The Mother (2023) Ending Explained – How does Adrian figure out Zoe’s location?

The Mother Plot Summary

The Mother refers to Lopez’s character, who does not have a name, but is simply known just as “Mother” in the film. Mother is forced into hiding for almost 12 years when the criminals she is testifying against to the FBI – Hector Alvarez and Adrian Lovell – raid their safehouse and kill almost all the agents.

She saves the life of Agent William Cruise and badly burns Adrian, who himself came to kill her. Mother is in constant contact with William, who sends a distress signal after 12 years of Mother hiding in Alaska.

Zoe, her daughter, is now placed with a loving family. But she has recently come on the radar of Alvarez, whose men kidnap her. That catapults the story into a cat-and-mouse game as Mother does all she can to ensure her daughter is safe.

What is Mother’s past? How did she meet Adrian and Hector?

It is revealed by Mother herself to William that she was a sniper for the army back in the day. This was when they had been chasing one of Alvarez’s men in Havana, Cuba.

Mother met Adrian on the Afghanistan tour, and he used to illegally sell high-grade weapons to fascists, rebels, and other militants around the globe. She was hesitant to join him and soon got a transfer out to Gitmo. She was stationed as a tower guard and noticed that another goon, Alvarez, was smuggling in weapons through the prison’s gates. She introduced the two criminals to each other, meeting the dynamics of supply and demand.

From there on in, she became embroiled in their wretched game to get herself a retirement plan. She was reluctant to be in the business but continued to be a part of the operation for the money. Mother sensed things getting fishy between the men and soon started digging. To her shock, she learnt that the men had struck a deal to traffic underage children to war-torn countries. That is when Mother decided to go to the FBI and came on their hit list.

Where does Mother keep Zoe to protect her?

Zoe is kidnapped right under Mother’s nose by Alvarez’s men. Once she learns the location where they are keeping her, she concocts a rescue plan with Cruise. The two deftly execute the plan, killing all of his men and saving Zoe.

Mother also takes her revenge on Alvarez by killing him in his own house. Zoe is safe and Mother hands her over to Cruise to get back with her family. But in their way, Adrian’s men stop them. They crash a car into Cruise’s car and take Zoe hostage. Adrian also kills Cruise before Mother creates a distraction and escapes with Zoe. To make sure they do not find her anytime soon, Mother takes Zoe to Alaska, where she hid for almost 12 years.

Not only does she have a safe house in that place, Mother also has a friend, Jons, who previously served with her in Afghanistan to keep Zoe safe. We see Zoe being strictly trained by Mother so that she is herself prepared when the time comes to face Adrian’s men.

Why is Mother so hard on Zoe?

But the entire sequence is quite unusual. You’d expect that the Mother would be caring for Zoe and do everything to please her. But that is not how their time together goes. Mother is overtly strict with Zoe and tries to instil discipline and a basic semblance of military training into her. She teaches Zoe how to drive a truck, shoot a rifle, and other essential life skills for survival. The reason for her harshness is twofold. Firstly, yes, she wants Zoe to have some idea of what to do in an emergency situation. She cannot keep watch on her all the time and Zoe must be self-sufficient to a degree when the time comes for her to take action.

But the more compelling reason is her own frailties. She had made her peace with not being Zoe’s mother for almost 12 years. Giving her up was hard as it is but life thrust her back into Mother’s life in an expected turn of events. She did not want to be vulnerable and emotionally connect with Zoe as Mother knew that Zoe would be going back to her family when all of this is over.

She would not be “needing her any more” and be with her real family. So her reasons for being harsh with Zoe were both practical and personal.

How does Adrian figure out Zoe’s location?

There is a continued allegory between a wolf nurturing her kids in a den nearby and Mother’s paths crossing with her. In one of these instances, Zoe was playing with her cubs. One of them playfully bites her but it turns into a deep wound. She is taken to the hospital and inadvertently gives her real name and identity. It is fed into the computer and Mother knows Adrian will track it down. This is how he was able to get her whereabouts and brought four trucks of men with him to hunt down Mother and take Zoe captive.

Jons was looking after Zoe as Mother prepared for the final showdown with Adrian. When Zoe saw a box full of pictures that Cruise sent to Mother on Zoe’s birthdays, she felt a surge of love toward Mother. She also read Mother’s emotional letter. And the combined effect of that made Zoe senselessly drive towards the cottage. Mother was doing a great job of going through Adrian’s men but he got the upper hand when the men were able to get their hands on Zoe.

Mother once again rescues Zoe but she herself is taken hostage by Adrian after he points a sniper at Zoe’s head. Zoe pretends to have shot Mother to distract Adrian but in reality, she uses salt shots (a callback to an earlier instance in the film).

Mother’s heavily injured due to the fall as she’s shot and pushed back. But she somehow gathers enough courage and takes the rifle in her hands. Adrian was escaping with Zoe in a jeep but Mother is able to get her aim straight and kills him to save Zoe.

The ending of The Mother finds Zoe reuniting with her foster mother as she bids goodbye to her real one. We see The Mother keeping an eye on Zoe’s life from a distance, signifying that she is still playing her part while keeping her safe.


Read More: The Mother Movie Review

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