‘The Puppetman’ Ending Explained & Film Summary: What Happens To Dolos, Ruby, And Michal?


The Puppetman begins with a man stabbing his wife to death, and while doing so, he regrettably states, “It’s not me.” We later get to know that the man was David, and he was eventually arrested by the police. When the police arrested him, he was seated at the dining table with the knife on his lap and his wife’s dead eyes staring at him. The police also rescued David’s daughter, Michal. She was found locked in a cage and kept in the cupboard. David was dubbed ‘The Puppetman Killer’ by the media, and he was sentenced to death by lethal injection. Michal was a college student when the sentence was about to be carried out. Even though it had been years since the incident, and she barely remembered glimpses of it, Michal’s life was nothing like the ordinary.

Spoiler Alert

Was Charlie murdered?

Charlie was Michal’s roommate, and she was curious when she learned about Michal’s past. She realized that the reason behind Michal’s sleepwalking was her childhood trauma. But that was not the only answer Charlie was searching for; she wanted to dive deep and find out the mystery behind the Puppetman killer. The fact that Michal’s father believed he was controlled by someone else when he murdered his wife got Charlie wondering if Michal had inherited any of her father’s traits. Michal was glad to have a supporting friend such as Charlie by her side, but at the same time, she often felt overwhelmed by her curiosity. She wanted to get over her past, but Charlie made that almost impossible. One night, while sleepwalking, Michal drew three lines on the wall with her blood. She had a tendency to pick her skin, but she did not know the meaning behind the symbol she made. Recently, Michal had started to zone out a lot, and she would imagine herself as a little girl locked inside a cupboard. The three lines that she had drawn matched the symbol she saw in her dreams, but the meaning behind them was still a mystery. Along with the strange visions and the sleepwalking, Michal also started to spot crows all around her. She could feel an ominous presence, but she did not know what it wanted from her. Meanwhile, Charlie conducted her own investigation, and she learned some unsettling truths about Michal from a psychic, Ruby.

One night, Charlie, Michal, and their friends Jo, Glenn, and Danny gathered at the dorm terrace for a fun night. After taking a few sips of his drink, Glenn went on to disclose how messed up Michal was. Charlie and Glenn took an interest in each other, and Charlie seemed to have shared every detail about her roommate with Glenn. Michal could not believe that Charlie had betrayed her trust and shared embarrassing details of her life with someone else. Charlie tried to explain herself, but Michal had enough. Just as Michal was about to leave, Charlie started to behave strangely. She was unable to move or speak. Her horrified eyes stared at Michal as she walked to the edge of the terrace and fell to the ground. Charlie died on the spot, and Michal believed she was to blame. Michal was convinced that there was something wrong with her, and it was the reason why people around her died. After meeting Charlie’s mother, Michal learned about the psychic Charlie visited often, and she decided to meet Ruby with her friends.

What was the book of Dolos?

From the bunch of dead crows to Michal attempting to commit suicide in her sleep, there were plenty of indications that suggested something was terribly wrong. Even though visiting a psyche was not the most logical thing to do, Michal, Danner, Jo, and Glenn agreed to give it a try. Before speaking to Michal, Ruby invited her friends and warned them that there was something dark that lived inside Michal, and Charlie was afraid of her. While Ruby was busy with her friends, Michal glanced through the room and noticed a book titled “The Cult of Dolos” with the exact symbol that she used to draw in her sleep. Before Michal could find any more information, Ruby called her into the room.

A seance was conducted to summon Michal’s mother, Patricia, since Ruby believed she was the only one who could answer the person responsible for Charlie’s death. A spirit entered Ruby’s body, and they wrote, “I murdered Charlie.” When Michal saw the note, she demanded to know who Ruby had contacted, and it turned out that the person she contacted was Michal herself. This proved that there was a part of Michal that was evil, and she was unaware of the existence of the spirit inside her. Since Ruby had been in talks with Charlie, she figured that she must try and contact the evil in Michal to find out if it was responsible for Charlie’s death. After going through Charlie’s laptop, Jo found out that it was a book named “The Cult of Dolos” that led Charlie to Ruby. Charlie was searching for answers, and that resulted in her death.

That night, Michal started to sleepwalk once again, and using the blood dripping from her wrist, she wrote, “Let it lie, let it die, Char lie, Char die.” It was the darkness that spoke through Michal, and according to the statement, it was safe to assume that anyone who dared to lie to the darkness living inside Michal would be killed. Michal realized that maybe she was responsible for the death of her mother and later the death of one of her foster fathers, who abused her. She started to believe that her anger resulted in the deaths. In The Puppetman, we learn that there was something powerful in her that could take action even without her consent, and the more Michal learned about it, the more she wanted to give up on her life.

Who was Dolos?

In The Puppetman, Jo could sense an ominous presence from the moment she was handed the Dolos book by Ruby. She had informed Glenn and Danny about it, and she intended on uncovering the mystery together. But neither Glenn nor Danny responded to her message, and after waiting for them at the library, she decided to find out the truth all by herself. Glenn liked Charlie, and after her death, he became extremely bitter. He hated Michal for destroying their lives, and he could not wrap his head around how big the problem was.

