Every Mind-Bending 'Glass' Twist, Explained
This post contains major spoilers for the M. Night Shyamalan movies Glass, Split, The Sixth Sense, The Village, and Unbreakable. Proceed with caution.
Since Glass (read our review) is an M. Night Shyamalan joint, you already know going in that there's going to be some sort of crazy third-act twist. In The Sixth Sense, we learned that Bruce Willis's mopey character was actually dead the whole time. In The Village, said village turned out to be an enclave in the middle of the wilderness that's merely a few miles away from modern society. In Unbreakable, the film that began Shyamalan's surprise superhero movie trilogy, the twist was that Elijah Price (played by Samuel L. Jackson), whom the super-strong David Dunn (Willis) thought was his mentor, actually fancies himself more the supervillain type.
The twist in Glass, though, is that there's not just one big twist that makes up the last act of the movie: There are four. If you were totally confused about what the ending of the movie means, why that train was so important, and why David Dunn and the Horde never made it to that tower, we've got you covered. (And if you missed the spoiler warning above, be aware that this post is gonna spoil EVERYTHING.)
David Dunn and Kevin Wendell Crumb's father were on the same train.
In Unbreakable, David Dunn is the sole survivor of a catastrophic train derailment -- saved because he is blessed with some pretty handy superpowers. That train, the Eastrail 117, turns out to be the very same train that the multi-personality Kevin Wendell Crumb's father was riding when he died, leaving Kevin in the hands of his abusive mother -- which is ostensibly what caused him to defensively develop many different identities as a coping mechanism, and, eventually, what dragged his most terrifying identity, The Beast, to the surface.
Mr. Glass put both of them on the train.
At the end of Unbreakable, when we learn that Price, a.k.a. Mr. Glass, sees himself as the villain to David Dunn's hero, we also learn that he was the one who orchestrated the train derailment, forcing Dunn's indestructible superpowers into the light. At the end of Glass, a similar revelation -- a security camera shot of a blurry silhouette walking away from the station using a cane -- reveals that Mr. Glass also intended for Kevin's father to board the train, knowing it would kill him and that his son would be forced to succumb to his disorder.
Dr. Staple is part of a secret (evil?) organization.
Dr. Ellie Staple gathers Mr. Glass, Dunn, and Kevin together in order to put them through a psychotherapy experiment. She explains to them that she believes all three are suffering from the delusion that they have superpowers, and her job is to convince them that superheroes and villains don't exist. Dunn is merely a very strong man gifted with a subtle sense of perception. Kevin, though he does have many different personalities clamoring inside his head, does not have a villainous, animalistic one called The Beast.
In what many would probably call a very deus ex machina twist toward the end of the movie, Staple and her guards turn out to be mercenaries from a secret organization that loves subtle hidden clover leaf tattoos, whose charge is to find superpowered beings like Dunn and Kevin and the highly intelligent Mr. Glass and use their own minds against them, convincing them that they are nothing more than ordinary people. If they can't do that, then their subjects must be killed to save the rest of humanity. The organization isn't evil, Staple insists, they're perfectly neutral, dispatching hero and villain alike. Honestly, that's way creepier.
This secret organization will likely become fodder for theories about a sequel, though Shyamalan has been adamant that this is the end of the story. The question is whether you should believe him, or if this could be his greatest twist ever.
None of them were meant to make it to Osaka Tower (A True MARVEL!).
Remember all those cameras Staple said had been set up all over Ravenwood Mental Facility? The ones that were supposed to catch everything the inmates did if they tried any funny business? Well, they worked, capturing footage of Dunn breaking down his steel door and The Beast climbing all over walls and ripping out people's throats. That's why Mr. Glass wanted to be taken through the basement at the end: So that he and everyone else would be seen.
Mr. Glass, a true mastermind, knew that neither he nor Kevin nor Dunn were getting out of Ravenwood alive, and so he set up a scenario where all three of them could reveal their abilities to their fullest extent for all the world to see. But, you ask, wasn't all the camera footage deleted? Not before Glass had it all sent to a secret account, which turned out to be a ghost address that forwarded everything the cameras recorded to Dunn's son Joseph, Kevin's one ally Casey Cooke, and Glass's mother, who then enabled the footage to go viral online and on TV.
The tower tease, possibly Shyamalan's boldest red herring in the era of explosive CGI light show superhero showdowns, was never the point. His superheroes were going to have their showdown in the middle of a parking lot, far from the city lights, with no one watching them except for three true believers. All that mattered to Glass was that, one day, other people with other supernatural abilities would see that they're not the only ones, singlehandedly foiling Staple's organization's attempt to prove that the extraordinary doesn't exist.