Netflix’s latest adaptation of a Harlan Coben novel – French limited series Gone for Good – concluded with a dramatic fifth episode as social worker Guillaume finally discovered all the deeply-buried secrets in his dysfunctional family.
Still traumatised by the murders of his ex-girlfriend Sonia and older brother Fred on one tragic night a decade before, Guillaume (Finnegan Oldfield) is plunged into a new mystery when his girlfriend Judith (Nailia Harzoune) disappears from their home in Nice.
With the help of his boss, Guillaume tries to find her and learns that Judith is not who she claimed to be – and that her disappearance may be linked to Sonia and Fred’s deaths, too.
Warning: spoilers ahead for Gone For Good episode five.
By the final episode of the south of France-set thriller, Guillaume has made quite a few jaw-dropping discoveries. Fred – who was shot and plunged off a cliff but whose body was never recovered 10 years ago – is actually alive and in hiding, and he has a connection to Judith, too.
It turns out that Judith – whose real name is Nora – fled an abusive marriage and crossed paths with Fred in Italy five years before. Fred, his wife – whose name is Judith – and their young daughter Alice made friends with Nora, and when Nora’s husband found her, Fred helpfully killed him and then gave Nora his wife Judith’s passport so she could start a new life in France.
Nora kept Judith’s identity, headed to Nice and befriended the kind-hearted brother Fred had often talked about, but never revealed to Guillaume that his brother was alive or that she knew him.
When Guillaume finds Nora/Judith at an airport hotel in the fourth episode, she finally tells him everything, including the reason she disappeared – it seems that Fred is a gangster/drug-dealer with some not-very-nice friends who are prepared to kill anyone in his life to find him, and they have already murdered his wife (aka the real Judith).
Happily reunited and extremely forgiving, Guillaume leaves Nora at the hotel for a few hours, but when she answers a knock at the door, it is not her love returning who is standing there but the sinister-looking Joachim Ostertag, one of Fred’s former associates and the man who almost killed him 10 years ago…
Who is Ostertag?
In flashbacks, it is revealed that Fred was an aspiring tennis player as a teenager, pressured to compete by his abusive father. Desperately unhappy, he fell in with a drug-dealing boy at school named Alex Kessler, and a bullied kid called Joachim Ostertag.
Trying to stop Ostertag being beaten up after school, Fred hit the bully with a rock and accidentally killed him. Fred’s wealthy dad then stepped in, offering Ostertag’s alcoholic father money in return for his son taking the fall.
Ostertag ended up going to jail, and when he was released years later (now bald and slightly scary-looking after all his hair fell out following his arrest) he joined Kessler and Fred’s growing drug dealing business.
Where is Nora?
After Guillaume discovers Nora’s hotel room is empty, he returns to his apartment and finds his long-lost brother Fred there. Fred explains that it is drug dealer/businessman Kessler and thug Ostertag who have got Nora, and are using her as bait to draw him out.
The reunited brothers head to Kessler’s car dealership – a selection of extremely luxury cars displayed on a multi-story car park rooftop – where Nora is being held in a sports car. A confrontation leads to Fred shooting Kessler’s brains all over one of the fancy cars, Fred being wounded by the various bullets flying around, and a stand-off as Ostertag and the understandably confused Guillaume point their guns at each other. Fred wants his brother to kill Ostertag, saying he was the one who murdered Sonia all those years ago, but Ostertag has a very good reason want Fred dead…
Why does Ostertag want Fred dead?
Ten years before, Fred, Kessler and Ostertag successfully transported drugs between Spain and France, and used Sonia, Guillaume’s ex-girlfriend, as a drug courier, because a young woman travelling was less likely to be stopped by the police.
However, when Fred got arrested one day, he gave up Kessler and Ostertag to save himself and then went to Sonia’s house to get her to back up his story with the police. Frightened, she called Ostertag – whom she was secretly dating – but he did not arrive in time to save her. An angry Fred drowned her in her pool, and on discovering her lifeless body, Ostertag chased and shot Fred, and watched him fall into the sea, presumably dead.
Ostertag, therefore, is understandably rather annoyed to discover years later that Fred is still alive.
So who survives the rooftop shoot out?
Realising his brother is actually the one who murdered Sonia, Guillaume shoots Fred before he has the chance to kill Ostertag.
Fred and Kessler lay dead, and Ostertag makes a dash for it before the police arrive, leaving Nora and Guillaume to explain the dead bodies, bullet-ridden cars and brain-splattered windscreen behind them.
Where the hell is Alice?
Fred’s daughter Alice – whose mother Judith was murdered earlier in the series – was supposedly “somewhere safe” according to Fred. We have to presume that Fred told his brother where that somewhere safe was before he died, as the final scene of the series has now-orphaned Alice reuniting with Nora, and meeting her uncle Guillaume for the first time on a picturesque French beach.
With Guillaume seemingly okay with Nora having lied to him about her past (and the existence of his brother) all the time they were together, it looks like a happy ending is on the cards for the trio – unless Ostertag comes back and decides to shoot them all, of course.