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After Life's Ricky Gervais reveals meaning behind “important” ending scene

"The ending is saying that we all die, but not today." **WARNING: SPOILERS**

Ricky Gervais smiling
Published: Thursday, 27th January 2022 at 5:21 pm

After Life season 3 has finally come to an emotional ending on Netflix.

The black comedy-drama is Ricky Gervais’ last outing as misanthropic widower and local journalist Tony Johnson.

After two seasons of trying to get revenge on the world for Lisa's untimely death and descending into depression, the ending of season 3 sees Tony finally come to terms with her passing.

However, in typical Gervais style, the series ends with a mysterious twist, and its meaning has eluded some viewers.

So, if you're unsure about what unfolds at the end of After Life season 3, or what it means, then look no further. Read on for everything you need to know or check out our After Life season 3 review.

The ending of After Life season 3 explained

After Life Hampstead

After Life season 3 (Netflix)

What happened at the end of After Life season 3?

After Life season 3’s ending unfolds at the Tambury Fair, a big community event which brings the weird and wonderful townsfolk together for one last hurrah before the dark comedy wraps up for good.

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After sharing Lisa’s insurance money among the residents of Tambury, Tony, who would usually avoid such gatherings, is present and on his best behaviour (for once), alongside faces old and new, from Diane Morgan’s Kath to Tambury Gazette newbie Coleen, played by Kath Hughes.

However, the episode ends shrouded in ambiguity – and it’s left up to viewers to decide what’s in store for Tony.

Smiling over memories of Lisa, Tony leaves the fair hand-in-hand with his wife’s ghost. Lisa then fades and, before long, Tony and Brandy vanish too.

What does the end of After Life season 3 mean?

The ambiguous finale, which shows Tony and Brandy seemingly morphing into ghosts, left some fans questioning Tony’s fate at the end of season 3 and wondering whether it means he takes his own life.

However, chatting exclusively to RadioTimes.com, Gervais explained that the real meaning behind After Life’s final scene is much less dark – and offers an uplifting message about hope.

“The fair is important because it’s been going for 500 years,” he said of the ending. “It’s a place where people have been going for 500 years, different people. And the ending is saying that we all die, but not today. And life goes on. That’s what that ending is."

He added: “I think it’s a good ending, I think it’s a hopeful ending, and I think it’s a real ending. And it’s just saying, that was that. What’s next? Because the whole show is all about endings and beginnings. It’s all about people thrown together randomly.

“You can’t choose where you’re born. You can’t choose what brain you’ve got. You can’t really choose who you are, or who you bump into. We’re just souls floating on the breeze. That’s the theme of it," he added.

He continued: “And hopefully, you bump into someone that suits you. And [Tony] did, and it was perfect. And he knows he can’t have it again, and I’m happy with that. It asks the big question: if you lose everything, is life still worth living? And my answer is yes. If you’ve got something to do, if you’ve got something to get up for, then keep going, because you haven’t got long anyway.” 

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After Life season 3 is available to stream now on Netflix. Check out our lists of the best series on Netflix and the best movies on Netflix, or see what else is on with our TV Guide.

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