Glass Is Full Of Unanswered Questions & Plot Holes
Warning: SPOILERS for Glass.
M. Night Shyamalan's Glass leaves behind a ton of questions - and flat-out plot holes - regarding the logic of its story and the behavior of the characters. The third film in the director's unofficially named Eastrail 177 trilogy unites David Dunn (Bruce Willis) and Elijah Price/Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson), the hero and villain of Unbreakable, with Kevin Wendell Crumb aka the Horde (James McAvoy), the villain of Split, into a shared comic book-inspired universe.
Unbreakable was released in 2000 at a time when the director was at the height of his popularity. After several years of cinematic failures, Shyamalan began to mount a comeback that culminated in 2017's Split. That well-received and financially successful horror film, which also starred Anya Taylor-Joy as kidnap victim Casey Cooke, ended with a shocking reveal that David Dunn and Mr. Glass exist in the same universe. The stage was set for Shyamalan to tie Unbreakable and Split together in Glass, the third film of a trilogy that no one realized was a trilogy, which was ostensibly 19 years in the making.
Ultimately, Glass is an ambitious but very strange beast of a film. Shyamalan makes a series of creative decisions that fans are finding themselves baffled by. Glass will likely be debated about for years to come but, right now, here are the biggest questions we have about the film and its many odd contrivances and plot holes.
- This Page: Questions About David Dunn And Kevin Crumb
- Page 2: Questions About Mr. Glass' Master Plan
- Page 3: Other Big Questions About Glass
David Dunn's Vulnerability To Water Now Makes No Sense
After he's institutionalized at Raven Hill Memorial Hospital in Glass, David is placed in a room built to exploit his weakness to water. As Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson) explained, multiple jets attached to a massive water tank outside would spray David with water if he got aggressively violent or tried for the door. David was compliant at first but after he saw Kevin Crumb was being held across the hall from him, he began to get desperate to escape and he got sprayed by water, rendering him powerless.
But why would what was essentially taking a violent shower make David helpless? In Unbreakable, David's vulnerability wasn't water but drowning; it was inferred that because his bones and muscles were denser than normal, which explained his strength and resistance to injury, he had a harder time swimming or even floating. But now exposure to water saps his strength entirely? How does David shower or bathe? Glass draws a connection that David's vulnerability is psychological and related to an incident when classmates nearly drowned him in a swimming pool as a child, but this seems like a weird retcon of David's weakness to water.
Why Didn't Kevin Just Close His Eyes To Avoid The Strobe Lights?
To keep the Horde from bringing forth the Beast (and allow Dr. Staple to meet all of Kevin's personalities as well as give James McAvoy the opportunity to showcase his acting), strobe lights were installed in Kevin's room. Every time he tried for the door, the lights would burst and force Kevin to switch to a different personality. It worked every time and Kevin couldn't escape.
Yet not a single one of Kevin's 24 personalities, with their varying levels of intelligence and cunning, ever thought to just close Kevin's eyes to avoid the strobe lights. Neither the diabolical Patricia, the serious-minded Dennis, nor even the childlike Hedwig figured out the simplest and most obvious solution to beat this boobytrap. They could have called forth the Beast and he could have climbed the walls and ceiling over the strobe lights even with his eyes shut.
Related: Glass New And Returning Cast Guide
Could David Dunn Really Have Operated As The Overseer Undetected For 19 Years?
In the 19 years since Unbreakable ended, David continued his activities as a superhero and gained a few codenames like the Green Guard, the Tip-Toe Man, and the Overseer. Glass points out that the Overseer's image was recently captured on security cameras and that the police are always hunting him, which makes it hard to believe that he was able to be a vigilante and evade capture for 19 years, especially with how easily he and the Beast were caught when they fought in the warehouse. David did have his son Joseph (Spencer Treat Clark) as his Man in the Chair, but Dunn's security company looks like a relatively new operation; before that was set up, how did David escape capture for so long, especially in Shyamalan's more grounded and realistic world? After all, he's just an aging man in a rain poncho; he doesn't have all of the resources and training as a ninja-like Batman does.
The Way David Finds Kevin Is Random And Too Convenient
How David and Joseph locate Kevin Crumb and the kidnapped girls also seems to rely on sheer luck more than anything else. Joseph tracked the murders caused by the Horde, which for some reason forms a convenient triangle in Philadelphia. Then Joseph (almost arbitrarily) decides Kevin must be in an industrial area east of the triangle. It's also lucky that the Dunns' security company seems to have no clients and frees David to take long walks to try to sense Kevin. But David's strategy to locate his prey is to literally just bump into as many people as he can on the street until he runs into Kevin - which he conveniently does!
Page 2 of 3: Questions About Mr. Glass' Master Plan
When Did Mr. Glass Come Up With His Plan?
The timeline of events in Glass is muddy, especially when it comes to Mr. Glass himself. The staff of Raven Hill believed they had Elijah sedated all along but the Mastermind was secretly switching the pills and faking his comatose condition. At night, he would roam free around the hospital, always somehow remaining undetected.
