Netflix’s 2023 animated series, Scott Pilgrim Takes Off, is based on the popular graphic novel series about the titular protagonist. While the graphic novel had already been adapted into a live-action film named Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, the animated Netflix series can be called a reboot of Scott’s story, with the same actors from the 2010 film playing the same roles in this new series. It revolves around the titular protagonist, who gets smitten by Ramona Flowers and falls in love with her. However, he soon realizes that he has to put up a fight against Ramona’s seven evil exes and defeat them in a battle in order to be together with her. Along with the narrative, the visual style in the series also maintains a resemblance to graphic novel aesthetics, and overall, Scott Pilgrim Takes Off is a rather intriguing and enjoyable watch.
Plot Summary: What is the Netflix animated series about?
Scott Pilgrim Takes Off begins with 23-year-old Scott Pilgrim waking up from a dream in which he had been mesmerized by a young woman on rollerblades going around at very fast speeds around him. Scott has had this dream numerous times, and he has been aspiring to meet this woman, the girl of his dreams, even though there is no confirmation of her existence in reality. The entire story unfolds in Toronto, Canada, where Scott currently lives with his gay roommate, Wallace Wells.
At present, Scott is engrossed with his small-time band, Sex Bob-omb, which holds practice sessions at one of the band members’ house. Knives Chau, a younger high schooler, is the current girlfriend of Scott, even though there is hardly anything romantic in this relationship, and the two are mostly just good friends. Knives and twenty-year-old Young Neil, who also lives in the same house, are the two most ardent listeners of the Sex Bob-omb band.
Later on this particular day, Scott and his friends go over to a party that the young man is not even invited to. It is here that he suddenly catches a glimpse of a young woman with colored hair and a unique style who seems extremely familiar. This woman, after all, is indeed the girl from Scott’s dreams, and he has to most definitely have a conversation with her. Although this conversation goes extremely awkwardly, mainly due to the nervousness of Scott, he later finds out more about the woman from the host of the party. The girl of his dreams is Ramona Flowers, an American who recently moved to Toronto from New York and who currently works as a delivery person for Netflix, which is still, at the time, a movie rental service sending out DVDs to customers. Scott has been admiring Ramona ever since her appearance in his dreams, which is much before he meets her in real life, and now he decides to pursue her further. With the help of Wallace, Scott orders a movie from Netflix DVD, hoping that Ramona will turn up with his delivery.
Who are the evil exes?
The major change that Scott Pilgrim Takes Off makes from its source material is a rather funny one with regards to Ramona’s employer company, for in the graphic novels, she works as a delivery partner for Amazon. Netflix changed this to their own company, in a rather sweet reminder of the times when the streaming platform was just another video rental service. When Ramona finally arrives with Scott’s rented DVD a few days later, he asks about her strange presence in his dreams. What the woman says in response is even more strange, and it is mostly from this point that Scott Pilgrim Takes Off introduces the more unrealistic sci-fi elements. Ramona uses the subspace highway, which is a space or portal of sorts that helps her travel very long distances in very quick times in order to make her deliveries on time. Incidentally, a portion of the subspace highway runs through Scott’s head, which is why he sees the woman on rollerblades often in his sleep.
Neither Scott nor Ramona are weirded out by the other, and soon they go out on a date together, when Scott is also given a quick taste of the subspace highway travel. That night, the two get intimate at Ramona’s apartment, and both are extremely interested in becoming a couple. Scott invites Ramona to a Sex Bob-omb performance the next day, and this is where things start to go horribly wrong for the two. Firstly, Scott is still in an official relationship with Knives, and he finds it difficult to break up with the young girl, especially because she always looks up to him. Very soon, he realizes that there is an even bigger threat in the way of his and Ramona’s love when a man named Matthew Patel appears at the place and starts a tremendous fight with him.
