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Death (Final Destination)

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You can't cheat Death. There are no escapes.
~ William Bludworth the mortician, describing Death.

Death (also commonly known as the Grim Reaper) is the main plot element and unseen main antagonist in the Final Destination film series. It is never seen, never shown as a being and never even speaks to a person. However, it's presence is always felt, always lurking where no one thinks it would be, and manifesting itself through a series of events that cause a chain reaction, eventually ending with someone getting killed (and generally in a brutal way). As Death is never seen as a character in itself, it can be assumed it is an evil spirit or a vengeful force of nature trying to complete its route. The various main characters in some of the series view it as a malevolent force.

Behavior

The plot remains the same throughout the franchise (except in the Looks Could Kill novel): a teenager and his/her friends is about to participate in an important event, but he/she has a premonition that shows a terrible accident happening in the event that kills everybody on it. He/she then freaks out, getting some people out of the location with them, right in the moment the accident happens as expected. However, after one of the survivors is killed in a terrible "accident", the protagonist begins to notice Death wants revenge, killing the survivors in the order they were supposed to die. Usually, one of the victims is saved, but in the end (or after some seconds), he/she is still killed as intended due to "Death's list", resulting in the protagonist and some friends being killed in the end (or in the space between the sequels).

Often, Death assigns its victim's death in a specific time in order to create unfortunate cases of irony. For example, when gymnast Candice Hooper uses the bars, her coach tells her to stay loose. Moments later, whilst she did her uneven bars, she literally stayed loose after being accidentally flung into the air after the dust that was blown by a fan blinded her eyes, which eventually led her body to be gruesomely contorted.

Weakness

Mortician William Bludworth from the 1st movie stated in the sequel that "only new Life can defeat Death". In other words, if one of the intended victims has a baby, thus creating a new Life, the chain will be broken due to the baby being an interference in the pattern, as Death cannot kill a being that just began a new life. The interference would cause Death to stop the pattern and spare the remaining (if not all) victims. However, the only times this theory is shown are in the 2nd movie by Isabella Hudson, a pregnant woman that witnessed the pile-up at Route 23. Protagonist Kimberly Corman thought that protecting Isabella long enough so she could have her baby, would save everyone from being killed, but another premonition from Kimberly shows that Isabella was never meant to die in the car pile-up, resulting in a big explosion that kills Eugene Dix and Flight 180 survivor Clear Rivers. The other time is in the Looks Could Kill novel, where Stephanie Pulaski regrets having to kill her friend, Cabernet, and allows her to have her baby, removing herself from Death's list.

However, in "Final Destination 5", Bludworth also reveals to the survivors of the bridge collapse that they can avoid Death if they take someone else's life by killing another person. That theory is proven when Peter Friedkin kills agent Jim Block with a handgun, acquiring his remaining days. However, as he develops a paranoia that pushes him to kill Molly Harper - the only person on Sam Lawton's vision (and Sam's girlfriend) that wasn't supposed to die on the bridge - he ends up dead anyway when Sam stabs him with a cooking skewer, passing Block's life to him, but consequently causing Molly to cheat Death, adding her to the list and causing both Sam and her to die aboard Flight 180 (the fifth movie is actually a prequel to the first one), indicating that the life Sam acquired wasn't enough to save him.

Death's List

A term given to Death's pattern, this is the reason why every character in the movie dies in the end. It follows the order the victims were supposed to die in said accident, but is also a pretty malleable list. In Final Destination 2, the list is reversed to kill the survivors from Route 23 backwards, killing the last survivor of Flight 180 in the end and gaining a clean slate. Another detail of the list is the possibility of one of the victims being saved, but still being in danger due to the pattern: if Death manages to miss someone (or "skip" someone as it's usually referred to), it will immediately move to the next person on the list and so on until it reaches the protagonist. If him/her survives, not only the list doesn't stop, but it begins all over again so it can kill the previous survivor (again changed in the 2nd movie when Kimberly was the first one to die and she was saved by Officer Burke).

A theory proposed in Final Destination 3 by Ian McKinley says that Death could be stopped if the last person on the list (usually the visionary) committed suicide, because dying out of order would cause a breach on the list and save the others. However, in the previous movie, Eugene Dix, supposed to be the second-to-last victim on the list (and not the visionary), tried to shoot himself with a pistol, but even with a full barrel, all six shots locked. Also, on "The Final Destination", George Lanter tried to commit suicide through many different ways (hanging, drowning on his bathtub, etc), but all of them were noneffective. This shows that Death not only follows the list strictly, it also won't allow anyone, not even the visionary, to die out of order unless his/her death is somehow skipped (Johnathan Grove died out of order in the fourth movie, and no explanation was given, so it could be associated with the movie's script).