Glass plays events as if Mr. Glass wasn't aware that David and Kevin had been brought to Raven Hill until Dr. Staple told him so, but did he already know ahead of time? Or did Elijah only learn about Kevin and the Beast during the group therapy session that also included David? In either case, somehow Elijah's ability to wheel himself out of his cell to be spotted by the hospital guards was enough cause to manipulate Dr. Staple into installing hundreds of cameras, which Price needed to record the Overseer fighting the Horde so he could later have the footage uploaded to the Internet, which was his plan all along. But did Elijah somehow concoct and execute his plan on the fly over the course of Glass' 3 days timespan?
How Does Elijah Know All About The Internet If He's Been Locked Up For 19 Years?
While Glass leaves it unclear, it seems that Elijah had been leaving his cell and exploiting Raven Hill's resources for a long time even before David and Kevin got locked up in the hospital with him. This is the only way to logically explain how he could know all about the Internet and how to upload footage to YouTube and make sure the Overseer vs. Horde fight was seen on every screen and cell phone simultaneously. After all, Mr. Glass has been incarcerated since 2000 - he would have missed the invention of Facebook, the rise of YouTube, everyone having smartphones, and every technological leap that has changed society in the last 19 years. But that also means no one in Raven Hill ever noticed Mr. Glass had access to their laptops, network, and systems for almost two decades.
Mr. Glass' Master Plan Is Full Of Holes
The Mastermind's master plan is full of holes and relies on a lot of convenience and contrivance. First, for there to be a plan at all, he needed David and Kevin institutionalized in the same hospital he was locked up in, and it's not certain if he had a hand in manipulating this to happen or if the Beast and the Overseer ending up in Raven Hill was just a lucky break for Elijah. Next, he needed everyone decoyed into finding out and believing his plan was to blow up Osaka Tower and he set the Beast loose so that the two of them could escape via the tunnels beneath Raven Hill.
Elijah also taunted David to motivate him to free himself to stop them. But how did Elijah know the timing of events would all conveniently work out so that David would have time to don his clothes as the Overseer and make it out to the parking lot just as all the other players also arrived at that exact time to witness David fight the Beast? And then there's the fact that Elijah really had no intention of going to Osaka Tower and the whole point was to film David and the Beast fighting and have that footage uploaded to the Internet. The final stage of his plan, which apparently was designed to work in the event of Mr. Glass' death, was Elijah sending the footage to his mother (Charlayne Woodard) to upload to the web. This means Elijah was entirely relying on his elderly mother (who it isn't clear was even aware of his plan) to know how to send a video file to YouTube and have it delivered simultaneously to every phone, computer screen, and TV.
And, biggest of all, why would anyone who saw it believe the footage was real and not dismiss it as a hoax? The key to the final question is in Elijah saying that "we allow ourselves to be superheroes"; the point of his plan wasn't for the world to believe superheroes were real, it was for those like him who believed they were special to see there were others out there so that it might spark their own emergence. But the Mastermind's master plan relied upon a lot of factors he can't control going right for it to have worked at all.
Page 3 of 3: Other Big Questions About Glass
How Did Mrs. Price, Casey, And Joseph All Arrive At The Same Time?
So much of Glass' plot relies on convenience and the biggest example is the final fight scene at the Raven Hill parking lot when Casey, Mrs. Price, and Joseph all happen to arrive at the exact same time. Why they were all coming to the hospital isn't even clear; did Dr. Staple call each of them to alert them that David, Elijah, and Kevin had escaped or were they all coming anyway for another reason. Regardless, despite coming from different parts of the city and by different means (Casey took a cab while Joseph came in his van), they all still managed to show up at the exact same time. Why? Because the plot needed them all to be there to play their parts.
Why Didn't Raven Hill's Security Ever Notice Anything Was Wrong?
Raven Hill has some of the most incompetent security guards ever. There are known dangerous people with abilities incarcerated in the hospital but the security is incredibly lax. Despite Elijah repeatedly being found outside of his cell, Raven Hill never stations guards outside his door to watch how he escapes. One guard let himself get distracted for an absurdly long time by Daryl the orderly (Adam David Thompson) lecturing him about the importance of taking vitamin D pills. Another guard simply opened the security gate and let two people who were very obviously Mr. Glass and Kevin barely incognito get by with hardly a glance. There were finally guards doing their jobs and who tried to stop the villains in the tunnels but naturally, the Beast made short work of them.
Related: The Most Brutal Reviews of Glass
What Is The Black Clover Society?
One of M. Night Shyamalan's big twists in Glass is the answer to why Kevin, Elijah, and David are the only three super people in the world: because Dr. Staple is part of a secret society that has been eliminating others like them for 10,000 years. The cabal's members have tattoos of black cloverleafs on their wrists and they are wealthy and powerful people who have infiltrated the police and government to cover their tracks. They also like to dine in posh restaurants but must still wait until other patrons who aren't part of their society leave before they can have their secret meetings. (Why don't they just buy out the entire restaurant?) The group also seems to hate Comic-Con and comic book culture. Unfortunately, as Shyamalan likely won't make a sequel to Glass, this may be the extent of what fans are going to learn about this clandestine Black Clover society.