‘Dual’ Ending Explained: Does Sarah Kill Her Double?

Dual Plot Synopsis

After being told that she has an incurable disease, Sarah (Karen Gillan) decides to pay for a clone of herself so her mother and boyfriend won’t have to be alone after she has gone. As this movie is set in the future, the cloning process doesn’t take long at all, as after spitting into a cup, the clone is alive an hour later and ready to learn more about Sarah and the life that she will be taking over.

Fortunately for Sarah, she is later told that she has gone into remission. As such, she isn’t dying after all! This is good news for Sarah but the situation isn’t that simple. As her clone has filed a motion to remain alive, Sarah discovers that she now has to take part in a court-mandated duel to the death with her double. Does she emerge the victor? Or does the double kill her and take over her life?

Keep on reading to learn more.


Does Sarah get on well with her clone?

Sarah doesn’t become friends with her clone but she starts to tolerate her double rather quickly. She teaches it more about her likes and dislikes and helps it to become accustomed to her way of living.

So far so good but when Sarah’s boyfriend and mother start to like the double more than Sarah herself, she starts to feel neglected and resentful. The fact that her double has the perfect body and (due to an error in the cloning process) blue eyes, doesn’t improve the way Sarah is feeling either.

Thankfully, Sarah finds out that she has overcome her illness. In normal circumstances, she would be allowed to decommission her clone and have it wiped out of existence. She would then be able to resume her life and her family relationships.

But by the time Sarah learns she has gone into remission, the clone has lived a long enough time on Earth to be allowed the chance to stay alive if they so wish. Sarah’s double expresses this wish and that means one thing: by law, the two have to duel it out to determine who lives and who dies.


How does Sarah take this news?

As well as you might expect! After being told that she isn’t going to die from whatever illness had affected her body, the last thing she wants is to die at the hands of her clone. So she decides to prepare herself for battle with the help of Trent, a professional combat trainer. He teaches her how to use her body as a weapon and gives her advice on when and how to use a variety of different weapons.

Sarah also takes part in a body workout class to get herself into shape for the upcoming battle.


Does Sarah become a killing machine?

Knowing how to kill and actually killing somebody are two very different things, as Sarah discovers. Trent brings in his dog and asks Sarah to kill it with a bow and arrow. Sarah can’t do it – the dog is far too cute – and this throws into question her ability to kill her double.

However, Sarah then notices her double through the window. While she wasn’t able to kill the dog, she is suddenly driven to kill the clone and she fires an arrow through the window. She misses and kills another dog instead!

Despite missing the intended target, it seems that Sarah may have what it takes to kill her double after all. After giving chase, she finds her clone hiding within the play equipment at a children’s park. But rather than trying to murder one another, the two women have a heart-to-heart conversation instead and share their feelings with one another.

Sarah lets the double know that she is unhappy about the way she has taken over her life. And the double expresses her unhappiness at living Sarah’s life, as she is struggling to cope with Peter, Sarah’s boyfriend, and her mother.


Do Sarah and her double become friends?

Not really but they start to understand one another better. After attending a support group for duel survivors, the two decide to subvert society’s expectations and leave the country together.

After preparing for their wilderness escape, Sarah picks her double up and drives her to the woods. During the car trip, the clone tries to learn the intricacies of driving from Sarah.

When they arrive at their woodland destination, they check each other backpacks to make sure nobody is carrying any weapons. They also have a drink of water from the bottles that the double has prepared in advance.


Do the two escape together?

No, as it becomes clear that the water Sarah’s double prepared was poisoned.

After walking for a short while, blood forms around Sarah’s mouth and she realizes the deception.

The movie then cuts to the dueling ground where one of the women turns up alone. She is limping and when asked why she is late to the duel, responds with that age-old response… car trouble! When she is then asked about her identity, she tells the duel host that she is Sarah, the original. It’s possible that this is the case as she is wearing Sarah’s clothes.

The duel does not go ahead as the other person doesn’t turn up. It can be presumed that they are dead, which begs the question: Was it really Sarah who turned up to the duel or was it the double?


Did Sarah survive?

In all likelihood, no. She probably died after being poisoned. The double then got into her clothes and turned up at the duel alone.

The mum and boyfriend testify in court that the person is Sarah but as they both preferred the double, it is likely that they are lying in support of the clone.

We later see the results of the ‘car trouble’ that was spoken of when the double is seen driving a smashed-up car around a roundabout. As the double couldn’t drive and actively asked Sarah for advice on driving previously, it can be assumed that the state of the car is due to her lack of skills behind the wheel.

