Close To Me ending explained

·5-min read
Photo credit: Channel 4
Photo credit: Channel 4

Close To Me spoilers follow.

Wife and mother Jo Harding (Gladiator's Connie Nielsen) has to recover a year’s worth of missing memories in Channel 4’s Close To Me following a fall down the stairs that left her with nasty bruises, a grisly head wound and amnesia.

Could her estate agent husband Rob (Doctor Who's Christopher Eccleston) have pushed her in anger, or did she stumble because she was drunk – and if so, why had she been drinking?

In the final episode, Jo finally got her answers.

Photo credit: Channel 4
Photo credit: Channel 4

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After being admitted to hospital following a fainting episode, Jo asked Rob to go home to get her a nightgown, but it was actually a ruse to get rid of him so she could leave the hospital without him. Grabbing a sweatshirt left behind on a waiting-room chair (with no thought for the poor patient who left it there and is probably feeling a bit chilly now without it), Jo headed off, leaving a voicemail message for a mysterious someone along the way asking for help and a place to stay once she had taken care of a few things.

Her first port of call was the home of Rob’s pregnant mistress, Anna, whom she had learned about on the day of her fall (Jo had caught and photographed them together, which explains why Rob later threw her phone into the sea in episode one after he couldn’t unlock it to delete the incriminating pics, presumably relying on her not remembering about cloud storage).

Jo revealed to her that she was convinced Rob had pushed her down the stairs once she had confronted him with her evidence of his affair, but Anna didn’t believe her and told Jo that Rob still loved her and would never hurt her.

Photo credit: Channel 4
Photo credit: Channel 4

She next visited her dementia-suffering father at his nursing home and took him on a day trip to the seaside. A new memory surfaced – Jo remembered she had drunkenly tried to kiss her boss, Nick, when she was upset and he had rejected her – and she then recalled an event from her childhood. When she was little, she watched as her father nearly strangled her adulterous mother in anger, and while in the present her father promised Jo the violence had happened only once, she realised that once – especially with regards to her relationship with Rob – was still one time too many.

After forgiving her father, Jo returned home to her family. She then overheard Rob – in an obvious attempt to gaslight her – telling their kids Sass and Finn that he was concerned that she had been imagining things. Despite him repeatedly trying to stop her speaking, Jo then firmly told her kids that she was leaving their father because of his affair.

The couple argued outside, with Rob shouting that the last year of their marriage had been hell for him, effectively blaming Jo’s menopausal symptoms and her sadness that Finn had left home as the cause of his cheating. She asked whether that was the reason he had pushed her down the stairs, to get rid of her so he could marry Anna.

Photo credit: Channel 4
Photo credit: Channel 4

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Rob denied pushing her, and then begged her not to leave him. He confessed that they had argued (and said some pretty awful things to each other) and that she had stumbled near the top of the stairs as she went to leave him but he had caught her, before she slipped out of his grasp. Jo realised he was lying to her – and that on that fateful night he had let go of her hand on purpose.

So Jo was right all along.

Jo then walked away from Rob and their home before being picked up in a car by Helen, the friend she met in therapy, and the one she called earlier for help.

Sass and her boyfriend Thomas returned to the house (no explanation is given as to where Finn has wandered off to) where they saw Jo’s timeline that was scrawled on the kitchen wall. Previously strewn with selected memories from the year that Rob wanted Jo to remember, the wall now had new additions from Jo such as ‘Rob gets Anna pregnant’, and rather damningly, 'Rob tried to kill me.'

Photo credit: Channel 4
Photo credit: Channel 4

Presumably, Jo could have her husband arrested for manslaughter or, at the very least, assault, but we’ll never know whether Rob ends up in prison or starts a new life with Anna and their baby (that is, if she is mad enough to take him in).

We don’t know the fate of Jo’s kids either – does Sass stay with annoying Thomas? Where is Finn? And do they have any contact with their dad? – but a final scene does show that life has changed for Jo.

Back in her seaside hometown, alone without her kids or father, she is shown smiling as she tosses her wedding ring into the sea. For a moment, she imagines mermaids, just like the ones her father told her about in a fairytale that was his way of excusing how he treated her mother.

"I know you’re not real," she says to the creatures. "I f**king hate mermaids."

Close To Me is available to view on All4 and is on Channel 4 on Sundays at 9pm.

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