Jamie Dornan's The Tourist ending explained – What the final twist means

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·6-min read
Jamie Dornan's The Tourist ending explained – What the final twist means
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The Tourist episode 6 spoilers follow.

Twistier than Jamie Dornan 's own curly locks, The Tourist really does "keep people guessing the whole way," just like Jamie himself said it would during a recent chat with Digital Spy.

What starts out as an intriguing thriller about a man suffering from amnesia soon becomes a far more unique treatise on morality and the cost of losing one's self entirely. That's not all, though. The Tourist jumps between genres too, scattered like The Man's erratic thoughts, and in doing so, Jamie Dornan's new show proves itself to be so much more than just another BBC thriller.

Co-star Danielle MacDonald wasn't kidding when she told us "to expect the unexpected". But even then, few could have expected that ending in the final moments of episode six.

The Tourist ending explained

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

When we first meet Jamie Dornan's character, all we know is that he's a bad singer. Thankfully his rendition of 'Bette Davis Eyes' is soon cut short when a truck drives him off the road and in the crash that follows, The Man loses his memory, leaving him to try and fend for himself in the Australian Outback without even a name to call his own.

A woman named Luci quickly befriends The Man, but by the end of episode one, it becomes clear that she's not who she seems. Then there's also Helen, a local traffic cop who soon gets involved with the case.

Together, these three become embroiled in twist after twist until it's eventually revealed that The Man's real name is Elliot Stanley. But why are so many people after him? What could he have possibly done to warrant this mad chase?

Towards the end, we discover that Elliot worked as an accountant for a drug lord named Kostas, the mysterious figure played by Alex Dimitriades. Elliot went on the run after he fell in love with Kostas' fiancée, who turns out to be none other than Luci. And that's not all. The Man formerly known as "The Man" also stole a bag with over £1 million stashed inside. The pair were supposed to share this cash, but they kept breaking up.

Up to this point, you might have assumed that Elliot isn't such a bad guy, at least not compared to Kostas. But after he trips on LSD, the so-called accountant finally discovers the identity of the woman who keeps popping up in his flashbacks, Lena Pascal.

And when the two finally meet, Elliot realises that his past self used to force people to smuggle heroin for Kostas. This led to the tragic deaths of two women who were killed when the bags filled with drugs exploded inside of them.

Wracked with overwhelming remorse, Elliot struggles to reconcile these past actions with the man he is now. And knowing that Helen no longer supports him either, everything suddenly becomes too much to bear.

Photo credit: Ian Routledge - BBC
Photo credit: Ian Routledge - BBC

In The Tourist's final moments, Elliot tries to kill himself by crashing his car. When that doesn't work, he takes an overdose in the hospital, desperate to escape his all-consuming guilt. Without Helen, he sees no way out from the pain, except a text arrives from her all too late, one that suggests the pair could potentially reconcile, assuming of course that Elliot survives...

"After I finished the series, I called Shalom [Brune-Franklin] instantly," Danielle MacDonald told us before the finale aired. "And I was like, 'I can't talk to anyone about this, because no one's read it, and I'm not allowed to say anything, so I need you to talk to me about it. We just need to talk about this whole situation.'"

Viewers felt the same, taking to Twitter to discuss what's turned out to be a rather divisive ending. While some loved the ambiguity that surrounds Elliot's fate, others lamented Helen's end, hoping to see her thrive more in her career.

Those who were left disappointed by the end probably wish that Dornan had been serious when he joked with us that "the whole series ends with Armageddon, so life doesn't exist anymore". Although, to be fair, he wasn't wrong exactly, at least when it comes to Elliot's fate...

Will The Tourist return for season 2?

Unfortunately, we don't know for certain if Elliot actually dies from this overdose or not, and it's possible that we never will either. This show very much feels like a one-and-done deal, which is more than okay with us. Some stories work better this way, and as hard as it got towards the end, at least that burrito emoji drew one last smile out of Elliot.

However, during a new interview with The Radio Times, talk of a potential second season has been raised with The Tourist creators Harry and Jack Williams (who were previously known for helming shows like Baptiste, Liar and The Missing).

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

"I would love to make this show again with these people," said Harry. "I’m not entirely sure it’s possible. I love the tone, I love the world. It’s been our lives for three years and we’ve been very, very involved with it, more so than any other show."

"We’ve loved every minute. Normally you’re sick of it by this point having watched 900 cuts of one episode but I still love it and I’d love to do it again."

Jack chimed in too, saying that: "We are talking about how we could return to this world, aren’t we?" To which Harry added: "Yeah, this world and this tone. I feel like we’re not done with that. In terms of the story, we’ll see how it goes if people like it."

Presumably, a second season of The Tourist would also star Jamie Dornan in the lead, which means that Elliott might have survived, after all. But then again, there are more than enough colourful characters who could propel this story forward without The Man, if necessary.

Who wouldn't want to see more of Danielle MacDonald in the role of Helen? Even if Jamie Dornan is no longer attached, a second season of The Tourist could still bring us another unforgettable season, if Harry and Jack Williams are as keen to continue as they say they are.

Dornan's new series The Tourist, which also stars Line of Duty's Shalom Brune-Franklin and Easy's Danielle Macdonald, is on BBC iPlayer.

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