Flashback Ending Explained: How Did Fred Experience Non-Linear Events?

Flashback movies have such an ambiguous ending that it should be explained. This psychological mystery thriller is Director Christopher MacBride’s second full-length film. And while the film has its own quirk of drug-induced limbo, it’s hardly anything to explain. Nonetheless, Flashback was previously titled The Education of Fredrick Fitzell. This makes one question the planning that went into the film. It was announced back in May 2018, that the film would star Dylan O’Brien, Maika Monroe, and Hannah Gross. Additionally, Amanda Brugel, Emory Cohen, and Keir Gilchrist will join the cast as supporting roles. It was later announced that Flashback would be released in select theaters and video-on-demand services (Amazon Prime Video and Google Play) on June 4, 2021. Additionally, the film’s DVD and Blu-ray release will take place on June 8, 2021.

This upcoming film deals with a dangerous mental odyssey as an unreliable protagonist tries to find the disappearance of his old crush. This film also uses elements such as drugs. It’s pretty obvious that the film is advising viewers to stay away from them. However, as seen from the film, supernatural or psychological adventures don’t really happen because of the consumption of drugs. And conversely, something far from our universe happens where we witness an alternate form of the universe which earns us the Flashback Ending Explained movie.

What is the Flashback Plot?

Fredrick Fitzell or Fred lives a seemingly fulfilled life where he has a decent job, Karen’s boyfriend, and hobbies. However, this stopped because her mother had aphasia, and her condition would only get worse. Frustrated by the imminent loss of his mother, Fred is driving down a one-way street when he is reprimanded by a police officer. During this time, he saw a scar-faced man that triggered his PTSD. The memory that haunts him is of his high school crush Cindy who apparently disappeared before their final exams. Attracted by him, Fred tries to investigate and hunt him down through the internet, however, his efforts are not getting him anywhere. He returns to his school to investigate where he is reminded of a drug circulating around the time of Cindy’s disappearance, Mercury.

Flashback Ending Explained: How Did Fred Experience Non-Linear Events?


After a series of events where Fred returns with his two friends from high school, Andre and Sebastian, Fred remembers the first time he had Mercury. Along with this, he has flashbacks of a drug dealer boy who Fred later made to look like a scar-faced man. At this moment, when the trio broke into the old run-down building on Blackbird Street. Here, Fred has flashbacks of them as well as Cindy having Mercury. Here, Fred has them separately in the bathroom while Andre has a nosebleed and Sebastian gets in shape. Gradually, even Fred has near death episodes but wakes up in the moment with Cindy next to them. We learned that the boy was actually the scar-faced man in the alley.

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Flashback Ending Explained: How Did Fred Experience Non-Linear Events?

Something we learn more from the boy is about Fred’s life being controlled by an invasive life form. It tries to control its actions and decisions. However, Fred’s consumption of Mercury causes Fred to view the information in a non-linear chronology. Immediately upon learning this, Flashback Fred hits the boy in the face with a light as the group leaves. The next day, we see parallel events take place between the past and the present. Both series of events led Fred to the building on Blackbird Street. Here, he meets Cindy on the rooftop as the two decide to travel elsewhere.

Flashback Ending Explained: How Did Fred Experience Non-Linear Events?

Fred and Karen

Here, we witness a different reality as now Fred is with Cindy and becomes an artist. And moments later the two were in the desert exploring it together. Fred remembered the image of the monster he had drawn. It was his mother screaming at him when he was a baby causing him to fall down the stairs. She meets her mother and is about to leave crying. It was then that his mother regained her memory to call his name and the two reconciled. Elsewhere, Fred tells Cindy how he can’t keep up with her anymore. In addition, he completed his exams to meet Karen, did a good job, after which Karen became pregnant and her mother died.

To be honest, the main drawback of this film is the lack of explanation of how Fred’s ability to experience Non-Linear Events activates when he grows up. He is not shown picking up Mercury, so there is no root cause. Lastly, Fred’s decision to return to Karen in Flashback Ending instead of Cindy has to do with his desire to return to normal.

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