Red Rose explained: how did it work & is the Gardener dead?

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Red Rose is the TV series released on Netflix on February 2023. It was among the most awaited original releases of the year because of the topic it brought into the game: the threat of technology and how it can become dangerous, even lethal, if it falls into the wrong hands. Taking over the heritage of Black Mirror to some extent, the TV show conquered the audience, who had many questions about the plot: how did the app Red Rose work? Is the Gardener dead? And how does the story continues after the ending of Season 1? In this article, you’ll have all answers carefully explained.

You can watch the official trailer for Red Rose here on Youtube.

Red Rose, the plot explained: how did the app work?

The Netflix show Red Rose spins around the app Red Rose, a mysterious download that has access to all the features of your phone and can change the content of the messages you send or receive, block incoming or outcoming texts, and chat with the phone’s owner. The app is also able to record from the phone camera in secret, and the software behind it can enter every display or speaker around you, streaming all the content Red Rose is aware of.

The app was initially developed in Manchester by Jacob, a young guy, an expert programmer, who was in love with his schoolmate Alyssa. Initially, the app’s purpose was to chat with the phone owner, and Jacob’s goal was to make Alyssa install it and then let the app ask her questions about her tastes and preferences: behind that chat, there was always Jacob, who used the answers to get closer to Alyssa in real life. A group of other people supported Jacob remotely, watching how Red Rose worked. At some point, Jacob realizes that the app could gain master access to “everything,” all technology surrounding the phone’s owner. He starts feeling troubled about the things Red Rose was able to access. However, the rest of the group seemed excited about the potentialities of the app, especially the mysterious “Gardener,” who’ll convince Jacob to make him admin and let him improve the app.

In the following weeks, Jacob stays disconnected from Red Rose. One day, he sees Alyssa worried, chatting in the Red Rose app on her phone; he gets concerned and accesses the Red Rose dashboard, discovering that the others in the group started using the app for evil purposes, psychologically torturing Alyssa. Their goal is to kill her, scaring her to death first and having fun watching her mind crumble. Jacob is furious and threatens the group to go to the police. From the call he receives immediately after, we understand that Jacob dies, killed by the Gardener and the others.

So, the Red Rose app started as an app that could chat with the owner, then it got access to other technology devices around the user, and the evil group of people modified it, intending to use it as a tool of psychological torture to be used against teenagers. From there, the plot of Red Rose moves to Bolton some months later: let’s have the present part explained.

What happens in Bolton?

The group controlling Red Rose had months to organize and prepare the attack for their next victims. They select a group of teenagers in Bolton. The first to download the app is Rochelle: Red Rose, from her phone, controls her communications, and her relationship with her friends deteriorates. The app records what Roch does and uses it to manipulate her behavior: that’s how Rochelle is forced to kiss Noah, her best friend Wren’s boyfriend. At some point, everybody hates Rochelle. Her dad finds her dead in the bathtub, and everybody believes she took her own life – everybody but Wren.

While the plot develops, we discover that the group behind Red Rose actively kills the teenagers targeted as victims and seems to enjoy watching them scared. The group also manipulates other individuals to do the dirty job: that’s why at some point, it appears that “Simon is Red Rose.” Simon, Wren’s mother’s new date, was another victim of the group behind Red Rose, blackmailed by them and forced to turn Wren’s life into hell. But at the last moment, when he’s discovered at the top of that building, trying to kill Wren, he decides his life is over and jumps off.

Red Rose ending explained: who’s the Gardener? Is he/she dead?

The last episodes of Red Rose focus on the Gardener, the mastermind behind the group, who modified Red Rose for his evil purposes. The way the series has explained the events to us, the Gardener is the group’s leader, and the ultimate goal is to kill all the “d**kheads,” the teenage friends in Bolton. They organize all the extreme situations to scare them, while everything is streamed live, for the fun of the viewers behind Red Rose.

In the last episode, we see a tall man kidnapping Wren’s father. A mysterious woman helps Wren and Noah, telling them where to find Wren’s father. Wren reaches the dark room where her father is held hostage, and she faces the tall man. Noah comes too, but before he can help, Wren has the chance to attack the kidnapper and kill him, taking furious revenge against the person who apparently made her life hell.

At the ending of Red Rose, we see Jaya talking with the mysterious woman, and we realize that the Gardener wasn’t the dead man: it’s the woman with no name; the Gardener is not dead. What happened is that, while participating in the plan Red Rose had to kill all teenagers, she changed her mind, seeing in Wren a hidden violence inherited from her dad. She decided she wanted to play a different challenge, proving that Wren could kill if brought in extreme conditions of fear and stress. So the Gardener decides to reveal precious information to Wren, letting her face her enemy. This is how the mysterious woman, the Gardener, explained why she ultimately helped the teenagers in Red Rose: she “saw potential” in Wren and decided it was more fun bringing her to kill someone.

The ending of Red Rose is open for a sequel. As the Gardener explains to Jaya, she erased the app Red Rose, but she cannot erase an idea. In the last images, we see a Japanese teenager chatting with a new version of Red Rose, presumably developed by the Gardener for her new evil plans.

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