Netflix’s The Believers Ending, Explained: Who Killed Tang?

Netflix’s Thai crime drama show, ‘The Believers,’ charts an engaging tale about three young friends who toe the line between legal and illegal as they attempt to profit off others’ religious faith. Win, Dear, and Game experience a grave loss after their NFT game business crashes and burns, drowning the trio in a mountainous debt. Thus, stuck in a ticking bomb situation, Win comes up with the unconventional idea to invest in the religion industry and promote a temple to make profits out of its business.

However, a few roadblocks along the way stain the trio’s morally dubious entrepreneurial undertaking into a possible criminal case, sending their lives into disarray. As such, with the narrative caught up in a web of conspiracies and ambiguous ploys, the audience must be eager to learn how Win and his friends emerge from their unusual situation. SPOILERS AHEAD!

The Believers Plot Recap

Win, Game, and Dear have been friends since high school and remain close friends after graduating when they decide to start a business together. As such, the trio launched a company and created their own NFT game, “Pirate’s Hell,” managing to grow it to unimaginable heights. However, right as the game begins to enter mainstream success, promising billions in the trio’s future, someone hacks into their system. Consequently, the company loses all its value overnight, plummeting Win and his friends into gross debt.

Worse yet, Win realizes that the loan shark who lent them the initial capital worked with one of their employees to ruin their business to reap the interest on their loan. However, given the dangerous ways the loan shark, Yossaphat, operates, the trio has no choice but to pay off their debt. In his bleak situation, Win escapes to his childhood home to be with his mother. Surprisingly, the man discovers an idea while he visits a local Buddhist temple with his mother.

Upon noticing that the temple made millions of dollars in donations by the hour, Win decides to run a temple of his own to make the money he and his friends need to pay off the loan shark. Although Dear and Game are initially weary of his idea, they agree to the idea, realizing it’s their best bet. After much research, Win realizes temples’ finances are rarely inspected, leaving them vulnerable for the taking. Moreover, by offering their services as a way to market temples to the younger demographic, Win and his friends won’t even be breaking any written laws.

Thus begins the trio’s search for a suitable temple. After some scouting, Win and the others come across the Phummaram Temple, a near-abandoned, run-down place with only one shady caretaker and an aging Abbot in charge. The caretaker, Tang, spends whatever money the temple makes in donations on visits to bars and strip clubs. As such, he readily agrees to the trio’s proposal and helps them gain Abbot’s permission to renovate and market the place.

Consequently, Win and his friends go all in on the plan, investing in the temple’s renovation. Nonetheless, they soon realize they need an influential monk to attract people to their temple by offering them a viable place to practice their faith. Although Win attempts to secure Monk Dong-won, a famed Korean-Thai monk, for their temple, he finds a better fit in young Monk Dol, whose sermons capture the audience’s attention. After some convincing, involving Win’s manipulation tactics of pitching a shared interest in Dharma Retreat Pavillions, the forest monk agrees to stay in their city temple.

Unexpectedly, after his arrival at Phummaram, Monk Dol finds himself enjoying the company of Dear, who shares more in common with the religious man than they thought. Around the same time, the Abbot’s close acquaintance, Monk Ekachai, returns from Bangkok, concerned about the Father’s worsening health. As such, Win finds his operations under an unexpected scrutinous eye. Meanwhile, Tang stirs trouble by offering his troublemaking drinking friends business opportunities as Monks at the temple to make money out of private services.

The same results in a few complications— including an unexpected underground drug ring in the temple under Tang and his friends’ supervision. Consequently, Tang goes into hiding as a fugitive of the law. Furthermore, it also brings Win and his friends on a local cop, Yod’s radar, who suspects them of foul play. The scandal also ruins the temple’s reputation, leading to low profit, which puts Game in hot water with Yossaphat, driving a wedge between him and the others.

Yet, Win manages to cook up a scheme involving the production of religious amulets to be sold at the temple. Still, Win’s marketing strategy of planting a story of faith for the amulet adds a morally ambiguous nuance to their business. Near the end, things come to a head when Tang reappears and attempts to extort Game for money to flee from his mysterious pursuers.

Although Game helps Tang hide, scared of the man revealing their business to the police and hurting his family, the latter soon meets an inexplicable end, found dead at his hideout. Moreover, Yod manages to learn the truth about the amulet’s origin story, leading to Win and Dear’s arrest at the temple.

The Believers Ending: Who Killed Tang? Why?

Throughout the story, Tang remains a loose canon, often posing a threat to Win and his mostly innocent plan. Even though Win’s actions and his methods were morally dubious since they preyed on sincere Monks like Dol and their faith, exploiting religion for profit, the man never crosses over to the realm of illegality. Nevertheless, Tang’s involvement and underground drug dealing bring the cops’ attention to Win and his friends, painting their business as a possible money laundering front.

