Amazon Prime Video released the first season of the YA series ‘Panic’, based on Lauren Oliver’s 2014 novel of the same name.
The plot unfolds in the small town of Carp, Texas, where a bunch of graduating seniors compete with each other in ‘Panic’, a secret game involving a life-threatening set of challenges, to grab the winning amount, their ticket to escape Carp and lead a well-off life.
Heather Nill (Olivia Welch), one of the graduating students this year is left with no other option but to participate in Panic when she is left cash strapped to pay the college fee. Her BFFs include Natalie (Jessica Sula), who has planned to play the game for a long time, and Bishop (Camron Jones), the son of a rich judge, who thinks neither of them should play the game.
The other competitors include Ray (Ray Nicholson), a seemingly obnoxious guy trying to follow his brother Luke’s (Walker Babington) legacy by winning Panic, and Dodge (Mike Faist), a new in the town boy participating to avenge his sister Dayna’s (Madison Ferris) accident.
Panic operates by roles assigned to specific individuals. The judges every year get selected by the previous year’s judges in advance. The new judges develop challenges and pick the Collector, Emcees, and Bagman.
This year, Ray is the collector who collects pot money every day from the players. Emcees this year are graduating students, Diggins (David W. Thompson) and Summer (Leslie Ann Leal). The identity of the Judges and Bagman are kept under wraps for the most part.
The potential risks and rewards involved are higher than ever. With pot money of $50,000, one can make it big, or one can succumb to the game, especially when two participants lost their lives last year, Jimmy (David De La Barcena), Carp’s Sheriff James Cortez’s son, in a game of Russian roulette, and his girlfriend Abby by getting hit by a truck.
The game also involves gambling on the players to reap earnings on their lives. The Sheriff Department is on this case to solve the mystery of what happened last year, and to stop any further games from happening.
Along with navigating through the game, the contestants deal with personal struggles, relationships, revelations, betrayals, and make allies to increase their chances of winning.
With a complex plot involving many characters, the series erupts so many questions in the mind of the views. Who emerges as the final winner of Panic? What is the truth of the mystery revolving around Jimmy’s and Abby’s death? Is Heather getting betrayed by her own friends? Who is responsible for Dyna’s accident? Who is the one placing bets on the players?
Panic ending explained in detail:
The trickster sheriff
Through Sgt. Christine Langley’s (Lee Eddy) and Capt. Jon William’s (Todd Williams) and investigation, it is revealed that Sherif Cortez was in huge debt and placed bets on Panic last year.
He attempted to eliminate all those players who threatened his son Jimmy’s victory in the game so that he could win his bets. He was the one blackmailing Abby with the letters. But Jimmy switched the training gun with a real gun in a game of roulette, killing himself.
He still tries to take advantage of the game this year by inciting Dodge to participate and placing his bets on him, making a false narrative of Luke Hall being responsible for Dayna’s injuries.
Dodge plans to take his revenge against Ray, Luke’s younger brother by planting a bomb on his car. Only later, Dodge comes to know that Luke couldn’t be responsible for that as he was already arrested 3 days before Dayna’s accident for carjacking.
Ray and Dodge qualify for the last challenge, The Joust, or a game of chicken. The stakes are high as a tiger is on loose in the town. When Ray and Dodge get aware of Cortez’s truth, then neither of them goes to participate in the Joust, staying on the boat.
Ray reveals his plan to Dodge of switching the bomb from his car to Dodge’s car when Cortez decides to drive Dodge’s car in the Joust.
Heather decides to take on Cortez by driving Ray’s car when evidence points towards Cortez involving Lily, Heather’s younger sister in the game. The challenge opens and when Heather and Cortez are about to collide, the tiger appears in the middle of the road, causing Cortez to swerve, leading the vehicle to crash.
The car explodes but Cortez manages to break open on time. But still, after escaping death, his wife appears and shoots him with a bullet, leaving his body for the tiger to feed on.
Fates and mending crumbled relationships
After the Joust, Heather is exploring her writing talent and is working on her new novel revolving around the game Panic.
The relationships began to break apart due to the game get mended afterward. Natalie’s and Heather sort out their ruined friendship when Natalie reveals herself to be one of the judges who was, in a way, helping Heather to qualify.
The ongoing love triangle between Bishop, Heather, Ray also comes to an end when Bishop leaves for college. Bishop and Heather’s relationship transforms from friends to lovers, and back to friends at the end when Bishop leaves for college. Natalie ends up getting back with Ray, who is in love with her.
Heather receives an anonymous mail announcing the judge’s decision to make her the winner of Panic. The bagman, revealed to be Bishop, sells his Audi to replace the pot money stolen by Ray’s friend Sarah, awarding the money to Heather.
As Heather drives around the town in her car, a mysterious vehicle stalks her and throws a dummy on her car’s windshield, with the mark of another Panic game. The show leaves this mystery for the audience to chew on later.