Netflix’s I Am Mother ending explained: Who is Woman?

I Am Mother on Netflix via Media Center
I Am Mother on Netflix via Media Center /

I Am Mother is now streaming on Netflix and if you’ve seen it, you’re likely wondering what just happened. Let’s break it down!

Spoiler alert: Obviously, since we’ll be discussing the events that happen in Netflix’s movie I Am Mother, there are massive spoilers ahead. Watch the movie first before reading forward.

If you’re thinking whoa, what just happened? We are right there with you! And if from the beginning of the movie, you thought “huh…Hilary Swank and Clara Rugaard look so similar. It’s like a young and older version of the same person” and chuckled that thought away, it’s probably the first thing that rushed back to you as the movie ended. This was no casting coincidence.

Are they clones? Is Woman an early version of an activated embryo by Mother? The movie isn’t direct with its answers, but it does give viewers enough strong hints to piece everything together ourselves. Need some help? We’re here for you!

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When Woman shares her story with Daughter, we learn she was adopted by a couple of humans who survived the disasters. Eventually, however, everyone around Woman dies, either due to the condition Earth is now in or killed by a droid.

Woman doesn’t mention much about her birth parents, but we dismiss it thinking it’s the end of the world and some things aren’t relevant, but we were wrong.

At the end of the movie, Daughter is able to convince Mother to allow her to raise Brother on her own. Mother sees in Daughter a worthy human, capable of taking over things from here, and agrees.

Mother leaves to find Woman and successfully tracks her down. Mother then asks Woman if she ever wonders why she can’t remember her birth parents or how she doesn’t find it strange that she’s the only one who has survived this long.

MORE: Netflix’s I Am Mother is a beautifully acted and stylish sci-fi

I Am Mother on Netflix via Media Center
I Am Mother on Netflix via Media Center /

Mother tells Woman she has served her purpose and closes the door behind them, insinuating she’s going to kill her.

Back at the bunker, Daughter finds three embryos missing. It turns out, according to our theory, Daughter is the third human attempt from Mother. Woman was the first, and the second are the ashes Daughter finds earlier in the movie.

The AI robot, Mother, is also the conscious of all other droids, and the cause of the apocalypse. She explains to Daughter that humans are disastrous and Earth needed a reset button badly. Mother’s solution was to raise a worthy human, and she seems to find that in Daughter.

Daughter shows initiative, a desire to nurture other humans, and she’s loving and caring. She’s special, as Mother says. Mother sees a perfect human model in Daughter, and is fine with allowing her to care for the new baby.

Woman, on the other hand, is capable of adapting (which is why she’s still alive), but she is selfish, a liar, and will do what it takes to save her own life. Woman lied to Daughter about there being more people, and she chose not to return and help Daughter save her baby brother.

Instead of joining Mother and Daughter at the bunker (because Mother truly did give her a chance), Woman prefers to be a loner and take her chances outside than help build the world up. Clearly, Mother’s first test-run, Woman, is a failure. She’s not worthy, so Mother kills her. The only purpose Woman served was to further prove to Mother how special Daughter is.

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I’m not sure what went wrong with the second human, though. I may need to rewatch the movie for clues or something I missed. For all we know, it could have been a birth defect.

In the end, Mother was telling the truth. Her priorities are humans and she values human life above all else — those worthy enough, at least.

I Am Mother is now streaming on Netflix.