She then receives a phone call from Sarah’s mother to let her know that she has replaced her contact lenses. This is further evidence that the mother knows the woman is the double and that she previously bought the clone contact lenses to disguise her blue eyes.

At the end of the movie, the car stops with the double sitting inside it, crying. She is likely crying because she is now stuck with Sarah’s life, with a mother and boyfriend that she doesn’t love. So, while she may have emerged victorious, in the end, the double discovers Sarah’s life isn’t really worth living.

HOWEVER…there are some people online who believe that it was Sarah who survived and not the double. Quite how she survived after being poisoned, we don’t quite know, but there is the belief that Sarah double-bluffed the people around her. In this theory, she let her mother know that she was the double pretending to be Sarah, hence the ruse with the contact lenses. At the end of the film she is crying because she realizes her mother loves the double and not her.

Personally, I think it is the double who survives and not Sarah. But if you watch this mind-boggling movie, you can make up your own mind.

 

Read More: Dual Movie Review


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36 thoughts on “‘Dual’ Ending Explained: Does Sarah Kill Her Double?”

  1. i believe the director has a made it open for interpitation. i liked what Artmozart said about the posibility the original Sarah is a clone. my reasons for thinking so, there are no clones alowed of clones, there for you want to be considerd the original. and remember there was an unexpected deviation in Sarah double. if you make copys of copys defects tend to creep in.

    its not watertight but i feel we cant get the awnsers in from the movie alone

  2. There’s far too much information in the film that suggests the original survived.

    One main thing, which I suppose was left out on purpose, is: The double had a genetic defect. Blue eyes instead of brown. This would have been logged at the facility that did the cloning procedure, seeing as they gave her a discount on the price to compensate for their mistake, and/or would have been pretty easy for them to figure out anyway. No one asked about the contacts (?)

    Anyway, I have way too much to say about the ending here, but I did write the whole thing up for fun

    https://www.mikegolvach.net/hidden-page

    , Mike

  3. It was rather obvious that the screen play was written to be obtuse for exactly the debate on which of the Sarah’s died at the end … from the very beginning the writer set the stage to cause the confusion:

    For a few examples (there were many throughout): Sarah cries the same at beginning before going into doctor as the supposed double does at the very end in the wrecked car at the conclusion (so the writer wanted to set the stage for both scenarios to be plausible from the beginning to the very end to cause this type of discussion) …the doctor tells her to not drink and rest but she drinks when home and goes to the gym instead almost like she wanted to die earlier than later … the boyfriend is cheating and she knows it from the very beginning but still loves the assh*le anyway … then quickly starts his life with the double Sarah instead of his real girlfriend that he was cheating on with ?(regular sex with the double right from the first day and coldness and complete detachment with the supposedly dying real Sarah) … the boyfriend was obviously looking for a way to get away from the real Sarah … the doctor is likely colluding with government for the ratings of the shows for duels so the 98% certainty of her rare disease was likely a lie so they could get another double in play to set the stage for a televised duel … the mother doesn’t show any remorse when she finds out her real daughter is dying and can’t wait to get rid of her own flesh and blood it seems… etc etc etc

    The screen play rather poorly written and plot turns and repetitions easily guessed at each step of the movie … no surprises at all in my opinion that dozens of plot spoilers about which Sarah died at the end was the primary focus of the entire show. If they had any intention to reveal more of the identity they would have left out the eye color contact replacement thing at the end or not had Sarah comment that her complextion was getting bad (skin condition was not an issue for the clone but was for the original) and the script being so centered on the foreshadowing of this point right from the beginning made the movie a bit boring from early on and the ending not a surprise in the least.

  4. Maybe I’m the only one thinking this deep into it, but IMO I feel like their may be a much deeper meaning underneath the script. The original Sarah was obviously depressed and not taking good care of herself in the beginning of the movie. The thought of having to kill a different version of herself whom is more loved by those round her forces her to start taking care of herself ie training dancing. posssibly meeting a new guy. Once she has done so, she realizes she does not actually want the old life. her double is still stuck in the mindset of her old self not wanting to move on. So it make me think if there’s some of the idea of having to kill your old self in order to move onto to a better life. more so than the straight forward idea of the movie. Such as having to let habits, attitudes and people go throughout your life for the betterment of yourself…. Maybe its just me lol

