The Mother Ending, Explained: Is The Mother Dead? Is Zoe Safe?

Netflix’s ‘The Mother’ is an action drama film directed by Niki Caro (‘Mulan‘) and stars Jennifer Lopez in the lead role. The movie tells the story of a highly skilled female assassin who is forced to emerge from exile after her estranged daughter’s life is threatened. As the forces from The Mother’s past threaten to destroy her present, she must confront them while attempting to reconcile with her daughter. The high-octane and fast-paced narrative is supplemented by violent action sequences and a strong emotional core driven by The Mother’s will to save her child at any cost. As a result, viewers must be curious to learn about the outcome of The Mother’s quest at the end of ‘The Mother.’ SPOILERS AHEAD!

The Mother Plot Synopsis

‘The Mother’ opens at an FBI safe house in Linton, Indiana, where an unnamed woman (Jennifer Lopez) is helping FBI Agent Willaim Cruise (Omari Hardwick of ‘Army of the Dead‘) track down two high-ranked criminals – Adrian Lovell (Joseph Fiennes of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale‘) and Hector Álvarez (Gael García Bernal of ‘Station Eleven‘). The woman is also trying to cut a deal with the FBI to protect her soon-to-be-born child. However, Lovell’s forces quickly breach the safe house, and a brutal gunfight ensues. The woman, referred to as “The Mother,” saves Cruise’s life and retaliates against the intruders. However, Lovell stabs her in the stomach before the house erupts into flames.

Later, The Mother gives birth to a baby girl but is forced to relinquish her parental rights by Special Agent Williams. After Williams convinces The Mother that her daughter will always be a target for Álvarez and Lovell, who survived the fire, The Mother agrees to give up her daughter on three conditions. Agent Cruise promises to inform The Mother if her daughter is ever in danger. As a result, The Mother separates from her daughter and starts a new life in Alaska, where she works as a hunter for hire and receives help from an old friend, Jons (Paul Raci of ‘Perry Mason‘).

Roughly eleven years later, The Mother receives word of her daughter’s life being in danger. The Mother learns that her daughter is named Zoe, and she lives an ordinary life with a loving family. However, Agent Cruise suspects that Álvarez is planning to target Zoe as retribution for The Mother trying to have the FBI stop his arms smuggling operation. Álvarez’s men kidnap Zoe in broad daylight, and The Mother fails to stop them. Eventually, Agent Cruise and The Mother track down Zoe to Havana, Cuba, where she is being kept hostage by Álvarez’s right-hand man, Yenil Garcia.

After a lengthy chase through the streets of Cuba, Agent Cruise and The Mother narrowly miss out on catching Garcia. Later, The Mother reveals to Agent Cruise that she worked with Lovell during her military service in Afghanistan. After her service, she became involved in Lovell’s illegal arms-selling operation and met his biggest client, Álvarez. However, The Mother refuses to acknowledge either Lovell or Álvarez as Zoe’s biological father. The next day, The Mother and Agent Cruise breach Álvarez’s hideout and successfully retrieve Zoe before The Mother murders Álvarez.

The Mother meets Zoe for the first time since giving her birth but avoids becoming emotionally attacked. She entrusts Zoe to Agent Cruise and tasks him with returning her to her adoptive family. However, en route, Lovell’s men attack Cruise and try to abduct Zoe. The Mother intervenes and rescues Zoe, but Agent Cruise is killed in the process. Knowing that Zoe cannot return home until the threats to her life are nullified, The Mother takes Zoe to hide in the wilderness of Alaska. Zoe soon starts suspecting that the woman caring for her is her biological mother. The Mother trains Zoe to survive on her own while Lovell continues searching for the mother-daughter duo.

The Mother Ending: Is The Mother Dead? Is Zoe Safe?

After realizing that the enemies from her past will never stop hunting down Zoe to get revenge on her, The Mother starts training Zoe in Alaska. She teaches Zoe how to drive a car and shoot a gun. However, Zoe hates being in the wilderness, doing arduous chores, and misses her home. One day, Zoe injures her hand after she is bitten by a wolf while playing with them. As a result, The Mother takes Zoe to a local clinic, where Zoe shares her actual name. Fearing Lovell will now be able to track her down, The Mother prepares to fight her enemy, sends Zoe to safety with Jon, and gives her a letter.

While The Mother fights against overwhelming odds to protect her daughter, Zoe reads the letter and learns of her mother’s sacrifice to save her life years ago. As a result, Zoe tries to reunite with The Mother and drives straight into the middle of the conflict between Lovell and The Mother. The Mother successfully kills most of Lovell’s men until Lovell captures Zoe. The Mother once again sacrifices herself, allowing Zoe to flee. However, Lovell threatens to kill The Mother, hoping to lure out Zoe.

On the other hand, Zoe uses the sniping skills taught by The Mother to take out Lovell but ends up sending The Mother and Lovell down a ditch. Lovell recovers quickly and drives off with Zoe. Meanwhile, The Mother is knocked unconscious but recovers just in time to take one final shot at Lovell. The Mother shoots at Lovell from a distance but seemingly fails to hit her target. Moreover, she fears the bullet hitting Zoe. As The Mother grieves, we see that Lovell is dead, and Zoe rushes to reunite with The Mother. Ultimately, The Mother and Zoe embrace in the aftermath of the violent carnage that plotted to separate them years after fate unknowingly brought them back together.

Does Zoe Accept The Mother?

In the film, The Mother finds herself conflicted when she must return to protect her estranged daughter despite not having contact with her for years. Similarly, Zoe is skeptical of The Mother’s actions and does not accept the woman despite having suspicions that she is her biological mother. However, Zoe’s perception of The Mother changes after she reads the letter left behind by The Mother that explains the complicated events leading up to her birth. Eventually, The Mother and Zoe survive the attack by Lovell and lovingly reunite, with Zoe embracing The Mother, signifying her accepting her.

The film’s final moments depict Zoe returning to her regular life and reuniting with her adoptive parents. However, she does not wish to separate from her biological mother this time around. Ultimately, The Mother watches over Zoe from a distance as Zoe is also aware of her presence. By relentlessly fighting to save her daughter’s life, The Mother proves she embodies the spirit of motherhood in more ways than just her name. The final moments show Zoe acknowledging the same as we see The Mother wearing a bracelet likely given to her by Zoe. Thus, The Mother and Zoe share an unconventional but fulfilling relationship that helps them both overcome their insecurities.

Read More: Is Netflix’s The Mother Based on a True Story?