Samaritan ending explained: Is Joe really the superhero?

Samaritan on Prime Video highlights the quest of 13-year-old Sam Cleary (Javon Walton) to locate the presumed dead titular superhero. After his neighbor Joe Smith (Sylvester Stallone) saves him from bullies, Sam zeroes in on the possibility that he may be the man he’s looking for.

Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers.

Plot summary

Samaritan begins with a VoiceOver by Sam who explains how many years ago, a pair of twin brothers in Granite city were feared and hated by the locals due to their superhuman abilities. One night their house was barred and set on fire which resulted in their parents dying.

One of the brothers, consumed by rage and vengeance, became the villain Nemesis whereas the other took up the Samaritan alias, and helped those in need. Eventually, the two became fierce rivals and in a brutal face-off, died 25 years ago.

In the present day, we see Sam as a troubled kid, dealing with bullies and trying to earn quick cash to help his single working mother. He is a huge Samaritan fan and doesn’t believe that the hero is dead. He’s made it his life’s mission to discover his idol’s real identity.

Meanwhile, we are introduced to Joe Smith, an elderly garbage collector who lives in the building opposite Sam’s. He and Sam share a cordial relationship and often exchange niceties when they run into each other.

One day Sam finds himself in a heap of trouble when he gets involved with a dangerous criminal named Cyrus (Pilou Asbæk) in hopes of earning some money. He has a falling out with a few of his gang members but his desire to fight back earns Sam some money and respect from Cyrus.

However, Reza (Moisés Arias) — the gang member Sam got into a tussle with — and two more thugs corner him. Joe interferes and beats them to a pulp, revealing that he might be Samaritan.

Sam starts stalking Joe and finds clues that almost confirm his suspicion. He then sneaks into his apartment and steals a scrapbook which Joe finds out about. He takes the scrapbook back and denies being the superhero until Reza and his mates run over Joe.

Sam is shocked to see the withered old man recover on the spot with steam emitting from his body. With his identity confirmed, Joe bolts into his apartment and cools his body down. He reveals that when he gets hurt, his body temperature rises rapidly and if he doesn’t control it, his heart will explode.

Sam is ecstatic to have discovered his hero and doesn’t leave him alone. Joe indulges him and even teaches him to stand up for himself. However, he never answers any questions about what happened with his brother at the factory 25 years ago.

Samaritan ending explained in detail:

What is Cyrus’ plan?

Cyrus’ gang of delinquents arms itself up to the bone in hopes of wreaking havoc across the city. They are all huge Nemesis supporters and amid rising unemployment, homelessness and budget cuts, aim to take back control.

They break into a police precinct and steal Nemesis’s legendary hammer which he forged with his hatred towards Samaritan. It is the only weapon that could harm either of the twins. Cyrus even finds the mask and wears it, claiming to be the new Nemesis.

He stirs up the locals to loot shops and damage property as a means of rebellion and this ticks Joe off. However, despite everything happening around him, the elderly hero stays put.

Cyrus plans to cut power to the entire city and then blow up the factory once again to complete the plan Nemesis wanted to carry out all those years ago.

Sam however still agrees to work for the gangster for money and accidentally sees him murder a police officer. Before he can let Joe know, he comes across Reza and his lackeys beating up his friend. Sam confronts them and is rewarded by getting his hand broken.

Joe notices this and takes him to the hospital where Sam’s mom (who is a nurse) berates the old hero for not standing up for her son.

What is Joe’s secret?

When Joe takes Sam to the hospital, Reza is shocked to see him alive and walking despite being run over. Once Cyrus gets to know of this, he sends his men to bring Joe to him.

A confrontation takes place and the old man nearly kills all of his pursuers. However, he accidentally reveals himself in front of the public to save a little girl from an explosion.

As news spreads of Samaritan probably being back, Joe prepares to pack up and leave. When Sam asks him to fight, he gets angry and asks him to leave. The kid is disappointed to see his hero let him down.

Meanwhile, Cyrus is enraged that Samaritan is still alive and wants to kill him once and for all. He kidnaps Sam and holds him as bait to attract Joe. The old man is about to leave town but decides to visit his tiny friend and comes to know of the kidnapping.

Blinded by rage, he loads up a truck with explosives and rams into the factory where Sam is being held. Joe kills a lot of goons before Cyrus confronts him with the legendary hammer.

He initially beats up Joe, calling him the good guy. Eventually, Joy stops the hammer with one hand revealing that he is actually Nemesis, not Samaritan.

What happened 25 years ago?

According to the initial exposition, it was thought that Nemesis had died in the explosion alongside Samaritan, and he always wanted to burn the city down.

However, the truth was that there was no plan to burn the city and the brothers were dealing with their personal rivalry as the building caught fire. Samaritan had Nemesis cornered but decided to spare him.

Unfortunately, as he walked away, the floor collapsed and Samaritan fell into the inferno. Joe tried to save his brother but failed. At that moment he decided to quit his ways and opt for a solitary life that lasted 25 years.

Is Cyrus defeated?

When Joe reveals his real identity, Cyrus is stupefied but still wants to kill the old man for turning away from his anarchic ways. He takes Sam and handcuffs him to a metal pole inside the factory and waits.

Joe rips through the henchmen and comes to save his tiny friend when Cyrus strikes. With his body temperature rising drastically due to numerous bullet wounds, Joe is weakened.

Before Cyrus can strike the final blow, Sam releases himself and smacks Cyrus with the pole, distracting him. Joe uses the opportunity to overpower the gangster and throws him into the fire, just like his brother fell.

He then grabs Sam and jumps into the opposite building. Sam asks him if he really is Nemesis and Joe admits he is. The kid is visibly shaken but encourages him to change and be good like Samaritan. Reiterating the fact that he now fixes things.

Joe responds that the concept of good and bad isn’t so simple. Every human being has both inside them but it is their choices that matter. Eventually, firemen rescue Sam and Joe hides among the crowd.

A news reporter asks Sam to confirm if it was Samaritan who saved him and he agrees. The kid goes on to outlandishly explain his exploits with the superhero as Joe nods, smiles and walks away.

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