Darby and the Dead Ending, Explained: Does Capri Cross to the Other Side?

Image Credit: Marcos Cruz/20th Century Studios/Hulu

Directed by Silas Howard (‘A Kid Like Jake’), ‘Darby and the Dead’ is a Hulu supernatural teen comedy film. The plot revolves around Darby Harper (Riele Downs), who gains the ability to see the dead after a near-death experience. As her mother dies in the same incident, Darby becomes a recluse, preferring the company of the dead over the living.

However, that begins to change when Capri (Auliʻi Cravalho), the most popular girl at Darby’s high school, dies in a bizarre accident, and now Darby has to help her cross over to the other side. It’s easier said than done, as this means Darby will have to become a popular girl herself and ensure that Capri’s “Sweet 17” party takes place. Here is everything you need to know about the ending of ‘Darby and the Dead.’ SPOILERS AHEAD.

Darby and the Dead Plot Synopsis

When Darby was much younger, she wanted to be a cheerleader like her mother, who went to the nationals. But tragedy struck, and Darby’s mother was killed by a rogue wave while spending time with her daughter at the beach. Darby also nearly died. This experience gave her the ability to see dead people. Since then, she has been helping the dead (whom she calls the Deados) to carry out their unfinished business in the mortal world and move on to the next stage. Unfortunately, this has alienated her from her peers, who think she is quite unorthodox, though in much meaner language.

Capri is the head cheerleader and by far the most popular girl at Frederick Douglass High. She and Darby used to be friends when they were younger, but after Darby’s mother’s death, she pretty much withdrew from the world. This includes cheerleading, the activity that connected the two girls. Over the years, their relationship has become somewhat antagonistic. These days Darby doesn’t have many friends besides Gary (Tony Danza), the late groundskeeper of the school who has decided to remain in the mortal world as a Stayer until his wife passes.

It is the antagonism between the two girls that sets off the narrative. During an argument, Capri dies in a bizarre accident involving a hair straightener. She learns about Darby’s special ability and visits the other girl. It’s not that Darby is disinclined to help Capri, but her demands are a bit too much. Before her death, Capri was organizing a “Sweet 17” party for herself. She wants Darby to ensure that the party still happens, which means that Darby has to befriend Capri’s three friends, with whom she has as much of an antagonistic relationship as she had with Capri. And that means that she has to start cheerleading again.

Darby and the Dead Ending: Does Capri Cross to the Other Side?

One of the first things that Capri says to Darby after her death involves demanding her help to get back to the world of the living, and Darby has to make her understand that she can’t do that. Disappointed, Capri then asks Darby to get the party on track. Initially reluctant, Darby later gives in.

Like her mother, Darby was prodigiously talented in cheerleading, but as mentioned above, she hasn’t picked up the pom-poms since her mother’s death. With Capri’s help, she quickly gets better and starts performing with the school’s cheerleading squad. She also becomes part of Capri’s former clique.

As this is exactly what Capri wants, she doesn’t see any problem with Darby assimilating into what was her own life. However, things become complicated when Capri’s grieving boyfriend, James, starts showing interest in Darby. James is an aspiring singer who was once a contestant on ‘The Voice,’ though he didn’t manage to get past the blind auditions. He and Capri had been dating since his ‘The Voice’ appearance, and her death has completely devastated him.

When Darby visits James’ home with the school notes, the latter feels drawn toward her, much to Darby’s discomfort. She actually likes the new kid in the school, Alex. However, as she shows up at school with James, rumors start to swirl. When Capri gets wind of it, she lashes out. The dead can move physical objects with enough concentration. Just as Darby gets better with cheerleading, Capri improves her abilities and becomes terrifyingly good at them. At the party, she even forces Darby to admit that she can see dead people.

However, even though they saw a floating Ouija board, the students seek out “rational” explanations for it, and Darby becomes a pariah at her school once again. This time, she doesn’t even have the Deados in her corner, as she abandoned them in her pursuit to become popular.

Ultimately, Darby and Capri reconcile, and the latter moves on to the next stage, but not before giving the other girl an invaluable gift.

Does Darby See Her Mother Again?

Although Darby gained her ability during the same incident that took her mother from her, she didn’t see her mother as a ghost, which probably led her to the conclusion that her mother didn’t think that she had any unfinished business in the mortal world and moved on to the next stage. Although Darby never actually says it, she is evidently affected by that thought and probably wonders why her mother wouldn’t want to say any parting words to her.

Towards the end of the film, just before Capri moves on, she reveals to Darby that she has done some asking around. And suddenly, Darby’s mother appears in her room. She admits that she has been here all this time. Darby’s mother did try to move on but couldn’t as she saw that her daughter was far from being okay. She wanted Darby to have a relatively normal experience in life and friends who were alive. Now that her little girl has those things, she can move on.

Can Alex Speak to the Dead Like Darby?

From the moment Alex arrives at school, he demonstrates that he has even more of an unorthodox personality than Darby, though it takes some time for the latter to recognize this. At one point during the film, Gary introduces his newly dead friend Mel (Wayne Knight) to Darby. Mel wants Darby’s help to tell his son that he loves both him and his husband, but with everything going on in her life, Darby ignores her work for the dead.

Toward the end of the film, Gary reveals to Darby that even though she didn’t help Mel, Alex did. This is when Alex shows up and reveals that he has the same ability as Darby. He was in a coma the previous year after a terrible car accident. When he woke up, he became friends with the guy on the next bed, only to realize that the man had been dead for two days.

Unlike Darby, Alex didn’t hide his ability well. He underwent therapy and was told that it was a psychotic hallucination. It terrified his parents, who took him out of school.

Alex recognized that Darby was just like him on his first day at Frederick Douglass High after seeing her speaking to Gary. He realized that he isn’t alone and that he didn’t have to ignore his special ability. As the film ends, Darby has friends among both the living and the dead and continues to be part of the cheerleading squad. She also has a special someone who knows exactly what it is to be like her.

Besides being the protagonist, Darby serves as the narrator of the story, often breaking the fourth wall and speaking directly to the audience. As she delivers her final monologue to the viewers, it turns out that Alex has that ability as well.

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