The Ending of 'Clickbait,' Explained

None of us saw that twist coming!

(Image credit: Netflix)

Spoilers ahead for ClickbaitNetflix's newest thriller, Clickbait, may have the most never-saw-it-coming twist we've ever seen. The premise of the eight-episode series is an example of its namesake: Family man Nick Brewer (Adrian Grenier) is kidnapped and filmed holding a sign that says "AT 5 MILLION VIEWS I DIE." His family–sister Pia (Zoe Kazan), wife Sophie (Betty Gabriel), and sons Kai and Ethan–and a group of netizens search for him, but they can't outpace the view count on the viral video. Now a man is dead, and everyone wants to know why and how.

The investigation into Nick's death unfolds amid twists and turns, as his family delves into his alleged secret dating profiles. Each of his family members gets their own episode, and we follow their shock and confusion over whether Nick is the good man they know or the stranger they're discovering. The Clickbait finale doesn't disappoint, giving us a surprising ending that ties up all loose ends for the Brewer family.

The catfish is Dawn, an admin at Nick's school.

The conclusion to Clickbait's central mystery kicks off with Kai (Camaron Engels) showing up at the address he found for Nick's catfish. He comes face-to-face with Dawn (Becca Lish), the 63-year-old administrator from Nick's work. In flashbacks, we see Dawn as a mild-mannered woman who welcomes Nick at his new job and gets him set up with IT and then goes home to her model train-loving husband Ed (Wally Dunn) and a glass of wine. But it turns out, Dawn is more than she appears.

While she has Nick's phone, Dawn notices that he's receiving messages from a dating app, and gets an idea. Having gained access to all of Nick's pictures, Dawn sets up several dating profiles using his pictures that night. She starts flirting with Sarah Burton, Emma Beasley, and several other women, even using a voice modulator to talk with them on the phone. She later says that she made the profiles out of a mixture of boredom, frustration her inattentive husband, and a desire to feel like "someone people wanted."

Dawn's husband, Ed, killed Nick.

Trigger warning: Reference to death by suicide ahead. Eventually Ed finds out about his wife's catfish profiles, and they get into a big argument. Unfortunately, the argument coincided with Sarah reaching out, and an upset Dawn sends those harsh breakup messages. Sarah then kills herself, leading to Simon finding the profile, kidnapping Nick, and posting the videos. Simon then lets Nick go after Nick convinces him that he never knew Sarah.

Rather than head home to safety, Nick goes straight from Simon's warehouse to Dawn's house. He confronts her about the fake profiles, saying that she was the only person who had access to his photos and knew his personal information, as he had previously confided in her about Sophie's affair. While Nick threatens to reveal everything, Ed comes up from behind and bludgeons him with a hammer. So Ed, a character we meet in the finale, has been the killer all along.

Ed is killed in a stand-off with police.

Kai, confused at finding his dad's co-worker at the catfish's address, accepts her invitation into the house. While Sophie and Pia search for him, Dawn and Ed take Kai to their trailer and take away his phone. Luckily, the police are right behind them, since Kai had shared Dawn's address with Sophie and Ethan.

It turns out that Dawn and Ed have covered up Nick's murder together, with Dawn confessing to cleaning up the crime scene. Ed's car was also the one that ran Emma off the road, so we can assume that the couple were responsible for those threat calls as well.

clickbait ending

(Image credit: Netflix)

Kai overhears the couple's confession right before he bashes a window and makes a run for it. The police are one step behind, and they arrest Dawn while Ed finds Kai and holds him at gunpoint. Dawn confuses Ed to let Kai go, and the police shoot Ed in the standoff.

Twitter is freaking out about the reveal.

Clickbait kept viewers at the edge of their seats until the very end, where the killer turned out to be a character we didn't even meet until the finale. Naturally, fans have taken to Twitter to share their shock and commiserate in the fact that the show kinda played us (lots of clown faces), while also applauding the engrossing writing.

We're wondering where a possible Season 2 could go.

The finale ends with the Brewer family, grieving but united, at Nick's funeral. Clickbait concludes with most loose ends tied up, at least for the Brewers. There are some questions (Does Dawn go to jail? Will Emma ever go online again?) that viewers can hold on to as they hope for a second season, but for now, Nick Brewer's name is cleared.

As for that possible second season, creator Tony Ayers has said that he's up for it. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Ayers said that he would like to continue with the show's online whodunnit format. "I think it works really well, especially for a more elevated crime. I like to satisfy the whodunnit quality, but still try to do a deep dive on character and then at the same time do a 360 around an event because everyone has slightly different [perspectives]. I've got ideas for a season 2 or 3," he said.

Contributing Culture Editor

Quinci is a Contributing Culture Editor who writes pieces and helps to strategize editorial content across TV, movies, music, theater, and pop culture. She contributes interviews with talent, as well as SEO content, features, and trend stories. She fell in love with storytelling at a young age, and eventually discovered her love for cultural criticism and amplifying awareness for underrepresented storytellers across the arts. She previously served as a weekend editor for Harper’s Bazaar, where she covered breaking news and live events for the brand’s website, and helped run the brand’s social media platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Her freelance writing has also appeared in outlets including HuffPost, The A.V. Club, Elle, Vulture, Salon, Teen Vogue, and others. Quinci earned her degree in English and Psychology from The University of New Mexico. She was a 2021 Eugene O’Neill Critics Institute fellow, and she is a member of the Television Critics Association. She is currently based in her hometown of Los Angeles. When she isn't writing or checking Twitter way too often, you can find her studying Korean while watching the latest K-drama, recommending her favorite shows and films to family and friends, or giving a concert performance while sitting in L.A. traffic.