I can’t even remember when was the last time I saw a show so complex and intriguing as the new FX/Hulu show, ‘A Murder at the End of the World.’ There are elements of sci-fi, thriller, mystery, and even a bit of horror, but it all funnels down to a classic ‘whodunnit’ story in a secluded hotel, where all the suspects are known.
The victim is Bill, aka FANGS, an anti-technology activist and artist who found himself on a tech retreat with some of the world’s leading giants in the tech industry, like Andy Ronson – the retreat’s organizer. There’s a lot more to dive into here, so let’s try to dig deep into the suspect list and figure out who killed Bill and tried making it look like an overdose.
I’ll go through the suspect list one by one, starting with the most obvious suspects and trickling down to the least likely culprits. Andy Ronson – the world leader in the tech industry – is a devoted developer of AI – ‘alternative intelligence,’ as he prefers calling it.
Andy and his wife, Lee, actually organized the entire retreat, inviting people separately to come to Iceland with them and discuss potential technological responses to the ever-looming climate crisis. We have no idea who was invited by Andy and who was invited by Lee, but we do know a couple of things that make Andy, essentially, the prime suspect.
First, we know that Bill is now known to the world as FANGS – one of the most famous political artists and activists who fight technology and the development of AI that’s slowly replacing humankind in all aspects of life. Naturally, a person like that would be a great threat and enemy to someone like Andy, who is his polar opposite – a tech billionaire focusing on the development of AI.
Another reason why Andy Ronson could be the culprit behind Bill’s murder is the fact that the Internet is literally full of photos of his wife, Lee, and Bill together in public. We still don’t know what the relationship between Lee and Bill was, but the fact that they were seen together so many times is enough for a tech giant to want to get rid of FANGS.
After all, it’s not a good look for his wife to hang out with her husband’s enemy, right? To add to it, not even an initial investigation was conducted after Bill’s death, and Andy was quick and adamant to conclude that it was an accidental overdose that killed Bill. He even invited everyone to stay at the retreat despite Bill’s death.
I bet more will be revealed about Andy’s potential involvement in Bill’s death in the following episodes, but this is more than enough for us to put him at the top of the suspect list. That being said, the real killer isn’t always the prime suspect…
I think it is evident that Lee was the one to invite Bill to the retreat, not Andy (maybe we’ll be proven otherwise, but that seems to be the case for now). They share a history together, as was discovered by Darby when she found all those photos of Lee and Bill together on the Internet. But if Lee and Bill were friends, why would she kill him?
Well, the first thing – and it’s a long shot, but bear with me – is the question of Zoomer – Lee and Andy’s boy. He’s almost six years old, whereas Bill and Darby haven’t spoken in just over six years. What if Zoomer isn’t Andy’s kid at all? What if he’s Bill’s, and he found that out somehow? The timelines match, and it would explain the seemingly close relationship between Bill and Lee.
There was also that scene during dinner where Bill seemed particularly fond of Zoomer. Perhaps he’s just good with kids, but then Andy quickly called upon Zoomer to move away from Bill. Maybe he found something out, too. Here’s my theory about the murder.
Lee invited Bill to the retreat and shared a plan with him to get rid of Andy, one way or another. Bill agrees, but then they find out that Andy invited Darby to the retreat as well. Seeing that Bill still has feelings for Darby – after all, he did want to share something important with her before he died – Lee panics, thinking he’ll reveal the plan to Darby.
That would become a loose end, even if Darby agrees not to tell anyone and lets everything play out. So, before he can say anything, Lee kills Bill and makes it look like an overdose. However, she still needed to check if she had left any clues behind, which is why we saw her in Bill’s room later with gloves on.
I might be wrong about Zoomer or Lee’s motifs, but I strongly believe she’s the culprit, and she’s just leading Darby and her investigation down the wrong path.
Ziba would be an obvious suspect. She’s an activist, just like Bill, and has somewhat of an infatuation with him and his work as FANGS. She even states that the only reason why she accepted the invitation was a chance to meet FANGS. We also see her on the ring camera in front of Bill’s room the night he was killed.
But then again, what would her motive for murdering Bill be? Sure, she was infatuated with his work, but that meant he would protect him at all costs, not kill him. I reckon she was in front of his room because she wanted to get to know him, not kill him. Also, she wasn’t the only person seen on the camera.
There was David (next on our list), and there was the masked figure, which we have no idea who it was.