As it turns out, Ramona Flowers has had seven ex-partners in her life so far, and all of them have conspired to start a group called the League of Evil Exes, whose sole purpose is to take down any new partner that she gets. Each of the evil exes wants to get back with Ramona, so they have decided to work together temporarily to stop anyone, like Scott, from taking their place in her life. Matthew Patel, Ramona’s first evil ex, had delivered a threatening letter to Scott’s house informing him of the wrath of the League of Evil Exes that the man would face if he dated Ramona. Buzzing about his new romance with the girl of his dreams, Scott had completely ignored this letter, not even reading it properly.
Now, during Sex Bob-omb’s performance, Patel arrives and starts a videogame-like fight with Scott, at the end of which the protagonist is nowhere to be seen. Only a few gold and silver coins are found at the place, like currencies that videogame characters drop when they are defeated, and there is no trace of Scott’s body. Everyone, including his friends and sister, considers Scott to be dead, while Ramona gradually has the feeling that there is something more sinister in the works. Firmly believing that her new boyfriend is not dead and that something must have happened to him, she checks the security camera footage from the club where the fight had taken place. It is clear from this evidence that right before Patel’s punch hit Scott, he had been pulled down inside a portal that had opened up at the exact time. Ramona is now sure that one of her exes must have pulled this stunt, making everyone believe that Scott Pilgrim was dead, while holding and torturing them.
Thus begins Ramona’s investigation against each of her exes, and more revelations about their shared past are also made. Patel was her first boyfriend in high school, and the two had been together only for a few days, merely because they were both unable to fit in with the others. After his fight with Scott, Patel takes over the League of Evil-Exes and ousts the original CEO, Gideon Graves, claiming that he has defeated their biggest threat—Pilgrim. Patel is not among the suspects because he was present in front of everyone, and therefore, his role in Scott’s disappearance does not make much sense. Lucas Lee, the second ex, is a skateboarder turned actor who is tremendously self-obsessed, and he clears his name from the list of suspects as well. Ramona’s only female ex, Roxy, is not bothered by Scott, so she, too, is not involved in the case. A fourth evil ex, guitarist, and proud vegan, Todd Ingram, becomes the prime suspect for some time because of the fact that he can create portals with his vegan powers, and these are also green in color, the same as the portal seen during Scott’s disappearance. With time, Todd also gets romantically involved with Envy Adams, one of Scott’s exes, as a film on the life of Scott Pilgrim is being made. However, the vegan portal is ascertained to be of much higher quality than the ones Todd makes, so it is confirmed that he is not the perpetrator either.
The presence of a small robot at the crime scene, which is known to have been built by Ramona’s fifth and sixth exes, twin brothers Kyle and Ken, now puts suspicion on the twins. However, as Ramona’s investigation is still ongoing, Scott himself suddenly appears with the real truth about his disappearance.
Where had Scott actually disappeared?
As it turns out, none of the seven evil exes were involved in Scott Pilgrim’s mysterious disappearance, for it was Scott’s future self who had used the portal to take him into the future. The Old Scott, thirty-seven years old, reveals that he and Ramona had gotten married in the past, but their marriage eventually soured, and the two separated. Taking the joking words of Wallace, who is still Old Scott’s roommate, about him going back to the past to stop himself from dating Ramona, Old Scott decided to work on this exact plan. With the help of the twin evil exes, who are now his band mates, the man had invented a method to time travel and had therefore picked up his younger self from the past. This was possible through the robot that the twins had made, and it is for this reason that the robot was present at the place during the protagonist’s disappearance.
