‘Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One’ Ending Explained: How It Sets up Part Two?

mission impossible dead reckoning part one banner 2

It’s been five years since ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’ premiered in theaters. And after five years of waiting, the high-octane action franchise starring and produced by Tom Cruise finally returns with the seventh installment, ‘Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One,’ the first part of the alleged two-part finale of the franchise. Even though the writer/director Christopher McQuarrie and Cruise recently said that ‘Dead Reckoning Part Two’ might not be the franchise’s finale after all, we’ll worry about that later. For now, let’s see what this newest installment offered us and how it sets up the upcoming ‘Part Two,’ which is set to arrive on June 28, 2024.

During the last 27 years, we watched Ethan Hunt save the world and his loved ones numerous times. He visited many exotic locations worldwide, and although he caused many headaches to his bosses, there’s no denying that Hunt always gets the job done, even though his methods and his playing by his own rules have also put him against some of his own several times.

Now, the seventh installment brings us that again; Ethan Hunt saving the world and facing his biggest challenge yet as he’s playing the game of cat and mouse with both the bad guys and the good guys who find him a bad guy. This time, all bets are off!

The following paragraphs contain spoilers for ‘Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One.’ Keep reading at your own risk!

Ethan Hunt is caught in the biggest cat-and-mouse game he was ever involved!

Right from the first sequence, the movie tells us what will be a threat and the ultimate MacGuffin during the entire run. The Artificial Intelligence of the Russian submarine turns against the crew and malfunctions the instruments to make the submarine sink itself at the bottom of the sea. This Artificial Intelligence eventually evolves into something called the Entity, which can be described as a digital act of god during the entire movie.

With AI as the main villain, the stakes are immediately higher than ever. And although he’s the only one who can get the mission done, Ethan Hunt will also need to watch for the other agents, led by Jasper Briggs, who are looking for him after he went rogue for the purpose of this mission. His mission is to find two parts of the key that can put the Entity under control.

The problem is that every world power country wants to get its hand on the Entity to weaponize it, while Hunt seeks to destroy it so that no one could use it ever.


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While he’s the most wanted person in the world, Hunt reunites with Ilsa Faust, who has one part of the key. Ilsa is also wanted, and after they fake her death to make her disappear from the bounty hunters’ radar, Hunt assembles his old team, Luther and Benji, and goes to the airport in Abu Dhabi, hoping to retrieve the key’s second part. Apart from Briggs and his team looking for him at the airport, an additional problem arises when a skilled thief and pickpocketer, Grace, arrives at the airport and steals the second part of the key.

The whole mess starts when Benji finds a bomb at the airport, Ethan is forced to flee from Briggs, and Grace escapes to a plane to Rome. However, when Grace arrives in Rome, she is arrested by the local police. Hunt arrives soon after and, acting as her lawyer, questions her about who hired her to steal the part of the key.

Briggs arrives to hunt Hunt (pun not intended) down, which eventually turns into a large chasing sequence across the streets of Rome, involving Ethan and Grace, who are handcuffed together, as well as the local police, Briggs, and Paris, a French assassin who works for Gabriel, a human representative of the Entity.

As it turns out that Grace stole the fake part of the Key in Abu Dhabi, the sequence ends when she steals the real part Ethan got from Ilsa. Grace leaves Ethan handcuffed in a car and escapes.

As Ethan Hunt finds out about Garbiel, he remembers the past they share from his days before the IMF. The next step? Go to a meeting in Venice where Grace is supposed to meet her hirer: Alanna Mitsopolis, also known as the White Widow.

mission impossible dead reckoning part one handcuffs

In Venice, Ethan and Ilsa attend the meeting where Grace meets the White Widow, and Gabriel is there as well. The White Widow reveals that she hired Grace to get the key so that she could sell it to one of the countries for her immunity. Surprisingly, Gabriel is calm the entire time while assuring everyone that, no matter what happens, he’ll have the key in the end.

Grace escapes as the fighting breaks loose, and Ethan follows her while Benji tells him where to go. However, the Entity hacks Ethan’s comms and leads him far away from one Venice bridge where Grace and Ilsa confront Gabriel. As Gabriel said to Ethan earlier that one of them will die, he kills Ilsa and leaves the scene.

With Ilsa dead and Grace now exposed to all of her enemies. Hunt’s team offers her a choice; she can either flee, which would quickly result in her death or imprisonment, or she could join them in the IMF.

Grace uses the mask of the White Widow to enter the train where she’s supposed to exchange the key with the buyer, who turns out to be Eugene Kittridge, the former director of IMF, who we haven’t seen since the original ‘Mission: Impossible’ movie in 1996.

Since he’s unable to wear a mask as the White Widow’s henchman, Hunt takes the motorcycle, jumps from the top of the mountain, and uses the parachute to land on a moving plane. Grace meets Kittridge, but soon after, she pickpockets him to retrieve the key again after Kittridge makes sure the key is real.

However, Gabriel is also on the train, and he takes the key and actives the bombs on the upcoming bridge to destroy the train. However, after escaping, Garbiel realizes that Ethan took the key back, enraging Garbiel.

As the bridge blows up, Ethan and Grace are trying to get out of the train as each car slowly goes down. At the last moment, Paris arrives and saves them because Ethan spared her life after their fight in Venice. Paris reveals to Ethan that the key unlocks the submarine from the beginning of the movie, where the Entitiy’s source code is, which is the only thing that can stop it. Ethan uses his equipment to escape, while Grace meets Kittridge and offers her skills to work for the IMF.


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How ‘Dead Reckoning Part One’ sets up ‘Part Two’?

While everyone in the movie was chasing that key, knowing that it could put the Entity under control, no one actually knew where that certain lock was, apart from Gabriel. Now, Hunt knows where he needs to go, and who knows what kind of crazy stunt he’ll need to pull off to get to the Entity’s source code at the bottom of the sea.

This year, we’ve already had two movies that finished on cliffhangers to prepare the stage for the next sequel. ‘Fast X’ and ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ both finished basically in the middle of the scene to create anticipation for the upcoming conclusion.

However, in ‘Dead Reckoning Part One,’ even though its story will continue in the sequel right where it left off, this movie can still stand on its own and seems more circled.

mission impossible dead reckoning train

The sequel will likely depict Gabriel’s next step after this first defeat against Ethan, and we can’t wait to see what the Entitity will be able to do, particularly because the Entity wanted either Gabriel or Ethan to die on the train so that either Gabriel can’t reveal where the key’s lock is or that Ethan can’t finish his mission.

Grace will definitely return in the next installment, but it remains to be seen in what way, although it seems way too obvious that she will become a member of Ethan’s IMF team. As for Paris, although she was close to her last breath in her last scene, it appears that she might return as well.

And on top of it all, although Ilsa was killed off in this movie, Rebecca Ferguson reportedly signed for both ‘Dead Reckoning’ movies, so it remains to be seen what the sequel has in store for her.

Basically, the entire cast of ‘Dead Reckoning Part One’ will return in ‘Part Two,’ and considering that the sequel is less than a year away, the fans surely can’t wait to see the closure of Ethan Hunt’s biggest adventure yet. Christopher McQuarrie also returns as the writer and director. Ever since he first joined the franchise in Rogue Nation, he has been doing a great job, and we do not doubt that ‘Dead Reckoning Part Two’ will be equally, and likely even more epic than this one.


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‘Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part Two’ is scheduled to be released on June 28, 2024.

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