Chloe Domont’s ‘Fair Play,’ a Netflix erotic thriller film, is a psychological exploration of two ambitious financier’s relationship plagued by gender-based power dynamics. In the ruthless, fast-paced world of hedge funds, Luke and Emily, employees at Crest Capital, have been in a secret relationship for two years against company policy. However, when Emily scores a big promotion at work on the heels of a spontaneous engagement, something intrinsic switches in her relationship with Luke. As a result, their relationship faces the brunt of Luke’s insecurity and Emily’s fears, unraveling in revealing ways.
The film strikes a balance between Emily’s struggles as a woman in a male-dominated industry, Luke’s fight with his own inhibitions, and the combined effect of the two on the couple’s relationship. The resulting outcome charts a gripping narrative ripe with thick, palpable tension. If you’re curious to see how this taut situation comes loose and what it means for Emily and Luke’s relationship, here is everything you need to know about the ending of ‘Fair Play.’ SPOILERS AHEAD!
Fair Play Plot Synopsis
After two years of dating, Luke and Emily, deliriously in love, finally get engaged following the former’s impromptu proposal at his brother’s wedding reception. Yet the next morning, Emily has to leave her engagement ring behind as the two take their separate routes to the same destination: their shared workplace. Emily and Luke work at Crest Capital, where there’s a strict policy against workplace dating. Therefore, despite their life together, the couple pretends to be just acquaintances at the office.
The same day, Quinn, a Portfolio Manager and Luke’s boss gets fired, prompting rumors about Luke’s promotion. Consequently, the couple’s happy disposition continues the following night. However, a few hours later, at 2 a.m., Emily gets a phone call from the office that changes everything for the pair. After Emily arrives at a bar for an official meeting, the firm’s highest official, Campbell, offers her Quinn’s former job, impressed by her skills and achievements. Despite the incredible news, when Emily returns home to Luke, she worries about Luke’s reaction to her promotion since it was also Luke’s dream job.
In response, Luke assures her that the news brings him only happiness and emphasizes his delight. Nevertheless, Emily tries to assure Luke that she will use her position to ensure his promotion, but Luke maintains he wants to get promoted on his own merit. Still, Emily continues trying to highlight Luke in front of Campbell and the other PMs. More often than not, the strategy backfires, with the others bringing up Luke’s past missteps. Eventually, Emily discovers that Campbell only hired Luke as a favor to a friend and wants him to quit.
Emily keeps the information a secret, as Luke throws himself into improving his performance at work after investing in a life coaching program by Robert Bynes. Still, his insecurity gets the better of him, leading to several arguments between the couple. Furthermore, their close working relationship complicates things more when Emily’s decisions prove to be better than Luke’s time and again.
Meanwhile, Emily’s alienation from her male colleagues and Luke’s previous undermining jabs about Emily’s inability to fit in with the boys’ club lead her to go out with the other PMs. After an evening at a strip club, Emily returns home drunk and picks a fight with Luke, where both parties hurl hurtful insults.
The next day, Luke asks Emily to pitch him to Campbell regardless of his demeaning comments after another managerial spot opens up. Yet, when Emily argues against it, Luke barges into Campell’s office with a big speech and ultimately humiliates himself upon realizing Campbell hired someone better for the job. The interaction results in Luke hitting rock bottom, which leads to an argument wherein Luke accuses Emily of stealing his job. Worse yet, Luke resorts to claiming Emily only got her position because Campbell is sexually attracted to her.
The argument marks an irreversible shift that leads Luke to go AWOL for a few days. Nonetheless, the man returns to the office on the day of Emily’s presentation to a client and causes a big scene. Having spiraled entirely out of control, Luke insults Campbell and his company and drops the big reveal about his relationship with Emily in front of everyone.
Fair Play Ending: Do Emily and Luke End Up Together?
In their initial introduction, Emily and Luke present as a perfect couple, happily in love and willing to risk their careers to have each other in their lives. With a fun and flirty dynamic, the couple seamlessly establishes the love and care in their relationship. Yet, Emily’s promotion changes everything for them. Emily and Luke have always dreamt of occupying higher positions at their firm, believing they can stop hiding their relationship once that happens.
As such, when Luke thinks he’s getting the promotion, he’s overjoyed with Emily sharing his happiness. However, Emily knows to be wary of it the moment she receives news that she is getting promoted instead of Luke. When Emily breaks the news to Luke, her immediate response is to apologize and console Luke, something the latter never had to do for her.
