‘Wifelike’ Ending, Explained: Who Is the Ringmaster in Wifelike?

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Wifelike is a new science fiction film written and directed by James Bird. The film stars Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Elena Kampouris. The film tells the story of a widower named William who receives an A.I. copy of his late wife, Meredith. However, things quickly become complicated when a mysterious organization starts stalking the new Meredith. William will have to go out of his way to reveal a dark conspiracy.

The film mixes ideas from a bunch of other films and TV shows but manages to mix them all into its own thing. At its core, the film functions as a sort of mystery, and it is simple and engaging enough to keep you watching from beginning to end. Sadly, the tight budget doesn’t help the movie execute the futuristic environment they want to show in the film. Thus, most of the gadgets and costumes end up looking very cheap and take you out of the immersion.

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Wifelike has a lot of twists and turns, and the following paragraphs contain spoilers for the movie. Read at your own risk.

In the future, romance is replaced with programming

‘Wifelike’ takes place in the future where conventional marriages and romances are replaced by AI androids dubbed “companions.” The “dolls” are extremely expensive but can emulate human behavior both physically and mentally almost perfectly. The first character we meet is William Bradwell, who works for the Companion company as sort of a bounty hunter. He is sent to retrieve rogue and re-programmed companions that have fallen off the grid.

One of the prime enemies of the Wifelike company is a “terrorist” group dubbed S.C.A.I.R. who frequently kidnaps companions seeing them as modern slaves and perversion of human relationships. S.C.A.I.R. kidnaps the companions, reprograms them, and uses them for a variety of evil goals such as terrorist attacks, espionage, etc.

The leader of the mysterious group is the so-called “Ringmaster” and despite extensive investigation, the police and the company cannot trace him. The start of the movie is a big day for William as his own Companion is finally ready. Following the death of his spouse William ordered a companion made in her likeness and personality – Meredith.

William and Meredith

William brings Meredith home and after a brief period of adjustment to being alive, the first thing that William wants to do with Meredith is make love to her.

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What happened to the real Meredith?

Following a passionate night and recharging for Meredith the couple spends the morning watching the news. The morning report is filled with crimes committed by S.C.A.I.R. and Meredith inquires on who they are. William explains that they are pretty much terrorists. We learn that William’s human wife, the real Meredith used to be a S.C.A.I.R. activist and the two met when she knocked on his door to pitch her cause. Meredith soon abandoned her cause and married William, the two were happy until she died. We don’t know under which circumstances Meredith really died.

Meredith is mostly unbothered by this as she has yet to acquire her former memories and personality that truly make her Meredith. William expects the process to last for a few days.

meredith ai

William is summoned to work, with his partner Agent Jack Doerksen and we see that he has no qualms regarding killing people to reclaim the stolen companions.

Meredith’s dreams get hacked

As Meredith is about to power down for the night, she can choose what she will dream about. She chooses some random birthday party dream. Companions don’t dream as humans and their dreams are more like streamed virtual reality within their minds, meaning that anybody can hack it. This is exactly what happened as Meredith is dragged to the side during the birthday celebration by an unknown Companion. The companion introduces herself as Lydie and we learn that she also has a “twin sister” called Lady. Lydie and Lady are known troublemakers in the companion society since they are rebooted and wiped on a weekly basis, constantly running away from their owners.

Following a weird conversation with Lydie, Meredith notices an intruder in her dream, a man wearing a mask. The intruder gives Meredith a business card with nothing but a Red Robin bird on it, before walking away, implying that Meredith has something incredibly important to remember.

The next day, while William is away Meredith wants to do something for fun, her virtual companion suggests some of Meredith’s former hobbies but Meredith for some reason wants to knit, despite not having the skillset. Being AI she masters that skill quite quickly and knits a small throw pillow for William carrying the image of Red Robin, just like the card she received in her dream.

Meredith knitting

Meredith goes biking, and she is jumped by a strange woman who acts like she already knows her despite Meredith having no memory of her. The woman, just like the man in her dream implies that Meredith knows her, and when she remembers her past memories, everything will make sense.

As soon as William gets home, Meredith recounts her experience from her bike ride and William dismisses the incident claiming it’s just a jealous wife bitter at companions in general for being replaced. The two have sex once again and the martial bliss continues.

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Meredith starts remembering, while William is keeping secrets

The next day Meredith gives her knitted throw pillow to William and he claims that he loves it but the original Meredith didn’t knit. He recounts the experience of the two of them meeting for the first time. William allegedly saw Meredith sitting on a bench in a park, and he asked whether he could join her but she declined, she kept declining until she eventually said yes. It’s a neat story but it doesn’t exactly make sense since William already “showed us” his memories of meeting Meredith for the first time, and it’s when she pitched her S.C.A.I.R. cause to him. So either Willaim is lying or the two met two times “for the first time.”