Embodiment

DeathSpringBreak

Death as it appears in Final Destination: Spring Break.

Although Death is never seen in person, it will sometimes appear in the novels as a solid embodiment. For example, in Looks Could Kill, Death appears as a tall, African-American man wearing a gray suit, who has a shiny white teeth and gray hair, carrying a cane with a skull ornament on top. However, it is implied that this is only a form chosen to deal with humans personally. It's true form, as said in Dead Reckoning, is a massive abomination made of many shifting corpses of many species; and in Spring Break, Death appears as a giant cloud of smoke with the form of a demonic figure. In the movies however it can sometimes be seen as a dark shadow coming out of nowhere or a gust of wind that actually manipulates the objects around.

Premonitions

Flight 180

The infamous explosion of Flight 180

The accidents seen by each movie and novel's main character, before they "cheated Death":

Movies

  • The Volée Air Flight 180's explosion, seen by Alex Browning in Final Destination.
  • The Route 23's massive pile-up, seen by Kimberly Corman in Final Destination 2.
  • The Devil's Flight Roller Coaster's derailment and McKinley Subway Cart 081's derailment, both seen by Wendy Christensen in Final Destination 3.
  • The McKinley Speedway's massive car crash and Theater 13's explosion, both seen by Nick O'Bannon in The Final Destination.
  • The North Bay Bridge's collapse, seen by Sam Lawton in Final Destination 5.

Comics

  • The Hotel Grand Tzolk's explosion, seen by Carly Hagan in Final Destination: Spring Break.

Novels

  • Club Kitty's collapse, seen by Jessica Golden (Final Destination: Dead Reckoning).
  • Number 4 Mornington Crescent's explosion, seen by Juliet Collins, and South Hill Metroline's bombing, seen by Patricia Fuller (FD: Destination Zero).
  • 32nd Street's train crash, seen by Daniel King (FD: End of the Line).
  • Merlin's Tower's elevator crash, seen by Allie Goodwin-Gaines (FD: Dead Man's Hand).
  • Coral Clipper Yatch's sinking, seen by Sherry Pulaski (FD: Looks Could Kill).
  • A massive murder made by an unnamed assassin, seen by Jack Curtis (FD: Death of the Senses).

Trivia

  • So far, in the movies, no one escaped Death.
  • To this day, no one knows how and why mortician William Bludworth - a recurring character in the series - knows so much about Death's design. Fan theories claim that Bludworth is either a survivor, someone who studied Death's design through his whole life, a servant of Death, or even a manifestation of Death itself (disconfirmed by actor Tony Todd, who portrays Bludworth in the movies).
  • Death has shown quite often that it can also manipulate objects around it to create some sort of irony before killing someone, like playing a song on the radio or having the death happen in front of someone in particular, showing that it can not only be vengeful, but malicious.
  • Often, the chain reactions occur due to a specific object or action caused by a person or animal that were likely being possessed by Death. These factors are called "servants of Death".
  • The fourth and fifth movies showed that the disasters are also caused by Death to an extent, while some could be considered as actual accidents. The Devil's Flight, for example, can be considered an actual accident due to the rails, which were already in a bad shape before the derailment happened. Flight 180, however, happened because Death wanted to get Sam Lawton and his girlfriend Molly Harper, but Alex and his friends escaped it thanks to Alex's vision. McKinley Speedway could also be blamed on Death due to the large number of unrealistic factors which led to the event itself (screws loosening on their own, cars moving at high-speeds despite the panic, shards and car parts hitting only the audience, etc).
  • Several of Death's clues include the number 666, which means that Death is an evil force. These clues are mainly found in major incidents (like in 'McKinley Speedway Accident' where Car 6 goes into the Pit Stop, the car, and two #6 flags form the number 666 and in 'Flight 180 incident' before Alex enters the plane, he sees a van passing beneath him. It's number reads 666). Because of this, Death shares similarities to Satan as both are described to "roam around the Earth looking for people to devour" and use servants to carry out their tasks. Death uses his servants (objects or people that Death posseses or manipulates to kill its victims) whilst Satan uses his demons.
  • Whenever Death is about to hunt someone down, a dark shadow will appear on a specific object/place before the 'accident' happens.

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