Meanwhile, Danny was busy with Michal. He was her only friend who did not give up on her. He tried to understand what she was going through, and he supported her as much as he could. When he received the text, he was at a diner with Michal, and he ignored the text to keep Michal company. After going through the book, Jo learned that to bring the demon back into the world, a ritual of marrying the light and the dark, that is, the sin and the innocence, must be followed. It was then that she figured out what Charlie had gone through. The book stated that the ones who conspired against Dolos would have to submit themselves to him, and he would ultimately take control of their bodies. Dolos is the spirit of trickery in Greek mythology, and he was brought into the world to wreak havoc. Jo called Ruby to find out if they were in danger, and within seconds, she got her answer. Jo was smoking a cigarette, and she lost complete control of her body. The cigarette dropped on the book, and she stabbed herself with the pen in her hand. As the book burned, she could feel someone pushing her face towards the fire. Jo’s death was foretold in a way– Glenn jokingly once stated that it was about time that something exploded on her face. Jo ultimately burned to death, and even though she tried to fight against the force, it was impossible.

What did Michal learn from her father?

Glenn and Jo died on the same night. He was at the gym, and all of a sudden, Dolos took control of his body and ultimately crushed his skull. Danny was the only one alive, but not for too long. Danny and Michal traveled to the prison to meet Michal’s father, David. She believed he was the only one who could answer her questions, and she was right. David admitted that he and Patricia participated in the marriage ritual, as mentioned in the book. They united sin with innocence by including little Michal in the ritual. The three of them offered their blood to bring Dolos into the mortal world, and he was born in Michal’s body. Patricia was ready to carry the demon in her body in the form of a fetus, but the demon chose Michal. Patricia and David wanted to rattle the world with Dolos by their side, but their plan backfired. Dolos was a trickster, and he tricked his devotees by entering Michal’s body.

At times, he acted according to his wishes, and there were times when he fulfilled the hateful thoughts that came to Michal’s mind. David hated his daughter because she was blessed with the power they prayed for, and she acted against them once Dolos started to live in her body. David was right about one thing: the trickster had used them and left them to die, and once he was done with Michal, he would do the same to her. While traveling to campus from prison, when Danny tried to comfort Michal, he felt someone stopping him. He had no control over his body, and it became clear to him that Michal did not want to be touched. She communicated with him using just her mind.

Why was Danny murdered?

After learning about Jo and Glenn’s deaths, Michal decided to end her life, but Dolos did not allow her to do so. It was a fight between the vessel and the spirit, and ultimately, the spirit won. After watching what Michal was going through, Danny decided to visit Ruby. She believed every word Danny said, and she made it clear that they must act as if they were unaware that a spirit was living in Michal’s body. The moment the spirit felt threatened, it tended to destroy the obstruction. So, when Michal told Ruby how the spirit living inside her was not happy that she (Michal) knew about his existence, Ruby diverted the entire conversation and tried to convince Michal that she was indeed wrong. Ruby explained that she was the one who started to spread the theory, but it was untrue. She handed back the money that she had taken from Charlie and Danny. Ruby knew she would die if she lied anymore.

The spirit became suspicious of Danny when he started driving aimlessly. It demanded an answer, and Danny was forced to read the message Ruby had written on the notes. The moment the spirit realized that Danny too, was aware that someone else was in control of Michal’s body, the decision to kill Danny was made. The vessel and the spirit were in conflict once again, but the spirit was too powerful for Michal to dominate, and she helplessly watched her boyfriend die in front of her eyes.

Did Ruby trick the trickster?

Ruby contacted Detective Al, the one in charge of Charlie, Jo, and Glenn’s murder cases. When Michal attempted to die once again at the police station, Al found her. Even though Michal wanted to die, the spirit protected the vessel. But since Al entered the station in silence, the spirit was unaware of his presence. Al shot Michal with a tranquilizer and brought her to Ruby. The book mentioned that the spirit of Dolos found peace only when it rested, and now that the body was at rest, Ruby assumed that the spirit was asleep as well.

While Michal was resting, Ruby contacted the real Michal, who was still awake inside the body. Michal responded that she wanted to be free and that her father could be her substitute. It was time to trick the trickster. Since Michal’s father was to be executed, it was the perfect body for the spirit of Dolos to reside in to confirm that it never returns. At the end of The Puppetman, Michal was taken to prison, and she woke up when they arrived there. The real Michal seemed to be the one in control, and she was ready to have a word with her father. She convinced David to open himself to the spirit of Dolos. She desperately wanted to be free, and David agreed to do one last favor for his daughter. The transfer was apparently a success, and David was taken in for execution.

During The Puppetman‘s ending, David, with the spirit of Dolos inside of him, was able to take control of the body of the executioner, but it was only momentary. David died after being injected with a lethal substance, and Ruby breathed a sigh of relief, knowing that the threat was now gone. The last few seconds of The Puppetman are crucial. While Ruby was convinced that Dolos was gone, the wicked smile on Michal’s face told a different story. It was evident that Dolos never entered David’s body, and it was Michal who momentarily paused the executioner to make David believe that he was in control and that he could be free if he wanted. The ending proved that it was almost impossible to trick the trickster. It makes us wonder if Ruby ever contacted the real Michal, or was it the real Michal who was put to sleep instead of the spirit of Dolos? Whatever the case, in the end, Dolos had complete control over Michal. To think of it, Michal would have never wanted her father to live, and by transferring Dolos into his body, it was a possibility. Once David had the power to control minds, he would have escaped his death (it is strange that Ruby did not think about that). It is also likely that, in the end, the vessel and the spirit were finally in sync. Dolos will continue to live as Michal and trick those who dare to plot against him.

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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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