Netflix’s End of the Road Ending, Explained: Who is Mr. Cross?

Netflix’s ‘End of the Road’ follows the story of the Freeman family who gets entangled in a crime that endangers all of their lives. Starring Queen Latifah in the lead role, it serves as an exciting thriller full of action, while also throwing light on the issues of racism and the dangers that it still poses to black families. The film uses a mix of several elements to keep its plot at a steady pace, with danger always looming on the characters. The events often leave the audience on the edge of their seat, hoping that the characters make it out of the treacherous environment where they are trapped with no one to call for help. In the end, the Freemans do whatever it takes to survive. If you are wondering whether or not they make it out alive, then here’s what you should know. SPOILERS AHEAD

End of the Road Plot Synopsis

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Brenda Freeman has had a rough couple of months. After her husband Jake got sick, she needed the money for his treatment, which she got from taking loans from the bank. After Jake’s death, she was left penniless and the bank took her house as well. Now, with two kids to take care of, she decides to move from LA to Texas. It is a three-day ride, and they are accompanied by Brenda’s brother, Reggie. They hope to get to their destination in time as they can’t afford any delays or detours. They just don’t have the money to pay for anything that is not planned.

They spend the first night of the journey in a motel, the cheapest they could find. Later that night, a man is murdered in the next room. He had stolen money from a drug lord called Mr. Cross, who has ties to the Sinaloa cartel. While his attacker leaves him behind, Brenda and Reggie try to help the guy who dies soon after. Unbeknownst to Brenda, Reggie finds a bag full of cash in the man’s room and takes it. This mistake creates a lot of problems for the Freeman family, with each of them coming very close to death.

End of the Road Ending: Who is Mr. Cross?

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The problem with stealing the dead man’s money is that it belonged to Mr. Cross. The Freemans know nothing about him, except that he is a dangerous criminal. They have no idea what he looks like, but the problem is that he seems to know everything about them, even though he has never seen them. The Freemans know that they can’t trust anyone, especially because they are in an area that is full of white supremacists, who would not hesitate to kill all four of them. They find a lifeboat in the form of a cop named Hammers. However, in a final twist, it turns out Mr. Cross is none other than Hammers.

We first meet Hammers at the scene of the crime, where he explains that he has been after Mr. Cross for a very long time. He seems intent on meeting the Freemans and taking their statements, even when that’s already been done by other cops. He gets Brenda’s number from the officer who talked to her and asks her to come back, but when she refuses, he offers to meet her somewhere on the way. For a moment, this makes it look like Hammers is the guy hell-bent on bringing down Mr. Cross. It isn’t until later that everything comes into perspective.

It was Hammers who arrived that night at the motel and killed the man who stole his money while the Freemans were sleeping next door. Because they were woken up by the noise, Hammers couldn’t afford to stay around long enough to look for the bag with the money. He knew that he’d be called in the next day when the murder would be reported, so he leaves without a care in the world. He doesn’t expect the Freemans to take the money, but when they do, he tries to approach them as a police officer, hoping that they’d trust him and give back the money without any fuss.

Image Credit: Ursula Coyote/NETFLIX

When Brenda makes it clear that she is not going to come back to the motel and will talk to Hammers on her own terms, he decides to take a different route to communicate with her. A thing to notice here is that, by now, he is the only one who’s recently received her number and has talked to her. As soon as Hammers’ call is cut, Brenda receives another, apparently from Mr. Cross. He calls her by another number, this time using a voice modulator to hide his true voice. He asks Brenda to bring back the money, and she doesn’t put two and two together. She, and everyone else around her, believes that Mr. Cross is some cartel guy who keeps his distance from the cops. Instead, he turns out to be an actual cop.

Another hint that we receive about Hammers’ identity is when he shows up right after Cam’s kidnapping. By now, he’d not tried to contact Brenda again in his official capacity. She didn’t tell him where she was going, so how did he know where to find Reggie and Kelly? Also, when a dispatch reports Brenda’s overspeeding, a real cop would have had her stopped so that they could get to her and talk to her about the murder. Instead, Hammers tells other officers to back down and let Brenda go, because he knows that she is going for his money.

Similarly, with Kelly and Reggie in his car, when Hammers suspects that a car is following them, he asks both of them to duck down. They interpret it as an attack from Mr. Cross’ cartel. In reality, Hammers didn’t want anyone to see two black people in his car, because if someone saw them, Hammers would be leaving behind a witness who could cause trouble for him after he’d killed the Freemans. All of these red flags don’t make sense while the audience believes that Hammers is a good guy. But when we discover that he is Mr. Cross, his every action starts to fall into place.

What Happens to Mr. Cross’ Money?

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Trouble begins for the Freemans when Reggie takes Mr. Cross’ money. He didn’t know that he was stealing from a drug lord. All he knew was that his sister was desperately in need of help and with the money in the bag, they’d have enough to start over and be in a better place. He tries to convince Brenda to keep the money, but she knows that it is blood money which means that nothing good can come out of it. Her fears are proven right when the money lands them in trouble with Mr. Cross.

In the end, with all the dangerous situations they survived, one would think that Reggie has learned his lesson by now. However, while running away from Hammers’ house, once again, Reggie asks Brenda to keep the money. Again, she refuses, so Reggie leaves behind the bag but takes some money from it. Obviously, he doesn’t tell his sister. He’d probably planned to hide the money until some time passed and he had a legitimate excuse to explain how he’d come across so much cash all of a sudden.

Despite his plans, Reggie is not able to keep the money a secret. Being his sister, Brenda knows just when Reggie is being cagey. After Mr. Cross is dealt with and the Freemans are out of danger, they sit at a diner to have breakfast. When Reggie offers to pay for it, Brenda takes one look at him and suspects that he has done something wrong. When he reveals that he stole some of the money from the bag, she tells him to return it. But with Mr. Cross gone, there is no one to give it back to.

Anyone who knew about the money is dead by now, so the Freemans are free to take the money and do whatever they want with it. After her children support Reggie’s actions, Brenda is forced to reconsider her stance and decides that it would be good for her family to use that money to restart their lives. With no one coming after them now, they can finally live in peace.

Read More: Is Netflix’s End of the Road Based on a True Story?