Keep Breathing spoilers ahead.
It’s a good thing Netflix’s new limited series Keep Breathing reminds us to do that in its name – because it definitely left us gobsmacked on more than one occasion.
Starring Scream 2022′s Melissa Barrera as Liv, a woman on a mission after being stranded in the Canadian wilderness, the show tracks her mission to get to safety, while completing a personal mission of her own.
Question is: did she actually make it out alive?
The ending was certainly a little ambiguous, but don’t worry, that’s what we’re here for.
Here’s how everything broke down as the story reached its nail-biting conclusion.
What happened to Liv in Keep Breathing?
Liv – a high-flying, job-obsessed lawyer – finds herself suddenly forced to deal with life without tech and gets back to find herself after a trip to visit her estranged mother in Inuvik, a small town in the north west territories of Canada.
When her flight is delayed, a panicked Liv hitches a ride with two strangers who she overhears are making plans to go on a private plane together on a trip which, as part of their route, passes through the rural town.
The men claim to be a pilot and nature photographer, and willingly accept each $1000 to have each tag along. But then the plane crashes, the men die as a result and Liv finds herself in the middle of nowhere with no one having a clue where she is.
The guys weren’t even who they said they were, they were drug runners. So with a bag of drugs and cash and very little else, Liv tries to find sanctuary and civilization.
In the days that follow, a frantic Liv goes through everything you can imagine you can face in the wilderness, including a near drowning, multiple injuries, and a bear.
As she begins to hallucinate in the struggle to stay alive, viewers become privy to why she even took this journey in the first place, with flashbacks to her childhood and an office romance with a man named Danny.
Why did Liv make the trip?
Turns out that during Liv’s trip, she’s not just fighting for her life, but she’s fighting for her unborn child as well. Discovering she was pregnant with Danny’s baby, Liv fled to visit her long-distanced mother Lucia in a bid to find out more about her… and make sure she doesn’t turn out like her.
Lucia abandoned Liv when she was a child, walking out on the family and seemingly never being heard from again. However, that wasn’t exactly true – something Liv only discovers when her father dies and a collection of postcards from her, updating them on her location, are discovered among his things.
The reason she’s in a rush is to make sure she catches Lucia before she moves on again.
But in the present day, with Liv clinging on to life, severely dehydrated, hurt and not knowing where to go, you can imagine she was regretting this decision.
In the penultimate episode, Liv hallucinates a meeting with her mother, in which they clear the air and she finally gets the closure she needs.
Does Liv make it out alive?
Honestly, when talking about Liv’s survival, there are two ways to look at it.
On screen, we see Liv finally saved, with two men finding her and pulling her from a river. From there, we see flashes of Liv’s life going forward – including the birth of her child, a happy reunion with baby daddy Danny, and the hopes of a new and happy life.
However, this is a Netflix series we’re talking about, and after such a horrific ordeal, could she really have gotten the happy ending she needed?
After all, there is never a confirmation that she even found or met her mother, despite going through hell in order to do so.
Plus after witnessing so many of her hallucinations, how do we as viewers know that she even made it out alive?
Thankfully, creators Brendan Gall and Martin Gero gave some clarity… for some of it at least.
“The ending is literal in that she survives,” Gall told Entertainment Weekly. “We see her wake up again and take that breath.
“The ambiguous part, the part up for interpretation, is whether the images of her and Danny going to the hospital are flash forwards or her imagined future when she believes she’s dying. Both are valid.”
“But she survives,” added Martin. “She absolutely survives.”
Ultimately though, the lesson Liv needs is not from her mother, whether she survives or not. The key to this was finding her own capabilities – and in that, she actually succeeds pretty well considering.
“She’s going after something she thinks she needs, which is some form of validation or closure from her mother, but ultimately she finds out there through very active tasks that she’s strong enough to be on her own,” Brendan said.
“Not only is she a smart lawyer, but also she can emotionally withstand basically anything that is thrown at her. Personally, I like to think the stuff we see with Danny is real, so for me it’s also that she is capable of love and being loved.”
Let’s just, for once, have this happy ending as it was shown then.
Keep Breathing is available now on Netflix.
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