Alice in Borderland season 2 ending explained: What the Joker means for season 3

22 December 2022, 19:34 | Updated: 22 December 2022, 20:37

By Katie Louise Smith

What does the Joker card mean at the end of Alice in Borderland season 2? Here's how the shock cliffhanger ending sets up Alice in Borderland season 3. [Spoilers ahead!]

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After two years of waiting, eight brand new episodes of pure chaos and an absolutely wild fresh batch of games, Alice in Borderland season 2 ends with an explosive (literally) and intriguing final reveal.

Alice in Borderland season 2 sees us reunite with Arisu, Usagi and the rest of the survivors of the First Stage of the games as they prepare to take on the face cards. Almost immediately, they're thrown into the thick of it against the deadly King of Spades and fight their way through countless games against some dangerous opponents.

READ MORE: Alice in Borderland season 3: Release date, cast, possible plot and trailers

But just when you thought it might all be over, it seems like there's still one more card that the players have yet to take on... Here's your recap of what happens at the end of Alice in Borderland season 2, and what it means for a possible third season.

WARNING: Major spoilers ahead for Alice in Borderland season 2's ending! You've been warned!

Alice in Borderland season 2 ending explained: What does the Joker mean?

Alice in Borderland season 2 ending explained: How did the players get there? What does the Joker card mean?
Alice in Borderland season 2 ending explained: How did the players get there? What does the Joker card mean? Picture: Netflix

After an absolutely brutal battle with the King of Spades that results in almost everyone on the team getting either stabbed, shot or knocked unconscious, Arisu and Usagi just about make it to the final game against the Queen of Hearts.

On the surface, her game is the most simple. All the players have to do is literally beat her at three rounds of croquet. It doesn't matter if they win or lose, they just have to not forfeit the game. However, Queen of Hearts Mira plays a dirty game that involves some heavy mind manipulation that almost kills Arisu and Usagi.

After reaching the Queen of Hearts' arena, Arisu plays two rounds of croquet and immediately starts asking questions about why they're in the Borderlands and what the hell the Borderlands are. Mira then unleashes her mind games...

READ MORE: Alice in Borderland: All the card meanings and games explained in season 2

Who is the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Borderland season 2?
Who is the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Borderland season 2? Picture: Netflix

At first, Mira explains that the Borderlands are a virtual reality game that Arisu and Usagi have chosen to play, and she is the administrator of the game. But she's just kidding! That's not really what the Borderlands are!

Then, she explains that the whole thing is the result of an alien invasion. She explains that a rumour began circulating amongst the players that the wealthy citizens who survived a nuclear attack created androids and started placing bets on who would survive the games. Again, she's just kidding! That's totally not what this is!

Mira then unleashes her most realistic and most manipulative explanation, and Arisu wholeheartedly believes it. She tells him that she is his therapist, and that the entire thing is an illusion in his mind that he created when his friends, Karube and Chota died.

WARNING: Even more major spoilers for the final episode of Alice in Borderland season 2!

Alice in Borderland season 2 ending explained: Arisu is manipulated by Mira
Alice in Borderland season 2 ending explained: Arisu is manipulated by Mira. Picture: Netflix

Arisu's mind is transported into a therapy session where Mira makes him believe that he's the reason his friends died. She also makes him see a false reality where they were hit by cars on the crossing, instead of making it to the Borderlands with him.

Arisu then begins to question his own existence and whether his life even has any meaning or purpose. Basically, the whole thing is one massive mind game created by Mira in order to guilt trip and persuade Arisu that no one needs him and he shouldn't be alive. It's not real. It's a huge trap. She essentially tries to make him say, out loud, that he 'gives up' so she can win the game.

Usagi cuts her wrist trying to snap him out of Mira's game. Usagi eventually brings Arisu back around, with the two telling each other that they want to live and be together. He snaps out of it and continues the game.

He wins, Mira dies and the remaining players are told they have cleared all the cards and will now be presented with one final option: Accept permanent residency to the Borderlands or decline. All the main players (Arisu, Usagi, Chishiya, Kuina, Aguni, Ann, Niragi, Akane) decline.

The Borderlands explained: How did the players actually get there?

After making their choice, it's then revealed that on the day the players ended up in the Borderlands, they were actually struck by a meteorite that destroyed a 10km radius in Tokyo. All the players were in the vicinity of the Shibuya crossing when they were hit.

In this reality (which we assume is the real world), the players are found and taken to the hospital. Arisu's brother then explains that Karube and Chota had died (presumably because they died in the games), and that Arisu's heart had completely stopped for a minute when they found his body, and was 'taken by the borderlands'.

The Borderlands are essentially the border between life and death. Although, that's as much of an explanation we get in season 2. The "why" of it all is not explained.

We also learn that time moves differently in the Borderlands and the real world. Arisu was only technically dead for one minute, yet he spent days in the Borderlands.

READ MORE: Alice in Borderland season 2: The Borderlands explained and how the players got there

Alice in Borderland season 3: What does the Joker card mean?
Alice in Borderland season 3: What does the Joker card mean? Picture: Netflix

What does the Joker card mean at the end of Alice in Borderland season 2?

At the end of season 2, all the players end up in hospital recovering from their injuries. Some are better off than others – Aguni is in a coma and Ann is in critical condition on the operating table. None of them remember each other or what happened in the Borderlands. Arisu and Usagi meet at a vending machine and they both feel a weird sense of déjà vu.

In the final scene, the two walk off together as the camera pans across to the hospital gardens, focusing on a deck of cards. The cards are blown away and the final thing we see is a shot of the Joker card.

The cliffhanger leaves us with several questions: Are the games truly over? Are they actually even in the real world? Will season 3 – if it gets renewed – see the players thrown back into a brand new set of games?

If the Borderland's Joker operates in the same way as a Joker would in a card game, then it's going to act as a massive wild card. And that can only mean one thing: Even more chaos, even more death and even more games for Arisu, Usagi and the rest of the survivors.

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