‘Knuckles’ Series Recap & Ending Explained: Did Wade Whipple Finally Become A Warrior?

Since the 1980s, the two biggest gaming companies, Sega and Nintendo, have been engaged in fierce competition to capture the gaming market. To rival the popularity of Nintendo’s iconic poster boy, Mario, Sega created Sonic the Hedgehog in the 1990s. The extremely favorable reception of the speedster hedgehog resulted in Sega venturing into multiple media productions and firmly establishing their legacy in the pop culture business. Even when it came to the silver screen adaptations, it was the overwhelming success of the first Sonic the Hedgehog movie that paved the way for movie adaptations of several popular video game titles. 


After the consecutive success of the first two Sonic movies and the buildup of a strong buzz revolving around the third entry due to the confirmation of fan favorite Shadow’s inclusion as an antagonist, Paramount has started feeling pretty confident about building a full-fledged franchise with the Sonic universe. The recently released TV series Knuckles, based on the anthropomorphic Echidna of the same name, was created as a result of the decision. While the series follows a basic premise involving Knuckles and his struggle to find a place to belong, being a self-contained narrative, it doesn’t offer much in terms of setting up future installments. The visual brilliance of the Sonic movies is followed with perfection, but the lack of an engaging antagonistic figure like Jim Carry’s Robotnik is felt at the same time. 

Spoilers Ahead


Why Did Knuckles Decide To Turn Wade Whipple Into A Warrior?

As viewers might remember, Knuckles the Echidna, Sonic’s former rival turned friend, had settled on earth at the Wachowski household in Green Hills. The last surviving member of his Echidna warrior tribe, the realm-traversing fighter Knuckles, wanted to find the Master Emerald, an extremely powerful artifact that can rewrite reality and bring great glory to his fallen comrades and ancestors. As Knuckles arrived on earth to obtain the artefact, he got into a fierce conflict with Sonic by teaming up with Robotnik. Eventually, the bright-eyed warrior realized his mistake after getting betrayed by Robotnik and partnered up with Sonic to defeat him, securing the Master Emerald in the process. As of present time, Knuckles is living with Sonic and Tails ’adoptive family—the Wachowskis—and creating a funny mess through his hard and fast warrior routine. Displaced from his home world long ago, losing his tribe, Knuckles lacks a sense of belonging, and despite finally having the chance to call this world his home, he refuses to do so. Additionally, having gained the Master Emerald as well, Knuckles feels no great purpose to motivate him anymore, and unlike his other furry friends, he simply isn’t built to relax and enjoy a leisurely life. In need of guidance, Knuckles asks for the help of his ancestors, and the spirit of the late great Echidna leader, Pochacamac, appears in front of him. Pochacamac emphasizes Knuckles’ role in carrying the legacy as the last Echidna warrior and asks him to take Tom Wachowski’s colleague, Green Hill deputy sheriff Wade Whipple, under his wing as an apprentice. By teaching him the ways of the Echidna warrior, Knuckles can only restore the lost tribe to its former glory. A bit confused initially, Knuckles decides to take the responsibility. 

Why did Wade Whipple need to win the bowling championship?

Meanwhile, we are introduced to the timid, well-meaning but tactless, diffident Wade Whipple, who gets promptly thrown out of his own bowling team by his friend/mentor bounty hunter Jack Sinclair after getting beaten by a little girl named Suzie. For Wade, participating in the upcoming bowling championship in Reno, Nevada, was a dream that got shattered by Jack’s humiliation. Knuckles meets Wade and promises to teach him the Echidna way, turn him into a warrior, and give him a chance to prove himself in the bowling championship. 


On the other hand, at the covert government agency G.U.N. headquarters in London, two rogue agents, Mason and Willoughby, turn out to be secretly selling weapons to Robotnik’s lackey, the Buyer. Like his former boss, the Buyer too seeks to exploit the super powerful anthropomorphic creatures, especially Knuckles, whose single quill (much like Sonic) is shown to be a source of limitless power. Upon the buyer’s command, Willoughby and Mason travel to the other side of the world using a ring portal to capture Knuckles, and to face one of the greatest warriors, the buyer sends them some of his tools, powered by Knuckles’ quills. 

As Knuckles gradually becomes familiar with the earth, human customs, and habits thanks to Wade’s efforts, he also learns that for Wade, participating in the championship has a personal reason as well. In his childhood, Wade shared a strong bond with his father, Pete ‘Pistol’ Whipple, a legendary bowling champion who left his family for his passion. Despite the abandonment, Wade admires his father a lot, and in an effort to prove himself to his father, he wants to participate and win the tournament. Although Knuckles is confused regarding the complexity of such a relationship, he agrees to help Wade accomplish his goals. 


Did Knuckles Finally Find a Place to Belong?

