Darby in A Murder at the End of the World
Photo: FX

A Murder at the End of the World Review: A Riveting Psychological Thriller

The murder mystery genre has been heating up, with movies like Knives Out, Glass Onion, and Death on the Nile breathing new life into a decades-old trope. Then there are ones with a comedic twist like Only Murders in the Building, Poker Face, and Based on a True Story. The FX series A Murder at the End of the World is more of the same: a murder occurs and an amateur sleuth tries to solve it. But it’s far more intense, darker, and more tech-driven than any other show.

Summary Of The Plot

The series has, at its heart, a premise we have seen time and time again since Clue and Agatha Christie narratives: a group of people are invited to a swanky party held by a billionaire. Then, surprise, surprise, one (or more) of them winds up dead. It’s up to the most unlikely person to try and solve the case. Darby (Emma Corrin) might just be a young pseudo-detective and talented coder and hacker. But she’s more equipped for the job than others realize.

The guests in A Murder at the End of the World outside in snow gear.
Photo: FX

She’s young, inexperienced, and isn’t among the one percent like the others in attendance.  But she has a knack for this kind of thing. That’s largely because she had the most literally morbid take-your-kid-to-work experience as a pre-teen and teen, visiting crime scenes with her forensic pathologist father. Combined with her proclaimed spiritual connection to the dead and previous obsession for discovering the identity of a serial killer who murdered several women, and it’s clear Darby will stop at nothing. That’s especially when the first victim is someone to whom she’s deeply connected. Darby has to get to work analyzing and observing every other guest and employee at the hotel.

Each character brings something unique to the show, though some oddly fall to the background. (Whatever happened to Martin (Jermaine Fowler), who only popped in every now and then?) The series is rife with misdirects and red herrings. Each of the attendees has a motive that would work, and the means. But there’s one crucial detail: the killer is clearly very technology-savvy.

Clive Owen as Andy in A Murder at the End of the World.
Photo: FX

Andy (Clive Owen) the billionaire who is hosting, has built a fortress, of sorts, that he believes can withstand any apocalyptic event. This includes a safe-haven 50 meters underground, built with the help and knowledge of his intelligent AI assistant Ray (Edoardo Ballerini). The entire place is connected and highly secure, with cameras everywhere.

Ray can be summoned at any time, appearing by voice or even as a holographic figure. It can do everything from answer a query to run you a bath. Not only run a bath, in fact, but suggest you take one when you arrive inside from the frigid cold weather outdoors. Evidently, he can also direct you to how to build an underground bunker that looks like the Four Seasons hotel, complete with natural sunlight through mirrors and technology.

Ray in A Murder at the End of the World
Photo: FX

Ray makes Alexa and Siri, even ChatGPT, look like child’s play. Ray is, as Andy explains, a combination of an intelligent language processing algorithm and home security. Andy believes Ray represents the future, but what his future looks like is unclear. What is evident, however, is that Andy is a highly intelligent man who has become obsessed with something (or someone) and is probably more dangerous than he would like you to believe.

A Murder At The End of the World Review

The show has all the workings of a good murder mystery. The whodunnit discussions are underpinned by the fascinating relationships between the guest. Most notable is the dynamic between Andy and his wife Lee (Brit Marling), a former hacker who Darby idolized back in her early days of coding. Let’s not forget their son Zoomer (Kellan Tetlow), a young boy naively living in blissful ignorance while being effectively held prisoner in his own high-tech home. The others are all incredibly influential, intelligent leaders in their respective fields.

Lu Mai comforting Darby in A Murder at the End of the World
Photo: FX

Through the twists of the investigation, the chilly (literally) scenes of a snowstorm in Iceland, and the emotional flashback scenes of Darby’s dark adventures with Bill (Harris Dickinson), it’s a lot to take in.

The deaths aren’t necessarily gruesome, but they are heartbreaking. You feel the intensity as each guest holes up in their room, worried they’ll be the next victim. That is, everyone except for the person doing the killing. It isn’t Darby, but it could very well be anyone else. And the theories change from one episode to the next.

It all leads to a massive twist most fans won’t see coming, but that puts so much into perspective. A Murder At the End of the World is like a cautionary tale and its ending is sure to spark conversation.

Is A Murder At the End of the World Worth Watching?

Darby and Bill in A Murder at the End of the World.
Photo: FX

Yes. There’s incredible acting from veterans like Clive Owen combined with a plot anchored by rising star Emma Corrin (best known for playing Princess Diana in The Crown), and the fabulous writing of Brit Marling, who proved herself a worthy screenwriter and actor in Netflix’s cult hit The OA. The result is a combination of murder mystery and psychological thriller that starts slowly but builds to a worthy climax.

The show is dark, intense, and gripping, the technology mesmerizing yet disturbing to Black Mirror levels. You’ll appreciate A Murder at the End of the World if you love murder mystery shows. But this series digs much deeper than your run-of-the-mill “it was Colonel Mustard in the Library with the Candlestick” stories.

Bill and Darby in a flashback scene in A Murder at the End of the World.
Photo: FX

It’s the profound meaning behind each scene and what Andy and his colleagues are trying to accomplish that really makes you think. AI, robotics, climate change, the future of communications and technology – it’s all leading down a specific path, and everyone has an idea of what that path might be. Some possibilities are optimistic, others terrifying.

The best way to describe A Murder at the End of the World is subtly unsettling and thought-provoking, to the point that in the end, solving the murder is just the beginning of the conversation.

Stream A Murder at the End of the World in Canada on Disney+.