‘The Pig, The Snake, And The Pigeon’ Ending Explained: Does Kui-Lin Surrender?

Wong Ching-po’s The Pig, the Snake, and the Pigeon takes a glimpse into the gruesome criminal world of Taiwan. Through its portrayal of a notorious criminal’s life, Ching-po talks about the inner conflicts of people on this side of morality. This film presents a fresh take on vigilantism and the repercussions of arrogance, greed, and deception. Additionally, I think the movie also serves to lay bare the superstitions and spiritual beliefs of people with such violent inclinations and how one views mortality within oneself. In essence, this film serves as a spectacle reflecting the multifaceted nature of morality and human nature, compelling the audience to look at the blurred lines between good and evil.

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Spoilers Ahead


What’s The Plot About?

Four years prior to the events of the movie, Chen Kui-lin, a hitman, is attending the funeral of a crime boss. It turns out he is visiting the funeral to assassinate another gang leader. After successfully taking out his target, he tries to flee the scene, but Chen Hui, a skilled police officer, gives him a chase. After a violent altercation, Kui-lin escapes, leaving Chen Hui blind in one eye. Four years later, Kui-lin receives a call from Dr. Chang, an underworld doctor who is treating his grandmother. She informs Kui-lin of his grandmother’s critical health and asks him to visit. However, his grandmother eventually passes away. Chen retrospects upon the main reason he had been on the run for the past four years; he believes his grandmother would’ve been sad if she found out he was in prison. Dr. Chang mentions that the report of his chest examination is out, revealing that he has stage IV cancer with only has a few months to live. Reflecting on the situation, she suggests that he surrender himself and live his last few months honorably rather than dying like a street dog. 

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Does Kui-Lin Turn Himself In?

Seeking answers, Kui-lin worships an idol of Guan Yu, a Taoist deity also revered as a Bodhisattva in Buddhism. He believes that his god will guide him in his decision to turn himself in by the roll of a die. As fate suggests, he shows up at the police station to have himself arrested, but he is not treated as being of any importance and must stand in line like other people. An arrogant Kui-lin then sees a poster of the most wanted criminals and finds himself in the third position, after ‘Hongkie’ and ‘Bullhead.’ He therefore decides that, before dying, his sole purpose would be to eliminate the criminals above him. By doing so, he intends to make a name for himself as well.


How Does Kui-Lin Eliminate Hongkie?

In his quest for Hongkie, Kui-lin seeks assistance from Dr. Chang, who initially remains tight-lipped about the man’s whereabouts. In a desperate bid to persuade her, he resorts to kidnapping her son. Eventually, Dr. Chang divulges that she had once operated on Hongkie, who had sustained a gunshot wound to the head. With a bullet still lodged in his skull, Hongkie now operates out of a salon in Taichung. Tracking Hongkie down to the salon, Kui-lin keeps a watchful eye on him from a hotel room opposite the establishment. His observations reveal Hongkie’s abusive behavior towards Hsiao-mei, the salon owner, whom he’s coerced into an intimate relationship. Moved by sympathy for Hsiao-mei’s situation, Kui-lin resolves to intervene.

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The next morning, Kui-lin visits the salon to meet Hsiao Mei but is confronted by Hongkie, who confronts him about spying on him the previous night. Before Hongkie can attack, a few police officers enter the salon, interrupting their confrontation. Later that evening, Kui-lin interrupts Hongkie’s assault on Hsaio Mei, leading to a violent confrontation. After a violent chase, Kui-lin ultimately corners and eliminates Hongkie. Returning to Hsiao Mei’s apartment, Kui-lin rescues her and eliminates Hongkie’s associates. In a bold move, he instructs Hsiao Mei to inform the authorities that he is responsible for Hongkie’s murder, as he desires recognition for his actions.


How Does Kui-Lin Eliminate Bullhead?