Another guy we’ve seen in front of Bill’s room on the ring camera is David, the brash, cocky Argentinian-American businessman. We don’t really know a lot about him from the first two episodes, other than him being kind of a douche, but apart from him having a phone conversation in the hallway in front of Bill’s room, there’s nothing else that would make him a suspect.
Perhaps we’ll learn more about who he is, what he does, and why FANGS might be at his crosshairs, but so far, I don’t believe he had anything to do with the murder itself. That is if he wasn’t a part of some greater plot where everyone was actually involved, like in ‘Murder on the Orient Express.’
Todd & Marius
This is yet another far-fetched theory, but we have to mention these two. Todd is Andy’s head of security, and Marius is the hotel manager. As such, both would have access to the hotel’s master key and all the bedrooms, making it easy for them to get rid of Bill. Also, as the head of security, who knows how many times Todd had made things look like an accident or a suicide for Andy.
Another reason to suspect Todd may be his impromptu appearance in a small bookstore where Darby presented her first book. He explained it away as simply being a fan of true crime stories, but knowing who he’s working for, I doubt his appearance there was purely accidental. Time will tell.
Martin, the successful, kind filmmaker, may be far down on the suspect list, but I’m not counting him out – not in the least. He could very well be the guy who wanted Bill out of the picture. There was this scene where Martin praised AI and the use of AI to create art – he gave an example with ‘Harry Potter written in Hemingway’s style.’
He believes that AI art is still art, even if it means replacing human artists over time. I found it hard to believe that a filmmaker – who is also an artist – could have this kind of an attitude in the first place, but you can see why FANGS – a human artist speaking out against technology and AI – could have differences with Martin – a human artist praising that very same thing.
Yes, the AI software that picked Darby up, and that’s present in each of the guest’s rooms, might be the culprit behind Bill’s murder. I know it’s super far-fetched but bear with me.
When introducing Ray, Andy said that this would be a new project – an AI that transcends what we know about AI to that point. He also said that this would be Ray’s trial week – the duration of the retreat. But what if Ray wasn’t just a digital, virtual AI software? What if a physical Ray actually exists and is ready to be rolled out for a test run?
After all, Andy seems to be very close with Oliver – another guest of the retreat who’s dubbed as a pioneer in robotics. Perhaps the two worked together to make Ray, not just a virtual AI but a physical one as well. Maybe Ray was sent to kill Bill and make it look like an accident, or perhaps he went rogue and killed the artist on his own. It’s a crazy theory, but it’s still plausible.
Sian & Lu Mei
I’ve put Sian and Lu Mei on the list below anyone else because I believe they are the least suspicious of the bunch – but still, there were pointers to suggest they could be involved in Bill’s murder.
Sian is a doctor and an astronaut and was one of the first people to come and help Darby after she found Bill. Sian tried hard to administer CPR but failed. Seeing that she really tried, it’s highly unlikely that she’d be the killer, right? Well, perhaps she was just in on the whole thing – and one particular thing made me think that.
If she is a doctor, why would Sian be so easily ready to dub the death as an overdose? As a doctor, you’d think she’d know that the vast majority of addicts inject themselves in their non-dominant arm – unlike Bill. There were also no fingerprints on the syringe – not even Bill’s – so why would Sian believe it to be an accidental overdose? That kind of makes her suspicious.
As for Lu Mei, there was nothing that would make you think she was involved other than the fact that she builds smart cities powered with AI in China, and FANGS is a guy who opposes such technology. Perhaps Lu Mei is a silent but deadly character who seems so kind and friendly until she shows how ruthless she actually is. Everything is possible.
Last but not least – what if Darby was actually the one to kill Bill – she just doesn’t know it yet? Yes, it’s the most unlikely theory, but knowing the history of Brit Marling (who portrays Lee) and Zal Batmanglij – the creators of the show – and the history of their previous projects, time travel is something they love to implement as a plot twist that makes you think back on the entire show.
They did so in their (unfortunately) canceled show, ‘The OA’ (although it wasn’t as straightforward as simple time travel), their movie ‘Sound of My Voice,’ as well as their debut short film called ‘The Recordist.’
Their history speaks for itself, so what if Darby used her tech skills to try and solve the murder but then ended in a loop that had her become the culprit? It’s crazy, but maybe it’s crazy enough for a show like this to actually be true.
Naturally, I will update this article as soon as new information comes out with each episode. The next one – Episode 3 – is set to premiere on November 21, 2023, exclusively on FX, Hulu, or Disney+, depending on where you live.
Have something to add? Let us know in the comments below!