The Devil’s Hour Explained: The Ending, Gideon, Lucy, Isaac and…Everything 

With major spoilers, we unpack what was really going on in complex, ambitious, multi-genre six-part Prime Video series The Devil’s Hour.

The Devils Hour Jessica Raine
Photo: Hartswood Films/Prime Video

Warning: contains MAJOR spoilers for The Devil’s Hour finale.

To say that The Devil’s Hour packed a lot in to its six-hour story would be an understatement. There was a serial killer thriller, a ghostly horror, a child abduction mystery, a love story, a gangland crime tale and a family drama… all wrapped up in existential Nietzschean philosophy. By the end, it was a little of Life After Life plus a little of The Time Traveler’s Wife plus a little of Quantum Leap plus a little of Marcella plus a lot of other ideas given not quite enough room to breathe. As a result some viewers could well be left thinking… what?

With major spoilers (please don’t read on until you’ve watched it all) for the finale and everything that came before, here’s our best attempt to break down just what went on, what we know, and what is supposed to be left ambiguous in this ambitious six-parter. 

What Was Gideon’s Deal?

The title of episode six ‘Amor Fati‘ sums it up: in the world of The Devil’s Hour, lifetimes are lived in what philosopher Nietzsche termed “eternal recurrence” – a continuous loop from birth to death and back, repeat ad infinitum. Most relive the same cycle time and again with no awareness of a previous existence, but some – like Peter Capaldi’s character Gideon Shepherd – have déjà vu presentiments in which they ‘remember’ something that will happen in their future, because they’ve lived through it before. 

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As a boy, Gideon had a presentiment about being beaten by his father for playing with a pine cone at church (something that had happened to him in every lifetime) and so in one lifetime, chose not to pick up the pine cone and thus avoided the beating. Later, his brother Malcolm’s Slinky toy gave him another presentiment: Gideon ‘remembered’ Malcolm playing with it just before their father killed all three of them by driving off a cliff. 

To avoid that fate, Gideon fatally stabbed his father. He ran away and every time he was tracked down by the police, he took his own life and started again, this time remembering everything that happened in his previous lifetimes. 

Knowing what would happen in the future, Gideon survived on the run by placing bets on sports fixtures for which he already knew the results. One day, he witnessed the death of a young girl named Evelyn in a fatal car crash and realised that in his next lifetime, he could do good by stopping it from happening. He did, and so began a series of lifetimes spent protecting the innocent and averting bad events – fires, murders, rapes, abductions… Sometimes, that meant committing murder – Gideon killed drug dealer Aiden Stenner before Aiden could fatally stab a pregnant woman, paedophile Harold Slade, and domestic abuser and murderer Shane Fisher, thereby saving the lives of their victims. 

Why Was Gideon Looking for Lucy Chambers?

We think… because in every one of his lifetimes, he was stopped from completing his to-do list (averting Connor Larson’s future as a rapist, etc.) by police detectives Lucy Chambers and Ravi Dhillon. To stop Lucy from catching him then, he waited 25 years in prison for her to tell him the worst thing she’d ever experienced. When she finally said it was her mother’s suicide, Gideon stopped it from ever having happened, thus stopping Lucy from becoming a detective and catching him. If that was the idea, it didn’t quite work, though, because by altering Lucy’s life so dramatically, he provided her with the very clues she needed to track him down in her new lifetime.

Like Evelyn, Lucy, her mother and her son Isaac were all left with ‘ripples’ of the original timeline in the form of invasive hallucinations and nightmares. It was these ‘ripples’ that gave Lucy presentiments about Chloe and Tilly Fisher, Harold Slade’s secret house, the name Aiden Stenner, and a pre-memory of visiting someone called Gideon Shepherd in prison, leading her and Ravi straight to him once again. 

What Was Haunting Lucy and Isaac’s House?

