Netflix's Maniac: What Does The Ending Really Mean?

7. What Happens With The Drug Trial

Maniac Netflix

Although the drug trial takes place across the bulk of Maniac's run and is what gives it its narrative thrust, that storyline actually wraps up in the ninth episode.

It begins with Annie and Owen both remembering who they really are, but at the same time GRTA is seemingly malfunctioning, ramping up the heat both in the real world and in the created ones (where it manifests as heat rays from invading aliens). She can only be shut down from the inside though, so Annie and Owen split up to tackle the problem.

Annie finds GRTA, where - in a great spin on the technology is evil trope - it turns out Maniac's HAL900 stand-in is actually depressed and heartbroken, rather than bad. GRTA, after opening up, allows Annie to see her sister one last time, with the pair having an emotional farewell. Owen, meanwhile, has to solve a Rubik's Cube in order to shut the computer system down, allowing Drs Mantleray and Fukita to reclaim control, although it does mean Owen has to say goodbye to the imaginary version of his brother. The experiment is successfully shut down, and everyone is brought back to reality.


NCTJ-qualified journalist. Most definitely not a racing driver. Drink too much tea; eat too much peanut butter; watch too much TV. Sadly only the latter paying off so far. A mix of wise-old man in a young man's body with a child-like wonder about him and a great otherworldly sensibility.