"The Girl Before" ending explained: What happens to Jane?

The fallout on HBO Max's twisty mystery thriller

By Sabrina Reed

Published February 15, 2022 5:35PM (EST)

David Oyelowo and Gugu Mbatha-Raw in "The Girl Before" (Amanda Searle/HBO Max)
David Oyelowo and Gugu Mbatha-Raw in "The Girl Before" (Amanda Searle/HBO Max)

The following contains major spoilers for "The Girl Before." For a non-spoilery read, check out a dive into the evils of minimalism on the show.

"The Girl Before," HBO Max's latest mystery thriller, twists and turns right up until its end. The limited series takes viewers through four episodes worth of suspense as it slowly reveals who killed Emma.

For the majority of the show, it seems like the killer is obviously Edward Monkford. The architect is suspected of killing his wife and child by one of his employees. Simon, Emma's ex-boyfriend, told Jane that he believes Edward killed her, too.

Edward is a principled man with a rigid set of beliefs and living standards. It's why his house on One Folgate Street has rules that the tenants must follow to the letter. Emma was chaotic and the antithesis of Edward. The two dated but they weren't a pair that could work long term.

It also didn't help matters that it's through Jane's relationship with the architect that we find out Edward has an obsessive need for patterned behavior. He dated both Jane and Emma because they resemble his wife. He asked them out in the exact same way, took them to the exact same locations, bought identical dresses and necklaces, and departed to Berlin in nearly the exact same manner.

To say his behavior was unsettling would be an understatement, however, Jane still didn't immediately jump to a definitive conclusion that Edward murdered Emma. She wanted answers, and she confronted him about it. She needed to considering her pregnancy.

It turns out, Jane was right to question the validity of Edward being responsible for Emma's death. He didn't kill her, and Jane finds that out in the middle of dinner with Simon.

Who killed Emma in "The Girl Before"?

With all that's going on in "The Girl Before," Simon gets a bit lost in the shuffle as a suspect. He comes off as a grieving ex. Someone who loved Emma and is angry that the man responsible is still walking around free. But as the series continues, it becomes clear that Edward isn't the only one who has an obsession. Simon does, too, and it's centered on Emma.

His heartbreak over their break-up is understandable. His desire to keep the woman he loves safe when a burglar is out to harm her for falsely accusing him of rape makes sense. Simon switching the name on his contact number in Emma's phone to Edward doesn't. Neither does texting her to test whether she'd give Edward another chance when she wouldn't give him one.

The reality of Emma's indifference toward his romantic feelings sets Simon off. It's not narcissism or ego, it's toxic possessiveness and idealism. He not only needed Emma to remain perfect, as in perfect for him, but he also needed to be the one to take care of her.

Emma rejecting him as a life partner sent Simon spiraling and his anger over the situation led to a physical altercation that resulted in him pushing her down the stairs. That's how she was killed, and Simon's been covering it up and blaming Edward for her death this entire time.

Does Jane die in "The Girl Before"?

Jane finds this out from the man himself after she invites him to dinner. It's meant to be a friendly gesture, but Simon takes it as an opportunity to ask Jane out. She gently lets him down, but the rejection triggers his anger. They get into a verbal and then physical altercation just like the one between him and Emma, however, this time it's Simon who tumbles down the steps and dies. Thankfully, Jane survives.

Does Jane get an abortion in "The Girl Before"?

Due to her previous pregnancy which resulted in a stillbirth, Jane wasn't sure she wanted to move forward with carrying another child. However, after she received answers about why her daughter Isabel died in the womb, Jane's self-blame centered grief dissipated

Edward's reaction to being told they're expecting wasn't ideal, but Jane still sought his opinion on what to do even in the midst of concern over his relationship with Emma and who could have killed her, if anyone.

In the final episode of the series, after Simon is dealt with, Jane and Edward head to a clinic. Obviously, Jane is set to have an abortion. Edward even says that they'll have a child when they're ready, giving the impression that he's open to the idea of raising a child together in the future. But, given Jane's history, her decision not to get an abortion isn't surprising.

Do Jane and Edward stay together in "The Girl Before"?

Jane wrote Edward a letter to let him know that she intends to keep their child and leaves it with a nurse to give to him once she's left the clinic.

She believes he can be a good father one day but first he must get professional help, and she can't wait for him to do what he needs to do to get healthy. Jane puts herself first but leaves the door open for Edward to return to her life one day. She thinks what they went through, and the reality of their child, is the wake up call Edward needs.

Our last shot of Edward is him in therapy and our last scene with Jane is her greeting their son, Toby. The camera pans to a wall with the framed footprints belonging to Toby and Isabel. While Jane and Edward aren't together, it's clear there's a future for them if they both want it down the line.

All four episodes of "The Girl Before" are available to stream now on HBO Max.

Sabrina Reed

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