Even though Luke assures Emily that he’s happy about the turn of events, it remains difficult for him to actually embody the same. He pulls back sexually from Emily and constantly fires down her attempts at romantic outings. Instead, Luke turns to online personality Robert Bynes, who preaches about shifting the narrative and beating the system. Even though Luke desperately wants to be where Emily is, he starts attacking her to make himself feel better about his incompetency.
Eventually, his ego takes the ultimate hit after his Hail Mary of assertively begging Campbell on his knees for the promotion fails. Therefore, he turns his anger on Emily, claiming that her job is unethical and pathetic even though he has been vying for it moments ago. From there, it’s easy for him to hurt his fiance by using the same tired narrative everyone around the office uses to justify a woman’s authoritative position.
Yet, the break in the camel’s back comes when Luke takes his anger to the workplace. After disappearing from the office, a disheveled Luke saunters back and ruins Emily’s presentation. Not only that, but he takes Emily down with him, exposing that she broke company policy by dating him.
Afterward, as Emily tries to find Luke again for a confrontation, she learns that he’s at the engagement party that their parents have thrown them. Therefore, Emily arrives at the party enraged and gets more infuriated by Luke’s careless attitude. Upon discovering that Luke has been lying about getting promoted alongside Emily to his family, she announces the truth and ends their relationship. Luke fires back with a comment about her sleeping with Campbell to get the job, which leads to Emily breaking a beer bottle over Luke’s head.
Their confrontation gets moved to the venue bathroom, where Emily finally vocalizes the root of the problem: Luke’s inability to be okay with the fact that Emily is better at their job than he is. Yet, Emily had to be completely fine with the same when the situation was inverted. With emotions running high, the pair ends up falling into each other’s arms and having sex. However, during intercourse, Luke gets too rough and hurts her, prompting Emily to ask him to stop.
Nonetheless, Luke slams Emily’s face down on a sink and keeps going. In the face of Luke’s violence, Emily is stunned and forced to stay still. Emily wants to believe that despite everything, they can still work it out due to their long history with each other. She yearns to return to an older time when having sex in a bathroom was the easiest thing for the young couple to do. However, Luke uses this opportunity to assert his power over Emily. What could’ve been a re-do turns into a nightmare for Emily as someone she dearly loved rapes her.
Afterward, Emily wordlessly walks away with bruises littering her face and body. She puts on a brave face, covers up her injuries, and tries to fix her career, which Luke tried to sabotage. Later, when she returns to her apartment, she finds Luke waiting for her with his things packed. Luke attempts to keep things civil and talks about moving away in a monotone. However, when he starts sharing what he has planned for his future after the pair part ways, Emily snaps, appalled that Luke is speaking to her instead of groveling for her forgiveness.
In the past few days, Luke has put her through hell, constantly criticizing her and subtly instilling insecurities within her. If the psychological damage wasn’t enough, he then tried to ruin her career and physically violated her body. With bruises to show for her mistreatment, Emily calls Luke out for his actions, but the man only tries to backtrack, claiming neither is innocent in the situation.
Luke’s glaring lack of guilt pushes Emily to the brink, who picks up a knife and turns it to Luke. The man has been terrorizing Emily due to his own deep-rooted insecurity. Yet, he refuses to apologize. Therefore, Emily uses the power she yields with the knife and makes Luke beg for mercy. When the latter tries to snatch the knife from her, she slashes it away at him, bringing him to his knees and to tears.
Once Luke starts sobbing and apologizes profusely for his actions, Emily kneels down to him to give him one last flicker of hope before cruelly snatching it away. Emily is done with Luke now. By humiliating Luke and seeing him begging on his knees, Emily has gotten as much satisfaction from their relationship’s end as she can. In the end, Emily tells Luke to wipe his blood off her floor, a final jab at his dignity, and stands straight, letting out a final scoff.
The film’s ending note, Emily’s scoff, carries its own implications. Looking at Luke and Emily’s volatile relationship, the scene could be interpreted as her throwing the past few days away. Even though Luke has been mistreating Emily for some time now, she always tries to make things work. Even after their massive fight at the engagement party, Emily tries to give Luke one last chance. However, Luke took advantage of her second chances and crossed a line.
After everything Luke has done to her, he still refuses to take responsibility and is willing to bleed before apologizing. Therefore, Emily can’t imagine a future with someone like him anymore and wants him out of her life. Her scoff remains a sound of her freedom, with the weight of her relationship with Luke finally lifted off her shoulders.
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