‘Nope’ Ending, Explained: Is O.J. Haywood Able To Get Rid Of The UFO? Does Emerald Get Her “Opera Shot”?


“Nope”, the 2022 sci-fi thriller, is written and directed by Jordan Peele. The film stars Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, Brandon Perea, Steven Yeun, and Michael Wincott in the prominent roles. Just like the earlier ventures of Peele, “Nope”, too, tries to metaphorically speak about varied socio-political issues. Jordan Peele takes a dig at a lot of things and presents an intriguing narrative that would not only captivate you through its visuals but leave you with a lot to ponder upon. 

Spoilers Ahead

‘Nope’ Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?

OJ Haywood was talking to his father, Otis Haywood Sr., while standing on their own ranch, overlooking a vast stretch of land. Suddenly, OJ heard a peculiar sound, which he thought to be the usual squall of wind. He looked around but couldn’t see anything. There was something falling from the sky. He could see his father sitting on a horse. The horse started walking, and Otis Haywood Sr. fell off of it. OJ ran to check on his father. The debris that was falling from the sky had gravely injured his father. His right eye was almost damaged as something had pierced inside. OJ took his father and rode as fast as he could to the nearest hospital. But he couldn’t save his old man. He and his sister, Emerald, were disheartened by the loss, and they could never ascertain what exactly had happened on that day. How come the debris started falling from the sky all of a sudden? How come the lights started flickering and then eventually went off? There had to be some explanation for it, but OJ couldn’t find it then. Life moved on, and OJ and Emerald took over the Haywood Hollywood Horses Ranch, the business they inherited from their father.

OJ used to rent his horses for shoots and earned money through it.  On one such shoot, we get an insight into OJ’s behavioral traits. There was a stark difference between the personalities of the siblings. Emerald was more outspoken, whereas OJ was somebody who kept to himself. Communication and interaction were not his strongest suits. He had to give an introduction about his ranch and the work that his family had been doing for several decades, but there was a hesitation clearly visible on his face. It felt like he had been put in the most uncomfortable circumstance. Lucky for him, Emerald arrived just in time and gave the introduction of their family business. Emerald is vivacious, and her energy is infectious. The shoot didn’t pan out well for the Haywoods, and once again, OJ found himself running out of means to fend for his financial situation. He went to meet Ricky “Jupe” Park, who ran a theme park called Jupiter Claims. OJ sold his horses to Jupe, as that was the only way he could earn some money. OJ loved his horses and told Em that one day he would buy them all back. Jupe’s theme park was one of the last theme parks left in Agua Dulce, California. Jupe had quite a fan following as he was once part of a sitcom named “Gordy’s Home”. A catastrophe had led to the show being shut down, but the fandom still existed. Jupe had a secret commemorative room in his office, which contained all the souvenirs from the show, “Gordy’s Home”. The fans paid a huge amount to get a sneak peek, and Jupe was happy to enjoy the legacy of something that he was an integral part of. OJ, after selling his horse, went back to his home with Em. That evening, all of a sudden, the lights went off and the horses started being restless and jittery. OJ and Em didn’t understand what was happening exactly. OJ caught a glimpse of a huge saucer-like object in the sky. That UFO (as OJ thought it to be) guzzled the horses and other things that came the way. Maybe it was only able to digest living things, as it spat the other objects out eventually. It pumped out the objects with so much force that they had the potential to pierce through a surface. That’s how even OJ’s father met his fateful end. He got hit by an object ejected out of the UFO.

See More: Characters: Ricky Park, Emerald Haywood And Otis “OJ” Junior, In ‘Nope,’ Explained

What Happened At The Gordy Show? Why Was Jupe Buying Horses From O.J.?

Jupe and OJ used to do business on a regular basis, but there was a key difference in their approach that made them poles apart. OJ loved his horses. He didn’t want to make them docile or submissive. He treated them like living things. He gave them the dignity that they deserved, even though they were merely animals. Jupe, on the other hand, had this belief that he could make any animal or creature acquiescent to his commands. He wanted them to be like a compliant workforce. This belief was actually stemming from an incident that had happened on tej set of “Gordy’s Home”. The most fascinating aspect of the show was that the cast also included a chimpanzee who performed with the other actors. During one such recording, the chimpanzee became violent and attacked the whole cast. It was a massacre on set. Mary Jo Elliot, one of the co-actors, was heavily injured, while the others were probably killed. The chimp, though, never laid a finger on Jupe. It came close to him and extended his arm to do a fist bump. Just then, the animal control officers came and shot the chimp point blank. Splatters of blood came on Jupe’s face, and he sat there shell shocked.

