Welcome to the Ending Explained for The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker, a new Netflix documentary that explores the rise of fame of Kai. A young homeless man who got himself involved in saving a woman from a man going through a horrible psychotic breakdown. Kai became famous instantly thanks to the power of YouTube and social media, but it seems this also accelerated his descent into darkness until he finally committed one of the ultimate sins and was arrested for it.
The documentary tries to explore Kai’s past by doing several interviews with family members, as well as the people who took him on his 15 minutes of fame. It seems like Kai’s story is one that repeats itself and one that could become more and more common thanks to the rise of social media and its importance in people’s lives. The documentary does a solid job exploring these subjects but does very little to set itself apart from countless other documentaries on Netflix or anywhere else.
The following paragraphs contain spoilers for The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker. Read at your own risk.
Why Did Kai Become Famous?
The documentary starts by introducing us to Jessob, a reporter for the local news in Fresno, California. One day, just like any other day, he is sent to cover the daily news. This is the first time Jessob does this, as he was mainly a sports reporter at the time. So he goes to the streets and finds this car accident where a man was saying very racist things while also claiming he was Jesus Christ. When Jessob arrives on the scene, he finds out that the woman is safe thanks to the involvement of a young man who is clearly homeless.
Jessob approaches this young man and asks if he can give an interview. The young man accepts, and the result is one charming interview. The young man, named Kai, explains how he saw that the man was about to crack the woman’s neck, and so he picked up his hatchet and smashed it against the man until he released her. The police, of course, arrive soon at the scene, and the man was arrested. However, the interview was so charming, and Kai came out of it so well, that soon everyone was talking about him.
Later that day, Jessob did something that would change everything for Kai and for him as well. He decided to upload the entire interview that they had recorded with Kai on YouTube. The next day, when Jessob wakes up, the entire world has changed and the video has gone viral. Kai has become a hero on the internet, and Jessob’s email account is full, as he is the only person who knows how to contact Kai. Everyone wants an interview with Kai or offers him deals and such. Jessob tracks Kai, and they have a new interview just as charming as the first one.
TV producers get involved as Jessob explains to Kai that now he is famous, really famous, and there are many options on the table for him. He might be able to go to Jimmy Kimmel’s show, have a reality show, and do many more things. Kai has the opportunity to change his life. Sadly, he steps away from it, and what happens later is even sadder.
Why Is Kai In Jail?
Kai became famous very quickly. He was often recognized on the streets, and this opened the door for people to be very kind to him. However, it was evident that Kai was more than just a kind and innocent-looking guy. There was a darkness in him, and it was not pretty at all. Kai proved to be a drunk, and he also couldn’t really focus on anything. His lack of attention to things made it clear that working with him on a TV show would have been impossible. Producers still tried, but nothing really came to light.
It wasn’t much later when things started to come out. Kai said he didn’t have a family, but in reality, he does, including a mother who is currently alive. It seems that he had a very harsh childhood and decided to leave his home very early. Kai is a musician and a talented one at that. But his personality was aggressive, and his lack of manners would make other people uncomfortable. It seems that Kai had lived so long on the streets that he might have forgotten how to treat people, if he ever had in the first place, of course.
Jessob and other people involved with Kai and his heroic event were contacted just three months later when the police from New York were looking for Kai, as he was the prime suspect in a murder case. People were not surprised because it was clear that there was rage inside Kai. It seems that Kai ends up killing an old man named Joe, who bought him a train ticket some days before. Kai declares that he was drugged and raped by the old man and that his reaction was violent, but Kai never denied that he did attack the man.
Kai is now in prison for murder, and he still claims he was raped and drugged and that he should be given the chance to claim that it was self-defense.