From the killer clothes to the vicious and masterfully orchestrated fight scenes, there's plenty in Atomic Blonde to distract you from the complex plot. Charlize Theron as Lorraine Broughton alone is so mesmerizing that you'd be forgiven for losing track of the bigger forces at play by the time she's slipped into her third wig. After all, who gives a damn about the MI6 when you're strutting around Berlin to the sound of '80s techno?
Now that you've caught your breath and made a mental note to ask your hairdresser if you should go platinum blonde (or is it just me?), let's untangle the good guys from the bad and clarify that triple twist of an ending.
Who Was Percival Working For?
The coveted prize at the heart of the frenzied battle opposing agents from essentially every nation involved in the Cold War is a list of all the spies operating in Berlin, containing the identity of a double agent named Satchel that has been leaking information from the MI6 to the Russians. Throughout the movie, we're made to believe that James McAvoy's character, David Percival, is said double agent and needs to be stopped by Broughton.
But while the fact that he's gone rogue and is ignoring orders from the MI6 is an easy reason to consider him a suspect, Percival turns out to be only motivated by his very own agenda: Ruling the streets of Berlin. He's after the list as it will provide him with invaluable leverage to make dealings as he pleases, but it turns out he has absolutely no interest in feeding information to his country or their enemies. That's why he kills Spyglass, who has memorized the list, and is trying to take down Broughton so she won't interfere with his plans.
Lorraine Broughton Is Satchel — And Lorraine Isn't Her Real Name Either
Broughton, meanwhile, has clipped together recordings of Percival to bring back to her superiors in London as proof that he was Satchel, so you know where this is going: She is Satchel, and not only has she erased any suspicion by convincing the MI6 it was Percival, she's lied to them about having found the list. Which brings us to the second twist: if she was working for the Russians all along, she'd have brought the list to them — and probably spared herself a whole lot of fight scenes.
In one of the last scenes of the movie, she arrives at a hotel in Paris to meet with her KGB contact, who had planned to get rid of her as soon as she gave him the list. Neither of these things happen, however, as Broughton is not about to let herself be killed, and most importantly because she never intended to hand the list over to the Russians.
Who Did Lorraine Broughton Work For?
What the final scene makes clear is that Satchel isn't an MI6 traitor for working with the Russians, she's a CIA mole giving fake intel to the Soviets while posing as an MI6 agent and collecting real information about the Soviets for the CIA. Part of her act is being rude to CIA operative Emmett Kurzfeld (played by John Goodman) during her questioning in London, but he's the one she eventually brings the list to, in exchange for the authorization for her to go home to the USA.
That also means she was probably the one to denounce Gascoigne to the Russians — after all, she wouldn't want him to know that she'd been playing everyone. Still, her relationship with Delphine goes to show that she might be extremely clever and calculating, but deep down her heart isn't as cold as the bathtub full of ice she spends most of her time in.
What did you think of the ending of Atomic Blonde?