The Power Of The Dog Ending Explained

The Power Of The Dog is a 2021 drama set in the ol’ west directed by Jane Campion. The story is centred on two brothers who own a ranch. One of them weds a widow with an intelligent yet awkward son, and the other resents the marriage. The cast has Benedict CumberbatchKirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, and Kodi Smit-McPhee with Thomasin McKenzie in a short role. It’s an interesting film with excellent cinematography and a twisted climax. Here’s the ending of the movie The Power Of The Dog explained; spoilers ahead.

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The Power Of The Dog Ending Explained

The ending of The Power Of The Dog reveals itself to be an ice-cold revenge story. Peter tactically kills Phil by infecting him with anthrax to save his mother from her drinking problem. And this we know from many clues the film gives us.

Despite Peter putting his best foot forward, Phil is extremely rude to Peter at the dinner party. This profoundly upsets both Peter and his mother, Rose. While it appears that Peter is a soft person, it turns out he’s not very forgiving.

Rose gets married to Phil’s brother, George, and after this, she develops a drinking problem. The root cause of this appears to be Phil and his intimidating presence. Her drinking problem goes through the roof when Peter comes home and is around Phil, and Peter wants this to stop.

It appears that Phil’s mentor, Bronco Henry, and he had a homosexual relationship, and one day, Peter discovers Phil’s hideout, learning that he is gay. After this, Phil talks to Peter and suggests they have a fresh start; Phil doesn’t want his secret to get out. Peter plays along, knowing well he has the upper hand. Over time, Phil believes that he could share the same relationship with Peter as Bronco once did with him.

Phil and Peter power of the dog

Peter wants to be a doctor. His demeanour and the way he kills that rabbit to dissect and study it give an insight into his icy character. Later, Peter opens up to Phil about finding his father hanging from a rope. Peter mentions that his father used to worry he wasn’t kind enough and that he was too strong. Phil mocks him, but Peter’s father was referring to Peter’s lack of emotions and empathy for others, which could lead him down a dark path.

Phil happens to cut his hands while throwing logs around, and Peter makes a note of this.

Earlier, with Phil teaching him to ride a horse, Peter heads out on his own and finds a dead cow shown to be infected with anthrax. With gloves on, Peter carefully extracts the animal’s hide. Later, Rose gives away all of Phil’s hides, making him furious. Peter offers Phil rawhide claiming he cut it because he wanted to be like Phil, and Phil takes the bait.

How did Phil get anthrax and die? 

Peter gets Phil to use the infected hide to continue making his rope and, in the process, ends up getting infected with anthrax. Phil is known to strictly keep away from working with infected animals, and hence no one suspects his infection, and Phil dies from it. The film is set in 1925, and at the time, the disease was quite deadly as Penicillin wasn’t used to treat anthrax until 1944. In the last scene, with Phil gone, Rose no longer has a drinking problem, and we see evil Peter smiling to himself contently, looking at George with his mother.

What were your thoughts on the ending of The Power Of The Dog? It would be great if anyone could shed some light on the bible verse and its connection to the movie’s title. Please do drop a comment with this or other thoughts about the film.