- Clickbait -The 'Clickbait' Ending, Explained (You're Gonna Need This)
There's nothing quite like watching an entire miniseries only to reach the end and be left wondering WTF just happened. And that's exactly what transpires on Clickbait, a show that appears to be about a man with dark secrets that have finally caught up to him, only to become a cautionary tale about protecting your passwords in the final act. (Seriously, ya'll, if you're using your favorite pet's name for every site you visit, change those passwords now, before you get single white femaled by the nice old lady with the "hang in there" kitty poster at your office.)
What I'm trying to say here is, if you need an explainer for the end of Clickbait, you're not alone. The final episode is one giant info dump, but the information it serves up is more than a little bit confusing. In the opening moments of the episode, Nick and Sophie's youngest son, Kai, heads to the house of the person who set up his dad based on information gathered by his big brother's online girlfriend.
I think most viewers, myself included, expected the address to lead Kai to the doorstep of Nick's boss and friend, Matt, but instead, he ends up at the home of Dawn, the secretary at the school where his father worked. Now, Dawn wasn't exactly a major player throughout the series, but she did pop up here and there, most notably in the penultimate episode when she let Pia into Matt's computer, where she had planted some pretty damning evidence just in case the cops came knocking on her door.
So, how did Dawn end up as Clickbait's ultimate big bad? Read on for a breakdown of the moment that sealed Nick's fate, as well as what happened to Kai, Sophie, Pia, and the rest of the characters in the show's final moments.
Nick's Trusting Nature Was His Biggest Flaw
Okay, so remember how everyone was shocked to discover Nick had an active dating profile for at least two years prior to his death? Well, it turns out he was completely in the dark about the whole thing. On his first day of work, he gave Dawn his password so she could get him set up with a work email and other credentials he needed to do his job.
Then, later that night, a tipsy Dawn visited a dating website in hopes of browsing profiles while her husband, Ed, played with his trains. When she realized she needed an account to browse the site, she impulsively signed up as Nick and embarked on catfishing expedition that lasted multiple years and ultimately led to her encouraging a woman, Sarah, to commit suicide when her husband discovered her secret hobby. This in turn set off a chain reaction leading Sarah's brother to track down Nick, kidnap him, and force him to confess to abusing and killing women online (even though he never did anything of the sort).
Why Did Dawn Catfish Nick In The First Place?
Now, you would think Nick must have done something to Dawn to cause her to steal his identity, but you would be wrong. Nick was never cruel, dismissive, or even rude to his colleague. It was quite the opposite, in fact — he saw her as a friend and he even confided in her about Sophie's affair (which is how he realized she was the one who was impersonating him online).
According to Dawn, the reason why she chose to steal Nick's identity for her online games was because she was lonely and she wanted to be seen. Her boredom with her day-to-day life and a sense of jealousy over the way everyone seemed to be drawn to Nick led him to be her target. Well, that and the part where he offered up his password and full access to his phone without a second thought.
Who Actually Killed Nick?
At long last, Clickbait revealed who killed Nick, and the answer to the season-long question was Ed, Dawn's husband. After he escaped the van where he was being held by Sarah's brother and the man's friend, Nick headed straight to Dawn's house where he confronted her about stealing his identity and preying on Sarah's unstable mental state. This was a huge mistake.
When Ed walked in on Nick threatening to go to the cops, he hit Nick in the head with a hammer — twice. This left the couple with the task of cleaning up the crime scene and disposing of the body in the lake, where it was later discovered by the geonickers and Amir. So in summation, had Nick went straight to the police or even home, he wouldn't have been killed. It was his decision to confront Dawn that sealed his fate.
Where Did Nick's Family End Up?
In the show's final moments, Amir and his team were able to safely rescue Kai, and catch Dawn (Ed shot himself before the police could take him). This left Nick's family to pick up the pieces of their lives, and that process could only begin with them properly mourning the father, husband, brother, and son they lost. Ultimately, Clickbait was only partially about the perils of the internet — ultimately, it was about family.
After spending so much time at odds, Pia and Sophie finally come together in the end. Nick's sister and wife spent so much time vying for his attention, they never fully acknowledged each other as family. But after working together to clear Nick's name and looking out for Kai and Ethan in the aftermath of their father's death, the two women realized just how much they need one another. While nothing they do can bring Nick back, their decision to face the painful reality of life without him as a family is the best possible way they could honor his memory.
Clickbait's final act twist still feels a bit random, but at the very least, the ending of the show did honor the story's core theme of a family's fight to protect the memory of their loved one and push through the tragedy of a sudden loss together.
Images: Ben King/Netflix; Netflix