The Warrens. In Lucy’s unaltered lifetime, the Warrens lived at No. 7 instead of her (Debbie said they’d put in an unsuccessful offer on the house). Lucy and Isaac kept experiencing ripples of the Warrens in their home (the smell of the dad’s vaping, footsteps in the loft, Meredith’s unicorn picture on the fridge, the wall they’d knocked through that Isaac kept staring at…) because the other family lived there in Lucy’s original timeline

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Who Abducted Isaac?

Nobody. Like his Grandmother’s, Isaac’s ‘ripples’ were even stronger than Lucy’s. He and Sylvia had no grip on their present lifetime and often experienced both versions of at once (hence Sylvia watching a TV that wasn’t turned on, and Isaac urinating on the bags at school because “they moved the toilets” – in this lifetime, they had). Worse than Lucy or Sylvia, Isaac could even physically disappear from one lifetime to the other. 

This is a slightly patchy explanation but… When Isaac disappeared from his bedroom (after it had been ransacked by Gideon), he slipped into the alternative timeline when his mother was a detective and the Warrens were living at No. 7. The Warrens then found him in their house and presumably took him to the police, where DI Lucy Chambers and DI Ravi Dhillon drove him in a black car. In that reality, his mother wouldn’t have recognised him, which explains his relief when he slipped back to his present timeline and Lucy did recognise him (he told Dr Bennett he’d cried when reunited with his mother because “she knew me”.) Any help on how/why Isaac ended up at Harold Slade’s secret house other than by coincidence is much appreciated. That part is still somewhat fuzzy.

Did Isaac and Lucy Die in the Fire?

It’s ambiguous. In the finale, we saw Isaac start the fire in his bedroom, and his father Mike initially leave him to burn to death. Later, outside the house, Mike told Lucy that he “went back for” Isaac but couldn’t find him. If Mike’s telling the truth (not a given, he’s lied about other things and is cruel to Isaac), then Isaac may have slipped into the other reality, like he did before. 

In the other reality though – in which the Warrens live at No. 7 -, the house is also on fire. (Lucy really should have fixed that smoke alarm after she broke it when Ravi made his surprise visit).

When Lucy ran in to the flames to find Isaac, she’s in the Warren version of the house and not hers. (Note the framed photograph of the Warrens that breaks and the unicorn wallpaper in Meredith/Isaac’s room). We later saw the Warrens being treated for burns (which Lucy had seen in a vision earlier when talking to Debbie). Lucy choked and passed out while having visions of her life married to Ravi and not Mike. Finally, we see her as a police detective called to the scene of the fire, perhaps signalling that she and Isaac did die in the fire in the timeline Gideon altered, and now she’s back living in her original timeline.

Why Did Lucy Always Wake Up at 3.33 AM?

Because that was the exact time that her mother Sylvia killed herself with a shotgun in Lucy’s original timeline. After Gideon sabotaged the gun to stop Sylvia from taking her own life, Lucy experienced ripples of the original version of events in which, she had been woken up at 3.33 AM as a child by the sound of the gunshot and ran downstairs to discover her mother’s body. The ripples of that other-timeline event kept have woken her up at that exact time ever since.

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Lucy’s OG Timeline: DI Chambers, Shane Fisher & Harold Slade

Before Gideon altered things, Lucy’s mother took her own life and Lucy grew up to become a police detective instead of a child protection officer. She didn’t marry Mike and have their son Isaac, she married her colleague DI Ravi Dhillon. In this timeline, Lucy was the detective assigned to the Fisher murders, which is why she ‘pre-remembered’ Chloe and Tilly Fisher being stabbed by Shane Fisher, until Gideon rectified that too by stabbing Shane to death on the night he would have killed his partner and daughter. After Gideon killed Shane, Chloe Fisher complained of feeling chest pains, as she ‘remembered’ being stabbed in the original timeline. Lucy’s police career also explains why she was able to physically dominate Aiden Stenner’s mother so efficiently when she attacked her – she ‘remembered’ her police training.

