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Inside No. 9: Merrily, Merrily ending explained

Erm, what the hell happened to Lawrence??


Inside No. 9 came back with a bang last night (20th April) in what was – to be honest – the best episode in ages.

Guest stars Mark Gatiss and Diane Morgan (especially Diane, tbf) gave this episode an extra boost; turning a potentially slow premise into a sobering, shocking and tear-jerkingly funny outing.

If you’re not into spoiling the show for yourself – READ NO FURTHER. We’re about to take a dark trip into the world of weird twists – and, frankly, this was one of the weirder ones. Here’s an explanation for the Inside No. 9 series seven, episode one ending:

So, what was the episode about?

mark gatiss reece shearsmith steve pemberton diane morgan

Photo via BBC

Returning Inside No. 9 fans will know each episode takes on a different story – so new watchers won’t have any catching up to do, which makes a nice change.

Episode one takes place on a remote river, somewhere in the middle of a chilly, grey day. Lecturer Lawrence (Reece Shearsmith) is setting up a creaky old pedalo (the obvious joke is inserted into the dialogue multiple times, dw) while waiting for his old uni mates, Callum (Gatiss) and Darren (Steve Pemberton).

The group takes a ride down the river with Darren’s girlfriend, Donna (Morgan), and it’s instantly clear on Lawrence’s end that her presence is unwanted, made worse when she gets the boat tangled up in some rogue weeds. The halted pedalo sets everyone on edge – from Callum’s irritation at Lawrence’s uni nostalgia to Lawrence resenting Donna for simply being there.

steve pemberton diane morgan

Photo via BBC

When Callum suggests Lawrence ring his wife, Bonnie, to come and get them, the truth is revealed. Bonnie had died a year earlier, and Lawrence really brought everyone together so they could scatter her ashes. He points out to the pair that they’d been there when he’d met and married Bonnie, so he wanted them there for her memorial.

Lawrence swims to a small island in the middle of the river, curling up next to a makeshift shrine for Bonnie. Callum and Darren each confess a bit about their own lives – Callum actually hates his job in OB-GYN, while Darren was kicked out of uni for being dyslexic. Suddenly, Bonnie’s ashes go up in fireworks – making for one heartwarming moment.

Lawrence swims to a small island in the middle of the river, curling up next to a makeshift shrine for Bonnie. Callum and Darren each confess a bit about their own lives – Callum actually hates his job in OB-GYN, while Darren was kicked out of uni for being dyslexic. Suddenly, Bonnie’s ashes go up in fireworks – making for one heartwarming moment.

We don’t see which person makes it to Lawrence first. The next thing we know, Lawrence is waking up on a stranger’s rowing boat. He looks cold and dishevelled, as if he’d been lost for days. He asks the hooded figure rowing the boat if he knew whether Callum, Darren and Donna had been rescued.

The hooded figure tells Lawrence his friends are fine; they made it to the other side. Once on the jetty, the cloaked man holds his hand out to Lawrence – who tells him he doesn’t have any cash.

He then coughs up a gold coin, and gives it to the boat owner. While wondering into the woods, he hears a familiar voice calling his name – Bonnie’s.

It seems Lawrence was picked up by the Ferryman – a mythical creature who transports people along the River Styx from Earth to the Afterlife.

So… wait, did they all die at the end?

reece shearsmith

Photo via BBC

It looks like it!! The general consensus seems to be that Lawrence fell asleep on the island and died of hypothermia; while Callum and Darren pushed each other into the freezing water and drowned.

Donna… well, we’re not actually sure what happened to Donna. If she’s still alive, though, I want to go for a drink with her.

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