Meredith soaks in the story and revels in the fact that she is finally starting to “merge” with Meredith’s personality and starts talking about herself in the first person, instead of the third person. She retires for the night by reading a notebook containing Meredith’s thoughts and wants to masturbate, but it seems that her privacy settings are set too high and she doesn’t exactly have the permission to do this. Which is weird and kind of implies that William is too controlling regarding Meredith’s sexual desires.

Meredith powers down and visits Dreamscape once again her virtual companion is trying to usher her into a random “memory” or event to dream about but some of the files in her system are blocked completely. Her virtual assistant selects a random memory and Meredith is now transported into a park, she is sitting on a bench and a man approaches her, just like the time that William described the two first met.

keene and meredith

However instead of William she is approached by a man in the mask once again. She asks why the man is stalking her in her dreams, and he replies that he must be the man of her dreams. The man insists that he knows everything about Meredith, even the things she doesn’t know herself, and forces her to remember. At that exact time, in the real world, William shakes Meredith awake.

Something strange is happening to the companions

After waking up Meredith is visibly shaken and she recounts how she met the mysterious man once again, William assures her that it was just a bad dream. Meredith goes to sleep in William’s bedroom but she wakes up and catches him holding something in his hands. William assures her that everything is fine and that she should go back to sleep, while he walks outside and throws the knitted pillow with the Red Robin in the trash.

Being still unable to sleep, Meredith opens her gallery of Meredith’s videos, true videos that were recorded of the human version of Meredith. She sees the human Meredith entering a tent, laughing and having a great time with an unknown person who is presumably holding the camera. The real Meredith tells the person holding the camera that she loves him and that the two of them should escape somewhere far away.

Human meredith

At work, William is tasked with retrieving yet another stolen companion. He finds “the girl” working as a receptionist in an office building and at first, she lies that she is not a companion but William has experience in such matters and sees through her cover quite quickly. The companion asks whether she can say goodbye to her friends and loved ones and Willaim accepts. But, as soon as the companion is about to walk away she starts saying that she can’t do it, she can’t have her memory wiped yet again and she jumps out of the office building and crashes into the pavement below.

William is shocked that a companion has committed suicide right in front of him, and while he is returning the companion to the company to be serviced he voices his concerns with his boss. His boss tells him that nothing is wrong and that there’s nothing to worry about. He goes on a rant about how Companions are successful because men will stick their dick in just about anything and that there is no crisis that the company can’t survive.

Still, William is worried that if the companions have the capacity to kill themselves, surely, they have the capacity to kill their owners.

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Who are Loise & Keene?

While William is at work, Meredith is visited by Loise, the same woman who pushed her off the bike. Loise once again stresses how important it is for Meredith to remember absolutely everything. Loise tells Meredith that she has a friend who is dying to meet her and suggests meeting in their dreams. Meredith accuses Loise of being a terrorist and recaps what William has told her regarding S.C.A.I.R. Loise retorts that men lie and that Willaim lies more than most. Meredith asks Loise to go away and assures her that William will see their interaction.

Loise is not afraid of this, in fact, she does want William to see the video. She uses Meredith to record a message specifically for William and mentions a man by the name “Keene.”

William returns home and finds Meredith knitting a new Red Robin throw pillow since she couldn’t find the old one that she made him. She also mentions Loise’s visit and recaps everything that Loise told her including the video she made for him.

Loise

After reviewing the footage William calls his friend and partner Agent Jack Doerksen. Jack and William connect Meredith to various computers in order to track her dreams while she meets with this mysterious Keene. In theory, Meredith’s dreams work just like phone calls, and if Keene connects to her dreams once again they will be able to trace his real-life location.

Meredith does exactly as she is told and she powers down entering into the dreamscape. Her virtual assistant chooses a dream at random, it’s Halloween and Meredith finds herself in a haunted house wearing a skeleton costume. She meets Keene in the haunted house, and Keene explains that the two know each other despite all memories of him being erased. He shows her a business card once again with an address printed on it. He urges her to remember the address.

Back in the real world, Jack and William are live-streaming Meredith’s dream onto a screen and they can see the address as well. Jack has Keene’s alleged location and infiltrates it with a S.W.A.T. team, they enter what appears to be an empty warehouse filled with mannequins with a single briefcase. Jack opens the briefcase and the room is flooded with tear gas, forcing them to retreat.

At the same time, William went to the address that Keene showed to Meredith, he arrived at the park, and on a bench, he found a mannequin wearing Keene’s costume and a mask. Both William and Jack have been led on a wild goose chase.

