Eden: The Netflix Anime’s Hopeful Ending, Explained

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Eden, now streaming on Netflix.

From creator Justin Leach and an impressive roster of international creators, Netflix's four-part mini-series, Eden, is a post-apocalypse story that swaps Mad Max-style grime for quirky robots and bright, anime color. In this world, set a century after humans disappeared from a poisonously polluted Earth, humanity's absence has allowed nature to thrive, creating the Biblical paradise referenced in the series' title.

It's not long, however, until this all starts to change: Sara, a red-haired girl, is discovered and adopted by two robot parents in the first episode, and later finds out that she might not be the last of her kind. 400 years before she was awoken from the cryo-sleep that thousands of select members of the human race were put into, Dr. Weston Fields, who worked to save Earth for his dying daughter, also woke up. Alone, he saw the way the world had healed without human intervention and decided that rather than allow the rest of humanity to join him, he'd seal his mind in a robot body -- the anti-human villain, Zero --, purge his memories and become the guardian of this new "Eden."

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Naturally, Sara's existence presents a huge threat to his vision of a perfect world, leading the two to clash in spectacular, mech-powered fashion by Eden's conclusion. Here's how their battle plays out, and how Sara rescues her kind from dying off altogether.

Sara & Zero's Showdown Restores the Robot's Lost Humanity

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The fate of the cryogenically frozen human race depends on Sara recovering a password to bring them out of their deep sleep. She's on a time limit, too, as the life support system is due to power-down in a matter of minutes by the anime's climax. A flashback reveals that Dr. Fields knew this password when he was still human but deliberately chose not to disclose it to Geneva or Zurich, the A.I systems safeguarding the Eden bases, before adopting his new robo identity. After Sara escapes a near-death encounter with Zero -- who wipes her parents' memories of her -- the two have a final showdown on a supersized scale, with Sara desperate to uncover his buried knowledge.

As outlined by the Aisimov-inspired laws of robotics, robots can't harm humans, but human-piloted mechs provide a loophole. So, Zero and Sara clash inside giant demolition robots. At one point, Sara ingeniously switches to voice commands so that she can fight alongside her's, luring Zero into a trap before hitting him where it really hurts. Using a voice recording of his daughter, Liz, via one of the A.Is, Sara unlocks some of Zero's encrypted memories from his life as Liz's father. For extra effect, the robot dog he constructed for her, Emily, also makes an appearance.

Zero remembers the dream that Liz wanted fulfilled -- the creation of a perfect world of natural beauty, but also one filled with laughter. As Sara suddenly falls from the demolition robot's great height, he's compelled to go against his programming and save her, endangering his own body but restoring his knowledge of once being human.

How Sara Brings Humanity Back

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With the artificial life leaving Zero's body, Sara pleads with him to give her the password before it's too late. "What kind of world will you make?" He asks her, to which she assures him, the one his daughter wanted. This appears to be the correct response, and he asks her to grant him one last request -- to smile for him.

The password, it turns out, is a lengthy one: The three Articles put in place to govern robots. As Sara recites them, finally bringing the dormant human race back to life, the A.I ask her if she thinks the world needs humans. We don't get to hear Sara's response, but her actions seem to speak for her. In one final, hopeful twist, it's also revealed that Dr. Fields' consciousness has been transferred into Emily, a decision that could have struck him as undignified. Instead, he appears liberated in his new, canine-esque body, now able to frolic in the natural splendor he devoted his life -- and afterlife -- to protecting, the way his daughter wanted.

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