Reptile Movie Ending Explained:  Who killed Summer Elswick?

The ending of Reptile Movie must have left you in shock, here is what actually happened. Who killed Summer Elswick and why?
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Reptile' (2023) Netflix Movie Review - A Complex Crime Thriller | Midgard  Times

In Reptile, a vicious murderer kills a real estate agent named Summer Elswick (Matilda Lutz) while she is alone at home. Benicio Del Toro’s Detective Tom Nichols is tasked to solve the mystery of the killer’s identity. He finds several clues that keep him on his toes before everything leads to an explosive confrontation that turns his life upside down.

Reptile ends with a classic good-cop, bad-cop encounter that results in the victory of good over evil. It also marks an end to the gradual tension built by the plot as clues are revealed to the audience one after the other. However, no information is verbalized by the detective as viewers need to make their own assumptions in this crime/thriller.

Now streaming on Netflix, Reptile has an audience score of 54%. Even though there are certain symbols that give a wider picture of each character, it is rarely essential to the story. The highlight of the movie is Del Toro along with Justin Timberlake, who plays the role of the victim’s boyfriend, who is constantly haunted by a man named Eli Philips (Michael Pitt).  

Reptile Movie Ending Summary

Reptile means someone who cannot be trusted and who can adapt to the most dangerous of situations. A similar case is for the killer in this movie. After striking the victim, the perpetrator disappeared, and it took several clues for Detective Tom to find out that someone known to Summer had committed the crime before disappearing into the shadows.

The climax of Reptile begins when Tom attends a face-to-face meeting with Captain Robert Allen. He gets to know that he’s getting the Medal of Valor as long as he drops the case about Summer Elswick. While the other officers are distracted, Tom sneaks into the garage of Allen and finds a Chrsyler Impaler car that looks similar to one that was spotted on the CCTV during the time of the murder.

Allen doesn’t answer the question of what the car was doing hidden in his garage. Instead, he warns Tom to not disclose it to anybody. On his way back home, the detective reveals to his wife Judy that the illegal White Fish company is the brainchild of Officer Wally and Will Grady, Summer Elswick’s boyfriend. Wally plants the dope in the houses and they get seized by the authorities. Then, the White Fish buys them and Will sells them to others.

The scam was first pointed out by Eli Philps, who gave Tom a pen drive containing the dealings of White Fish. Summer Elswick was the broker of the company, who didn’t earn a single penny, and when she threatened to call the FBI to report the drug dealings, she was eliminated. Tom gives the information to Chief Marty but as it turns out, he was the head of the spider all along.

Reptile Movie Ending Explained: Justice is served 

Detective Tom is called by Allen to discuss the Chrysler Impaler incident. He is accompanied by Marty, who reveals himself to be the mastermind of the White Fish, after he shoots the Captain. A shootout ensues in which both the Chief and Wally are killed by Tom – who had earlier revealed that he wasn’t scared of pulling the trigger following the death of Sam Gifford.

Just like Summer, Tom Nichols was a victim of the moral corruption in his department that he had tried to spend his career fighting. This is one of the reasons why Wally nicknames him ‘Oklahoma’, seemingly implying the incident that Judy mentioned about how Nichols was forced to not rat out on the secrets of the department. He had to deal with depression and regular threats but he finally exacted his revenge by the end of the film.

In the final moments of the film, Will Grady is interrupted in his merry golf session by officials and is taken away. He is the perfect example of a reptile: a cold-blooded murderer who allowed Wally and Marty to kill his girlfriend after knowing that she was cheating on him with Sam. Even though he tried to rejuvenate his love life by hitting on girls in the bar, Grady is now going to serve a lengthy sentence in jail for drug trafficking, drug dealing, scamming, conspiracy, and murder. Justin Timberlake’s character was the only one to be meted out justice by the system given the fact that Chief Marty would have escaped by pulling some strings.

Now assessing the last character in the whole drama, Officer Cleary initially drew suspicion from Detective Tom but he turned out to be in the clear. He requested Tom to be the ‘Best Man’ during his wedding – symbolizing how the Scarborough Police Department is finally getting good role models. Nichols marks hope in the fed system and rebuilding the concept of true justice to its former glory, which had been rotten to the core by Chief Marty. 

Who killed Summer Elswick?

Details about the brutal murder of Summer Elswick revealed it to be a “crime of passion”, as revealed by Judy to Tom while they danced at a ball. There were 34 stab wounds on her body along with semen traces. While it was disclosed by Sam that he was sleeping with Summer, thus explaining the Calcimine on her arm and semen, there was no information about the person who broke into Elswick’s house and killed her.

The movie showed that only one person entered the apartment while Will Grady was at a supermarket. As is the case with crime movies, the scenes might not have been occurring together, meaning that Will had killed Summer before going to the market. It was a crime of passion after all – the pent-up frustration and boiling rage about Summer still seeing her ex-husband while also refusing to get in line and reveal about the White Fish operation. The tension is seen at the beginning of the movie when Elswick refuses to get intimate with her boyfriend.

There is also the fact that all three perpetrators, Wally, Marty, and Will, attacked Summer at her house. Reptile only showed one killer to throw off the viewers from the goose chase. We also came to know about whom the bite mark on Summer’s hand belonged to when Chief Marty was playing dress-up during the climax, putting on lip balm to seemingly chomp at the enemy, until Detective Tom stopped his creepy antics with a headshot.