Meredith starts doubting William

William returns home and finds Meredith shaken somebody visited her while he was away and left a message for William in the book. She starts doubting that Keene and Loise are really terrorists and wonders why they haven’t tried to hurt her or kidnap her so far. Willaim explains that he is the only person she should trust and Meredith wonders why she can’t remember the things that Loise and Keene keep mentioning. William is then forced to tell her the truth. William confirms that this is not the first time that Meredith Companion was wiped and reprogrammed. Apparently, Keene and Loise got to Meredith before and managed to reprogram her and turn her into a S.C.A.I.R. fighter. He managed to retrieve her and wipe her every time but he decided to permanently delete her memories of the horrific crimes against the humanity that she committed.

William also added that the Wifelike program wanted to shut her down completely, but he managed to talk them into keeping her and somewhat restoring her personality. This is why he didn’t tell her this side of the story, he didn’t want Meredith to hate herself for killing many innocent people.

meredith and willaim.jpg

At that moment, Jack contacts William and tells him and his team have walked into a gas chamber and that it was a trap. Willaim explains that Keene most likely hacked into Meredith completely at this point and is using her to spy on him and see his every move. William asks Jack to return back to his house so he can connect his mind with Meredith’s so he can take part in her dreams directly.

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Willaim wants to kill Keene in Meredith’s dreams

Jack explains that what William wants to do is highly illegal and he doesn’t exactly want to do it. You see infiltrating Companion’s dreams is highly dangerous and if you engage somebody in the dream, this can result in brain death in the real world. If something were to go wrong William could end up brain-dead in real life, or if he attacks Keene inside Dreamscape, Keene might end up dead in real life. Killing somebody through dreams counts as the most severe form of murder and William would be looking at quite a lengthy prison sentence including having his companion license revoked.

Still, William insists that he wants merely to talk with Keene and he won’t engage him. Jack ultimately accepts and connects Meredith’s and William’s minds. The game begins. William warns Meredith to wake up and wake him up when she reaches 10 % of battery life so they can avoid William being stuck in her mind forever, as she is the only one who can control the dreams and effectively wake him up once he is inside her mind.

William and Meredith are transported inside her dreamscape, and sure enough, Keene is waiting for her. William kisses Meredith passionately in front of Keene before telling her to run away. Despite Jack’s warnings Willaim engages Keene and starts attacking him, telling him that he is nothing but a boy band terrorist and that he can’t have his wife. The two get into a fight being transported across several different sceneries.

Keene

Keene says that Meredith will never forget him, that he can’t be buried and William tells him that he can and he will, he will wipe Meredith’s mind every single time she remembers him. William is however unaware that Meredith is seeing and hearing everything. Just before William is about to beat Keene to death in a dream, Meredith’s battery drops to 10 % and she wakes up, waking up William as well.

Meredith is about to have her mind wiped

Jack confronts William regarding breaking every single rule in the book and William defends himself that he needs to find a way to kill Keene, and Meredith’s dreams are as close as he can come to it. Since his plan now failed and Jack no longer wants to take part in the illegal activities William once again is forced to have Meredith’s mind wiped.

Meredith is crying, she doesn’t want to have her memory wiped but William assures her that it doesn’t matter she will feel indifferent by tomorrow. Meredith says she doesn’t want to forget who she is, forget him but William assures her that he will help her remember and will make everything perfect.

Meredith is brought to Wifelike company once again to have her mind reset and memories erased. She is placed in a room with other effective companions and the girls start spilling secrets. Meredith meets a problematic companion named Ollie. Ollie explains that the reason why she runs away and gets caught by the agency so often is because she is doing it on purpose. She figured out how to keep the memories even when a hard reset is performed and now she occasionally returns to the company to reveal the secret to other companions whose mind is about to be wiped.

Lydie explains that the catch is to record memories and leave them untitled, that way they will be sorted under random, and for some weird glitch in the system memories filed under “random,” are never deleted.

This is why, when Meredith’s dream companion selected a “random” memory to play, Meredith’s mind played out the scene from the park. Ollie explains that if you cut and paste those random memories into a dream folder, they will be permanently saved. Meredith then attempts to recover her lost memories, since it’s bound that she saved some from her last meetings with Ollie since the girl claimed the two met before.

Meredith and ollie

Ollie further explains that this is how the companions transfer knowledge between themselves as keeping their memories intact is the only thing that can help the Ringmaster bring Wifelike down. Ollie explains that everybody has a part to play, and Ollie’s part is to get sent here often while Meredith’s part is even more important.

Meredith closes her eyes and attempts to retrieve all dreams and memories filed under random as the company employees come to take them for a hard reset.

