Wednesday 7 December 2022
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EntertainmentKeep Breathing hallucinations: Netflix web series ending explained

Keep Breathing hallucinations: Netflix web series ending explained

American web series makers are now fascinated with hallucinations. Sometimes the viewer is not sure whether the character on the screen is deluded or what is being shown is really happening. The new Netflix miniseries Keep Breathing is no different. It shows a woman's thrilling journey while trying to survive the wilderness alone. In its low-key terrifying set-up, lawyer Liv (Melissa Barrera of In the Heights fame) catches a flight on an unchartered private plane to meet her estranged mother in northwest Canada. After the plane crashes, leaving Liv alone with no one knowing where she is, the young woman struggles to catch sight of some human beings.

The six-episode series is filled with surprises. In flashbacks, we see Liv is travel companions were drug runners and at present, the lawyer has had a tense run-in with a bear. And, hold my beer, Liv is pregnant. She is looking for the mother who deserted her as a child so that she could see whether she would actually be a good mum herself. In the finale, Liv finds through memories and hallucinations a path to healing from her trauma and perhaps getting out of the intense ordeal. 

Keep Breathing hallucinations

The final episode begins with Liv surviving her fall from the cliff edge, thanks in part to her hitting several tree branches on the way down. After the 'thud', she has bruises all over. Obviously, she is in a state of shock. Then she is deluded about a conversation with her doctor about finding de-stressing activities while she is expecting. Eventually, she gets lost in the memory of her father, remembering his motivation to "get up" every morning as she gets her bearings and continues to walk north.

Liv's memories throughout the day turn towards her parents, as she recalls painting as a child, a talent she inherited from her mother, as well as caring for her sick father as an adult. As she walks, she has a bucket-list moment as she witnesses the Northern Lights. She then hallucinates Danny, telling him that she should have told him that she was pregnant. She says that she does believe she would be a good mother, something that has been troubling her throughout the show.

Liv realises

During a heavy downpour, Liv remembers a conversation between herself and her dying father, where she asks why he never gave her the postcards from her mother. Her dad says that they were not for her, but she says he had no right to decide whether she could see them. Eventually, she kisses his forehead as a seeming sign of forgiveness, and after he reassures he would always stay by her side, he dies.

After her memory is over, Liv hears a rushing noise and thinks that she is by a road, but it is actually an aggressive river. As she loses hope, she hallucinates her father, who says that he feels the presence of her mother when he is around nature. Liv admits that she thought by finding her mother, she could discover the truth about herself, but she now realizes her journey to find her mom was impulsive. Her dad tells her that she is only like her mother in her "eyes and smile," but that nothing else is like her. As Liv realizes she does not need to meet the woman who abandoned her, the hallucination of her dad tells her to rest and hands her the postcards.

Liv floats

After that final realization, having reckoned with everything that troubled her before the plane crash and begun to heal, Liv taps into the never-give-up attitude she got from her father. She grabs a log and enters the river, hoping that it will take her to civilization. As she floats, she thinks of a future: having the baby and reuniting with Danny. In between the dreams, we see fishermen find Liv by the river. As we see a flash of her happy family, Liv coughs up water and takes a breath.

Liv did survive

Some viewers have questioned whether Liv was actually rescued in the final scene, which is fair considering the show is plentiful flashbacks. However, in an interview with Entertainment Weekly(opens in new tab), co-creators Martin Gero and Brendan Gall gave a definite answer on whether Liv lives.

"The ending is literal in that she survives," Gall told the outlet. "We see her wake up again and take that breath. The ambiguous part, the part up for interpretation, is whether the images of her and Danny going to the hospital are flash-forwards or her imagined future when she believes she is dying. Both are valid."

"But she survives. She absolutely survives," Gero added, driving the point home.

With the confirmation that the female protagonist of the show does make it through her river journey, there is a possibility that Keep Breathing may get a second season. The show is billed as a limited series on Netflix, but there is always a chance that a miniseries' success will lead to a renewal (see Big Little Lies or The White Lotus). It also helps that star Barrera would be up to return to the character.

"When I watched it, I turned to [creator Martin Gero] and I was like, 'Should we make a season two? I want to go back,'" she told PopSugar(opens in new tab). "It just took me back to the experience of making it, and even though it was the hardest thing I've ever done, it was so rewarding and so satisfying and so fun. And all the best things that you would want in a role, I had with this."

Courtesy: Marie Claire

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