Road House: Why Don’t Dalton and Ellie End Up Together?

Elwood Dalton and Ellie build an intricate relationship in Prime Video’s action film ‘Road House.’ Even though Dalton doesn’t reveal his feelings for the doctor explicitly, the people around him, especially his adversary Ben Brandt and her father “The Sheriff,” learn about it. That’s the reason why the lawman rushes to the former UFC fighter with the story of his daughter getting kidnapped by Brandt, who wants his money back. Dalton eventually resolves the predicament involving himself and Brandt but instead of ending up together with Ellie, he bids her adieu to disappear from the town of Glass Key! SPOILERS AHEAD.

Elwood Dalton, the Beast

Elwood Dalton arrives in Glass Key as a changed man and without any ornaments of a former UFC fighter. In the past, Dalton was nothing short of a beast. He didn’t show any mercy to his opponent even after the latter accepted his defeat to the former. Dalton continued to smash the head of his fellow fighter as a ruthless animal. He buries such a characteristic of his personality before showing up in Glass Key for an odd job in the Road House. Since he is nothing but a typical bouncer in the establishment, he doesn’t fear his old self resurfacing, showing his true nature.

Dalton has always tried to hide such a condemnable dimension of himself when he is with Ellie. Even though she must have learned about what he did to his opponent soon after they met for the first time, his life journey seeking redemption must have convinced her that there is someone agreeable inside him. That can be why she builds feelings for him and eventually drags him to an informal date. Although Dalton runs away from her when she tries to unravel his past, a bond gets formed between the two by then. However, their fates get rewritten when Ben Brandt and Knox enter the picture to kill the former fighter.

In Knox, Dalton finds someone as beastly as himself. He tries his best to walk away from Brandt and the British import but they provoke and push him to his limits by hurting Charlie and Stephen. When two people who are immensely good to him get hurt in his name, Dalton loses his composure. He fails to restrict the beast in him. In the showdown between himself and Knox, Dalton unleashes the animal that has been hiding inside him to stab all across the body of the British man. The display of his animalistic self is viewed by none other than Ellie, who is shocked to see his condemnable side.

Dalton separates from Ellie and disappears from Glass Key when he realizes that he cannot remain a changed man for the latter. If Ellie can tolerate such a beastly characteristic, she may have stopped him from leaving her. The doctor’s decision to let him vanish from her life indicates that she has realized that they are incompatible. After physically hurting his opponent severely, Dalton may not want to carry the guilt of affecting Ellie emotionally. Such a conviction may have motivated him to depart from the Florida town. He must have understood that he is better off alone rather than sharing his life with someone he would hurt.

Doug Liman’s ‘Road House’ is a reimagining of the 1989 movie of the same name, starring Patrick Swayze and directed by Rowdy Herrington. In the original action drama, Dalton does end up together with Dr. Elizabeth “Doc” Clay, who chooses to ignore the former’s animalistic nature. Around two and a half decades later, Liman’s film reconstructs the stereotypical expectations regarding a “heroine” through a decision Ellie makes that’s not explicitly favorable to the “hero.”

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