Black Butterflies is the story of an old man who wants to share his life’s journey and hires a novelist to write his memoirs. However, the journey has many skeletons hidden within it. The series is now streaming on Netflix.
Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers
Adrien Wrinkler, a fellow writer accepts Albert Desiderio’s proposal to ghostwrite Albert’s story and so he goes to Arras to meet him.
Albert is an old man, who reveals his love affair with a girl named Solange. He goes on to describe his early childhood in a post-war French town where he grew up and often changed schools.
He meets Solange as a young boy and talks about his relationship at length. He remembers one time when he and Solange went to the beach to spend an afternoon together where they meet two other boys and have a good time.
However, things spiral when one of them tries to take advantage of Solange at the beach shore while Albert is busy talking to the other boy near the waters. Solange is physically abused and ultimately raped until she finds a weapon nearby to kill the boy.
Seeing this from afar, young Albert drowns the boy’s companion at the beach to clear any suspicion and witnesses to the killing. While Albert narrates this story, he claims to confess a crime that he hasn’t talked about in 60 years.
The story also focuses on Adrien’s past in memory of him visiting his abandoned family’s factory where he meets his cousin who then invites him home. However, due to a past family feud, his uncle does not welcome him in his house.
Two police officers, Carrel and Launay (later referred to as Mathilde) are working on a case and Carrel opens a case file with the name ‘Steven Powell’ written on it with pictures of young Albert and Solange in it.
Albert continues his story and recounts when he and Solange started living as well as working together. Solange even goes through an abortion followed by a vacation in the summer of 1972.
They meet Steven Powell in a café one afternoon. He invites Albert and Solange to his abode where they have a little party. By the end of it, Steven tries to photograph Solange and while doing so, they involve in sexual intercourse but Steven tries to force himself on Solange in Albert’s presence.
In anger, Albert stabs Steven leaving the latter bleeding to death. Solange and Albert then clear Steven’s apartment and go back home, resuming their regular lives.
Adrien does not buy the story, accusing it to be faulty and storms out of Albert’s place after denying to work on his story any further.
When he reaches home, he is greeted by his publisher Julien who was called home by Lora, Adrien’s wife. She had leaked the first few chapters of her husband’s draft (Albert’s story) to the publisher. The publisher offers to work on the story if Adrien can finish it.
Adrien does not like what his wife did. In a heated argument behind closed doors, it is revealed that Adrien was once in prison.
Before Julien leaves, Adrien comes out of his room and accepts the offer of working on the story.
The scene then cuts to Carrel, who goes through all the material present for the case of Steven Powell. He discovers a picture of young Albert, who he pins to his vision board containing photographs of numerous people murdered by Albert.
The next day, Adrien goes to visit Albert and resumes interviewing him further. On his way to Arras, his car is hit by a swarm of black butterflies.
Now Albert shares the time he spent with Solange in Ariege in 1973. They involve themselves in yet another murder of a man named Jacques Delmas trying to force himself on Solange. At this point, it gets clear that Solange and Albert in reality are married and share an open relationship. Solange seems to have initiated a spark between her and the man soon to be stabbed to death by Albert.
Over the next few years, Albert commits many murders as the couple revel in this continued cycle of violence.
Adrien returns and tries to focus on writing the story. His wife comes in and tells her she will be going out of town for a few days.
Carrel continues to investigate further into Albert’s murders and through some phone calls, he happens to find out Albert’s address.
Black Butterflies (2022) ending explained in detail:
How is Adrien’s troubled past revealed?
One fine day, Albert has lunch with Adrien wherein the latter mentions his time in jail due to a heated fight he got into during his bartending days. He also mentions the time he used to be an alcoholic and took Muay Thai training in Thailand. It was when he was serving his time in jail that he realized he could write. And so, Adrien Wrinkler became ‘Mody’ the ghostwriter.
Carrel and Launey have a brief conversation on a park bench. Carrel gets a phone call confirming that it was Albert who killed Steven. Adrien returns to his old friend and training camp where he first learned boxing. At night he dreams of being involved in the murders executed by Albert and Solange.