After dispatching Hongkie, Kui-lin shifts his focus to tracking down Bullhead. His pursuit leads him to a spiritual organization located on the island of Penghu. The Master of the organization extends hospitality to Kui-lin, plying him with meals and accommodation. However, during a retreat at their church, Kui-lin’s health deteriorates rapidly as he starts vomiting and loses consciousness during one of the assemblies. On discovering Kui-lin’s condition and seeing his medications, the Master learns of his battle with cancer. Being a compassionate person, the Master offers to heal Kui-lin’s affliction through spiritual means.

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Later, Kui-lin goes to the Master to ask about Bullhead, but the Master reveals that Bullhead died some time ago. Having lost his purpose now, Kui-lin feels directionless and guilty for the way he has lived his life till now. He repents of his sins and goes to the Master to have himself inducted into the spiritual society. Kui-lin buries his gun and gives up the few belongings he had, including his grandmother’s watch, to the Master to be incinerated. 

As Kui-lin becomes increasingly involved in the activities of the church, he witnesses a remarkable improvement in his cancer, seemingly through the divine intervention of the organization. However, his perception of the group begins to shift when a mother and her son join the community. Mirroring Kui-lin’s own experiences, the child starts exhibiting symptoms of illness, including vomiting black fluid. This incident makes Kui-lin suspicious of the organization. On one occasion, while snooping around in the hallways, he sees the Master injecting the boy with a serum, suggesting that the vomiting was clinically induced by some chemical in the food the child had been given. The Master wishes the child to remain in a comatose state. It is likely that he seeks to make a profit off the mother. Kui-lin’s doubts are deepened when he stumbles upon a room stacked with the belongings of all the members, which hadn’t actually been incinerated. On another occasion, he even sees the doctor carrying the same X-ray report that he had been shown. Realizing the vicious web of scams that the organization had been running, Kui-lin’s delusions are shattered. Feeling bad for the woman and the child, he tries to confront the Master, but his goons subdue him and give the woman a knife, forcing her to stab him. The woman, however, slits her own throat and dies. The Master then takes the knife and stabs Kui-lin. His men then shut him inside a coffin and buried him alive. 

Kui-lin, however, survives the ordeal. He digs himself up along with the gun he buried. He digs up Bullhead’s grave and finds it empty. Realizing that the Master was Bullhead himself, he heads to the assembly to take his revenge. It seems that Kui-lin was shaken by this incident, which could further affect his empathy. However, seeing the fate of the child and the mother made him realize morality, it seems. Arriving at the assembly hall, he shoots Bullhead and leaves. But seeing that the members were unaffected by their deaths, he returns. After letting the innocent people escape, filled with rage, he massacres everyone and leaves. 


Why Does Kui-Lin Surrender? 

On his way back to the mainland, he calls up Detective Chen Hui and surrenders himself. While in prison, he is attended by Dr. Chang, who reveals that he never had cancer and that the report she showed was actually hers. Getting her cancer diagnosis made her realize her mortality and the fragility of her life. She regretted her actions as a doctor, which is why she misled Kui-lin into thinking he had cancer believing that it would ultimately make him surrender himself. Instead, she killed three birds with a single stone. Kui-lin, a changed man now, expresses his gratitude to Dr. Chang, explaining that he’s glad she lied to him. 

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During The Pig, the Snake, and the Pigeon‘ ending, Kui-lin is eventually sentenced to death, and Hsaio-mei visits him in prison. Before he is executed, she gives him a shave and one last haircut. In the end, he is executed as a reformed man who is guilty of his actions. In his final words, he apologizes to society for everything that he has done. After losing his grandmother and receiving his cancer diagnosis, even though it was a fake one, Kui-lin had a change of heart. Initially, he wanted to kill Hongkie and Bullhead to be at the top of the most wanted list before he died. But, after the ordeal that he went through, he wanted to rid the world of bad men—men like him who made the world a bad place. 


Shrey Ashley Philip
Shrey Ashley Philip
A teacher, photographer, linguist, and songwriter, Shrey started out as a Biotechnology graduate, but shifted to studying Japanese. Now he talks about movies, advocates for ADHD awareness, and embraces Albert Camus.

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