  5. I see so many comments on here saying the clone had no reason to pretend she was the original, i think the very next scenes explain why it definitely was the clone that lived and why she had to claim to be the original, my reasons:
    1. The clone was in possession of Sarah’s car, she drove it back from the woods and drove it to the battle field. So she has to pretend to be Sarah or that would be a huge red flag. She was interrogated after by police since she would be the prime suspect in the other’s disappearance
    2. After interrogation her place was searched by police. By saying she was the original it threw police off the trail and any possibility of them finding evidence of the poison the clone used. The police were searching the wrong house.
    3. She was with the husband and mother, Sarah moved on and wouldn’t go back to that life
    4. She can’t drive in the traffic circle, she wasn’t faking because nobody she knew was around to see it
    5. Her mother preferred the clone, and covered for her by getting contacts to keep up the lie that she’s replacing Sarah. It makes no sense the other way around.
    6. It was the trainer’s fault too, he said to not worry about poison that it’s not going to be used. So for the next year Sarah focused on mastering every weapon except poison. It would be her weakness and unsuspected by her, since she mentally already excluded it.
    7. Boots. Sarah reads from her list something like “comfortable clothing” then it shows the double’s unpractical/uncomfortable suede boots with heels. The double swapped boots for the walk back to the car. And grabbed Sarah’s jacket and phone because she had to fake being the original.
    8. The Mexican food

    Basically everything that happens after points to the double.

  6. I think that it is the clone. The real Sarah likes Mexican food. Which in the end of the movie when shrek asked her if she wanted Mexican food for dinner she said she didn’t like it.. also, her mother was ordering contacts to possibly cover the blue eyes on the clone. Perhaps it could have been a cover up or a lie for the clone to pretend to be the real Sarah.. but Sarah was in remission and perfectly cured. The blood on her mouth in the trails indicate poison in the water, which was earlier mentioned by the weapons instructor as a rarely used weapon of choice by the courts but was a thought in the authors writings as a hint.. all of these actors came from one mind, the author.. so thinking this way, people tend to repeat. Therefor, I would best predict poison in the water while hiking killed Sarah leaving the clone to pretend to be the real Sarah.. I would think the opposite entirely until Sarah mentioned she hates Mexican food.. Sarah pretended to be the clone to her family bc they liked the clone more. And this is why she had a break down in the round about while driving.. and this will conclude my finnishing statement 😉

  7. @Folu
    She could be the original one and faking all those to look like she’s the clone, because she knows her mother and bf loved the clone more. So those are not really valid “hints”.

    1- She could change her outfit easily after they fought in the woods.
    2- She says she hates Mexican food because she’s trying to make them think she’s the double.
    3- She’s driving bad on purpose to look like she’s the double.
    4- Same as above, she wants her mother to think that she’s the double.

    But i also think its the double who survived because when she finally appeared at the duel area she didnt know what to call the steering wheel and there’s no point in faking it as she’s only talking to the woman there and her bf/mother cant hear them.

  8. When asked if she wanted Mexican food at the end, “Sarah” says she doesn’t like it. The original Sarah listed Mexican food first when asked by her double what her favorite food is. There is nonreason the original Sarah would suddenly start saying she doesn’t like her fave food. This means the double slipped up.

  9. Poison is a red herring. Everyone is assuming the water must have been poisoned, but Sarah never says, “you poison me”; the blood coming out of her mouth is another red herring, although not explained, it doesn’t mean poison. When they were talking, Sarah said she wanted to make sure neither had weapons, so if she thought she was in danger of being poisoned, then she would not have drank so much.

    Sarah returns wearing the clones shirt and pants, but the original Sarah’s jacket and shoes. Wearing someone else’s jacket or pants is easy, but shoes must be broke in, so Sarah wore her own shoes for the hike back to the car.

    BOTH GIRLS ARE ALIVE. Sarah wanted her life back so she pretended to be the clone. Sarah pointed out that both contestants have never missed a match and said they would be hunted. The clone agreed, so they decided one of them must go back. Sarah pretended to be the clone in order to have her life back, but in the end did not like it. The clone went on and crosses the border, and although dogs were sent after her, they never find her. The clone did not want Sarah’s life, but Sarah thought she did.

  10. It’s gotta be the clone, they seemed to go to trail and if it were the original Sarah she could have just had her combat instructor vouch for her and ask the a simple question of what favor did the original Sarah do for the combat instructor to pay for the last month of combat lessons.
    Also why does it matter if she was the original Sarah or the clone? What benefited them to say the clone was the original?

  11. I truly think that the original Sarah won because she was in the same exact clothes but had blood all over her. So it makes me think that she DEFINITELY killed her double. And she said she was the original when she arrived at the dual fight. Why would she lie about her real identity? All of the clones had said they were the clones, so why would Sarah lie about that? it doesn’t make sense. and I truly believe that she’s pretending to be the clone because at the last scene when she said she ‘hated Mexican food’… BUT has the the original Sarah’s phone that had the cracked screen. so I truly think it’s actually Sarah pretending to be the clone so she could feel the love from her boyfriend and her mother that her clone got from them. that’s just my conclusion. But then again, I guess we’ll never know.

