Jagged Mind (2023) Ending Explained: Does Billie successfully break the time loop trap?


Jagged Mind on Hulu offers a fresh twist on the “getting stuck in a time loop” trope. Set in the scenic neighbourhood of Little Haiti, the film gleans insights from the rich cultural community subtext, satirizes toxic relationships, and takes subtle potshots at the modern-day dating culture.

The time loop rationale in films has been quite clearly established. Viewers usually have an understanding of what is happening as the central conceit is laid down within the initial few minutes. Jagged Mind works on different rules and can be tricky to confront. The confusing narrative language of Jagged Mind and that explosive ending are worth exploring.

Here we break down the film for you, piece by piece.

Jagged Mind Plot Summary:

This is the story of Billie, who is struggling with dementia-like symptoms of memory loss and blackouts. Lately, they have intensified and she cannot get past the supposition that the issues are hereditary.

She has an on-off affair with fellow art curator Christine. One night, Billie meets a beautiful stranger at the bar. She introduces herself as Alex and instantly takes an interest in her. But due to the exhibition that night, Billie leaves the bar early.

At the exhibition, Rose Porter’s self-portrait gets everyone’s attention. But Porter locks her attention on Billie, who doesn’t know her. She strangely holds Billie’s head, asking her to “remember.”

Billie hooks up with Christine – again – by ending up at the bar after some weird time mechanic. Even more shockingly, she meets Alex again like it is her first time with no prior memory. What exactly is going on?

What triggers the time loops for Billie? Are they real?

Billie ends up at the bar and has the same conversation with Alex multiple times. But the meeting is cut short as Billie has to to go the art gallery when Christine messages her. Only in the last iteration, Christine does not message her and Billie accompanies Alex to her house.

In the meantime, there are instances when Billie keeps seeing a strange bald man with cloudy grey eyes, who chants something in Creole and has a mysterious box in his hands.

People at the gallery get worried about Christine, who does not show up for work or answer any calls. Billie’s blossoming relationship with Alex seems artificial as we catch the latter revealing her dark side to Billie on a few occasions. The weird part is that we see different versions of Alex in the same exact setting. That clearly establishes Alex’s time-turning powers. The time loops that Billie experiences are indeed real. Alex has been manipulating her this entire time to make sure that they remain together.

How does Alex turn back time and reset Billie’s memories?

Billie looks on the internet for information about Rose. She is shocked to find an image of Alex and her together. It turns out that they were in a relationship before this. Billie finds Rose with her wrists slit at her house. She also retrieves the same mysterious box that the chanting man had. Inside, among other indecipherable things, Billie finds physical pictures. They show that Alex and Christine were together, hinting that she might have something to do with Christine’s disappearance.

Billie also finds a USB drive. She plays the video on it, which shows her with Rose and the bald man. When Rose said “remember,” she meant to point Billie in this direction. Rose tells her that Alex has a powerful crystal with her that she wears around her neck. It has magical abilities to turn back time and feeds on a person’s blood. That also explains the strange wounds on Billie’s body. Alex drew small pinches of it to keep the crystal going.

Jagged Mind Ending Explained:

Rose tells Billie that she herself had the crystal before Alex. Like her, Rose also wanted their romantic relationship to never end. But Alex was smart enough to gauge that something was wrong and stole the crystal. In order to combat this, Rose was given the box by the bald man, whose name is Papa Juste. Anything stored inside the box, which has a spell on it, cannot be destroyed or reversed by Alex. That is why Rose put clues for herself in that box to “remember” what the truth is. Billie manages to write plenty of notes as Alex continues to reset time.

On a romantic getaway to a villa, Billie confronts Alex with the truth. Alex turns bitter and dark when she reveals that she has had to kill Billie on some occasions. That shows how angry Alex got at times. Billie and Alex get into a physical confrontation where the former gets the upper hand. Billie uses Alex’s blood to reset time and turn the tables on her.

Why has Rose Porter’s portrait changed?

As promised, Billie has reset the time to the moment when Rose met Alex. Everything is back to normal at this point. Christine is back at the art gallery and Billie ditches her with confidence this time. Billie does meet Alex at the bar but ditches her too. Alex has no memory of the crystal because she did not meet Rose in this timeline.

Rose doesn’t know about the crystal and greets her at the art gallery. But her self-portrait is changed from the earlier instance in the film. This is because, in this timeline, Rose never met Alex and did not go through the same suffering and romantic convulsions.

Does Billie keep the crystal? What is the underlying message?

The film ends with Billie taking the mysterious box back to Papa Juste. But to everyone’s surprise, it is empty. We then discover Billie has kept the crystal for herself, despite Rose’s warnings to cede it as it would give her corruptible power. Billie does not seem to mind this, and in a voiceover with Kim, her best friend, Billie expresses confidence in her ability to “manage her romantic partners.”

The underlying message in Jagged Mind is that love has a corruptible power. No one likes to experience heartbreak and move on in life from a loved partner. We always want to hold on to the past and romanticize it.

Can we really blame Billie for keeping the crystal and giving herself a safety net? What if she found her perfect soul mate and something out of her control went wrong? Putting ourselves in her shoes really explains why she kept the crystal.

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