- Devil in Ohio features a chilling story about a cult and offers a satisfying ending that changes the show’s perspective.
- Mae manipulates Suzanne throughout the entire series, driving a wedge between her and her family.
- The ending reveals that Mae survived, but the cult has disappeared, leaving Suzanne’s family mistrustful and separated.
The Devil in Ohio ending is a disquieting close to the Netflix miniseries and some aspects may need to be explained for the full impact of the story to be clear. Devil in Ohio premiered in September 2022 as a miniseries consisting of eight episodes. The show follows hospital psychiatrist Suzanne Mathis (Emily Deschanel), a mother of three whose home life is slowly but surely breaking down. Enter a mysterious runaway who arrives at the hospital, Mae (Madeleine Arthur). Mae is quiet, stoic, and fiercely intelligent and immediately makes a bond with Suzanne. When Suzanne brings Mae home to her family, the young woman’s horrifying backstory is slowly unveiled.
Devil in Ohio features a strong cast of actors and an intriguing story about a cult who will take any measure to retrieve what they’ve lost. The tone, setting, and performances combine to create a chilling atmosphere that grows throughout the eight episodes before finally culminating in a thrilling ending. Devil in Ohio does use tropes from similar TV shows and can at times feel like a retread, contributing to its lukewarm score of 50% on Rotten Tomatoes. It may not be the most original thriller series, but Devil in Ohio still offers a satisfying ending that changes how the rest of the show can be understood in retrospect.
What Happens In Devil In Ohio’s Ending
The final episode of Devil in Ohio, “The Dawning”, finds Mae returning to her family’s home in the cult compound at Amontown. Suzanne sneaks into the compound to rescue her foster daughter while Detective Lopez (Gerardo Celasco) is told by secret cult member Sheriff Wilkins (Bradley Stryker) to stay away from the town. Mae’s father Malachi (Tahmoh Penikett) begins an age-old cult ritual that involves burning Mae alive, but before he can carry out his plan, Suzanne arrives. She saves Mae and burns down Amontown, killing Mae’s birth mother Abigail (Caroline Cave). Lopez also arrives and kills Sheriff Wilkins, ending the cult’s threat.
With Mae saved and the cult seemingly defeated, Suzanne can finally go back to her normal life. However, concerning developments shake Lopez and Suzanne. After Lopez is congratulated for his work ridding the police department of cult members, he returns to Amontown with a warrant, only to find it completely deserted. Suzanne now lives alone with Mae, separated from her daughters and Peter (Sam Jaeger), who are troubled by Suzanne’s near-obsession with the girl.
In the last scene of the show, Lopez calls Suzanne to tell her he has evidence that Mae has been secretly responsible for bringing Suzanne to Amontown and putting her in a position to rescue Mae and defeat the cult. Suzanne suddenly realizes that she’s been so distracted by figuring out what happened to Mae, that she doesn’t actually know Mae the person at all. Suzanne hangs up the phone and Mae repeats to her a line from the first episode, “We deserve this.” The camera then pans to a large cult shrine with Suzanne’s picture in the center, with Mae’s photo laid on top of it.
Mae Manipulated Suzanne All Throughout Devil In Ohio
What becomes abundantly clear at the end of Devil in Ohio is that Mae has been manipulating Suzanne throughout the entire series. Mae works to drive a wedge between Suzanne and her family, and she begins doing so early in the show. Earlier in the season, Jules (Xaria Dotson), Suzanne and Peter’s middle daughter, begins to form a bond with Mae despite Mae’s eccentricities. This makes it surprising when Jules posts a photo in the school newspaper of Mae’s pentagram-shaped scar on her back, causing a rift between the family. However, Mae later reveals she inserted that photo herself, ostensibly to give Jules a more popular newspaper article.
