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Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire’s ending, explained

The Ghostbusters firehouse covered in ice in Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire.
Sony Pictures

Warning: This article contains spoilers for Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire (2024).

For Phoebe Spengler (Mckenna Grace), Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire is an exercise in both failure and redemption. After being barred from active Ghostbusters duty due to her age by the Mayor of New York, Walter Peck (William Atherton), Phoebe finds solace not in her relationships with her mother, Callie (Carrie Coon), and her quasi-stepdad, Gary (Paul Rudd), but in her budding friendship/potential romance with Melody (Emily Alyn Lind), a ghost she meets playing chess in the park one night.

Driven by her desire to feel truly seen by another person, Phoebe sneaks into Dr. Winston Zeddemore’s (Ernie Hudson) supernatural research facility and extracts her own spirit from her body so that she can embark on a 2-minute “ghost walk” with Melody. However, when she does, Melody reveals that she’s purposefully manipulated Phoebe into doing so. In the immediate aftermath of this revelation, Phoebe’s spirit is taken over by the villainous entity known as Garraka, which uses her spectral self to speak a chant through her physical body that frees him from his imprisonment and allows him to unleash a devastating ice storm that covers all of New York City.

Hell freezes over in NYC

Garraka's eyes glow in Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire.
Sony Pictures

Shortly afterward, Phoebe’s spirit is returned to her physical body, and she’s reunited with Callie, Gary, and her brother, Trevor (Finn Wolfhard). They team up with Winston, Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd), Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), Janine Melnitz (Annie Potts), as well as Lucky Domingo (Celeste O’Connor), Podcast (Logan Kim), and Lars Pinfield (James Acaster), one of Winston’s most-trusted employees, to make a final stand against Garraka at the Ghostbusters’ firehouse. Also present for the showdown is Nadeem Razmaadi (Kumail Nanjiani), whose ancestral connection to Garraka’s original captors enables him to control fire and fight the dangerous entity.

It doesn’t take long for Garraka to arrive. While Callie, Gary, Peter, Ray, and the rest of their friends do their best to fend him off, he easily freezes all of the rays emitted by their proton packs and renders them largely ineffective. In the basement, Phoebe tells Melody that she can’t rely on Garraka’s plan to end the human world to reunite her with her family members, all of whom moved on from the mortal realm long ago. Moments later, Garraka succeeds in breaking open the containment unit located beneath the Ghostbusters’ firehouse — unleashing and enlisting all of the ghosts they’d previously captured into his service.

How does Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire end?

Just as Garraka is on the verge of killing all of the Ghostbusters, though, Phoebe emerges with her new proton pack, which she’s modified by coating it in melted brass — the very metal that kept Garraka contained in a magical sphere for centuries. She manages to damage Garraka by hitting him with proton rays that he can’t defend himself against. Melody’s ghost, meanwhile, lights a matchstick — providing a hilariously armor-clad Nadeem with the source he needs to hit Garraka with a relentless stream of fire. Together, he and Phoebe hold the entity off long enough for Ray, Peter, Winston, and Janine to restart the Ghostbusters’ containment unit, which they use to trap Garraka before he can destroy the world.

GHOSTBUSTERS: FROZEN EMPIRE - Final Trailer (HD)

Following their victory, Peck’s repeated attempts to discredit and arrest the Ghostbusters are foiled once again, and Phoebe is reinstated as a member of the team despite her age. The film subsequently concludes with Trevor, Callie, Gary, and Phoebe all taking off in the Ecto-1 to capture the ghosts that escaped from the Firehouse during Garraka’s attack. Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, therefore, ends with the Spengler family stronger than they’ve ever been before and fully ready to take on whatever threats may come their way in the future.

It’s a fittingly simple and happy ending to a movie that, for all of its many exposition dumps and convoluted supernatural backstories, is ultimately about one family being tested and a young girl struggling to find a place for herself somewhere between the worlds of humans and ghosts.

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire is now playing in theaters.

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Alex Welch
Alex Welch is a TV and movies writer based out of Los Angeles. In addition to Digital Trends, his work has been published by…
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