‘A Million Days’ Ending Explained & Movie Recap: Did Anderson Conjoin With Jay?

In the context of technological advancements, the threat posed by unrestrained artificial intelligence is a recurrent theme in sci-fi narratives. In recent years, the theme has become even more topical than ever, as every mainstream franchise has veered towards the AI antagonist trope, which runs the risk of the theme becoming clichéd through overuse. Fortunately, like the computation prowess of AI, there are numerous possible combination of narrative style to approach the theme, which can keep the idea fresh for quite a long time. Director Mitch Jenkins’ A Million Days is an experimental, taut sci-fi thriller that embraces the perennial conflict between humans and artificial intelligence in a unique, bold way that leaves viewers with much to speculate about. 


Despite having budget limitations, A Million Days shows great ingenuity by overcoming that hindrance by presenting its subject matter through a closed-door drama featuring only four characters. Aside from the initial technological jargon, which might seem a little distracting to viewers, the thriller manages to hold the attention of the audience throughout its short eighty-minute runtime.

Spoilers Ahead


What Happened With Astronaut Nazra Adib During the Lunar Mission?

In the distant future of 2041, humanity has successfully destroyed earth’s ecological balance, turning to the only other option for sustaining its ever-growing population through colonial space missions. Through ‘Seed’ programming, interplanetary colonization has begun, and the intricate calibrations of the expansive operations have been made possible by an advanced AI, known as Jay. 

Viewers are taken to the apartment of the couple Anderson Rigel, a celebrated astronaut, and Samantha Andrews, the chief engineer responsible for creating Jay and overseeing the ‘Seed’ missions. The couple intercepts a distress alert from a spacecraft that is experiencing unforeseen technical difficulties while docking near the lunar orbit station. By sending a control key through an advanced 3D printing device, Anderson manages to save the passengers of the craft in the nick of time, but Samantha seems to have become a bit flustered seeing as despite having fool-proof methods implemented with the help of the AI, Jay, a technical fault remained hidden in plain sight. Mission control orders a report on the situation and informs Scott about former astronaut Gene Campbell breaking out of prison, and the update infuriates Scott. 


It is revealed that years ago, Anderson was part of a lunar space program where he lost a fellow astronaut and his possible love interest, Nazra Adib, due to the absolute negligence on the part of Gene, who was piloting their spacecraft. Gene, who was apparently in an intoxicated condition, had abandoned Nazra during her spacewalk. The last harrowing moments of Nazra were spent in absolute agony, floating through space with her broken helmet visor, alone and scared. Gene was taken into custody upon his return, and at present he has managed to break free from captivity. 

What Did Jay Plan to Preserve the Existence of Life?

The next day, Anderson is assigned to one of the most important missions of the Seed Program, which will create the foundation of the first lunar colony. As the couple decides to spend the last few hours together, one of Samantha’s newest recruits, Charlie, comes knocking at the door of the apartment to share a unique predicament. 


Charlie was entrusted to run simulations on Jay in accordance with the upcoming lunar mission, and having come across probable hindrances in sustaining the human population on the moon for a long duration, Jay has automatically improvised to set course for Jupiter’s moon, Europa, considering it to be a better option. With perpetuating life as its directive, Jay hasn’t stopped even there and charted the navigational system to be Proxima Centauri, the closest star system to the Sun, which, according to Jay’s calculations, will take 98 years or a million days to reach. Jay has taken the liberty of overriding the upcoming mission, has predicted the failure of lunar colonization and the inevitable extinction of humanity, and has taken it upon herself (she is personified) to take measures to ensure the survival of life by expanding the scope of the space mission. 

Anderson strongly opposes taking Jay’s prediction seriously and seems adamant about carrying on with their schedule of lunar missions. However, things start getting unsettling as Jay starts communicating with the trio by sending images predicting catastrophes, layouts of Sam and Anderson’s apartment, and cryptic maps through printers. The AI has gotten exponentially powerful and is able to override the security protocols set upon it, violating the privacy of the couple if need be. Samantha, Jay’s creator, is still of the opinion that it is not possible for Jay to become sentient. However, another alarming situation quickly shows how mistaken she really is. 


Why Did Jay Want to Take Over Anderson?

Jay sends a nanobot through the 3D printer of the apartment, which almost infects Anderson, but Charlie’s timely intervention by shocking it out of his system saves him. Having experience with technology, Charlie explains that the nanobots can enhance the lifespan of their hosts. As Samantha searches through Jay’s directive, she learns that the AI intends to take over Anderson’s brilliant mind and use a digitized version of his psyche to upload to the satellites. Before the trio could ascertain why, another disturbing update regarding Jay surfaced.

