Maniac is a 2018 limited Netflix Series starring Emma Stone and Jonah Hill.
The tv show has a lot to unpack and throughout this video, I will be discussing the shows ending and multiple reveals. There will be heavy spoilers so it may be worth skipping this video for now if you want to watch the programme with fresh eyes.
With that out the way, I’m Deffinition and I ruin the show so you don’t have to.
What The Hallucinations Represent
The show follows the characters, Annie and Owen, as they take a range of psychoactive pills that produce hallucinations. The hallucinations range from grounded visions to the absurd and each pill produces a different version of reality.
The three pills represent several realities and each one has a deeper meaning to it. Pill A is the drug that Annie was addicted to before participating in the experiment and through the vision, we are able to experience the most traumatic moment of her life, the death of her sister.
Pill B is where things start to interconnect for the characters and to me represents the lies that people tell themselves in order to escape reality after severe trauma. The two characters are initially a Long Island couple before they manifest as a 1940s con artists. Both characters commit evil and ugly deeds that signify how grief can cause anger that corrupts if not kept in check and is one of the most interesting aspects of the show.
Pill C is by far the most important for both characters and it puts them in situations where they are forced to confront their own mistakes and deal with them.
In a Lord Of The Rings satire, Annie is tasked with protecting a weakened Princess as they travel to a water source that possesses healing properties. In contrast, Owen is a gangster that struggles with remaining loyal to his family. The character is forced to confront a version of Olivia, who in the real world once provoked a psychotic episode for him.
They are eventually thrust into a spy thriller which concludes the vision.
Pill C is ultimately about confrontation and acceptance of reality. The Princess clearly represents Annie’s sister and showcases that we all make mistakes, however confronting them and accepting them are the only way to truly move on and grow.
The Results Of The Trial
In the end the trial is ultimately shut down but that doesn’t mean that it was a waste of time. The Doctor that created the experiment exclaims that it was a great success and that all were healed.
In an interview with Thrillist, Patrick Somerville who worked on the show stated that:
“While the pills may not be the right idea, I think what happens in the show is that the trial forces a lot of people to spend time together and talk to each other about who they are and how they feel,” he says. “Something about that works. So for the ending, we just wanted to tell a story of radical acceptance, about people accepting themselves and seeing that new friendships and new connections to other people can come out of that if you can get to that place and accept certain things about yourself.”
The experiment should be seen more as a therapeutic experience and whilst the characters faced death several times they came out stronger because of it.
In the end it results in a conclusion that builds a relationship between Annie and Owen that helps them to aid each other in moving beyond the traumatic elements in their life. In the final shots of the series Owen is at a treatment facility which is when Annie busts him out, and, despite, his reservations, he goes with her. They make their escape laughing which showcases that even though they have been through hell, they have still managed to come out the other side with a smile on their face.
So, what did you think of Maniac, did you enjoy the show and what was your favourite hallucination?
Comment below and let me know!