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The Girl Before Ending Explained: Who Killed Emma and Why?

If the depth of a psychological thriller’s fundamental enigma is supposed to be the measure of its success, then ‘The Girl Before’ is a phenomenal show. The plot centres around two women, Jane Cavendish (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and Emma Matthews (Jessica Plummer), who live three years apart in a beautifully crafted minimalist house and have eerily similar relationships with the architect who designed it. J.P. Delaney created the miniseries based on his 2016 book of the same name. Here’s everything you need to know about ‘The Girl Before’s denouement. WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD.

Recap of The Girl Before

The story moves forward and back three years to describe Emma and Jane’s time at 1 Folgate Street. Both women fell in love with the location and happily jump through various hoops to get the chance to live there. We’ve been told that the rent for a place like this is ridiculously low. But, almost invariably, it is accompanied with a slew other conditions – over 200 in total. There are no children, no photographs, and only a few possessions. Emma’s boyfriend Simon (Ben Hardy) is hesitant to live there, claiming that they will be unable to adhere to the rigorous standards, but eventually relents.

Image Credit: Amanda Searle/ HBO Max

Jane and Emma have both been through a lot in their lives. Jane lost her newborn daughter, Isabel, 39 months into her pregnancy. Emma was raped, and the offender, as far as we know, was never captured. Emma’s relationship with Simon was strained even before they moved to 1 Folgate Street. It eventually breaks apart, and Simon decides to leave. Jane and Emma both fall in love with the house’s architect and owner, Edward (David Oyelowo). Jane discovers Emma’s death occurred under unusual circumstances. And both of them resemble Edward’s late wife, who sadly perished at a construction site with her and Edward’s son.

Who Killed Emma and Why Did She Die in The Girl Before Ending?

The major enigma of ‘The Girl Before’ is, without a question, Emma’s death. When it is solved, the answers to the show’s other questions become apparent. When Jane first moves home, she discovers a bouquet addressed to Emma at her front door. The next day, she discovers another in the same location, followed by a third. When she phones Edward

Image Credit: Amanda Searle/HBO Max

One day, while entertaining her friends, she discovers who is leaving the flowers every day – it’s Simon. He claims he leaves the flowers every day because Jane always moves them. This is how Jane finds out about Emma. Simon informs Jane that Emma would have turned 30 this week and died at the house. When Jane inquires as to how it occurred, Simon responds cryptically that it depends on who asks the question.

The audience is supposed to suspect Edward from the start. He is too neat, too controlling, too aloof, and too closed off, and our minds have been educated to suspect such behavior by viewing many comparable TV dramas and films. Edward is pictured furiously trying to wipe the floor in front of the stairs in the very first scene of the miniseries. As we learn that Emma died after tumbling down the stairs, our suspicions are once again focused on the recluse architect.

While Edward is eventually shown not to be Emma’s murderer, he does embody a type of toxic masculinity. He accidently killed his wife and son, and the guilt has been eating him alive ever since. In the series, he dates two women who bear an uncanny physical resemblance to his late wife. Both times, the conclusion is unpredictably bad.

Image Credit: Amanda Searle/ HBO Max

Emma and Jane couldn’t be more different emotionally and psychologically. And, based on what we know about Edward’s wife Elizabeth from his few words about her, she was likewise unlike these women. Edward appears to have erected an altar to his late wife, and any woman he enters into a relationship with must live up to that standard.

Simon’s altar, on the other hand, is devoted to his then-living love, Emma. The series methodically constructs Simon as the most unassuming and inoffensive character ever. But, if we aren’t too obsessed with the fact that Edward is the one who murdered Emma, alarm bells begin to ring in our thoughts regarding Simon. At first appearance, he appears to be Edward’s polar opposite. As Emma replaces him with a more successful and domineering man like Edward, his heart is broken.

Jane frequently reaches out to Simon in her search of the truth about what happened to Emma, who continues to blame Edward. Simon, it turns out, is the one who murders Emma. Their relationship began to deteriorate even before the two of them moved into the house. Simon, like Edward, has a tendency to exert control over the women in his life, but he does so in a different way. The burglar did not rape Emma, as she had earlier stated. She simply said so since Simon was present when the cops arrived to corroborate it. Saul (Mark Stanley), Emma and Simon’s mutual friend and Emma’s former boss, was the culprit.

Image Credit: Amanda Searle/HBO Max

Emma is charged with perjury after the burglar’s case is dropped. Edward calls it quits and urges her to leave the house. She discovers graffiti inside her home demanding that she leave. Cornered and terrified, she turns to Simon – the supposedly unbreakable Simon. He reappears in Emma’s life as a guy on a mission. Simon promises to be there for her at all times. Later, the previous burglar tries to break into the house, but Simon is there and fends him off.

When he realizes that Emma has no intention of reconciling, the truth about him emerges. Simon found the truth after pretending to be Edward and sending her messages. He believed that by distancing Emma, he could re-enter her life. Before he left, he informed the real estate agent who assisted them in renting the house that he had misplaced his bracelet (used to control the Housekeeper or the smart interface of 1 Folgate Street).

Simon now had entry to the house. He’s been residing in the storage cupboard for quite some time. He altered Edward’s contact information and sent the messages. He scribbled the graffiti. That’s why he was right there when the intruder tried to break in. He carved the words “help me” inside the cabinet to give the impression that Emma did it out of fear of Edward’s relentless surveillance. Simon and Emma eventually fight, and Emma dies after tumbling down the stairs.

Image Credit: Amanda Searle/HBO Max

Simon exemplifies yet another type of toxic masculinity. His, though, is far more deceiving than Edward’s. It stems from a sense of entitlement and the belief that he is entitled to Emma’s affection, uniqueness, and self-worth. During their battle, Simon smashes Emma’s pearl necklace, which she had placed on earlier in the belief that Edward was on his way to see her. Simon subsequently dies after being hit with an exact replica of that necklace by a woman who resembles Emma and falls down the stairs, in a great case of twisted irony.

TV Status: Ended

Duration: 57 min


TMDb: 6.7


The Girl Before Ending Explained: Who Killed Emma and Why?
The Girl Before Ending Explained: Who Killed Emma and Why?


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