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The Ending of ‘The Weekend Away’ Explained

The ending of ‘The Weekend Away’ taps into what we love about murder mysteries.
The Weekend Away Explained
By  · Published on March 4th, 2022

Ending Explained is a recurring column in which we explore the finales, secrets, and themes of interesting movies and shows, both new and old. This time, we consider the ending of the psychological thriller The Weekend Away. Yes, prepare for spoilers.

Watching a murder-mystery flick with an ending that actually comes as a genuine surprise is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Unfortunately, it is also one of life’s greatest rarities. The murder mystery has been a wildly popular genre since the olden days (see: the neverending catalog of Agatha Christie movies), and since then, their demand has never waned. Recently, movies like Gone Girl, Knives Out, and A Simple Favor have successfully satiated our detective needs. But sadly, for every hit, there are inevitably going to be a whole lot of misses.

So when a murder mystery comes along that makes you go “Ohhhhh!” at the final reveal, it’s something of a mini-miracle. Kim Farrant’s indulgent Netflix flick The Weekend Away is one of those miracles. The film follows best friends Beth (Leighton Meester) and Kat (Christina Wolfe) on a weekend girls’ trip in Croatia. The two are having a romp of a time until Beth wakes up to discover that Kate is nowhere to be found after a night of heavy drinking.

After a painstaking couple of days, Beth finally finds out who killed her friend. Or, at least, she thinks she does. In what seems to be the resolution to the mystery, she discovers that Pavic (Amar Bukvic), the cop that Beth reported Kate’s disappearance to, has a habit of abusing vulnerable women who come to him for assistance, and the local police department has a history of covering it up. This explanation checks out because Kate went to the local police to report a robbery in their hotel room the night of her death. In the film’s third act, in an attempt to catch Beth and frame her for Kate’s murder, Pavic slips and falls to his death. How’s that for a neatly-resolved mystery?

Not so fast! Back in London and ready to finally move on with her life, Beth goes to her recent ex-husband Rob’s (Luke Norris) house (whom she had split up with after finding out that he was sleeping with Kate) to drop off their baby. She’s about to leave when she discovers a bead in his jacket pocket that was part of a necklace she gave Kate on their vacation. When she confronts him about her discovery, Rob breaks down and confesses that he had traveled to Croatia while they were on vacation and begged Kate not to tell Beth about their covert affair. In a flashback, we see that Rob then pivots to asking her to run away with him. When she declines, he gets angry and hits her, causing her to fall backward, slam her head on a rock, and drown in the ocean. Finally, we’ve found the killer.

In The Weekend Away’s final shot, we see Beth walking through a park and smiling at her baby. It’s a surprisingly uplifting image for someone who just discovered that her ex-husband murdered her best friend who he was also sleeping with. But when looking back at the film’s first act, it’s not that strange at all. 

Allow me to explain. When Beth first arrives in Croatia, Kate pressures her to go clubbing. The former confesses that she and Rob hadn’t slept together since before she had the baby, and Kate tries to coerce her into sleeping with one of the men at the club (who it later turns out is an escort that she had hired). While Kate’s actions might be considerably misguided, there’s one thing that rings true in the final act of the film: this trip was intended to remind Beth of who she was before she had her baby and that she deserves better than a loveless marriage. And in the final frame, we realize that Kate has finally gotten through to Beth. It just sucks that she had to die for that to happen.

Perhaps Kate did have to die for Beth to finally realize her worth, but her death was avoidable. The way Rob recalls it to Beth, he accidentally struck her, and she died on impact. But after the autopsy report, the police told Beth that Kate had died by drowning, and regardless of whether or not Rob meant to kill her, he didn’t bother to check if she was still alive.

Why? Rob knew that Kate’s death would ultimately improve his quality of life. Cheating on your wife with her best friend is a complicated situation – to say the least – one that it would be better to simply eradicate, if possible. This speaks to my earlier question of what makes a murder mystery reveal truly satisfying. The most rewarding movie murders come from the inner circle because they speak to the complicated nature of close romantic and platonic relationships.

This fact is acknowledged by Sarah Alderson, who wrote the novel upon which The Weekend Away is based. Throughout the story, we are given a multitude of red herrings to solve the mystery. First, we are led to believe that Kate was murdered by the men who came home with them the night she disappeared. Then, it’s the shifty landlord. Then, it’s Zain (Ziad Bakri), a cab driver helping Beth find the murderer. And finally, it’s the cop. But none of these answers are totally surprising. So when it turns out that Beth had traveled all the way to Croatia only for her friends’ killer to be the person she shares a bed with – especially after we were led to believe that the mystery had been solved many times over – well I can’t personally think of a twist that speaks more to the kind of shocking twist that we love in this genre.

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Aurora Amidon spends her days running the Great Expectations column and trying to convince people that Hostel II is one of the best movies of all time. Read her mostly embarrassing tweets here: @aurora_amidon.