  12. At first I thought the double survived (claiming to be the original) and at the end realized she inherited a life she didn’t like. Only now she is without the clone support and has to work while she is strapped with the massive debt.
    But after seeing the cracked phone I wonder if maybe it is the original Sarah pretending for her family that she is the double and is crying at end realizing that she is right back where she started except she is now strapped with massive debt.
    Ultimately both of them ended up in the same spot and it doesn’t really make much of a difference.

  13. It was the original Sarah the double would have no reason to fake her identity. The mom and boyfriend would not go back to live with original Sarah. Only the original Sarah would have to lie to be accepted back into her old lifestyle. She also had the broken phone and the boyfriend quizzed her about the Mexican food showing us that he had his doubts. She broke down in the car because she realized her own family loved fake Sarah more. She smashed her car to further look like the clone that couldn’t drive and she didn’t die from the poison possibly because she just got lucky and didn’t have enough to kill her which is why the clone said take a bigger sip probably needed a higher dosage

  14. Definitely the double –

    Double is out of shape and does not train like the original, at the end she is called out by Peter to take better care of herself.
    Original can drive with no problems and not mistake the pedals
    At the end, the double was crying because she inherited a life she did not want

  15. I agree Folu. She has on all the same clothes as the e double except she put on Sarah’s coat. And after she says she had care trouble she says, I mistook the wheel that make the car go left or right as the pedal that stops the car. The original wouldn’t say all that unless she was pretending to be the double for the mom and boyfriend.

  16. I think the last scene answers the question about which Sarah it is. Sarah was in the car alone, so there was no reason to pretend to be someone else. Sarah Double didn’t know what the brake was called so it’s safe to assume that she didn’t know the rules of the road too and that is why she was driving in the wrong direction on the roundabout.

    or

    She could have just been distraught and not focussed on what she she doing. 😉

  17. I think the cracked phone is the ultimate identifier for the original Sarah.
    The contacts could just as easily have been blue rather than brown so that’s a tie. The scene in the roundabout had the bashed up SUV and also and identical SUV that stopped in the roundabout. Could both Sarah’s be alive?
    Last question, what was that last scene in the woods supposed to indicate? It didn’t look like a burial, so I’m going to say it was the director bluffing for fun.

  18. Don’t know all the why’s and how’s about the ending, but when she pulled out of the driveway in that car, that was the best scene in the whole movie. Hysterical.

  19. she “tried” to poison her. they fought. one cameout limping. the director wants us to see the clone winning. but what if its the real sarah? the real sarah would have to behave an act like the clone now. sarah loves me mexican food, but now hates it? because she has to like as the clone. she has to drive like she hasnt before. car trouble… make it look real. i dont think emotions are a factor. the
    male first double wins and sheds a tear after. I believe sarah 1 was poisoning herself. in her dreams shes eating pennies deliberty. could explain her surviving the Poison. remission. zinc. the clothes made us guessing.

    possible 3rd theory. both are clones. sarah 1 lacked emotions and spoke like a clone too. the movie kept explaining how she didnt feel things normally. so sarah 2 isreally sarah 3. could be why the lover and mother was ok with the transition so easily.

  20. I THINK ITS THE ORIGINAL SARAH WHO SURVIVED NOT THE DOUBLE
    The phone she was using when her mom called at the end of the movie had crack on screen and remember the original sarah’s phone got a crack when it fell in an underground parking
    The reason she was crying is because she realized her mother and boyfriend loved the double and not her

    I don’t know how she survived that poison but maybe she had an anti-poison in her bag pack because Trent taught her different ways on which she can be murdered including poison murder, and he also told her that poison takes place slowly so maybe she cured herself there and killed the double because it was obvious the original was more skilled in combat than the double

  21. Really good movie, pretty good pretty creepy definitely agree that double survived , poisoned 🤢 Sarah
    Great film

  22. It’s very fascinating how the end can be interpreted in different ways. I think one can support and choose either one. However, as much as I want the original to win, I think and feel that the double won, and that the point of the movie is as follows:

    At the very beginning, we saw the double win the fight and being complemented by the interviewer for perfectly using the weak spot of the original to kill him. Well, the doubles are made and designed to understand and take over the perspective of the original, to take their place. So that is also what the double of Sarah does, and so it understands the very weak spot of the original: her empathy and love for a family that does not love her. That’s the very reason original Sarah purchased her, spending her presumed last days and money on a replacement for her, so that the others are well when she is gone. That’s what the double uses to survive and kill.

