"I don't know why we live. All we do is die," says Ursula Todd in the fourth and final episode of Life After Life, the BBC Two drama based on Kate Atkinson's novel.


It’s an apt quote for a protagonist who can’t seem to stop dying.

Born to Sylvie and Hugh (played by Fleabag's Sian Clifford and Mare of Easttown's James McArdle respectively), Ursula’s first life comes to an end when she dies before even drawing her first breath.

But that same night, she is reborn and survives.

It’s a pattern that repeats again and again, with Ursula (Thomasin McKenzie) continuously being reincarnated – with only a strange sense of déjà vu and some inexplicable self-protective instincts.

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We see this in action in episode 4, as Ursula is inexplicably drawn to visit pre-war Germany – and kill Adolf Hitler – after other versions of herself were killed during the London Blitz.

But how does the BBC drama end and does Ursula get an answer to her question of why she has to live the same life over and over again? Read on for everything you need to know about Life After Life's ending.

**Spoiler warning for the end of Life After Life**

Life After Life ending explained

Did Ursula Todd kill Adolf Hitler in Life After Life?

Life After Life
Teddy and Ursula dance in Life After Life BBC Two

In the first half of episode 4, we see Ursula and her family suffering during the Second World War across various timelines, both in England and in Germany.

In one version, Ursula falls in love with and marries a German lawyer, who later joins the Nazi party. By the end of the war, she and her young daughter are starving to death, and she makes the heartbreaking choice for them to both die by suicide.

In a later life, Ursula appears to remember what she must do to prevent the war and the death of her brother Teddy, a pilot. She travels to a German cafe – bumping into the man who was her husband in another life – and points a pistol at Hitler's head.

The screen cuts to black before she pulls the trigger, but we hear multiple gun shots and screams, before the snowfall motif which signifies Ursula's death.

In the book the series is based on, it's left unclear whether Ursula succeeded in killing Hitler, and it's the same in the series – did Ursula manage to shoot him before bystanders pulled their own guns on her?

How did Ursula Todd's story in Life After Life end?

Sian Clifford in BBC Two's Life After Life
Sian Clifford in BBC Two's Life After Life BBC/House Productions/Nick Wall

In the final version of Ursula's life we see, it's still wartime, and she's at home with her parents, Aunt Izzie and sister Pamela, where they discuss Ursula's final conversation with Teddy before he died.

Ursula reveals that she and Teddy debated the possibility of living their lives over and over again, fixing their past mistakes.

Each family member discusses whether they would opt for such a scenario before it comes to Ursula's turn – and she simply says that she told Teddy that she thought it was a "wonderful" idea, not quite answering the question.

Ursula's father Hugh walks her home to the train station and begs her to stay in the countryside rather than return to London.

"I would rather you were a coward than dead, Little Bear," he says.

She catches the London train anyway, and as it pulls away, she turns to look ahead, grinning. Is she excited about what life has in store? Or was it the embrace from her father, who has been there for her during every lifetime?

Just like the reason behind Ursula's Groundhog Day-style existence, we never learn the answer. However, it seems clear what Ursula's response would be if she had the choice to do it all over again.

All episodes of Life After Life are available now to watch on BBC iPlayer. You can order Kate Atkinson's novel Amazon. Read more news, interviews and features on our Drama hub, or find something to watch now with our TV Guide.


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