’13 Bombs’ Ending Explained & Film Summary: What Happened To The Terrorist Organization?


13 Bombs (13 Bom de Jakarta) is the most expensive Indonesian film in history and is now available on Netflix. The premise is not unusual—a terrorist organization threatened to activate 13 bombs planted all across Jakarta to bring justice to the common people whom the government had failed with the crashing economy. The terrorists caught the attention of the intelligence agency after they attacked an armored vehicle and left the door open for common people to take home all the money. The Robin Hood Act suggested that the terrorist organization was not after money; they were determined to change the system to focus on the welfare of the common people. Damaskus from the Bureau of Counterterrorism headed the investigation, and Karin and Fajar focused on the execution of the operation, but their vastly different methods of approach resulted in frequent contradictions.

Spoiler Alert

Why were William and Oscar interrogated?

William and Oscar were the founders of the crypto exchange, Indodax. Their goal was to revolutionize the financial sector of the country through cryptocurrency, and Damaskus and his team suspected they were somehow involved with the terrorist organization after the leader, in a recorded video, asked the intelligence agency to transfer 100 bitcoins to his account through Indodax to stop the bombing. William and Oscar were clueless when they were questioned by the Bureau of Counterterrorism. They struggled to prove their innocence and offered to help them track the organization in case they cashed out the payment made through their portal. As it turned out, the leader of the organization had calculated his moves, and the transaction was simply his way of inviting the agents into his den and creating a spectacle by bombing the Jakarta stock exchange. To win the trust of the common people, the organization streamed their video on every broadcast channel. The leader stated that they were fighting for the common people—the ones who were exploited the most. Their fight was against systemic poverty, injustice, oligarchy, and the financial mafia. They believed that it was only through extreme measures that equality could be restored, and they warned the government of the twelve bombs that were yet to be blasted.

Why did William and Oscar run away?

Damaskus planned to use William and Oscar’s knowledge of cryptocurrency, but the young founders were already terrified, and they decided to present their one condition in the hopes of escaping their situation. They wanted to head back to their office to get their equipment and contact their families. After much deliberation, Karin decided to allow them to do so. William and Oscar had made up their minds to not return to the Bureau of Counterterrorism, thinking that they would be wrongfully framed. The terrorist organization had sent them a message that could incriminate them for their involvement in the bombing. They were trapped, and only after gathering some evidence to prove their innocence could they get back to their usual lives. William’s girlfriend, Agnes, joined the boys as they tried to escape from the police as well as the terrorists. By the time Karin realized what had gone down, it was too late. Damaskus suspended Karin for letting the founders leave, but she continued to work on the probe in her own capacity.

William and Oscar were confident that the terrorist organization was trying to set them up, and the only way they could prove their innocence was by helping Karin arrest the terrorists. The only way to do so was by finding out the location of the organization, and by using a few clues left by the organization, they figured out the coordinates. Before entering the church to confront the terrorists, they left behind Karin’s contact details with Agnes. In case they did not return, they wanted Agnes to get in touch with Karin and tell her the entire truth.

Who was the leader of the terrorist organization?

When William and Oscar finally met the leader of the terrorist organization, they recognized him. Arok, aka Ismail, had attended one of their seminars, and he was deeply inspired by their vision of a transparent financial system. He was grateful to the youngsters for introducing the concept of digital money to him, and he thanked them for helping him find an alternative to the present corrupt system. The founders made it clear that, as much as they wanted a transparent system, they did not believe it could be achieved by bombing. Even though the organization claimed to be fighting for the common people, sadly, it was the innocent commoners who were killed as a result of the bombing. Arok believed that by erasing poverty, they would be saving thousands of lives. Every day, hundreds of citizens died due to the negligence of the government, and that was why he had to opt for a drastic measure. William offered them all the money they had, but it was not wealth that the organization was after. Almost all the members of the organization had lost their loved ones due to the corrupt system; the fight had always been for justice and not money.

