Saw 5 Ending Explained: Traps, Hoffman, and Timeline Explained

Peter Strahm foreshadowing the glass coffin trap
Credit: Lionsgate

Peter Strahm foreshadowing the glass coffin trap
Credit: Lionsgate

Saw V received the lowest critic scores out of the entire Saw franchise, thanks to its vague storyline and an even more confusing timeline. While John Kramer, the original Jigsaw killer, died in Saw III and Saw IV, how come we still saw him act behind the strings in this film?

Apparently, Saw V is when we saw how one of Jigsaw’s apprentices, Detective Mark Hoffman, starts off his Jigsaw legacy with a new set of traps.

Although he wasn’t the perfect candidate to continue John’s work, Saw V was still an entertaining entry given that it further proves how no one could fully outsmart Jigsaw.

Now that that’s settled, here’s a little analysis of Saw 5 ending explained.

ALSO READ: Saw: Is It Based on a True Story?

How Did Detective Mark Hoffman Become the New Jigsaw Killer?

Hoffman tricking Peter Strahm about the glass coffin
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Credit: Lionsgate
Costas Mandylor as Detective Mark Hoffman

Saw V had a different take from the ingenious of John Kramer’s (Tobin Bell) story. Instead of having him set up his own traps and get away with it, the traps this time were set up by one of his apprentices, Detective Mark Hoffman.

The detective attempted to copy Jigsaw’s traps by setting up an inescapable swinging ‘pendulum’ with the victim on the table, a rather gruesome attempt to incorporate Edgar Allan Poe’s The Pit and the Pendulum.

The victim happened to be a man named Seth Baxter who murdered the detective’s sister during a ‘domestic dispute.’

In Hoffman’s act of revenge, he had framed Jigsaw behind the killing all the while finding himself in John’s grasp.

John may have been psychotic in trying to play God amidst his traps, but he detested Hoffman in trying to set him up behind a ‘distasteful’ intentional murder.

Well, either way, this began Hoffman’s ventures in becoming a part of the Jigsaw Killer’s legacy.

It is possible that John saw some potential behind Hoffman’s act, as he didn’t merely set up the trap to kill, but to seek justice against a cruel murderer like Seth.

What Were the Traps Set Up in Saw 5?

Jigsaw's Neck Tie Strap
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Credit: Lionsgate
The Fatal Five's First Trial

The Saw franchise is not the typical horror story film that keeps spewing gore every chance it gets.

Behind the (original) Jigsaw Killer’s intentions, his traps were meant to make his victims reflect on their crimes and make sure they learned their lessons afterward.

In this case, the Saw V story revolved around two more stories (victims): the Fatal Five’s Trial and Special Agent Peter Strahm.

The Fatal Five is essentially a group of people whose traps were created to make them realize they had to work together to escape Jigsaw alive. After all, they were all involved in the same burning building incident to a fault.

And if you know how John Kramer does his work, the Jigsaw Killer doesn't take murder lightly in teaching his victims a lesson of valuing human life.

They each had the chance to claim their keys to escape the Neck Tie Trap, work together to find the three keys to escape the room, sacrifice a little by the Electric Bathtub scene, and the last, where there were five holes to poke in their hands and offer their blood by saw to officially escape Jigsaw’s test.

As for Strahm, his mission was to uncover the secret of the Jigsaw Killer’s identity.

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At first, he had been trapped inside a water cube (foreshadowing his imminent death in the end) but managed to escape when he stabbed himself in the throat with a pen as an act of emergency tracheotomy to survive the drowning.

As for his final test, though, the ‘glass’ coffin was intentionally set up to warn and fool him altogether: warn him to get into the coffin as his only chance of surviving the ‘test’ and fool him into thinking Hoffman was merely luring him into the next trap.

Given that Strahm refused to believe he would survive in the coffin, he locked Hoffman in first and unfortunately, had to suffer the consequences by being squashed to death by the walls.

READ MORE: Saw X: How is the Jigsaw Killer Alive?

Saw Franchise Timeline: When Does Saw 5 Take Place?

John Kramer died in Saw III
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Credit: Lionsgate
The original Jigsaw Killer died in Saw III.

One thing you have to remind yourself about any franchise you come across is to never trust the Roman numerals the films display.

While it’s normal to presume the numbers are there to indicate the right order to watch them in, the Saw franchise isn’t one of them.

The Saw franchise has had its many spin-offs and sequels for over 20 years, so as a viewer interested in diving deep down into the Jigsaw Killer’s story, here’s when Saw V takes place on the timeline.

Even though Tobin Bell’s John Kramer already died as early as Saw III (continuation of Saw IV), the events of Saw V don’t take place that far off from Saw IV.

As it so happens, Saw V came right after Saw IV, which occurred about six months after Saw II.

Let’s just say, that even beyond John Kramer’s death, his identity as the original Jigsaw Killer remained a secret, even as his later apprentices, Amanda Young and Detective Mark Hoffman, got to keep up his legacy with more victims.

READ NEXT: Saw X: Does It Have a Post-Credit Scene?

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