Old Scott tries to convince his younger self that the marriage with Ramona had failed despite all his best efforts and that the woman was, therefore, not right for them. In order to avoid all the terrible heartbreak and sorrow due to the separation, Old Scott wants his younger self to never date the woman at all. Realizing that this is not the best plan, Scott now goes to meet with the Ramona of this timeline, and she reveals that she, too, has access to time-traveling. Unlike Old Scott, this older Ramona did not want to totally erase their love story from existence, despite their current separation, and so she had come up with a plan to undo Old Scott’s stupid idea. Young Neil had written a book about Scott and Ramona’s love story a few years ago, and older Ramona took this book and turned it into a film screenplay, knowing well that Scott never reads books. She then took the screenplay back to the past and left it on Young Neil’s computer to ensure that a film would be made with it and Scott would learn about his relationship with Ramona through it.
Scott tells older Ramona about how his Ramona in the past had been frantically searching for him, which he got to know with the help of the robot, and the woman agrees to take him back to his original timeline. Thus, Scott returns and breaks up with Knives Chau before professing his love to Ramona. The two are about to spend some loving time together when they realize that a very real physical force field keeps them from kissing or even getting close to each other.
Can Scott and Ramona be together in the end?
By this time in the original timeline, Young Neil’s film production had been canceled by Matthew Patel, and instead, a musical theater organized by Knives and another Sex Bob-Omb member had been approved only because it told Scott’s story from the perspective of Patel. Scott and Ramona, therefore, arrive at the opening show of this theater, hoping to catch the evil ex who was not letting them get close. Soon, they are all transported to a different time-space plane, where the real mystery behind the force field is solved. An even more disheveled self of Scott appears, and this 47-year-old Even Older Scott is the main villain.
Older Scott had prepared for a situation in which Scott might refuse to listen to his plan of dumping Ramona in the original timeline, and he had ensured that there would forever be a force field between the two lovers. Even Older Scott now tries to fight and kill Scott in order to ensure that there is no chance for him to date Ramona anymore, but now Future Ramona (who is from Even Older Scott’s timeline) steps in. Future Ramona and Even Older Scott have a confrontation, which reveals that the man had not tried to reach out to her after they had one big fight. On the other side, the man from the future talks about how Ramona always made her feel like she wanted to run away from her.
It becomes apparent that none of the evil exes tried to come in the way of Scott and Ramona’s romance, as they even try to help them out at present, but it was instead their own selves. Scott remained childish and aloof as ever, while Ramona always had a tendency to abandon and run away from people she loved. In the process, she had been getting further from herself, which is evident from her habit of often changing hair colors and never being satisfied with her appearance. With this ultimate realization, Ramona hugs and accepts Future Ramona, and this brings out Super Ramona. This spirit-form Ramona accepts that her past mistakes, i.e., her habit of running away from all her ex-partners, which had turned them evil, cannot decide her present.
Super Ramona uses her powers to transfer Even Older Scott to his timeline and then gets rid of the force field by kissing Scott. Sparks fly like before, and the couple returns to the present time, where they just finished watching the musical theater with all their recently made self-realizations. Scott and Ramona finally kiss and decide to be a couple from here on.
What happens to the exes and the friends?
Scott Pilgrim Takes Off rounds up with a summary of the current situations of each of the friends and exes, starting with the Sex Bob-Omb band, which has now reached new heights with the addition of Knives as the new member. Ramona starts working as a stunt double after finding this job interesting when working as Envy’s double during the Scott Pilgrim film shoot, and also since the video store she worked at earlier is now closed. Todd becomes a vegan again, while Lucas turns into a superstar barista, very popular for his looks and style. Wallace vacations in Paris when he meets another man, and the two immediately fall in love. Ramona is seen changing her hair color again, but this time, she is happy and proud of how she looks, signifying a real change in her. At the end of the musical show, Patel handed over the League of Evil Exes back to Gideon, as he could not bear the responsibilities of being a CEO.
During Scott Pilgrim Takes Off‘s ending, we see Gideon and his current girlfriend Julie seemingly make a menacing plan to hurt Scott and Ramona, and perhaps their friends as well. This confirms that despite Gideon turning peaceful in the middle, he still remains evil and has even made Julie like himself. What they are up to might be revealed in a future Scott Pilgrim continuation series or film.