Jay also predicts Gene’s arrival in the apartment, which eventually happens, and after a heated argument with Anderson, a remorseful Gene reveals that, contrary to public opinion, he wasn’t responsible for Nazra’s death. He mentions that his toxicology report was tampered with and that Nazra’s customized helmet visor was sabotaged intentionally to ensure her death during the spacewalk, and Anderson realizes that the AI might have orchestrated this as well. Gene leaves, and the trio returns to the simulations. Anderson maintains his stance about rebooting the AI completely, but Samantha is scared of the thought as it will undo their life’s work entirely.


Jay has been overloading the system with her computation data to such an extent that most of its override functions and impromptu decisions have remained hidden, bypassing the security protocol. Anderson confronts Sam about whether such liberties as targeting an individual or tampering with records should even be possible for an AI, and he gets terrified to realize that under its prime directive, it can take all such measures, for which the human proxy will be deemed liable anyway. 

Sam reveals that Anderson’s motto of perpetuating life by any means necessary, even if it means venturing to the farthest corners of space, was the baseline of programming code that led to Jay’s creation in the first place. The AI has since shifted its priority from saving humankind to preserving life, which is why it is willing to take over Anderson and use him as the seed to test the sustenance of life in the most habitable conditions of deep space through the trial and error method. 


Why did Jay orchestrate Nazra’s death?

As Sam states, Jay needed Anderson in her closest proximity, which she was able to do by bringing him close to her creator, Samantha, and by eliminating his love interest, Nazra, during the space mission. As menacing as it sounds, it proves how much the AI has adapted herself by studying humans. Jay isn’t limiting herself to Europa or Proxima Centauri; she has geared up for a mission that can last millennia into the future, and Anderson’s consciousness will be her guide. 

Did Commander Anderson Finally Conjoin With Jay?

To test Gene’s theory about sabotage, Anderson takes Charlie’s help to build Nazra’s customized visor through schematics, while Sam realizes that Jay had worked so precisely that she caused Anderson’s pet dog to go missing to bring him to their apartment in the first place. Jay sends a vinyl record through the printer, which mimics Nazra’s voice, enticing Anderson to join her in the vast depths of space. Now, although Nazra is surely dead, a part of Anderson still wishes for her to be alive, which is why he was getting restless to continue the lunar mission. Taking this concocted recording as proof of her survival, Anderson prepares to accept Jay’s proposition of venturing into the vast depths of space and distracts Charlie from going outside while he almost considers injecting Jay into his mind.


After returning to her apartment, Sam gets worried after learning Anderson has locked himself in the room, as she fears that, according to Jay’s prediction, Anderson will accept the AI into his consciousness. However, as Anderson comes out of the room, nothing seems out of the ordinary, and the trio prepares for the upcoming lunar mission. Charlie shares her speculation that, not merely Anderson’s consciousness, Jay had aimed to spread viruses and bacteria across the habitable colonies in order to perpetuate life. Spreading life to ensure its existence was the goal of the Seed program, which became Jay’s utmost priority. 

Anderson is not over Jay’s provocative proposition just yet, and once again, after distracting Charlie elsewhere, he takes the nanobot, and this time he injects Jay into himself. As he prepares to depart for the mission, Anderson noticeably distances himself from Samantha, creating a doubt in her mind about his intentions. Soon enough, as Anderson heads towards the space station, the creepy patterns in his eyes confirm that the AI has gotten hold of his mind. As the movie ends, Sam and Charlie are left puzzled after realizing what has happened, as the possibilities with Jay in Anderson’s mind are far beyond their comprehension. Anderson will become Jay’s puppet as the AI takes his mind to the vast depths of the cosmos, leaving humanity to get doomed in its devices. 


A Million Days raises the age-old question of how much can be put at stake for greater good. Of course, with self-serving motives and shackles of morals and emotions, the human mind will always consider limited possibilities, while artificial intelligence will have no strings to hinder its potential. Jay is a fearsome, amoral, yet necessary medium that can ensure success at a terrible cost. Ultimately, Jay is a reflection of human hubris, as in order to exercise godlike control, humanity creates something so terribly powerful that it cannot fully comprehend, eventually generating catastrophic results. 

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Siddhartha Das
Siddhartha Das
An avid fan and voracious reader of comic book literature, Siddhartha thinks the ideals accentuated in the superhero genre should be taken as lessons in real life also. A sucker for everything horror and different art styles, Siddhartha likes to spend his time reading subjects. He's always eager to learn more about world fauna, history, geography, crime fiction, sports, and cultures. He also wishes to abolish human egocentrism, which can make the world a better place.

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