of pubs
- Just why does a small town have that many pubs to begin with?
- You'd be surprised.
- I'm guessing you're not from a small town in England then.
- Yeah I'm American pretty much.
- To put things a little in perspective, I live on the outskirts of a English town called Barnsley. In just over a mile we have:
The rose and crown (1), The Victoria(2) The white bear (3) The Worsbrough Common Working Mens club (4), The Prince (5), The Warren Hotel (6) The Silkstone (7), Park Road Club (8) The Ship Inn (9) The Mogul Room (10) The Outpost (11) The Button Mill inn (12) The Rising Sun (13) The Tykes Sports bar, Chicago Rock (14) The Silverstone pub (15) Escapade (16) Wild Cats (17) The Soviet (18) Joseph Brahammers (19) The Corner Pool (20) The Ice Bar (21) Shakespears (22) Che bar (23) The Londoner (24) Esmeraldas (24) Voodoo (25) Walkabout (26) and many many more. These are just the ones I can remember off of the top of my head. I've missed at least 10 other pubs that I can't recall the names of. Basically, we Brits like to our pints and our pubs. I'm rather surprised that a small town actually only has as much as 12...
- Why is the Network headquarters in the World's End? It makes sense from a character arc point of view, but not so much logistically. Depending on its level of control, wouldn't the Network have set up either somewhere more remote, like a random house, or somewhere more central, like town hall?
- There could be several access points throughout town for the local base of operations, one of which just happens to be under the World's End. Alternately, there could be several bases that would normally be more or less empty - all of the Blanks apparently being in that one could just be because the Network knew Gary planned to wind up there before leaving town.