The Consultant Ending Explained
This article contains spoilers for The Consultant.
Prime Video’s new horror/satire/workplace comedy-drama The Consultant is based on the novel of the same name by Bentley Little. It stars Oscar-winning actor Christoph Waltz in the role of Regus Patoff, a mysterious new boss of a video game development company called CompWare. It becomes clear quite quickly that something is very off about the way he runs the firm.
The show has many different mystery and thriller undertones that kept us interested in what was to come next, but the ending of the finale may be hard to understand if you weren’t paying full attention to specific plot points earlier in the season. That’s where we come in! What was the point of Regus’ takeover of CompWare? And what are the fates of the two employees we followed all season, Craig and Elaine (Nat Wolff and Brittany O’Grady)? Let’s find out!
Who (Or What) is Regus Patoff?
Regus Patoff is such a strange individual that any person could watch the show and come up with a different adjective or descriptor about him. Patoff has absolutely no social awareness. The things he asks of his employees pop up in his mind at random with no grasp of the consequences he’s inflicting on other humans. He seemingly has no family life, staying at work sometimes throughout the entire evening to concoct elaborate schemes. He has an awkward gait that inhibits him from walking up the stairs, but he never appears to be embarrassed of it or even understand why people would wonder what his handicap is. It could appear sometimes like Regus Patoff isn’t even a human. And maybe he isn’t…
What is the Significance of Patoff’s Big Toe?
Craig chose a path in juxtaposition to Elaine as the season moved forward. He knew something was very weird about Patoff, and he decided to do something about it despite Patoff’s claims that Craig is weak and not a leader. In an homage to the company’s game, Craig uses a hammer to shatter the glass floor both men walk upon, resulting in Patoff falling through the shards like the game characters. When Patoff falls through, he loses a toe in the mess of party foods down below, presumably cut off by the sharp glass remnants. Craig brings the digit home with him and starts boiling it, something that is simultaneously bizarre and gross for viewers until they see the result: the toe is made of gold under the flesh.
Remember jeweler Frank Florez (Juan Carlos Cantu) from the fifth episode of the series? Florez was the man Craig went to for some help investigating Patoff. It was here where Florez alludes to the fact that Patoff was building something through many requests for body parts molded from gold. Connecting these dots, it looks as if we now have some answers as to why Patoff is a freak: he’s not completely human. Patoff comes back to CompWare to see the results of his heavy lifting all season, pleased with the operation enough to limp out without a right big toe. Humanoids don’t really have a need for all their limbs anyway.
What is the result of Elaine’s elephant PR stunt?
In the seventh episode of the season “Elephant,” Elaine is tasked with letting a live elephant loose throughout downtown Los Angeles in an attempt to promote CompWare’s newest hit smartphone game, “Mr. Sang’s Jungle Odyssey.” We immediately see in the season finale that the animal caused catastrophic damage to certain parts of the city and then tragically passed away once it was captured. Mr. Patoff and the entire workforce at CompWare don’t seem to care all that much because any publicity is better than no publicity, right?
The elephant effectively promoted the video game to garner over 1 million downloads, and the office throws a party in celebration of the achievement. During this office bash, Mr. Patoff is nowhere to be seen until he threatens Elaine’s ex-boyfriend with violence if he doesn’t leave without payment for releasing the elephant. Unfortunately, we never see this character, Patrice (Jake Manley), ever again.
Why Was Patoff Using Craig’s Fiancée, Patti?
One of the big thriller elements of the back half of the season was trying to figure out how Craig’s wife, Patti (Aimee Carrero), was being used by Patoff in the records room of CompWare. The show makes it seem like her fate might turn into something deadly, but the consequences were actually something much more wide scale.
The Fate of Craig and Elaine Revealed
Both Craig and Elaine come out the other side of their conflict with Patoff in one piece, and you could even argue that they get exactly what they wanted throughout the season. Elaine was a bright young woman with moral principles when we first meet her, but as Patoff slowly and surely starts manipulating her actions to his liking, she compromises herself for career gain.
Elaine’s final scene shows her entering the head honcho office at CompWare. We don’t know whether Patoff will still be the person pulling the strings, though. He is still “the consultant”, after all, but maybe using Elaine as a puppet was always his goal. There was a sacrifice that had to be made by Elaine to become the boss. She’ll never be the same ethical “creative liaison” that she kept claiming she was earlier in the show.
As for Craig, he gets to know the truth about CompWare and Patoff through the aforementioned big golden toe. His interactions with jeweler Frank Florez first gave him pause in the middle of the season, and this token confirms that Patoff isn’t completely human. Who knows what his future is at CompWare? He’s certainly close with Elaine, so perhaps he’ll continue to move up in the company as well.
The fates of these two characters help to prove a major point of the storytelling in The Consultant: the modern workforce treats employees as if they are just cogs in a machine. Patoff’s arrival symbolizes a literal representation of what could happen in a scenario in which humans are someday replaced by humanoid counterparts. Even if Elaine and Craig survived and even thrived in the aftermath, their importance is secondary to machines in the future of American working life.
What Was the Deal With that Last Scene?
The final scene, in which a newscaster is heard talking about a tech CEO whose goal was to create a humanoid workforce back in 2018, gives us a massive hint about where the show could be headed in a second season. Patoff was but a mere but effective device to install non-human employees at the center of tech. This is an ominous, but not completely unrealistic, result of the storytelling we see throughout the show.
All eight episodes of The Consultant are available to stream on Prime Video now.
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