The show has just dropped it’s second episode in the Jordan Peele reboot titled Nightmare at 30,000 feet and the episode has a lot to unpack from it.
Throughout this video, I’ll be breaking down everything that you need to know about the episode and it’s ending.
This is full spoilers ahead, so if you haven’t seen it yet then I highly recommend that you turn off now.
With that out the way, thanks for clicking the video and let’s dive into my ending explained breakdown of Nightmare at 30,000 Feet!
Nightmare At 20,000 Feet
Nightmare at 30,000 Feet is of course a riff on the infamous Nightmare at 20,000 Feet. That episode starring William Shatner followed a man who, after witnessing a Gremlin on the wing of the plane almost brought the entire object to the ground. However, no one believed him due to the Gremlin hiding and at the end of the episode, Shatner’s character was deemed insane and escorted off. His fears were confirmed though and the audience were given confirmation that the events in it happened when they saw the ripped fuselage of the plane.
It’s arguably the shows most infamous episode and it has been parodied in The Simpsons, Ace Ventura, Johnny Bravo and more.
The episode has even already been remade for the 1983 movie and it’s clear that this has a pretty big following.
However, it’s never really one that I enjoyed all that much. Perhaps due to the fact that when I saw it I had already seen the parodies countless times and this just seemed laughable due to Shatner’s portrayal of panic.
Like most fans though I was naturally intrigued upon news of a 2019 remake of the episode but the new one is quite dissimilar in many ways. This is probably a wise choice given the parodies and it’s arguably the smartest way to go with it.
Nightmare At 30,000 Feet Easter Eggs
Similar to the original episode, we follow a passenger who attempts to save what he believes is a doomed flight. However, there is no monster this time, the man faces off against something far bigger, fate itself.
The episode is packed with easter eggs such as an image of Samir (from the first episode) at the height of his comedic fame. There’s a toy that resembles the Gremlin from the original. Captain Donner is a nod to Richard Donner. Overall it feels more a part of the Twilight Zone universe.
So what about the plot itself?
Nightmare At 30,000 Feet Recap
Justin Sanderson, our Protagonist, is a PTSD suffering journalist that has taken a job in Tel Aviv. Justin is used to war reporting have previously visited Yemen and though his wife attempts to dissuade him against going, he still does.
Like most travelers of the modern age, Justin puts on a podcast and sits back to listen to it’s an intriguing story which centres around the “The Mystery of Northern Goldstar Flight 1015” which recounts the disappearance of a plane.
There’s just one big problem though, Justin is in The Twilight Zone and therefore he’s on Northern Goldstar Flight 1015.
Justin becomes increasingly paranoid and as the podcast goes on it gives more an more confirmation that it’s the flight that he is on.
Justin does whatever he can throughout the episode to attempt to divert the plane from destiny. He stops a sports fan from streaming a game and confronts a man that he believes is a member of The Russian Mob. Justin is desperate to fight his fate no matter how unhinged he looks or becomes.
It’s clear Justin has poor mental health due to his encounters with the wars he’s faced and it becomes increasingly more evident that this may all be a form of psychosis.
Who Is Joe?
There’s also Joe, a mysterious man who reassures Justin that he is correct in his suspicions. On second watch this mysterious man seems to be quite strange and if the mental health diagnosis that I have given is correct, then Joe could merely be a hallucination that Justin uses to justify his thought process.
Whilst I’ve seen some articles confirm that Joe is real because on his way to the cockpit people interact with him, this could be a manifestation of him taking over Justin’s body and Justin is just resigned to watch it play out because he is a passenger. Joe is never seen with the survivors so this holds a lot of weight for me.
Anyway, Justin’s worst fears are confirmed however and eventually, the plane does disappear through Joe, though it becomes clear that in trying to avoid his fate, Justin actually caused it to happen.
Nightmare At 30,000 Feet Ending Explained
He wakes up washed up on a beach and after noticing survivors, he is initially relieved. However, he soon notices how the other passengers look at him and after seeing his podcast player, rushes to it to discover that all of the passengers were discovered, except for him.
The passengers turn on Justin and ultimately this ending can be seen as a comment on how society deals with mental health. They may appear to initially tolerate it but eventually, they will probably be put into a situation that causes them to judge.
It’s a smart ending that feels more in line with today’s standings and whereas in the original, Shatner’s character was vindicated, Justin seems to be a victim of his own paranoia and fear that eventually caused him to fall by the rulings of society.
Overall this is a message of fate vs free will and argues that the two could perhaps have more in common with each other than we would like to believe. Justin had the free will to simply turn off the podcast but the choices he made ultimately lead him down the path that he was trying to escape from.
I much preferred this episode to the premiere and hopefully, the rest of the season is like this.
So, what are your thoughts on the episode and did you prefer it to the premiere? Comment below and let me know!