End “No”, explained: Is OJ Haywood able to get rid of the UFO? Does Emerald get her “Opera Shot”?
“No,” the 2022 sci-fi thriller, is written and directed by Jordan Peele. The film stars Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, Brandon Perea, Steven Yeun and Michael Wincott in the lead roles. Much like Pelé’s early adventures, “No”, too, tries to speak metaphorically about various socio-political issues. Jordan Peele delves into a lot and delivers an intriguing narrative that would not only captivate you through its visuals, but leave you with a lot to ponder.
Plot Summary ‘No’: What is the film about?
OJ Haywood was talking to his father, Otis Haywood Sr., as he stood on their own ranch, overlooking a vast expanse of land. Suddenly, OJ heard a peculiar noise, which he thought was the usual gust of wind. He looked around but couldn’t see anything. There was something falling from the sky. He could see his father sitting on a horse. The horse started to walk and Otis Haywood Sr. fell from it. OJ ran to see his father. The debris falling from the sky had seriously injured his father. His right eye was nearly damaged because something had pierced inside. OJ took his father and drove as fast as he could to the nearest hospital. But he couldn’t save his old man. He and his sister, Emerald, were heartbroken by the loss, and they were never able to determine exactly what happened that day. How come debris started falling from the sky all of a sudden? How come the lights started to flicker and finally went out? There had to be an explanation for this, but OJ couldn’t find it at the time. Life went on and OJ and Emerald took over the Haywood Hollywood Horses Ranch, the business they inherited from their father.
OJ used to rent his horses for film shoots and made money from it. On one of these shoots, we get a glimpse of OJ’s behavioral traits. There was a distinct difference between the personalities of the siblings. Emerald was more outspoken, while OJ was someone who kept to himself. Communication and interaction were not his strong points. He had to give an introduction about his ranch and the work his family had been doing for several decades, but there was a clear hesitation on his face. It was as if he had been placed in the most uncomfortable situation. Luckily for him, Emerald arrived just in time and introduced the family business. Emerald is lively and her energy is contagious. Filming did not go well for the Haywoods, and once again OJ found himself short of funds to cope with his financial situation. He went to meet Ricky “Skirt” Park, who ran a theme park called Jupiter Claims. OJ sold his horses to Jupe because it was the only way to make money. OJ loved his horses and told Em that one day he would buy them all back. Jupe’s theme park was one of the last theme parks in Agua Dulce, California. Jupe had a lot of fans, as he was once part of a sitcom called “Gordy’s Home”. A disaster had led to the show’s closure, but the fandom still existed. Jupe had a secret memorial room in her office, which contained all of the show’s memorabilia, “Gordy’s Home”. Fans paid a huge sum to get a glimpse, and Jupe was happy to enjoy the legacy of something he was an integral part of. OJ, after selling his horse, went home with Em. That night all of a sudden the lights went out and the horses started to get restless and nervous. OJ and Em didn’t understand exactly what was going on. OJ spotted a huge saucer-like object in the sky. This UFO (as OJ thought) engulfed the horses and other things that came up. Perhaps he was only able to digest living things, as he ended up spitting out the other objects. He pumped the objects with such force that they had the potential to pierce a surface. This is how even OJ’s father met his fateful end. He was hit by an object ejected from the UFO.
What happened at the Gordy Show? Why was Jupe buying horses from OJ?
Jupe and OJ used to do business regularly, but there was one key difference in their approach that separated them. OJ loved his horses. He didn’t want to make them docile or submissive. He treated them like living beings. He gave them the dignity they deserved, even though they were just animals. Skirt, on the other hand, had this belief that he could make any animal or creature comply with his commands. He wanted them to be like a compliant workforce. This belief actually stemmed from an incident that happened on the set of “Gordy’s Home.” The most fascinating aspect of the show was that the cast also included a chimpanzee who played with the other actors. During one such recording, the chimpanzee became violent and attacked the entire cast. It was a massacre on set. Mary Jo Elliot, one of the co-actors, was seriously injured, while the others were likely killed. The chimpanzee, however, never put his finger on Skirt. He approached him and reached out his arm to give him a punch. Just then, animal control officers came and shot the chimpanzee at close range. Blood spattered across Jupe’s face, and he sat there in shock.
