The Pale Blue Eye ending explained: Who killed the cadets?

The Pale Blue Eye. (L to R) Lucy Boynton as Lea Marquis and Harry Melling as Edgar Allen Poe in The Pale Blue Eye. Cr. Scott Garfield/Netflix © 2022
The Pale Blue Eye. (L to R) Lucy Boynton as Lea Marquis and Harry Melling as Edgar Allen Poe in The Pale Blue Eye. Cr. Scott Garfield/Netflix © 2022 /

The Pale Blue Eye is Netflix’s latest gothic thriller. What happened to the murdered cadets in the movie?

Spoilers ahead for The Pale Blue Eye

When two West Point cadets are gruesomely murdered with their hearts ripped out of their chests, detective Augustus Landor (Christian Bale) and the military are clueless about who might be behind these killings. Clues point to a potential cult and the possibility of ritualistic deaths. But the reality is far more surprising.

If you’re ready to find out how the movie ends, keep reading!

The Pale Blue Eye ending: Who killed the cadets?

There are some misdirects throughout the film, mainly relating to the Marquis family, who are involved in the occult. But at the end of the movie, Edgar Allen Poe realizes that Augustus Landor was the real killer all along when he matches the note found on the first cadet to Augustus.

Augustus previously claimed that his daughter, Mattie, had run away, but in reality, she was raped by the three West Point cadets. Unable to deal with the trauma, she tragically committed suicide by leaping off a cliff. The retired detective made it his mission to avenge his daughter by murdering her three assailants.

He actually only ends up killing two of them before the third cadet gets spooked and disappears. Augustus tells Poe he doesn’t have the strength or will to hunt him down but hopes he spends the rest of his life looking over his shoulder.

Believing that Augustus has suffered enough, Poe burns the note and leaves. The movie ends with Augustus going to the cliff where Mattie died. Will he follow suit and kill himself to be with his daughter? It’s left up in the air.

The Pale Blue Eye ending: Was there actually a cult? What happened to the hearts?

One of the most mysterious aspects of the murders was the missing hearts. But Augustus had nothing to do with that, though he was happy to take advantage of the strange circumstances to misdirect the other investigators.

Lea and Artemis Marquis, the children of Dr. Daniel Marquis, were involved in witchcraft. Having suffered seizures her whole life, Lea and Artemis attempt a ritual to cure her of them for good. The ritual requires hearts, so they stole them from the dead cadets. Lea and Artemis even try to kill and steal Edgar’s heart. Thankfully, Augustus arrives in time to save him.

Ultimately, Lea and Artemis die in a fire, so the military believes that the correct culprits have been taken care of and are no longer a threat. To further perpetuate the idea that the murders were part of a ritual or cult practice gone wrong, Augustus even killed some of the livestock in the area.

What did you think about how The Pale Blue Eye ended? Did you suspect that Augustus was the actual killer all along?

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