Arok’s personal life story was extremely tragic. Arok was a former commander of an elite force. His wife was scammed by an insurance company, but they did not break down and tried their best to cope with their reality. She eventually joined the Surya Fund Union and sold their products to her near and dear ones. All of a sudden, when the company was charged with fraud and embezzlement, she was ruined. All of her customers accused her and blamed her, and she gradually went into depression. She died by suicide after the company was found not guilty. Soon after, his son was admitted to the hospital, and he succumbed to his condition.

What solution did William and Oscar find?

Arok’s family was taken away from him, and he blamed the corrupt system for it. While he had built his own army to dismantle the system, Arok needed William and Oscar’s help to build an alternate financial model, and Oscar showed him hope. Since he could not rely on the Bureau of Antiterrorism to protect them, he assumed it would be best if they took their chance at stopping Ismail all by themselves.

The tech head of the organization, Waluyo, did not agree with Arok’s sudden decision to bomb the airport. He believed in the cause, but he was heartbroken when innocent people lost their lives in the train blast. Bombing the airport would result in more casualties, and he simply could not agree to be a part of it. Arok believed it was the need of the hour to destroy the Bureau of Antiterrorism and ruin the country’s economic power. He wanted the entire country to come to a standstill, and the government would have no choice but to surrender. Waluyo was too deep in the mess, and he ultimately had to agree with his leader. After the airport blast, Waluyo sought help from William and Oscar. He was in control of the laptop that was used to create the terminal and network for the bombs, but he was not told where they were planted. The trio decided to deactivate the bombs, and Waluyo headed to the main terminal. Arok and his men hunted for Waluyo, Oscar, and William as they deactivated one bomb after another. Waluyo died protecting Oscar and William, and he warned them of the 13th bomb—the malware that he created.

Who was the mole in the intelligence agency?

Towards the end of 13 Bombs, we find out that the mole in the Bureau of Counterintelligence was not Fajar, as we were led to believe, but Gita. Fajar was simply too affected by the crash in bitcoin prices, and throughout the investigation, he was distracted by it. Damaskus trusted Gita, and after suspending Karin, she was entrusted with the job of tracking down the terrorist. But the ending revealed that she was a part of the organization, and she passed information from Bureau to Ismail. During the final conflict between the police and the terrorists, Ismail handed Gita the 13th bomb—the malware that Waluyo designed to completely destroy the present financial system. The plan was to begin from scratch, and Ismail trusted Gita with the last bomb. Emil finally confronted Ismail. Shots were fired, and they both were fatally wounded. Karin came to Emil’s rescue, but it was already too late. He repeatedly mentioned Gita and asked her to chase the mole. Karin figured that Gita would head back to the agency to use the supercomputer that was connected to the entire country’s network. As it turned out, the security guard at the agency was also a sympathizer, and he allowed Gita to enter the premises.

How did Karin stop the 13th bomb?

Gita was about to install the malware when Karin confronted her at the end of 13 Bombs. Karin did not wish to hurt her, and she begged her to hand herself over. Just when Gita began the installation process, Agnes instinctively shot her. While Karin handled Gita, Oscar and William tried to come up with a way to stop the malware from spreading. During the final moments, Gita spoke about her sister, who had died by suicide after falling prey to the corrupt system. Just like Ismail, the revenge was extremely personal for her. It was their way of reminding the government how they had failed the common people. By removing the trace of money completely, they believed the 13th bomb (malware) would restore equality and the country would have a chance at starting all over again. After a few seconds of complete madness to contain the malware, Oscar and William breathed a sigh of relief. They had successfully stopped the malware from spreading. 

13 Bombs‘ ending is not entirely celebratory—the terrorist organization’s plan would have ultimately wreaked complete havoc, but it also reminded the government of how they had failed the people of the country. Bombing was not the solution to the problem, but the people in power could not deny the disparity that existed in the country, and if they continued to fail, there would always be another group of frustrated commoners ready to take matters into their own hands.

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Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni has worked as a film researcher on a government-sponsored project and is currently employed as a film studies teacher at a private institute. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies. Film History and feminist reading of cinema are her areas of interest.

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