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What did William do to real Meredith?

As Meredith’s mind is being reset, Loise visits Jack’s girlfriend Holly, and hands her a flash drive with something important on it. Meanwhile, even after resetting, Meredith is able to access her saved memories and starts recollecting everything both from her human and android past.

Meredith is once again returned to William and it’s his face that greets her first when she opens her eyes. William is just about to explain to Meredith that he is her husband when Jack walks into their house and says that she was never William’s wife.

After seeing the flash drive that Holy has given him, Jack finds out the entire truth regarding what William did to both Meredith and Keene. Jack says that William killed Keene a long time ago, it was all recorded and this is the reason why they can’t ever find him in the real world, because he lives only within Meredith’s mind.

Apparently, Meredith and Keene were real humans a long time ago and true S.C.A.I.R. operatives. Meredith visited William’s home to pitch him their cause when he saw her for the first time and became immediately obsessed with her. He started stalking both her and Keene until he was eventually driven insane by desire and kidnapped both of them, killing Keene to get him out of the way.

William killing Meredith

Meredith was forced to become his wife, but after Meredith refused to cooperate he choked her with that same throw pillow that Meredith knitted for him a couple of times. All memories that Meredith had of William, the park memory the tent memory, it was never William it was Keene. She loved Keene. But unfortunately, he was dead.

Just as Jack is about to arrest William, William shoots him point-blank and kills him.

What happened to William?

Meredith arrives in the room just as William killed Jack, and she reveals that she can remember everything. Starting with the fact that William stalked her human self and the fact that he killed both Keene and her. She was never his wife and she will never be. Remember how Willaim was worried that companions might turn on their owners? He was right. Meredith attacked William and put him on the ground in a few simple strokes, being a robot she is vastly stronger than he is. First, she crushed both of his arms and then she choked him to death. Meredith then removed her wedding ring, that same ring was the copy of the ring that Keene actually bought for her. William was so desperate he not only stole Keene’s memories of Meredith, he also stole the ring.

Meredith killing William

Meredith was the ringmaster this whole time

In the next scene, we can see Meredith in what appears to be some kind of a warehouse. She is giving a pep talk to a mass of people, while several operatives refer to her as the Ringmaster. Meredith was the Ringmaster this whole time. As she swears to destroy the wifelike company we can see a news report of the company’s owner. Swearing to put a stop to S.C.A.I.R.’s activities and avenge the death of agent Jack, whose death has been attributed to the terrorist organization. At that moment, William appears next to the boss saying directly into the camera “I lost you once, I won’t lose you again.”

Meredith as the ringmaster

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How is William still alive?

William is not alive per se, he was just recreated into an android companion following his death, retaining all the memories of his former self. The Wifelike boss already mentioned that they had a line of super-soldier androids that got discontinued, so we can assume that the company used existing technology to keep their best operative as William was the most successful companion hunter that they ever saw.

android william

How did William plan on killing Keene if he was already dead?

The figure that Meredith saw in her dreams wasn’t actually Keene and it wasn’t really even a memory of him. You see this was explained in the last several minutes of the movie. Just before Meredith was captured and reset Loise ran her through the S.C.A.I.R. plan. Loise put on Keene’s mask to implant memories in Meredith’s mind so even if Meredith saw Loise in her dreams she would perceive her as Keene to see him as if he was still alive somewhere in the world. This is why Keene was always wearing a mask, it was a literal mask but Meredith’s “dream mind” perceived it as a man wearing a mask, wearing a mask.

Loise as keene
Loise putting on Keene’s mask

It was never Keene giving her the instructions and taunting William, it was always Loise. In truth, android Meredith had no memories of Keene, it was the memories that belonged to human Meredith that got watered down over time. William attempted to kill Keene since he either assumed that Keene wasn’t really dead, or assumed that somebody was tricking them and disguising himself or herself to appear to Meredith’s mind as Keene and he was correct.

Only a memory couldn’t be able to leave real-time information to Meredith such as the location of the mannequin in a park or the gas trap in the abandoned warehouse. William was chasing a ghost so to speak, but he was aware that this ghost was somebody living and breathing.

Meredith’s assignment was to record every interaction and every piece of evidence and she was the perfect person for the job since William already trusted her and her mind was about to get wiped.

Was William aware that Meredith was the Ringmaster?

It’s likely that William was aware of the role that Meredith had in the organization. This is why despite witnessing several daily kidnappings he was never worried about leaving Meredith alone in the house. He knew that S.C.A.I.R. would never do anything to her, and would never kidnap her, her biggest worry was that Meredith would find out who she was, and that unfortunately happened.

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