    However, that very need to be loved by the others by the original, which the double also inherits as well as her highly toxic environment not only leads to the downfall of the original, but also of her double, who now has to live on, being trapped in a life that is not hers and does not fulfill her, with highly toxic people. (Interestingly, the double in the first scene also had a tear in his eyes and seemed deeply unhappy after he won.)

    That said, I am not entirely sure either one of the Sarah’s came unarmed to the last fight. While the double was armed with the empaths weapons of manipulation and poison that are not allowed and functional in a regular duel, the original came armed with her weapon: her body (as learned in her training). Which allowed her to fight a supposedly unarmed opponent, get close to her without ranged weapon in her way and kill her with her bare hands, personally and slower, as originally intended by the original. But as said, one can choose which way to lean in the end.

    P.S.: One more thing: I read that the survivor is referred to as Sarah and not Sarah’s double in the script at the end. That is ambivalent too, as double Sarah would have become Sarah after the death of the original, as explained at some point in the movie. Also, Sarah would have died pretty much as she originally was supposed to, poisoned, with a bloody mouth, which also has some dark and elegant poetry.

  23. The trial is que only thing weird, cuz everything points to the double killing Sarah, but why asume she is the real Sarah? Just to point that the parents and boyfriend planned with double? Sarah and the double both could be sad about living that “old” sara’s live. The original Sarah changed alot, she pointed like she left the old life for the clone and began a new one. Dosent make alot of sense to the original sarah to get back to that life, she just dont wanted to pay a pension xD

  24. Clone….

    She wasnt the issue the boyfriend and mother were. Im also kind of leaning to the fact that because of the DNA issue she may have also pulled in the disease. She appeared to be giving subtle attention to her belly in the closing scenes.

    Its difficult to explain but it was never really shown how much of YOU are actually in a clone. Her clone was alive for 10 months and most of the time she should have been “learning” from Sarah. Sarah in the beginning (we didnt see her prior to her first scene) was probably just like the Clone….the boyfriend even eluded that she used to be thinner etc.

    So the clone became Sarah in the truest sense.

  25. All evidence said that Sarah not survive, but she did. The last scene proves that. Clone always try to show emotion, but she does not have. Original Sarah never have emotion, but like all human always had, only in her life deep inside. She poison clone, and after she regrets and emotion who have inside was finally expose. Same problem with end explanation is in movies Triangle. There all viewers think that prime character survive, and all the rest die, but only she dies

  26. Thanks for your opinion. I agree with you and think it’s the clone. I would have liked a clearer ending though.

  27. There is far more evidence pointing to the clone survival than to the original, wich is sad considering the original is the protagonist and the clone barely appears in the movie, i wish the director would have put equal amounts of hints for both theories to make a true open ending (like inception)

  28. I was confused too, but if you look at the scene where she drinks the bottle of water, it’s marked with an “S” (for Sarah), and the other is marked with “SD” (Sarah’s Double). She did seem kinda eager to drink it, even if Pinkman told her about the poison option. Maybe she dismissed it, thinking it will never come up, and even if it did, slow acting isn’t what she was going for, she wanted to focus on the combat aspect instead.

    There’s a moment where the double looks down after she said “Yes. I agree.” She wasn’t breaking eye contact, she was actually looking at the original’s body collapsing (sound muted for dramatic effect).

    The mom and her boyfriend were smiling when they waved at her from the stands. They were happy “she” survived, like they knew. I have a feeling they were both in on it. After they testified that she’s the original, the guy was offering to buy some more hair dye (the double’s hair shined better in the light so she had to dye her hair gray) and the mom was reminding her that she (the double) “loves” her job and that she picked up her new contact lens (to hide the blue eyes).

  29. Original. Poisoning was one of the deaths discussed in her training even though it would never be used on the battlefield. Did she learn how to counteract it or did the double not really know what she was doing because that wasn’t covered in her training?

    The bashed up car could be cause she was messed up on the drugs.

    There’s suggestion that her mother and boyfriend were in on the poisoning plan, which would certainly upset me! Though i don’t know enough to drive the wrong way in a traffic circle so that actually might point back to the double

  30. Definitely the double who survived;
    1. She’s wearing brown pants when they go into the woods and still wearing the same when she shows up at the duel.
    2. She hates Mexican food, Sarah loved Mexican food.
    3. She can’t drive – Bashed up car and driving the wrong way at the roundabout.
    4. Sarah’s mum calling her and informing her about the contacts she’s ordered.

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