From that day on, Jupe may have thought he was the chosen one. He began to believe that he had this gift of taming creatures that belonged to nature. He wanted to do the same with the flying saucer. He bought OJ’s horses for a reason. Jupe had conceptualized a show where he planned to use the horses as bait and allow the flying saucer to come and devour him, in front of a live audience. The act was called Star Lasso Experience and people were willing to pay to watch the show. Jupe was a proud man, for he had found a way to monetize an alien entity, not to mention the things of the world. Mary Jo Elliot had also come to see the show. We can see her disfigured face behind the veil. Skirt didn’t realize he was crossing the line. The flying saucer arrived and sucked up everything that came its way. Jupe, her entire family and the public were swallowed up by the monster. For some reason this left the horse intact. When OJ came to the theme park to pick up his horse, he knew exactly what must have happened.
Explanation of the “No” ending: Is OJ Haywood able to get rid of the UFO? Does Emerald get her “Opera Shot”?
Emerald had an idea the moment she learned that a UFO was winding its way through the sky. She wanted to get the perfect picture of the entity and then sell it on the market. She knew she would make a good sum of it. So they go to a nearby store and buy the CCTV cameras. They met Angel Torres, the store manager, who told them that without him they couldn’t install the cameras. Angel was a tech enthusiast, and he instantly knew there was more to the story than OJ and Emerald chose to tell him. The trio figured out that the alien object was hiding behind a cloud and coming out when it wanted to attack the horses. They tried to trick him into bringing a sculpture of a horse from the theme park in Jupe. Although he swallowed it at first, he eventually spat it out along with the other items.
OJ realized some things about this huge flying saucer that was terrorizing them. It wasn’t a UFO, as he had thought earlier. It was a beast, some kind of alien creature that had taken the form of a UFO but was actually attacking living things. It attacked both horses and humans. OJ also realized he couldn’t do anything unless and until you looked him in the eye. Emerald contacted the cinematographer, Antlers Holst. She tried to convince him to come and help them take that perfect picture. Antlers Holst was unconvinced at first. But as soon as the media started covering the strange happenings, he realized that it might actually turn out to be something intriguing. He brought a non-electric camera and the Haywoods, along with Angel, set a trap for the creature they now called Jean Jacket. But things didn’t go as planned. The situation became chaotic and Jean Jacket attacked with full force. It shot up into the sky in its original form and began to look like a gigantic jellyfish, with its gelatinous tentacles hovering above them. Antlers Holst left his cover and went out in the open to get a clear shot of Jean Jacket. Before he knew it, the creature swallowed him. Angel got tangled in the wire, and it kind of saved him. Jean Jacket started following OJ and Em. OJ kept his cool and stood there facing the beast, while Em drove towards Jupiters Claim. She entered the theme park and cut the strings of a human-shaped helium balloon. The gigantic hot air balloon soared into the sky and distracted Jean Jacket.
Meanwhile, Em still hadn’t given up on the idea of making money from the creature and wanted to capture its image. She went to Winking Well (a theme park facility that had cameras set up at the bottom and was used to click pictures of the audience) and tried to get her perfect shot. Jean Jacket swallowed the balloon. The balloon eventually burst, killing the creature. Em had his perfect shot. She was able to get a clear picture of Jean Jacket using the cameras in the well. OJ also survived and arrived at the entrance of Jupiter’s Claim as a protagonist of one of the neo-westerns.
Themes explored in “No” by Jordan Pelé
Jordan Pelé is one of those directors who likes to depict things with metaphors. In “No”, the director spoke about the innate attitude of human beings to exploit everything that comes their way. Whether it’s fossil fuels, the environment or other human beings, we don’t know where to stop. The chimpanzee could not be solely blamed for becoming violent because it was us who disturbed the delicate balance of the ecosystem. The wild animal was not supposed to be there, just like a concrete jungle is not supposed to be there instead of a real forest. Money is the engine of our society, but it cannot be used as a standard to measure everything and everyone. There are things you can’t fix with money. Skirt was looking to make a profit by trying to mine things the nature of which he did not fully understand. He didn’t know the bad effect it could have, or maybe he did and turned a blind eye, just like we do when someone talks about climate change and the impact of our daily practices on this one.
The director also attempted to show how credit was never given to the black community for his contribution to the film industry. Em, while introducing his family business, during filming tells the cast and crew on set that we all knew Eadweard Muybridge, who created the first movie ever made (The Galloping Horse), but we don’t had no idea which jockey rode that horse. She says it was her ancestor who put her together and became the first actor to star in a movie.
There’s meaning behind every shot in the film, and you can only admire the effort put into each scene and the authenticity it tries to achieve in its execution. “No” is a complex thriller that not only keeps you on edge, but also speaks volumes through its visuals and characters.
“No” is a 2022 sci-fi drama film directed by Jordan Pele.