Slip Ending Explained
Does the ending of Roku Channel's Slip reveal why all this multiverse slippin' occurred? We investigate the finale here.
This article contains spoilers for all seven episodes of Slip.
Zoe Lister-Jones’ seven-part series Slip (which she wrote, directed, and stars in) on Roku Channel opens with a pretty average status quo before things take a wild turn. Mae (Lister-Jones) is an art curator at a local museum and is happily married to her gentle husband Elijah (Whitmer Thomas). Well, sort of. She’s a little bored in their marriage that seems to run on an underwhelmingly repetitious cycle every day — making the couple more and more distant.
However, the plot takes a universe-bending turn after Mae goes out to drink after a successful art exhibition that celebrates Buddhist cosmology and its other-worldly creature, the Hungry Ghost. Her best friend Gina (Tymika Tafari) tags along as they go to a local bar across the street (although she’s busy trying to seduce a monk who attended the exhibit), where Mae hooks up with an attractive musician called named (Amar Chadha-Patel).
From then on, the series goes into a surreal Everything Everywhere All at Once multiverse mode as Mae finds herself in an alternate reality the next morning where apparently, she’s been married to Eric for years, and the two live together. But what happened, and how did she slip into a completely different reality overnight? The show’s final episode gives us some rough ideas. Let’s tackle that Slip ending now.
What Was Causing the Multiverse Slips?
The universe in which Mae is living with Eric is just the first of many she’s about to travel through. It takes her some time to identify what caused these time cracks, and the answer might be crazier than most viewers anticipate. Every trip to another universe occurs when Mae has sex to the point of completion. That’s right: every orgasm with a different person takes her to another reality in which she’s in a relationship with the last person she slept with the previous day.
In episode 3, as her “new” life spirals out of control, Mae ends up on the street in the middle of a fight between a lesbian couple and gets knocked out. That’s how she meets Sandy (Emily Hampshire), the bartender and owner of the pub where Mae previously met Eric. As things become steamy between the two during a heartfelt conversation, they end up tearing the clothes off of each other in a sex scene in the place’s bathroom. The next day Mae wakes up in a bedroom she can’t recognize and realizes that not only she’s married to Sandy, but they have a daughter, too. Then, as she desperately tries to put the pieces of the puzzle together and find a way back to her original life, she notices that there’s one constant figure in each multiverse: the monk who was present at the exhibit.
What Do the Monk and the Hungry Ghost Represent?
Mae sees the monk in every world she’s transported through. So she starts following him, hoping he could help her comprehend what’s happening and perhaps offer a solution about how she can return “home.” When she finally has a chance to talk to him, she doesn’t get the answer she seeks. Instead, he gives her a spiritual and metaphorical explanation during an eye-opening conversation about why she can’t find comfort in any of these universes. The monk also tells her there’s no going back, only forward, and only now.
Essentially, the mystery points back to the exhibit in the pilot, where Mae tells us about the Hungry Ghost. She says they are beings living in six different realms of existence in a state of chronic deprivation and longing. They crave nourishment (both literally and figuratively), but they’re incapable of digesting it. This perfectly symbolizes Mae’s journey: no matter what alternate reality she’s in (with multiple different versions of who she could be), she’s unequipped to find peace and acceptance without looking for a solution within herself. She has to face and address her own struggles and internal suffering head-on to find the kind of life that can make her happy.
In speaking to Den of Geek at SXSW, Lister-Jones expounded upon her interpretation for The Hungry Ghost, saying: “I don’t identify as a love addict but addiction when it comes to relationships and love and intimacy is something that really interests me. That hungry ghost served as a really helpful through line in terms of exploring that feeling of ‘I can’t be whole without another person or a sexual encounter.’ All the outward facing searching we do when we should be searching inward. Buddhism was a helpful way to explore that.”
Does Mae Find Her Way back to Elijah?
At the end of episode 5, Mae accidentally bumps into Elijah, who doesn’t know her in this reality. He offers to buy her a drink, and the two start hanging out, eventually ending up in Elijah’s apartment. Episode 6 is all about Mae reliving the beginning of their relationship and rediscovering why she fell in love with her husband in the first place. There’s one main difference, though: she asks him to wait before they have sex, afraid that it’ll all go away. They spend the night and the next day together, finding ways to get intimate on a more emotional level. However, it all falls apart when they run into a fuming Gina who ruins everything by spilling the truth about Mae’s dead “husband.” Understandably, Elijah storms off and tells Mae not to ever contact him.
In the finale, Mae is shattered and feels more lost than ever. She acts out in self-destructing ways (taking drugs, binge eating, etc.) After hitting rock bottom, she ends up next to a bench on the ground and starts making amends to herself by speaking out loud all the things she should’ve internally addressed a long time ago. It’s a powerful scene, and Lister-Jones delivers it with raw vulnerability. Then Gina turns up out of nowhere, they make up, and Mae agrees to spend the night at her place.
However, she can’t sleep and decides to go on a walk. That’s when she runs into Elijah. We learn that he was actually in a relationship while they were hanging out a few days before. Mae tells him the entire truth about what’s been happening to her, and Elijah believes every word. Later on, they end up having sex, and the next morning Mae discovers that she’s back in her own reality — the one that’s truly hers.
What Does the Ending of Slip Mean?
Mae had to lose everything she took for granted and go on a journey of self-exploration in which she was able to see what she could’ve been if she wasn’t married to Elijah. But more importantly, she needed to forgive herself and realize that she was worthy not only of other people’s love but her own too. Although the ending might seem a little too predictable, the road that led our protagonist there surely wasn’t — and that’s where the strength of Lister-Jones’ series lies.
All seven episodes of Slip are available to stream on Roku Channel now.