Warning: the article contains massive spoilers about The Medium.
Exclusive to the Xbox Series X/S, 2021's The Medium from Bloober Team gave gamers their first taste of next-gen psychological horror gaming, and boy, was it a doozy.
A game featuring far more plot twists than you'd expected, The Medium raised a lot of questions early on. And, even though most of these questions were eventually answered, there was a bunch that wasn't. This has left numerous players quite perplexed, especially when it comes to the ending.
In particular, one of the more confusing things about The Medium is its ending.
The game stars a woman, Marianne, who has struggled with her psychic powers all her life. She's a medium who has the power to communicate with and free spirits unable to crossover to the afterlife.
As you start the game, Marianne will start to narrate and recount the series of events that make up most if not all of the game, and by the time you're done, it's near-impossible to feel lost and unable to make sense of it all.
Because of this, we've decided to help out.
After spending quite some time in a state of confusion ourselves before eventually figuring everything out, we've come up with a more detailed and clear recounting of the events that transpired in The Medium.
Scroll down below to learn how to make sense of the ending of this Xbox-exclusive title.
The Medium Ending Recap
Before the game ends and everything fades into black, we're taken to a scene where Marianne points a handgun to her head.
Now, whether or not Marianne decides to push through and kill herself (more on the possible reasons why she would do this later on) is left ambiguous seemingly on purpose, but there is an after-credits scene that opens the plot up to a potential sequel.
We learn in the said scene that the spirit version of Thomas is alive and well, no longer bound in the Niwa Hotel.
If Bloober Team ever received a green light for a sequel, they may use this to connect the second game with the first game, with the sequel possibly revolving around Thomas' exploits or Marianne, assuming she's still alive, looking for Thomas herself.
Thomas Is a Spirit and a Medium
The Medium is set in the Niwa Workers' Resort where Marianne goes after receiving a phone call from a panicked man who refers to himself as Thomas.
During the call, Thomas explains that he knows who and what Marianne is, telling the game's protagonist that he needs her help. Intrigued, Marianne decides to go to the said resort where you have to spend a huge chunk of the game looking for answers regarding who Thomas is and why he asked you to go there.
As you progress through the game, Marianne finds herself knowing more of who or what Thomas is through visions. You'll eventually come to learn that Thomas is also a medium and he can send a spirit version of himself into someone else's mind so long as they've made skin-to-skin contact with each other.
Apparently, Thomas's spirit had become trapped in the mind of another man. This led Thomas to try and find a way to rescue his spirit self.
However, as we've mentioned earlier, the after-credits scene shows that the real Thomas is still stuck in the spirit realm, but can leave the Niwa hotel.
Sadness and Lily are One
Upon arriving at the resort, Marianne finds herself greeted by Sadness, the spirit of a young girl who can't really remember anything about who she was when she was still alive.
Serving as Marianne's companion for most of the game, Sadness guides Marianne throughout most of the game's tasks. However, as you'll find out midway through the game, Sadness isn't just a spirit companion that the developers decided to put in the game for no reason.
Through numerous visions, Marianne finds out that Sadness is Lily, the daughter of Thomas, who, as a child, was abused by Richard, her father's best friend.
Thomas finds out about what Lily had suffered at the hands of Richard and decided to enter Richard's mind, leaving him in a coma. But, this was not the end of it. Thomas' action resulted in Lily transforming into something far more sinister than he'd expected.
Marianne and Lily are Sisters
At some point in the game, Marianne goes exploring in the forests nearby the hotel where she chances upon Sadness playing on a swing.
This leads to a sequence of events where Marianne eventually finds out that Sadness is Lily and, in a surprising turn of events, that both of them are sisters with Thomas as their father, after discovering a house in the middle of the woods.
After finding out about this, Marianne finds proof that they are a family in the form of a partially burned photo right on the ground.
What happened was that Thomas gave Marianne up so that she could have a normal childhood. However, Lily was left with Thomas, which, in turn, resulted in the events of the game.
The Maw Is the Manifestation of Lily’s Hurt and Anger
The Maw is a demonic creature existing in both the spirit world and the real world. It keeps itself alive from the skin of the dead prey around it and after having sapped the life out of everything else, The Maw now turns to Marianne to sustain itself.
While it's very easy to feel afraid of this monster and its constant presence in the game, you'll actually feel sorry for it once you learn of its origins.
Because Lily had stayed with Thomas and suffered abuse, her hurt and anger grew so much to the point that it manifested and become the demonic spirit that is known as The Maw.
The Maw was released into the real and spirit worlds following the fire that set Lily and Marianne's house ablaze.
Thomas is a medium, whose real self is trapped in the spirit world, and is the father of Sadness or Lily and Marianne, both of which are mediums themselves. Meanwhile, The Maw that constantly keeps you on your toes throughout the entire game is the physical manifestation of every bad thing that happened to Lily before her death.
And, well, that's pretty much it.
As you can see, the game really can get confusing and features its fair share of plot twists.
With that said, we recommend giving this psychological horror title a playthrough if you have an Xbox Series X or S or a PC capable of running it.