Willoughby and Mason ambush Knuckles and Wade in a bowling arena, and despite getting bested by the Echidna, they somehow manage to take him captive. Surprisingly enough, Wade works his way through in the most ludicrous ways and manages to rescue Knuckles from captivity, but his shenanigans earn him a hefty bounty from the authorities, resulting in his staying under the radar for a while along with Knuckles. Wade takes Knuckles to his family home and introduces him to his mother, Wendy, and sister, Wanda, an FBI agent who doesn’t miss a chance to demean her brother. 

The abandonment of Pete affected the family in a number of ways, creating a childish estrangement between Wade and his sister but mostly affecting Wendy, who raised the family on her own and wishes to see her children stand together. As Knuckles joins the family for their Shabbat dinner, the disagreements between Wade and Wanda continue to grow, leading to both of them storming off. Knuckles talks with Wade and learns more about his connection with his father. Appreciating the love of the Whipple family, Knuckles shares that he can relate to Wade’s feeling of abandonment as he has been betrayed time and time again. Wade assures him that he will never betray his friend at any cost. Later, as Knuckles comforts Wendy in his own naïve way as the duo binge “Pretty Woman,” Wendy shares her willingness to bring her family close again. Right at the moment, the Whipple household gets invaded by a bunch of bounty hunters who seem to be trying to capture Wade, but as the family fights together and protects the Shabbat candle from getting blown, the siblings finally set aside their differences. Wendy thanks Knuckles, as after ages the family has spent a memorable Shabbat dinner together, and likewise, the wandering Echidna seems to have found a place to belong among the Whipple family as well. 


Did Wade Whipple become a warrior?

The very next day, Jack Sinclair abducts Wade to get the hefty bounty on his head, but Knuckles refuses to rescue him as he states it is Wade’s time to shine. Calling out for help multiple times, Wade unconsciously slips into a dream-like state, and Pochacamac teaches him the way of Echidna through a re-enactment of the life of Knuckles, which finally teaches Wade that the strength of a warrior lies in his heart. Wade escapes from his captivity and challenges Jack to a duel, where he emerges victorious, and after humiliating Jack as a payback, Wade returns as a transformed, more confident version of himself. The Whipple family and Knuckles venture out to Reno as Wade is prepared to participate in the championship, and Suzie joins as his team member as well. 

On the other hand, enraged at the failure of Agent Mason and Agent Willoughby, the buyer threatens them with consequences and gives them another chance to capture Knuckles. Just as the Whipple family reaches Reno, the rogue agents follow them there as well. As the championship begins, Wade and Suzie win all the rounds to reach the final stage, where their opponent turns out to be Pete Whipple’s team. Before the finals, Wade meets his charismatic, flamboyant showboat of a father, Pete, and the duo share a moment of reconciliation, which Wendy witnesses. Later, Wendy warns Wade about his father’s abandonment issues, as she doesn’t want him to see her as heartbroken as she was back then when Pete left the family. 


Later, it turns out that in order to secure his position as undefeated champion, Pete has joined hands with the rogue agents and has taken Wendy and Wanda captive—in order to force Wade to walk away from the championship. The agents force Wade to give Knuckles up in exchange for the lives of his family members, and a dejected Wade has no other option than to follow the command, breaking his past promise to his friend. However, it is revealed that Knuckles was aware of the situation as he was overhearing their conversation all the time, and once again, he easily manages to thwart the agent duo’s attempts. 

Wade participates in the finals, and as Pete tries to provoke him, a confident Wade remains resilient as he acknowledges his mother and sister proudly. Fortune favors the brave, and Wade emerges victorious by beating his father. However, the desperate Buyer attacks the arena using a giant robotic armor, using which he drains Knuckle’s energies and prepares to launch the final blow. Wade valiantly defends Knuckles using the power gauntlet the buyer had given to Agent Mason and motivates Knuckles by acknowledging his presence in his life. Having a home to fight for, Knuckles gathers his strength to fight back and regains his powers by drawing them out of the buyer’s power suit. In an enhanced state, Knuckles activates his ultimate power, the Flames of Disaster. With his blazing fists, he promptly defeats the Buyer, saving Reno from a disaster in the process. As the Whipple family returns to the bowling arena, Pete is seen trying to steal the trophy Wade has won, and Wendy gives a much-deserving punch to knock the lights out of the buffoon. As the first season ends, Wade and Knuckles are seen riding towards the horizon in a cruiser while jamming to Knuckles’ latest favorite mixtape. 


Just as Sonic and Tails have found their place among Wachowskis, Knuckles has found his among the Whipples, and defending them is going to be the warrior Echidna’s new purpose. In the upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog 3, viewers will see all three furry friends banding together—probably initially against Robotnik’s other lackeys, but most importantly—against Shadow the Hedgehog. In the game lore, Shadow’s creation provided a great deal of character development to Robotnik, and although his apparent death in the second Sonic movie makes it difficult for the lore to be followed, the makers might find a plot loophole to make that happen. 

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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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