Set in a dystopian world, Netflix’s ‘The Kitchen’ tells the story of a man whose life is changed after he meets a 12-year-old boy who may or may not be his son. While the duo explores the dynamics of their newfound relationship, a rebellion continues in the background, forming the story’s crux. Soon enough, the audience forgets the “near future” and the “dystopian world” part because the events and people in the film don’t feel any different from the world that we live in. This relatability allows the audience to connect more deeply with the characters, who are left with an uncertain fate at the end of the film. What happens to them? SPOILERS AHEAD
The Kitchen Plot Synopsis
Izi lives in London, where social housing has been done away with. He wants to afford a single-occupancy house on a different side of the town and has been saving up for it. For now, however, he is living in the Kitchen, the only place where people have said no to authority and are standing their ground, refusing to let the government force them out of their homes and leave them with nothing. Izi can’t wait to get out of the Kitchen, but things get a bit tricky when he crosses paths with Benji.
Izi realizes that Benji’s recently deceased mother is his ex, which means that Benji might be his son. He doesn’t acknowledge this fact, but he feels a sense of responsibility towards the Kid and allows him to stay at his place in the Kitchen. But things get more volatile as the system keeps working against the people of the Kitchen, who are relentless and will not give up, no matter what.
The Kitchen Ending: Why Does Izi Come Back?
Before Benji, Izi had no one. He wasn’t a social being, and even though he had a friendly coworker, Izi never bothered to know much about him. He tried to make as much money as possible by selling funeral plans to people to make more commission and keeping to himself, waiting for his apartment request to come through so he could finally get out of the Kitchen. When Benji comes along, Izi finally has someone to care about. Despite the mystery surrounding whether or not Izi is his father, the boy becomes attached to him and starts thinking about life together. But that bubble bursts when Izi finally gets the apartment he’d been vying for all this time.
The apartment Izi paid a deposit for was single occupancy. To have Benji with him, he would have to apply for a double-occupancy place, which meant more money (which Izi didn’t have) and more waiting time. Having waited for it for so long, Izi is unable to let go of the opportunity to have his own place in a better part of town where he doesn’t have to live in squalor, where the water wouldn’t be turned off, and he wouldn’t have to wait in line for food, where he wouldn’t have run to his place and bolt it shut, praying that the cops don’t break through the door and force him out. He didn’t want to live in that condition anymore. So, when choosing between his freedom or continuing to live in the same place but with Benji, he chooses the former. For a time.
Despite getting what he’d wanted for so long, Izi feels an emptiness in his life. He might have better living space now, but he doesn’t have the community he did in the Kitchen. Even though he’d always been resentful of living in the place and didn’t approve of a lot of things there, he was still tied to his people, which he doesn’t have in his new single-occupancy apartment. Above all, he feels guilty for leaving behind Benji, especially after witnessing Lord Kitchener’s funeral. It is there that he realizes what community means and what it feels like to belong. It is an exceptionally emotional moment for him and eye-opening enough that he returns to Benji.
Do the Cops Catch Izi and Benji?
By the time Izi comes back to the Kitchen, the conflict with the government is at an all-time high. In the last raid, the cops killed Lord Kitchener, and this sparked a need for retaliation in Staples and his gang. They spread chaos in the city, looting stores and destroying people’s homes. This gives the government a reason to go after them with full force. They send more cops than ever before to push the residents of the Kitchen out of their homes and arrest Staples and his friends.
By this time, Benji, too, has seen the harsh side of being with Staples’ gang, which Benji had warned him about in the beginning. At first, he thinks he is rebelling against the system, but then the looting and the violence make his head spin, and he runs back home, where he meets Izi. Benji joined Staples and his gang partly to let out his anger and disappointment in Izi for leaving him behind. When Izi returns, he apologizes but doesn’t get much time to explain because the cops show up, and they are forced to run and hide in their rooms in the Kitchen.
When Benji asks Izi if he is his father, Izi asks whether Benji would like him to be. The boy says that they should take things one step at a time and see where it goes from there, which comes as a relief to Izi. In the background, the cops start to pound on the door. On previous occasions, Benji and Izi waited for the cops to go away on their own, but this time, they are more persistent. With every hit, it feels like the door will give way. In the end, as the scene cuts to black, the final sound is of the door breaking, which means that the door has given way, and Izi and Benji are at the cops’ mercy.
As seen in the previous situation, the cops are not very civilized about treating people. The last time they got hold of Izi, they almost choked him to death. They killed Lord Kitchener, who is certainly not their first casualty. This track record of the authority makes one wonder what happens to Izi and Benji. In the best-case scenario, they are saved by other residents, and the cops retreat, which they would have had to do after Staples and the others cornered and attacked some of them in a different part of the Kitchen. It is possible that Izi and Benji were saved by the bell and would continue to live in the Kitchen. To take things a bit further, a still-alright scenario would be that Izi and Benji, like other people in the Kitchen, are thrown out and have to fend for themselves, start from scratch all over again. The worst-case scenario doesn’t require a lot of imagination.
What Happens to the Kitchen?
The Kitchen was the last place in its dystopian society that didn’t bow down to the authority. They refused to give up no matter what was done to them. In fact, its residents became even more adamant to keep going and spit on the face of their oppressors. In the movie’s final scene, things don’t look so good for the residents as a greater number of cops are sent to clear the place. Whatever happens to Izi and Benji, it’s clear that the Kitchen stands still, if not in the form that we saw at the beginning of the film, then in a different one.
The idea of the Kitchen is the expression of dissent and rebellion against the oppressive powers that don’t care about the people. They don’t care what happens to the residents and where they will go if they are removed from the Kitchen. The oppressors don’t care that they are cutting off food and water, the basic necessities, from a considerable section of people, many of whom are children who have never known anything outside of the Kitchen. The authority is not concerned with any of that. In the face of this atrocity, the Kitchen becomes a form of fighting back. By refusing to vacate the place, the people are participating in an act of rebellion, even if it is silent and even hesitant, like in Izi’s case.
Eventually, the Kitchen evolves beyond being a place and becomes the idea that will not be quashed no matter how violent the oppressive forces get. There’s a chance that by the end of the film, the residents are pushed out, and the government gets the building to itself for whatever purpose. But, the people will persevere, they will survive, and they will continue to raise their voices against the oppressive regime, and so, in one form or another, the Kitchen will continue to exist.
Read More: Where is The Kitchen Filmed?