The Apology (2022) Ending Explained – What is the history between Darlene and Jack?

The Apology Plot Synopsis

The Apology on Shudder has received a mixed response from critics and audiences. While the former have praised it for extracting the most from its premise, viewers have dismissed the film as unoriginal, ill conceived, and disappointing. However, one thing that everyone agrees with is that there is plenty to talk about in the film’s plot and story.

The very tight runtime and a theater-like quality of the production, a lot of key plot points are lost in translation. We have penned this ending explainer for The Apology to clear the air about key questions. So let’s dive in:

What is the history between Darlene and Jack?

So, Darlene and Jack are actually not related by blood. Darlene’s sister, Julie, is Jack’s ex-wife. They divorced a while ago and Jack is meeting Darlene right after her only daughter, Sally, disappeared. It happened around 19 years ago.

Jack comes uninvited and does not tell anyone that he is coming to her house. He lied to Darlene about his car breaking down to ensure she does not suspect him. From their conversation, it is revealed that Jack and Darlene slpet together one time after a party.

They both were drunk and did not go into it intentionally. However, they were indeed attracted to each other and even in the present, the tension indicates that the status has not changed. It was just a one time occurrence and they did not have any bodily relations after that. Jack tried to reignite the old flames before revealing the truth that made this possibility a sure-shot dead end.

What had actually happened to Sally?

The answer to this question is revealed truthfully in the final confrontation between Darlene and Jack. He tried to tell her a softer version of what actually happened that day before the climax as well. But the truthful account went something like this. Jack was on his way back from work and saw Sally walking home. She was distressed and upset with her current situation at home and found solace in her uncle’s company. They went out to the spot near the lake, spread a blanket, and talked about what was bothering her.

Sally started narrating her suffocation at home. As a teenager, her mother and father did not understand her. Although there isn’t a lot of explanation for what the exact problem was, a reference point can be Lady Bird. More specifically, the relationship between Saorise Ronan and Laurie Metcalf’s characters. That is a reasonable assumption but an assumption nonetheless. As they were talking, she hugged him and they got close. One thing led to another and he was on top of her and she was without clothes.

They both gave in to the moment but Sally’s was vulnerability, while Jack’s was lust. He engaged with her, by his own admission, because “she looked like Darlene”. But when Sally realized what she was doing, she tried to stop it. She started screaming when Jack would not let go and in order to stop him, he covered her mouth. He kept pushing until her neck broke and she was no more. Jack raped and killed Sally, Darlene’s daughter. He then disposed off the body but the exact whereabouts of that are not clearly revealed in The Apology.

How was Jack able to get a rock solid alibi for the police?

Sheer luck. These things happen more often than not for the bad guys in cinema. In real life too, the villains mostly escape such situations unscathed. For Jack, there were two things at play here. First was the lackadaisical attitude of the police. Inattentive policework is an age old adage that both worlds, real and reel, have been grappling with. There is hardly anything anyone can do about it but Jack reveals while narrating the event that the police never suspected him. They did not dig deep enough and wanted to write him off as a suspect even before they interrogated him.

The second one was a key factor. When the police did swing by at his work to ask about his whereabouts at approximately 5 pm on the day of the disappearance, Patrick, one of his colleagues, covered for him. Jack did not explicitly ask him to lie for him but Patrick did it anyway because Jack had bought a can of coke and a snickers bar for him the previous day. Can you imagine – coke and snickers let to the misery of a family, a mother, and all those involved, for more than twenty years? Life is unfair like that and we can’t quite control it – yet.

Why does Gretchen show up at Darlene’s house?

Gretchen was out walking her dog when she suddenly heard a gunshot. Although with the storm and constant thunder it was difficult to do so, it was destiny that Gretchen was at the right spot at the right time. Once she heard it, she tried calling Darlene to confirm it but she didn’t pick up her cell and her landline came disconnected (as Jack had cut the cable).

Gretchen being the nosy person she is, went straight to Darlene’s house across the road to check in on her. Like Jack was fortunate to get away with the suspicion due to Patrick, Darlene was helped by Gretchen’s timely arrival.

Why does Darlene choose not to kill Jack?

Before we get into the “whys” and “whats”, it is important to note a big trend in films. There is an increasing tendency among filmmakers to subdue the violence element from their narratives when carving stories around revenge and vengeance. What they are doing is taking that overwhelming emotion away from the primal urge of an eye for an eye without making the depiction of suffering vacant.

When that primal and violent energy is removed from the act, what is left is the person and the confrontation with a mountain of emotions that are internalized. I cannot say it makes the ensuing exploration of that situation more enduring but it does provide a different perspective to view the narrative.

Now, coming back to The Apology’s ending. This movie also goes for a similar vein, even though Darlene went full-on mental when she tied down Jack in her basement and revealed her “true revenge fantasy”.

There were two opportunities – and perhaps even more – for Darlene to kill Jack and avenge her daughter. Once, when he was tied up and she had the gun. And second, she and Gretchen are able to neutralized him and tied him to the bed. But why did she not kill him? It is precisely because of what she says right after she holds the gun on him for the first time: “you want me to kill you”.

You see, Jack came to Darlene’s place not just to reignite old flames. He also came to unburden himself, to offer her “the apology” for he had done. The horrors of that day still haunt him, by his own admission. He has not been able to get over the day he raped and killed his own niece. I think that is a fair thing to say.

There is no way for a normal person to get past that. It even led to the destruction of his family. Lisa, Shane, and Julie, all boycotted him and never really made him feel like family again after he abandoned them. But he was at fault here and perhaps because he was not familiar with the burden of taking someone’s life – let alone someone so personal to himself – he could not take it anymore.

For him, the world felt like a prison. He could not redeem himself in his own eyes and wanted “justice to be done” in that moment. He did not want to go to jail and Darlene sensed that. Not once, but twice. She resisted that overwhelming tendency that would forever liberate her and set her daughter’s memory right.

In one fell swoop, she could avenge the trauma, suffering, and helplessness of all those years but she remained true to herself and called the police on him. We hear sirens in the last moments as the storm subsides and the sun comes up.

We would love to know what your interpretation of the ending is. Do let us know in the comments below!


Read More: The Apology Movie Review

2 thoughts on “The Apology (2022) Ending Explained – What is the history between Darlene and Jack?”

  1. Also the albi the guy didn’t lie it’s just the cops took so long to interrogate people that the guy simply had the wrong day he bought that stuff for him. Jack tells Darlene this.

  2. Just watched this last night on Shudder. I thought it was extremely predictable, but I still enjoyed it for the most part. I agree with all of your review except for one thing: near the end Darlene asks Jack “where is my daughter” and he clearly says he buried her right there beside the lake where it happened. So the final resting place for the daughter is indeed revealed in the movie.

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