From that day, Jupe may have thought that he was the chosen one. He started to believe that he had this gift of taming the creatures that belonged in the wild. He wanted to do the same with the flying saucer. He was buying the horses from OJ for a reason. Jupe had conceptualized a show where he planned on using the horses as bait and allowing the flying saucer to come and devour it, in front of a live audience. The act was called Star Lasso Experience, and the people were willing to pay to witness the spectacle. Jupe was a proud man, as he had found a way of monetizing an extra-terrestrial entity, let alone the worldly things. Mary Jo Elliot had also come to watch the show. We catch a glimpse of her disfigured face behind the veil. Jupe didn’t realize that he was crossing the boundaries. The flying saucer came and sucked in everything that came its way. Jupe, his whole family, and the audience were gulped down by the monster. For some reason, it left the horse untouched. When OJ came to the theme park to take his horse, he knew exactly what must have happened.

‘Nope’ Ending Explained: Is O.J. Haywood Able To Get Rid Of The UFO? Does Emerald Get Her “Opera Shot”?

Emerald had an idea the moment she came to know that a UFO was meandering in the sky. She wanted to get the perfect shot of the entity and then sell it in the market. She knew that she would get a handsome amount for it. So they go to a nearby store and buy the CCTV cameras. They met Angel Torres, the store manager, who told them that without him, they wouldn’t be able to install the cameras. Angel was a tech-nerd, and he knew instantly that there was more to the story than what OJ and Emerald were choosing to reveal to him. The trio figured out that the extra-terrestrial object hid behind a cloud and came out when it wanted to prey upon horses. They tried to trick it by bringing a sculpture of a horse from Jupe’s theme park. Though it gulped it in the beginning, it eventually spat it out along with the other objects.

OJ realized a few things about that huge flying saucer that was terrorizing them. It was not a UFO, as he had earlier thought it to be. It was a beast, a kind of extraterrestrial creature that had taken the shape of a UFO but was actually preying upon the living things. It preyed upon horses and humans alike. OJ also realized that it couldn’t do anything unless and until you looked it in the eye. Emerald contacted the ace cinematographer, Antlers Holst. She tried to convince him to come and help them take that perfect shot. Antlers Holst wasn’t convinced in the beginning. But as soon as the media started covering the uncanny events, he realized that it could actually prove to be something intriguing. He brought a non-electric camera, and the Haywoods, together with Angel, laid a trap for the creature they were now calling Jean Jacket. But things didn’t go as they were planned. The situation became chaotic, and Jean Jacket attacked in full force. It sprouted in the sky in its original form and started looking like a gigantic jellyfish, with its gelatinous tentacles hovering above them. Antlers Holst left his cover and went out into the open to get a clear shot of Jean Jacket. Before he knew it, the creature gulped him down. Angel got entangled in wire, and that somewhat saved him. Jean Jacket started following OJ and Em. OJ kept his cool and stood there facing the beast, whereas Em drove towards Jupiters Claim. She entered the theme park and cut the strings of a human-shaped helium balloon. The gigantic air balloon soared in the sky and distracted Jean Jacket.

Meanwhile, Em had still not given up the idea of earning money through the creature and wanted to capture its picture. She went to the Winking Well(an installation in the theme park that had cameras installed at the bottom and was used to click pictures of the audience) and tried to get her perfect shot. Jean Jacket gulped down the air balloon. The balloon burst eventually, killing the creature. Em got her perfect shot. She was able to get a clear picture of Jean Jacket using the cameras in the well. OJ also survived and arrived at the entrance of Jupiter’s Claim like a protagonist from one of the neo westerns.

The Themes Explored In Jordan Peele’s ‘Nope’

Jordan Peele is one of those directors who likes to depict things in metaphors. In “Nope,” the director talked about the innate attitude of human beings to exploit whatever comes their way. Be it fossil fuels, be it the environment, or be it other human beings, we do not know where to stop. The chimpanzee couldn’t be solely blamed for becoming violent because it was us who disturbed the delicate balance of the ecosystem. The wild animal wasn’t supposed to be there, just like a concrete jungle isn’t supposed to be there in place of an actual forest. Money drives our society, but it cannot be used as a yardstick to assess everything and everyone. There are things you cannot rectify with money. Jupe sought to earn a profit by trying to exploit things, the nature of which he didn’t completely understand. He didn’t know the adverse effect it could have, or maybe he knew and turned a blind eye towards it, just like we do when somebody talks about climate change and the impact our daily practices have on it.

The director also tried to showcase how credit was never given to the black community for their contribution to the film industry. Em, while giving an introduction about her family business, during the shoot, tells the cast and crew present on set that we all knew about Eadweard Muybridge, who created the first motion picture ever made(The Galloping Horse), but we were clueless about the jockey who rode that horse. She says that it was her ancestor who rode it and became the first actor to star in a film.

There is a meaning behind every single shot in the film, and you cannot help but admire the effort put behind each and every scene and the authenticity it tries to achieve in its execution. “Nope” is an intricately created thriller that not only keeps you on edge but also speaks volumes through its imagery and through its characters .

“Nope” is a 2022 Drama Science Fiction Film directed by Jordan Peele.

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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