Parasyte: The Grey Ending Explained – Who Is Shinichi Izumi?

Netflix's Parasyte: The Grey features a familiar face in its final act while setting up season 2.

Parasyte The Grey
Photo: Netflix

This article contains spoilers for Parasyte: The Grey.

One of the latest Netflix original series to come out of South Korea is the science fiction thriller Parasyte: The Grey. Blending body horror and conspiracy-tinged action, Parasyte debuted to strong streaming numbers worldwide after premiering in April. Across the first season’s six episodes, there were plenty of harrowing and heartbreaking twists and turns along the way as a small group of specialists move to stop an all-out extraterrestrial invasion of Earth.

Here is what you need to know about Parasyte: The Grey, what happens in its pulse-pounding finale, and how the episode connects directly with its literary source material to set up a potential second season.

What is Parasyte: The Grey About?

Parasyte: The Grey is based on the manga series Parasyte, created by Hitoshi Iwaaki. The story follows worm-like aliens that fall to Earth and forcibly enter humans’ heads through their ears, consuming their brains and using their victims as host bodies. While in this form, the aliens can transform parts of their hosts’ heads into razor-sharp tentacles that they use to kill other humans, often luring unsuspecting heads to either possess or serve as a food source.

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The Grey’s protagonist is Jeong Su-in (Jeon So-nee), a down-on-her-luck young woman who is nearly murdered by an unhinged man before her body is possessed by an alien who kills her attacker. Because of Su-in’s grave wounds, the worm is unable to fully possess her and consume her brain, with the two forming a dual-personality relationship while retaining the body-changing abilities of the infected. Su-in joins the Grey, a specialized South Korean task force who root out the infected hiding in plain sight around Korea, using her abilities to battle them.

What Happens in the Parasyte: The Grey Season Finale?

On the final episode in season 1, the Grey confronts Pastor Kwon Hyuk-joo (Lee Hyun-kyun), a charismatic figure who led his own twisted congregation infected by the otherworldly parasites. Among Hyuk-joo’s most recent converts was veteran police detective Kim Cheol-min (Kwon Hae-hyo), who had befriended Su-in years earlier when she was a child after rescuing her from her abusive father. In league with Hyuk-joo was Cheol-min’s traitorous younger partner Detective Kang Won-seok (Kim In-kwon) after the aliens promised to reward him for his cooperation with their plans.

In the final battle, Su-in teams up with fellow heroic infected character Seol Kyung-hee (Yoon Hyun-gil) to stop the aliens’ plot from possessing the city’s mayor. Though the Grey are successful, both sides suffer heavy losses during the skirmish. In return for her vital role in turning the tide of battle, the Grey’s commander, Choi Jun-kyung (Lee Jyung-hyun), informs the authorities that Su-in is clear and free to leave while Kyung-hee’s younger brother, Seol Kang-woo (Koo Kyo-hwan), a former gangster, decides to work for the Grey.

Who Dies in the Parasyte: The Grey Season Finale?

The parasite that possessed Hyuk-joo and Cheol-min is finally destroyed in gory fashion in the season finale’s climax. Before perishing, the parasite possessing Cheol-min exerts its control over Won-seok, who is defeated once and for all by Su-in to avenge Cheol-min and foiling the aliens’ plot. Won-seok is identified as a parasite host by Jun-kyung, who notices a reflection of his head and the mark where he had been infected, with Jun-kyung and Su-in teaming up to deliver the final blow.

Before being destroyed, the parasite controlling Cheol-min killed a number of government guards through the parasites’ usual attack method of impaling and slashing their victims with their tentacles. A flashback also reveals the sad fate of Hyuk-joo’s wife, who was killed after her husband was infected with a parasite. Finally, Kyung-hee is killed by the infected Cheol-min during her team-up with Su-in as the biggest loss among the good guys in the finale.

How Parasyte: The Grey Sets Up Season 2

Though the parasite that caused so much misery throughout season 1 has been destroyed, the fight against additional parasites descending to Earth remains an ongoing one. Su-in and the parasite sharing her body, which has taken on the moniker “Heidi,” learn how to live together and function as a symbiotic pair. Su-in returns to the life she had before she was infected, working as an unassuming retail employee, though Kang-woo informs her that she will always have a job at the Grey if she changes her mind.

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The biggest tease for a future season, however, comes from a character straight from the manga series. The Parasyte manga and anime protagonist Shinichi Izumi (Masaki Suda) introduces himself to the Grey, offering his own expertise in dealing with the parasites. Like Su-in, Shinichi has a symbiotic relationship with his parasite and retains his autonomy, with the camera focusing on his hand where his parasite is located. With this surprise cameo, Parasyte: The Grey is slated to not only tie more directly into the manga but potentially expand beyond Korea as the fight against the aliens continues. 

Parasyte: The Grey is available to stream on Netflix.