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Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One: The ending explained!

Just how bad are things for Ethan Hunt and the Impossible Mission Force? (Spoilers: very)

Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One
Image credit: Paramount Pictures

After a chase around the world — technically, multiple chases around the world — and the destruction of a large number of vehicles including both a nuclear submarine and the Orient Express, it’s safe to say that Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One lives up to the examples of over-the-top action and outrageous stunts established by earlier movies in the series. That’s not to say that it’s simply a rehash of what’s come before, as the seventh installment in the franchise does something brand new: it sets up a direct sequel in next year’s Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part Two. How does it do that, you ask? Well, we’re just about to tell you, but beware. This story might self-destruct in five seconds if you’re not careful.

Spoilers ahead for Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One.

How does Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One end?

After a train set piece to end all set pieces — we got the chase through the train! The fight on top of the train (including tunnels)! The train goes off a cliff and/or a destroyed bridge! — the movie ends with Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) having won the battle, but nowhere near winning the war. Sure, thanks to some sleight-of-hand during his climactic fight with Gabriel (Esai Morales), he’s finally got possession of the key, and he knows — thanks to a last-minute change of heart by Paris (Pom Klementieff) — that the key opens a vault on the downed submarine the Sevastopol… but at the same time, Gabriel is still on the loose, and every prediction the Entity has made so far has proven to be eerily prescient.

Meanwhile, Grace (Hayley Atwell) has followed Ethan’s advice and told Kittridge (Henry Czerny) that she’s made the choice to join the IMF… but it’s entirely unclear by the end of Part One whether or not Kittridge can be trusted. Actually, the same could arguably be said for Grace by this point, as well…

Already, the fight to destroy the Entity has resulted in the death of Ilsa, the murder of the Director of National Intelligence, and just the latest time that the Impossible Mission Force has been branded a rogue force by the United States intelligence community — and it’s just getting started.

How many post-credit scenes does Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One have?

There are, surprisingly, no post-credit sequences in Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One. Feel free to leave the theater once the 'End Part One' title comes on screen.

Where is the IMF team at the end of Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One?

Geographically, Ethan and Genji are together somewhere in the Austrian Alps, relying on old-school analog technology because everything digital has been potentially compromised by the Entity, and presumably headed towards the wreck of the Sevastopol to uncover the drive that contains the original source code of the Entity. Luther’s whereabouts are purposefully unknown, as he attempts to uncover whether or not his compromised hard drive has any code of the Entity contained therein, so that he can work on a way to defeat it. Grace and Kittridge are last seen on what remains of the Orient Express, although where they go from there is anyone’s business.

What should we be looking out for in Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part Two?

There are a lot of questions for Dead Reckoning Part Two to deal with:

  • Can Ethan and the team defeat the Entity?
  • What is the secret of Ethan’s past with Gabriel?
  • Is Gabriel working for the Entity, or is their relationship more complicated?
  • What’s next for Grace?
  • Can Kittridge be trusted?
  • What’s going to happen as Community agents Briggs and Degas close in on Ethan?

If there’s one thing that the Dead Reckoning Part One established, it’s that plot mechanics should never get in the way of a good stunt — I mean that as a compliment — so trying to predict what’s going to happen in Part Two is a fool’s errand… but that’s never stopped us before. Keep an eye on Briggs and especially Degas in the second part, as it’s very possible that their actions might complicate the plans of the Entity far more than it suspected… and I wouldn’t be too surprised if Paris’s survival from Gabriel’s murder attempt doesn’t mean that she’ll play an important part in the finale, as well.

Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part Two will be released June 28, 2024. You can find out more about that movie right here.

Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One is in theaters now. Buy tickets on Fandango or Atom Tickets.

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Graeme McMillan

Staff Writer

Popverse staff writer Graeme McMillan (he/him) has been writing about comics, culture, and comics culture on the internet for close to two decades at this point, which is terrifying to admit. He completely understands if you have problems understanding his accent.