Boots Riley’s “I’m a Virgo” is his most daring and socially conscious work to date, and its ending still has our heads spinning. The “fantastical coming-of-age joyride” stars Jharrel Jerome as a 13-foot-tall awkward teen named Cootie living in Oakland, CA, who, for the first time in his sheltered life, ventures out into the city to discover everything he’s ever missed out on — from young love and friendship to his obsession with Bing-Bang burgers. Most of all, though, the Prime Video series spotlights the harsh realities of being Black in America.
Over the course of seven episodes, now streaming, viewers step into Cootie’s whimsical and slightly depressing world as he navigates all that his overprotective aunt and uncle (Carmen Ejogo and Mike Epps) have warned him about since he was a kid. But Cootie’s curiosity is too strong to deter him from exploring his surroundings — even when they start to villainize him, turning him into the locally-known “Twamp Monster.” While the first half of the absurdist dark comedy focuses on Cootie’s self-discovery journey, the latter half kicks into high gear when the death of one of Cootie’s friends, Scat (Allius Barnes), pushes the former to lead a revolt against injustice — for himself and his neglected Oakland community.
After years of staying tucked away because of his aunt and uncle’s own fears, Cootie finally fights back in the final episode of “I’m a Virgo” when he faces off with his idol: a superhero aptly named The Hero (Walton Goggins). Though Cootie ends up getting badly beaten in the street and almost taken away to jail, a surprising twist lets him off the hook and seemingly saves his community from the oppression of The Hero’s wrath — all thanks to a political speech from Cootie’s friend Jones (Kara Young).
So, how exactly does Jones’s message save the day, and what’s the real meaning behind “I’m a Virgo”‘s complex ending? Read ahead for a full breakdown.
“I’m a Virgo” Ending, Explained
“I’m a Virgo” is a spectacle down to its epic conclusion, which sees Cootie conjure up a big scheme to take back control over his neighborhood. It all starts back in episode three, though, as an injured Scat is turned away at a hospital and left to die outside from his stab wound. This spurs a riot in the next episode between the community and law enforcement, during which Cootie decides to spray-paint Scat’s name on a wall in remembrance of him. Confused by the act, The Hero knocks Cootie out and drags him through the street chained up, which viewers later learn is ultimately to fill a void in The Hero’s superhero world.
As he explains in the final episode, he had to take down Cootie because he’s never actually defeated a villain in real life (unlike in the comic books he’s famous for), so he needed a reason to make Cootie seem like the bad guy. The ripple effect results in a smear campaign against Cootie in the media, in which many call for him to be locked up for good. It’s exactly what Cootie’s aunt and uncle have been warning him about. But Cootie says he’s determined to “make villains the new heroes” — which he sets out to do with his grand plan: a heist.
Throughout the show, the lights constantly flicker in Cootie’s neighborhood as a means for those in power to control the community with rolling blackouts. So in episode six, Cootie proposes to his friends (sans Jones), family, and a few neighborhood allies that they steal the regulator at the local power plant that’s causing the blackouts because if electricity flows freely, it means equality for everyone.
Their plan isn’t too successful, though, because after they destroy the regulator in episode seven, it’s almost immediately replaced and they’re all caught red-handed by The Hero. He and Cootie eventually face off again after The Hero tricks the 13-foot-tall teen into calling a truce. He then chains Cootie up in the street and bashes his face repeatedly until Jones intervenes. She begs The Hero to let her explain why he’s wrong for trying to haul Cootie away, finally getting his attention.
As Jones breaks down through a detailed and immersive demonstration, The Hero is part of a capitalistic system that causes crime to exist. Citing issues like unemployment, poverty, and violence, she explains that America’s system is set up to make it nearly impossible for marginalized communities to escape their poor economic circumstances. The Hero’s role in the system contributes to the vicious cycle, and instead of trying to stop it, he only fuels it, Jones points out. Feeling guilt from Jones’s speech and his actions, The Hero flies away and lets Cootie go free.
Shocked that her speech actually moved The Hero, Jones asks Cootie how he knew it would work, to which he simply replies through the show’s title card, “I’m a Virgo.”
Will “I’m a Virgo” Get a Season 2?
At this time, it’s unclear if “I’m a Virgo” will have another season. It could be treated like a limited series as it only has seven episodes, but the show’s ending suggests there may be more to explore. Over the course of the series, Cootie’s plagued with a mysterious rash growing on his torso, which grossly starts to bubble by the end of the show. He pokes around at it in the final frame of episode seven and opens up a sore that shows something scaly underneath. The screen then cuts to black.
While that could be a hint that “I’m a Virgo” isn’t quite finished, only time will reveal if Prime Video renews the series.