The Devil in Ohio ending indicates that this was just another instance of Mae’s manipulation. The inciting incident that sends Mae back to the cult in the penultimate episode is that she sees white roses at the Fall Dance, a triggering item. Detective Lopez reveals camera footage that shows Mae placing those flowers at the dance herself. Mae wanted to return to Amontown, and she specifically wanted Lopez and Suzanne to follow her to her family so that they could take them out of the picture and make Mae and Suzanne dependent on one another. It’s exactly what Mae wanted the whole time — Suzanne all to herself.
Daria Polatin, who created Devil in Ohio, also wrote the novel the series is based on.
Mae Survived After The Cult Fled
While Mae’s mother died at the end of Devil in Ohio, Mae remained alive. With the cult also fleeing from Amontown, it appears that Mae has managed to survive the fate her family and cult destined for her. It’s revealed in Devil in Ohio, that Mae’s family’s cult believes that their community is prosperous because of a deal they made long ago with Lucifer.
The deal requires that a woman sacrifice themselves every generation. It’s the origin of their mantra, “The chain shall not be broken.” Mae was next in line to be sacrificed, but because her mother willingly gave her own life to the cult in the finale, Mae is now safe from the cult, who no longer have need of her.
Mae’s Cult Has Disappeared
When Detective Lopez is finally able to get a search warrant for Amontown in the Devil in Ohio finale, he returns to find that everyone has disappeared. There are no signs of anyone remaining and Lopez is once again at a loss. During the ritual, Abigail sacrifices herself, meaning that despite the chaos of the evening, the cult successfully renewed their vow with Lucifer, as they understand it. The cult could reappear anywhere now, and the cycle of terror and violence could continue, which is precisely why Detective Lopez is so troubled by their disappearance.
There is some good that comes from Lopez and Suzanne’s fight against the cult, however. For one, they save Mae, who, despite being manipulative and mysterious, was still a young innocent girl being prepped for a murderous sacrifice. The other major victory for Lopez was that he killed Sherriff Wilkins and removed him and his cult cronies from the ranks of the police force. Malachi’s cult depends on having friends in influential positions, and Detective Lopez ensures that wherever the cult reappears, they won’t have the aid of his police force.
Suzanne’s Family No Longer Trusts Suzanne Or Mae
There is a short time jump in Devil in Ohio after the night of the sacrifice, and it’s revealed that Suzanne and Mae are now living alone together while Peter and his three daughters live separately. It’s never explicitly relayed why they are living apart, but Peter mentions that Suzanne promised not to bring Mae around the girls, and implies that their problems are not because of Mae, but because Suzanne ignored her family for her psychiatrist work.
Peter’s problems with the house, her daughters fighting, and other family obligations are missed because Suzanne is preoccupied with her work, specifically Mae. The cult, the danger, and the supernatural occurrences are all things Peter thinks they as a family could have dealt with, but it’s Suzanne’s near obsession with her work and willingness to put it in front of her family that drives them away. Everyone else can see Mae as a manipulator, but it’s only Suzanne who realizes too late that she’s put her attention and focus on someone she doesn’t really understand, and her choices may have now trapped her.
The Real Meaning Of Devil In Ohio’s Ending
Devil in Ohio is primarily a story about mothers. There are three major ones in the show and each makes different decisions regarding their daughters that have massive consequences. Suzanne’s mother allowed her husband to abuse Suzanne, which is why she develops such a strong protective instinct over Mae, attempting to protect her at the cost of losing sight of who she is actually protecting. Mae’s birth mother Abigail also chooses an abuser over her daughter. Abigail would rather sacrifice herself to the cult than leave with Mae, and be the mother her daughter needs.
Then there is the final mother, Suzanne. Though Suzanne may think she’s doing the opposite of what her mother did by protecting Mae, she’s neglecting her other children in the process. Suzanne is so obsessed with not repeating her mother’s mistakes that she loses sight of everything else. Fixations are not good in Devil in Ohio. The cult was fixated on some mythical deal with the devil that now obliges them to sacrifice one of their own. And Suzanne was fixated on Mae, not realizing that she was unable to truly see the type of person whom she let into her home, at the cost of the people she loves.
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