Orphan First Kill Ending, Explained: Who is the Real Esther?

‘Orphan: First Kill’ is the much-awaited prequel to the 2009 film ‘Orphan.’ The psychological horror film is directed by William Brent Bell (‘Separation‘) and sees actress Isabelle Fuhrman reprising her role from the first film. It tells the origin story of Esther Albright, a seemingly harmless orphan girl who cons her way into the lives of the wealthy Albright family.

However, Esther soon realizes the threats she faces and searches for a way out of a harrowing situation. In the end, Esther becomes forever tied to the Albrights leading to some interesting ramifications. If you are looking for an explanation of the film’s events and Esther’s fate, here is everything you need to know about the ending of ‘Orphan: First Kill.’ SPOILERS AHEAD!

Orphan: First Kill Plot Synopsis

‘Orphan: First Kill’ opens in Estonia, where Anna, an art teacher, joins the Saarne Institute, a mental institution where Leena Klammer resides. The young girl has hypopituitarism, a rare hormonal disorder that stunted her physical growth. As a result, Leena does not age normally and appears like a ten-year-old girl despite being in her thirties. Nonetheless, she is exceptional at putting on an innocent girl act and attacking those in her proximity. One day, Leena takes advantage of a security guard’s affection for her. She lures him into her cell and brutally murders the guard.

Leena claims the guard’s access card and breaks out of the institution. She takes cover in Anna’s car and arrives at the teacher’s home. Later, Leena kills Anna and begins plotting her next move. Leena discovers that an American girl named Esther Albright has been missing for nearly four years. Leena realizes that her facial features and appearance resemble the missing Esther. Thus, she assumes the identity of the missing girl and is found by the police.

In a small Connecticut town, the Albright family comprising couple Tricia and Allen Albright and their son, Gunnar, learn the news of Esther’s discovery. Soon, Esther is brought back to the United States. Leena tries to understand more about Esther’s past and grows closer to Allen, who is very fond of his daughter. The two have exceptional painting skills and bond over their love for art. However, through Esther’s therapy appointments, Tricia becomes suspicious about Esther and her actions. Soon, Esther learns a disturbing family secret that forces her to obey Tricia or risk being deported to her homeland. How Esther navigates the situation forms the rest of the plot.

Orphan: First Kill Ending: Who Is the Real Esther? What Happened to Her?

A burning question since the original film revolves around how Leena assumed the identity of Esther. The prequel tackles this question and delivers a shocking answer to the unresolved aspect of Leena’s backstory. In the film, viewers learn that a girl named Esther Albright is missing and assumes her identity to reach the United States. However, in the film’s final act, viewers learn the tragic fate of the real Esther. After Inspector Donnan comes dangerously close to uncovering the true identity of Esther, she tries to attack him. However, Esther/Leena is only able to finish off the officer with Tricia’s help.

At this point, Tricia reveals the true fate of her missing daughter. She explains that her children, Gunnar and Esther, never got along. One night things went too far, and Esther died by accident during a fight with Gunnar. To protect her only living child from going to prison, Tricia formulates the story of Esther’s disappearance. Hence, Esther is dead, and her own family is behind her tragic fate. Nonetheless, the revelation brings more trouble for Esther. Tricia threatens to reveal Leena’s true identity and blame her for Donnan’s death if Leena disobeys her. Esther’s fate starkly contrasts Leena’s thematic arc and lands her in a dangerous situation.

Does Esther Die? What Happens to the Albrights?

The Albrights are first hinted at in the original film. However, their relationship with Esther, aka Leena, is mentioned very vaguely. However, the prequel film dives deep into this connection as Leena cons her way into the family’s life. However, after learning the family’s secret, Leena is forced to continue playing the role of Esther. As Tricia reveals, Allen was deeply attached to his daughter, and Esther’s return has returned him to his usual self. Hence, Leena must pretend to be Esther and remain a part of their lives. Moreover, Esther disappearing a second time would further raise suspicion about the family.

Soon, Esther falls in love with Allen and craves to be with her. As a result, she attempts to kill Tricia and Gunnar. However, when her attempt to push them under an oncoming train fails, the mother and son decide to end Esther’s charade. Esther’s attempt to flee fails, and she faces the wrath of Tricia and Gunnar. With Allen out of town, the duo prepares to finish off Esther. However, Gunnar’s altercation with Esther ends badly as she brutally murders her adoptive brother. The Albright mansion catches fire during Esther’s fight with Tricia, and the two women clash on top of the house. Meanwhile, Allen learns of Esther’s disappearance and quickly returns home.

In the film’s final moments, Tricia and Esther both hang by the edge of the house’s roof. Allen races to save his wife and daughter. Tricia tries to warn Allen about Esther’s true identity. She explains that Esther is an imposter and actually a thirty-year-old woman who looks like a child. Nonetheless, Allen is blinded by his love for his daughter. Instead of believing Tricia, Allen opts to save Esther. On the other hand, Tricia slips and plummets to her death. After Allen saves Esther, she professes his love for him. Allen is shocked to realize that Trica is telling the truth.

In the end, Allen also falls from the roof and dies. Leena completely adopts the Esther persona and emerges from the fire alive. The Albrights fall prey to their own ill-formed plan to cover up the real Esther’s death. Thus, the Albrights face the same fate as mentioned in the original film. In the first film, it is stated that Esther’s first adoptive family died in an arson case, with the girl emerging as the only survivor. Hence, the prequel’s ending directly connects the story to the first film.

The closing moments depict an adoption agency promising Esther’s therapist that they will find a home for the girl. Thus, the ending directly sets up Esther being adopted by the Coleman family. Ultimately, the film delivers on the promise of unveiling a sinister backstory for Leena. By the end, Leena’s transformation into Esther is complete, and the road is open for her to torment another family in the future. Moreover, the ending also gives viewers insight into Esther’s misguided quest for love and affection through her relationship with Allen. Therefore, it is safe to say that Esther’s time with the Albrights and their ultimate fate shapes Esther’s journey in the USA.

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