Released in 2022, this Netflix young adult horror series is a show exploring the horrifying realities of technology and smartphones that the leads seemed to be so obsessed with. Created by Michael and Paul Clarkson, this British show wrapped up its first season last year, so if you are curious about the show Red Rose and want its ending explained, then continue reading till the end.
The show follows the lives of a bunch of high schoolers who wish to spend their last summer as a school kid while having fun and being carefree. But things take a creepy turn as they find themselves under the threat of a dangerous application called Red Rose that gets downloaded onto their phones.
What makes the app so terrifying for them is the fact that it demands from them things that are outright cruel, but these kids find themselves incapable of saying ‘no’ because refusing a demand has scary consequences of its own.
For its main cast, the show has Amelia Clarkson, Isis Hainsworth, Natalie Blair, Ellis Howard, Ali Khan, Natalie Gavin, Samuel Anderson, and so many more who bring this show to life. With a total of eight episodes, the show has done a great job of making teen horror feel genuinely creepy.
The scary reality of technological advancements and the way phones have become such an organic part of our life that it almost feels like they have taken control over us are some of the themes that the show explores.
If you love horror, then this show should definitely be on your watchlist, as it manages to depict horror in a way that does not feel gimmicky or cheap. It is more of a slow burn than being a right-in-your-face kind of horror which captures the eerie vibe of the show in its full capacity.
Red Rose’s Ending Explained
The show has captured the harsh reality and struggles of a teenager’s life perfectly, and alongside this, it has also introduced utter pain, grief, a sense of loss, and hopelessness, which both the adults and the teens would be able to relate to very well.
If you have watched the first few episodes of this show, you would know that we opened the series with the death of a teen girl, and we are told that this popular and rich teen had died by suicide.
And just six months after her passing, we see another innocent teen, Rochelle, tortured by the harsh realities of her life, downloading an app called Red Rose on her phone.
She does so with the intention of having something fun to do over the summer, but it ends up turning into her worst nightmares, and not just for her; it also manages to suck her friends into its wicked games as well. At first, we are told that it is all because of the phone and that the horror is just virtual.
But as the show progresses with each episode, we see the line between the virtual world and the real one get blurred to an extent where the horrors of the Red Rose app get manifested in these high school kids’ real life.
Red Rose and Rochelle
At first, the app and its demands seem innocent to Rochelle, but things soon get twisted when it starts taking control of her phone and, eventually, her life. The innocent decision to download the app ends up turning into her worst mistake, and Rochelle feels completely cornered.
Till the final episode, we are not told who exactly created the app or why, but whatever the reason, the app manages to kill a second person because of its existence. Rochelle finds herself helpless and eventually decides to put an end to her life to end the torture as well.
Her friends, Wren, Noah, Taz, and a few others, shocked and grief-stricken, decide to play along with the app Red Rose, all the while trying to figure out who the mind behind the app is. And this task is easier said than done because the app manages to take control over their lives as well, manipulating them and pitting them against each other.
Though they try their best to stay alert, another victim of the app turns up dead, and the group decides to give up on the app and try to move on with their lives. But Jaya and Antony, who joined Wren and her group of friends to help them get to the bottom of the Red Rose app, believe that things might not be over and continue to do some more digging.
The Truth of Red Rose
After much struggle and conflict between the group, we finally reach the last episode of season one, and the truth comes to light. We are taken back to the first scene of the show, where Alyssa, the popular girl, dies by suicide.
Apparently, one of the guys from their school, Jacob, had a crush on Alyssa, and instead of approaching her IRL, he thought it best to take over her private life in a manner of impressing her. He developed the app Red Rose, and with a few of his friends, they would sit in a virtual red room to get to know Alyssa better.
While things were fine at first, it all went down the drain when Alyssa noticed weird things happening to her, which eventually severed her relationship with Jacob. In a panic, Jacob agrees to hand over access to the app to another virtual friend called Gardener, who promises to fix things for him.
But he has different plans and continues to torture Alyssa to the point of making her want to die. Clearly, playing with someone’s life and ruining them completely has become much easier with technology has seeped into every aspect of our life.
Jacob fails to get control of the app back, and Gardener continues to find new victims to toy with. His second victim, as we know, was Rochelle, followed by Simon and Wren and her gang. Before the last episode, we were made to question Simon and whether he was the Gardener or not; with him turning up dead, it was clear that the culprit was someone else.
The Final Episode
Wren bravely manages to locate the gardener and comes face to face with him, confronting him regarding all the wrong he did to teens who were barely eighteen years old. While she has her moment, she ends up killing the masked man, who she and we thought to be the gardener.
Just when we thought that things were finally over for these kids, a new scene shows Jaya talking to a woman who reveals to her that she is the real Gardener. Though we do not see her face because the makers still have a second season to make, she tells Jaya that she had kept an eye on her to see just how far she could push people and their limits.
Jaya and Antony were the two who believed till the end that things had not really ended, and when everybody wanted to move on, it was Jaya who kept on looking for clues to find out the real Gardener. So it makes sense for Garnder to reveal her identity to Jaya first.
We do not get to see the real Gardenr’s face, nor do we know what happened to Jaya after she found out the real truth. Another thing that the show clears up before ending the season is answering Wren”s questions regarding Rochelle’s death.
It is revealed that she did not die by suicide. Instead, she was murdered by those present in the red room, observing her getting tortured every day.
Creators Michael and Paul Clarkson made it clear to the audience that the purpose of the show was to get a deeper insight into easily the control of our lives can be snatched from us. Not revealing the actual face of the Gardener was done in an attempt to let also done knowingly, in an attempt to make the show feel more ‘meta.’
According to them, anybody who has watched the show is an accomplice and member of the red room. It gracefully introduces the idea that power is not just with those who are popular, famous, and liked by all, but it also lies with those who are completely isolated from society and have virtually no face.
It makes you question and introspect your own life and presence online on social media apps or just your device. And what makes it horrifying for us is the fact that the next victim could be anybody, including you.