The ending may be faithful to the novel, which this miniseries is based upon, but new viewers might be left confused by the show s cryptic ending. Let s explore that final scene in more detail.
What Does Owen Say to Hannah at The End?
Five years after Owen’s disappearance, Hannah opens an exhibition for her work. She notices a man looking through her exhibition pamphlets. He has a wooden wedding ring, just like Owen’s. Hannah realizes at that moment that the man before her is her missing husband.
He looks a little different than the last time she saw him. He hides under a baseball cap and sports a scraggy, long beard. In shock, Hannah drops all of her pamphlets. Owen walks over to help her pick them up. He strokes her hand and whispers in her ear: the could-have-been boys still love you. Then Owen walks away, disappearing from her life once again.
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What Do the Could-Have-Been Boys Still Love You Mean?
In a flashback sequence in Episode 2, The Day After, Owen asks Hannah about her past boyfriends. He refers to them as the could-have-been boys, stating that this is an expression Bailey uses for old boyfriends. It’s just a silly term for the guys that could have been those who didn’t make it or those who got away.
When Owen says that the could-have-been boys still love you, he is now including himself in that group of individuals. He is now a past boyfriend of Hannah. They are no longer together because Owen chose to leave to protect Hannah and Bailey.
Owen may have made the ultimate sacrifice to keep those he loves safe, but he still loves Hannah dearly. This little statement carries a lot of weight with it. Owen implies that he isn’t with Hannah anymore and that she should move on, but it also says that he still loves her and that he will always love her.
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Why Is Owen Hiding in The Last Thing He Told Me?
Owen disappears in the opening installment of the series, going on the run from the law and the criminals from his past. Many years ago, he was caught up with the mob and had to change his identity and his daughter’s identity to protect them both from those that wanted Owen dead.
When the company he works for is then investigated by the FBI, his new identity becomes public knowledge. Owen fears that the mob will come after him and his family now that they know his whereabouts and his new identity.
Owen has been saving up for this tragic eventuality, leaving Bailey a bag of cash to live off. He asks Hannah to keep Bailey safe via a cryptic note, leaving them both forever. Hannah is later forced to make a deal with the mob to keep Bailey safe, but Owen cannot ever return to his family.
In the final scene of the series, he makes the risky choice to see Hannah face-to-face for the first time in five years, if only for a few seconds. This adds another layer of sadness to an already heart-breaking storyline.