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Widows' Ending Explained

In Steve McQueen's new thriller Widows, a group of armed robbers are killed during a heist, so their grieving wives decide to pull off a robbery of their own. By the end of the movie they have successfully pulled off the job, and Veronica (Viola Davis) even manages to ensure that no one will come after them for the money they stole.

Joining Veronica on the heist are Alice (Elizabeth Debicki), Linda (Michelle Rodriguez), and Belle (Cynthia Erivo). Alice is struggling to find a new way of earning a living after her abusive husband Florek (Jon Bernthal) is killed in the robbery, and Linda discovers that her late husband gambled away everything they had, resulting in repo men taking everything in her store. Belle is Linda's babysitter - struggling to make ends meet, but tough and fast enough to be a vital part of the crew.

Related: Michelle Rodriguez, Cynthia Erivo, & Bryan Tyree Henry Interview: Widows

Here's we'll break down Widows' action-packed final act, take a look at where the characters end up, and try to unravel the significance of the movie's ending scene.

What Happens At The End Of Widows?

Before the heist actually takes place, Widows reveals its big twist: that Veronica's husband, Harry (Liam Neeson) didn't actually die along with the rest of his crew, but set them up to be killed by the cops and faked his own death - with a little help from corrupt politician-to-be Jack Mulligan (Colin Farrell). When Veronica arrives at the house of one of the other widows, Amanda (Carrie Coon), to try and recruit her as a driver, Veronica's dog runs down the hallway and starts whining and scratching at one of the doors. Veronica follows the dog and finds Harry's drinking flask on a table in the hall. Realizing that Harry must have been having an affair with Amanda, and that Amanda's newborn baby is actually Harry's, Veronica becomes upset and leaves the house - without discovering that Harry himself is behind the door.

The heist itself starts off fairly smoothly. Veronica and Belle both did reconnaissance before the robbery, in order to get to know the layout of the house and its security. The widows approach the back entrance and tap on the door to call the security guard. When he opens the door, they overpower and restrain him. They then ascend to the second floor of the house, and a woman that Veronica saw earlier emerges from one of the bedrooms. Instead of trying to fight or screaming for help, the woman returns to her room, and Veronica is confident that she won't call the police (since she is hardly going to risk becoming a hostage just for the sake of trying to protect the Mulligans' money).

Before the widows can reach the hidden vault behind the map, they are confronted by Jack's father, Tom Mulligan (Robert Duvall), who points a gun at them and removes Veronica's mask. Tom shoots Alice in the shoulder, and is shot and killed in return. The crew then press on to the vault, where there's a moment of panic as it seems like the code they were given doesn't work. However, the piece of paper was simply upside-down, and righting it allows them to input the correct code. They pack all of the money into the bags and run out to the van - only to find Jamal Manning's (Brian Tyree Henry) brother, Jatemme (Daniel Kaluuya), waiting for them with a gun to Belle's head.

Related: Viola Davis & Liam Neeson Interview: Widows

Jatemme takes off with the van and the money, gleefully celebrating as he listens to his brother's debate with Jack Mulligan on the radio. His victory is short-lived, however, as the crew chase after him in a car and ram the back of the van, causing him to swerve and crash into a concrete barrier at high speed. He's killed instantly, and the women grab the money and run. Linda takes Alice to the hospital, telling the doctors that she was shot in a drive-by, and Belle takes off as well. Veronica brings the money back to the garage... where Harry is waiting for her!

Veronica confronts Harry about the affair with Amanda and his newborn son. Harry tells her that he couldn't stay with her after their son, Marcus (Josiah Sheffie) was killed by a cop in a traffic stop, and that he wants to build a new life for herself. He demands that Veronica turn over the money, and attacks her when she refuses - but then Veronica shoots and kills him. She plants the gun used to shoot Tom Mulligan on him, and then makes her getaway with the money.

As the movie ends, the widows have each gone their separate ways with their share of the money, now able to make new lives for themselves without the financial support of their husbands. Jack Mulligan defeats Jamal Manning in the election for Alderman of the 18th Ward. In the movie's final scene, Alice and Veronica spot one another from across a diner. Veronica at first ignores Alice, but then follows her after she leaves and calls her back, asking how she's been, and smiles.

How (And Why) Harry Rawlins Faked His Death In Widows

When Widows cast Liam Neeson as Veronica's husband, we probably should have guessed that there would be more to his character than just an opening scene and occasional flashbacks. As Harry reveals in his emotional final confrontation with Veronica, the death of their son pushed him away from their marriage and towards the hope of starting a new life and a new family with Amanda.

Related: Viola Davis & Liam Neeson Interview: Widows

In order to accomplish this, he cut a deal with Jack Mulligan to rob $2 million from Jamal Manning's campaign funds, in exchange for help in faking his own death. Jack used his connections at the coroner's office to obtain a dead body, which was set up in the front seat of the second van. After the three other men had been loaded into the back of the van, Harry arranged explosive tanks around it and walked away right before the garage door opened. The van was pulverized by bullets and then exploded, and the remains of four bodies were left behind - enough to convince the world that Harry was dead. However, afterwards Jack demanded a million dollars as payment for his help, threatening to expose the fact that Harry was still alive if he didn't get it.

How The Widows Get Away With the Robbery

Harry faking his death actually proves to be rather fortuitous for Veronica, since it offers a way for her to ensure no one will suspect her or the other women in the robbery. After killing Harry at the garage, she leaves behind the gun that was used to shoot Tom Mulligan, close to Harry's hand - thereby setting him up to posthumously take the fall for the crime. Once his body is discovered, everyone (including Jack Mulligan) will assume that Harry faked his death and then returned for one more heist, since the gun forensics will link him to Tom Mulligan's murder. The actual robbers used masks, heavy clothing, and voice-changing tech to conceal their gender, and since armed robberies are almost always committed by men, no one would have any reason to suspect a group of grieving widows.

There is the lingering question of whether or not Jatemme Manning kept Jamal up to speed on what he learned while he was following the widows around, since Jatemme obviously figured out that they were planning the heist. However, the general impression is that Jatemme was acting alone (he doesn't bring any backup with him when he goes to steal the takings from the robbery) - whether because he wanted to keep the money for himself, or because he wanted to surprise Jamal by delivering it. Either way, his death could either be chalked up as an accident or, like everything else, pinned on the briefly resurrected Harry Rawlins.

Page 2: What Happens After the Robbery

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Key Release Dates
  • Widows (2018) release date: Nov 16, 2018
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