Borrego Ending, Explained: Does Elly Escape?

Written and directed by Jesse Harris, ‘Borrego’ is a thriller film that follows Elly, a young botanist working in a desert on the California-Mexico border. After she comes across a plane crash, Elly is held hostage by the pilot, a drug smuggler trying to deliver a package across the border. Elly must rely on her wits to survive the ordeal and escape from the smuggler named Tomas. Naturally, viewers must be curious to learn whether Elly makes it to safety and what happens to Tomas. In that case, here is everything you need to know about the ending of ‘Borrego.’ SPOILERS AHEAD!

Borrego Plot Synopsis

‘Borrego’ follows Elly (Lucy Hale), a young botanist with a troubled past working on a project on the outskirts of San Diego. She is mapping the nearby desert for plants that should not be growing in the region. She is trying to avoid dealing with past trauma by focusing on work. Elly runs into Alex, a young girl who has skipped school for the day. Elly asks Alex to help with her project and the two bond over the day. In the evening, Alex returns home while Elly finishes her work. On the way to her motel, Elly notices a plane crashing at a nearby spot.

Elly quickly drives to the spot to check on the crash and help any survivors. She finds an injured man and a stash of drugs lying on the ground. Realizing that the man is a smuggler, Elly tries to flee but is quickly held at gunpoint by the man. The man named Tomas gets Elly’s help to collect his drug packages before preparing to kill her. However, she convinces Tomas to let her guide him across the unknown terrain in exchange for sparing her life. Thus, Tomas takes Elly hostage, and they travel through the desert.

Elsewhere, Sheriff Jose learns of Elly’s disappearance. His daughter, Alex, informs him that she was with Elly the previous day and helps him search for the missing botanist. Meanwhile, Guillermo, Tomas’ boss, learns that the drug package did not arrive as scheduled. As a result, he searches for Tomas and the missing drugs. In the process, he and Jose come face to face resulting in a shootout that leaves Jose trapped inside a pit. With little resources, no hope for help, and a dangerous drug lord in their pursuit, Elly must find a way to survive and escape the unfortunate situation.

Borrego Ending: Does Elly Manage to Escape? What Happens to Tomas?

As the narrative progresses, Elly realizes that she must plan her escape attempt immaculately. Over time, she bonds with Tomas, and the two arrive near Borrego Springs, a town where they hope to find help. However, the duo must first scale a mountain. Since it is almost sundown, Elly suggests camping by the mountain’s base before ascending in the morning. Tomas shares his tragic past during the night and reveals that he was a teacher before his father’s medicine costs forced him into crime. He inadvertently ended up smuggling drugs and continues to do so to provide for his family.

On the other hand, Elly reveals that she caused her younger sister’s death while driving her to school; the accident left Elly traumatized. However, Tomas offers Elly words of wisdom that encourage her to overcome the tragedy. Later at night, after Tomas sleeps, Elly uses a pocket knife stashed in her socks to free herself. She then escapes only to run into Guillermo. Elly turns back and finds Tomas catching up to her. However, instead of recapturing her, Tomas allows Elly to escape.

Tomas then hands Guillermo the drugs, but the latter is enraged because a lot of the consignment is missing. He then asks Tomas to search for Elly as he does not want to leave witnesses. Tomas refuses, and the two men draw guns on each other. Guillermo kills Tomas and takes the drugs while continuing his search for Elly. Ultimately, the bond based on a tragic past that Elly forms with Tomas ensures her escape. In contrast, Tomas realizes that there is no escaping the life of crime and sacrifices himself to save Elly.

Is Guillermo Dead? What Is the Significance of the Buttercup?

In the end, Guillermo catches up to Elly, who has reunited with Alex. The two girls run for their lives as Guillermo pursues them. He knocks out Elly and tries to kill Alex with gasoline. However, Elly finds the strength to burn down Guillermo’s drugs, thereby saving Alex’s life. Guillermo catches fire while trying to save his drugs as Elly and Alex reach safety. Jose reunites with Alex and the warm moment also ensures that Elly and Alex are safe as the threat of Guillermo is now behind them. Guillermo’s fate is left unresolved, but given that he catches fire, he is likely dead.

The film ends with Elly noticing a budding buttercup flower in the desert. Earlier in the film, viewers learn that Elly and her sister share a strong bond. Her sister had nicknamed Elly “buttercup” and also gifted her a magnifying glass with a buttercup flower on it. Throughout the film, Elly struggles to deal with her sister’s death. Moreover, Elly blames herself for driving while under the influence of drugs and causing the accident that killed her sister.

However, during the climax, Elly finds the courage and strength to defeat Guillermo through the thought of her sister. In a way, Elly sees her sister in Alex, and the sight of Guillermo trying to kill Alex is enough for Elly to spring back into action and save her life. In the end, Elly’s journey comes full circle as she burns the drugs and ensures that fewer people will come under their influence and harm their loved ones. The budding of the buttercup signifies that Elly has made peace with her past. She is preparing to move on in her life while holding the memory of her sister close to her heart.

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