As such, Tang could endanger Game and his friends by revealing the details of their dubious business model, which is likely to garner unwanted consequences on a legal and social level. For the same reason, he’s able to blackmail Game. In turn, Game’s separation from his friends prevents them from brainstorming a solution. Moreover, ever since the Abbot fell fatally ill, Game has been suspicious of Win, who was inexplicably in the Father’s quarters late at night. The same suspicions compel Game to snoop around the temple. As a result, he somehow finds himself sharing Tang’s return with Ekachai, who offers an understanding ear.

Although Ekachai encourages Game to report Tang to the police, Game decides to try and help out the man, considering his earlier cooperation made everything possible for Win and the others. Nonetheless, once he arrives at Tang’s hideout, he only finds the man’s dead body.

As it would turn out, Ekachai has never been the straight-laced monk he pretended to be. Although the man ensured to enforce every rule since his arrival at the temple, he was willing to bend his morals for his mission: promoting Buddhism to as wide of an audience as possible. For the same reason, he returned from Bangkok to Phummaram Temple after learning about the Abbot’s health.

Ekachai wanted control and power, so he took measures to worsen the Abbot’s sickness, which left him with the most authority at the temple. Afterward, he allowed Win and his friends to continue their venture, despite whatever cut they took from the temple’s profit, since their strategies helped bring a bigger crowd— hence more believers— to the temple. Nonetheless, he could tell that young entrepreneurs were starting to fall apart. Furthermore, Tang’s return posed a disaster for the temple’s business.

For the same reason, Ekachai killed Tang to ensure Win and his friends continued bringing crowds to the Phummaram Temple. While Ekachai and Win had the same motives— with the former desiring more exposure for the temple and the former seeking the money the exposure brings— Ekachai was willing to go the extra mile to achieve his goal. Therefore, Win and Dear’s arrest provides the monk with another pawn to flip the game in his favor.

Do Win, Dear, and Game Go To Prison? Why Does The Cop Let Them Go?

Initially, Win is confident that the cops have nothing that will incriminate him and his friends of a crime. However, his confidence wavers once Yod reveals there’s proof that ties Win and his services to The Phummaram Temple’s finances. Although the trio have been skimming money from the temple’s sales and donations to pay off their debt, they were vigilant enough not to leave behind a paper trail.

Yet. Ekachai ends up being one step further. The monk had airily tricked Game into becoming the Monk’s Assistant, which allowed him better access to the temple’s finances. At the time, the decision seemed to stem from a place of convenience. Nevertheless, it provides evidence that will prove Win and his friends have been embezzling the temple’s funds. The same argument will only strengthen once the truth about their connection to the loan shark emerges. Therefore, Win realizes he’s out of bargaining chips.

Still, at the eleventh hour, Yod’s boss demands the cop to dissolve the case at his superiors’ orders. The mystery about Win and Dear’s mysterious bailer soon resolves itself when some bodyguards intimidate the duo into attending a lunch with their sponsor: The highly influential local politician.

The politician, following in the footsteps of her father, made lucrative donations to the Phummaram Temple soon after Win and his friends brought it into public prominence. Thus, she has been keeping tabs on the temple’s performance since the start and remains impressed by its growth. For the same reason, she wants Win, Dear, and Game to continue providing their services to temples— in fact, she plans on employing them to promote a provincial temple. Consequently, she orchestrated Win and Dear’s arrest to leave Game no choice but to approach her.

Furthermore, with her influence and Win’s incriminating involvement in Phummaram Temple’s finances, the politician blackmails the trio into agreeing to her proposal without much effort. In the end, Win and his friends escape the loan shark’s clutches but find themselves entering a much more dangerous game.

What Happened to Win’s Father?

The story primarily focuses on Win, Dear, and Game’s business with the Phummaram temple, exploring the nuances of modern religion and its connection to profit. Still, Win’s storyline remains colored by his own childhood trauma: his father’s mysterious disappearance. Eighteen years ago, when Win was a child, his father disappeared, leaving no trace behind. Consequently, his mother has been stuck in the same town her entire life, holding onto hope that her husband may one day find his way back home.

Although the police previously assure them they have no leads on Win’s father, Yod reveals a different truth to the young man in the end. Yod remains frustrated with Win and his friends’ ability to escape the consequences of their actions. Therefore, he wants to employ the man as a double agent to snitch information about the politician and her connection to the Buddhist temples. In order to do so, Yod offers to share the reality of what happened to Win’s father.

However, as it would turn out the same night, Win finds his own clue that his father left him behind all those years ago in a papier-mâché cat mold. Inside the mold, Win finds torn-up pieces of paper that encourage Win to discover the truth behind his father’s disappearance. The season ends before Win can piece the clue together, leaving the storyline to be explored in a potential season two. Furthermore, with the cracks in Win, Dear, and Game’s friendship— with the woman considering fleeing the country as the season ends— the trio’s future involvement with the politician’s plan remains unsure as well.

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