BBC One’s latest Agatha Christie adaptation came to a close last night, but many viewers seemed unsatisfied with the way it concluded.
The Pale Horse stars Rufus Sewell as Mark Easterbrook, a man who discovers his name on a list of people who have recently died and fears his life may also be at risk.
He begins an investigation, initially suspecting three witches living in a nearby village as the killers, but ultimately discovering the culprit was Zachariah Osborne, a pharmacist whose name was also on the list.
In the closing moments, Easterbrook kills Osborne only to arrive home and read about his own death in the paper, before seeing a vision of his late first wife.
It was a perplexing sequence of events that left many viewers scratching their heads…
— ???????????????????????????? ???? (@MariekeMonk) February 16, 2020
Serious question. Can anyone please tell me what happened in the last scene? Really have no clue. #PaleHorse
— Sandy Maher (@sandyq178) February 16, 2020
When you turn to Twitter to find out wtf the ending in #Palehorse meant but no-one else knows either ????????♀️????????♀️????????????
— Cheryl (@ChattyB1) February 16, 2020
Some took issue with the way in which screenwriter Sarah Phelps has made radical changes to each of her five Agatha Christie adaptations.
Phelps has previously said that, although she makes major alterations to the narrative, she always tries to keep the main themes of Christie’s original novels intact.
Why, if they are making a TV adaptation of a clever and complex whodunit, do they think it's ok to completely change everything about the plot from the very start, including killing off the heroine? No respect for the author or the book. Frustrating. #palehorse
— Lisa Tulfer – writer & blogger (@LisaTulfer) February 9, 2020
One Twitter user posited a theory that many Pale Horse viewers seemed to agree with…
The “witches” saved his wife and cursed him (he died in the street) he then discovers his death in the paper and is consigned to a limbo in which he repeatedly kills his first wife. You’re welcome. #palehorse
— rolf hind (@RolfHind) February 16, 2020
The Pale Horse is now available to stream on BBC iPlayer.