As a detective, Lucy also worked on the Harold Slade case, after the bodies were found of two young girls he had been abusing and filming in a hidden basement. That’s how she knew that Slade had a violin mounted on his stairs, the 1812 code to his safe, and the existence of the green door to the basement behind the shelving unit. 

At one point, Lucy’s mother Sylvia – who’d been diagnosed with schizophrenia and dementia, perhaps due to her also being afflicted with ripples of the original timeline in which she had succeeded in taking her own life – recognises Lucy not as her adult daughter (because in that timeline, she didn’t live to see Lucy become an adult) but as the police detective in the Slade case, who appeared on the TV news reporting the murders of Slade’s two victims, whose bodies were pulled out of a river – another tragedy averted by Gideon.

What Was the Significance of the Button?

The round brass button Sylvia used to press into her hand to keep her tethered to this reality was from Gideon’s coat. It fell off on the night he sabotaged Sylvia’s suicide and she picked it up, using it as a kind of talisman to bind her to her present timeline. Isaac later used it for the same purpose, and – showing his empathy and kindness – gave it to Ravi when he was grieving DS Holness.

What Happened to Jonah Taylor?

Gideon abducted the little boy in 2009 to save him because his parents were going to kill him. He took him to live in a remote house in the wilderness where he would be raised by Evelyn, who had suffered similar effects as Lucy after Gideon altered her timeline (by stopping her family from dying in a car accident). Like Lucy, Evelyn kept having flashes of the timeline in which her family had died, which is why she saw other people living in their house. Gideon told her everything and “woke her up” after she was sent to a psychiatric hospital. Now she lives with Jonah, away from the world and the invasive ripples of the other timeline. 

Why Did Gideon Run Over the Dog?

To “save a girl” and use the dog’s rotting flesh as part of an experimental attempt to alter the mind of soon-to-be rapist Connor Larson. Not wishing to kill any more than he had to, Gideon hoped to use aversion therapy to retrain the brains of future murderers and rapists to stop them from committing their crimes. Knowing that Connor would go on to rape five women, he kidnapped him and forced him to watch stomach-churning sexual acts surrounded by maggoty dog flesh in the hope that it would prohibit him from carrying out his future crimes. 

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Why the Fly Tipping?

Every one of the white goods Gideon fly tipped in the ravine was destined to have developed an electrical fault that would start a fatal housefire. To avert the fires, he simply stole the tumble dryer/washing machine/dishwasher in question and dumped it before the fault occurred. Much like his solution to young Evelyn’s family’s fatal car accident in the 1970s – he damaged the tyre destined to blow out and cause the crash before it happened. Later, after he ‘woke’ up Evelyn, she took on the job of saving her family by sabotaging the tyre herself. 

Why Did Isaac Always Choose the Same Flower Toy?

Because it was the only one of the toy set accidentally left behind when the Warren family moved house. Isaac channelled Meredith’s desire for her lost pink flower toy. That’s why he chose the same toy every time he went to the shop, but never played with them – it wasn’t for him, it was for Meredith.

The theory goes that because Isaac was the product of an altered timeline (when Gideon stopped his grandmother from killing herself), he was an anomaly bound to neither reality and, as Gideon put it, without a soul (though Lucy obviously had objections to that). Isaac was unable to stay attached to his present timeline and kept drifting into the original timeline in which the Warrens moved into No. 7 instead of No. 14. He essentially lived among the Warrens, seeing them around the house and repeating the things they said. 

What Next for Gideon?

He got out of his handcuffs using the sneaky shoelace tip to pick the lock, neutralised the guards and escaped. Presumably he’s off to start the whole shebang again. As he told Ravi on the night of the storm, sooner or later, he’ll find a way to kill himself and relive the whole thing once more, getting a little further along in his plan every time.

The Devil’s Hour is available to stream now on Prime Video.