Continuing his conversations with Albert, Adrien discovers that the couple in 1978 had gone for yet another trip post Solange’s second abortion. This time, there is a baby in Solange’s hands that was eventually abandoned in the graveyard.
A young artist named Nastya appears at Albert’s door. They seem to share a deep bond, however, their relationship remains unclear to Adrien.
It is revealed by Albert that it was he and Solange who had left the baby at the graveyard.
Carrel goes back to Albert’s house. He knocks on the door and as soon as Albert opens the door, Carrel points his gun at him. It is unclear when this encounter happened but it is revealed that Carrel was the abandoned baby of the past.
Albert hits Carrel in his head and knocks him out, keeping him in his basement.
Albert and Solange are on the road and get involved in a bloody tussle with some other couple. The police get into this situation to further investigate the other couple as Albert lies in the hospital.
Albert and Solange lay very close to the police’s trap, however, they successfully escape. Adrien tries to focus on his writing. He goes to meet Nastya at her workplace but she isn’t around. Mathilde tries to search for Carrel who hasn’t returned.
Adrien goes to meet Nastya later in the evening. When he comes back, he feels stuck in his head while thinking about Albert, his story as well as everything happening in his personal life.
His publisher, Julien, comes to meet him. They argue the draft which fizzles down. Later, Adrien goes and meets Albert who has been hospitalized.
Adrien grows closer to Nastya and realizes some similarities between her and Albert. He goes back the next day to meet Albert in the hospital but he isn’t around. The nurse mentions Albert’s discharge.
Albert goes back home and meets Carrel in the basement who is kept hostile. They dwell in a conversation regarding all the happenings around Adrien and Albert.
Adrien gets his head around Albert’s next part of his story. He talks about the time he went to Genoa with Solange in 1980. Solange aims to meet the soldier to who her mother wrote love letters. He was a German soldier. It is also established that he is Solange’s father.
Solange’s father makes it clear that he cannot meet her anymore and so, Albert gets aggressive and goes on to murder the German soldier as well as his wife in their own house. It also revealed that the couple had a daughter and that daughter, was Nastya.
When Adrien goes back to Albert’s house, the latter promises to finish his story in that particular sitting. When they do so, all the dots seem to join. In a DNA report that flashed on Carrel’s phone, Albert discovers that Adrien had his DNA and he was his son and Solange, his mother.
Adrien did not take this information, and so, he kills Albert through suffocation. Nora, Adrien’s wife turns out to be pregnant.
A year later in Corsica, Adrien, Nora, and their baby spend a few days in a holiday home. By this time, Adrien had published his book and called it ‘Black Butterflies’.
When does Solange become ‘Catherine Wrinkler’?
Post the trip to Genoa, Solange found out she was pregnant with Adrien. This time, she wanted to keep the baby. She set her salon on fire and moved to Brussels where, to hide her identity, renamed herself Catherine and married Wim Wrinkler.
Adrien confesses that he killed Albert. Solange goes to meet Nastya, her step-sister. Mathilde investigates further to find Carrel.
Adrien arrives at Nastya’s door and after an evening together, Nastya finally reads the book Adrien had penned down. She remains devastated after knowing that it was Albert who killed her parents.
Mathilde further investigates and reaches the spot where Carrel was kept hostile. As she walks into the basement, she sees the word ‘Mody’ engraved on the wall with Carrel’s rotten body on the floor.
Adrien goes to Brussels to meet his cousin at their factory. However, he is unable to do so because he ought to find the mystery behind his father’s death. When he visits a library to find potential news coverage about his father, he notices an article that stated that it was Catherine Wrinkler (Solange) who killed Wim, her husband claiming it to be self-defence as Wim was a violent domestic abuser.
This news affects Adrien to a great extent. It led him to visualize all the cold-blooded murders Albert talked about, the only difference being that in his head, Solange seems to be the murderer.
Who is the actual murderer?
Adrien figures it all out in a conversation with his mother. He concludes that it was Solange who murdered all those men in the past. Albert in his interview lied to Adrien all along and took the blame upon him for all the killings that took place.
Adrien, though devastated, decides to write about him killing his own father Albert. He tells his publisher that his book is a false piece and wanted to add a chapter that reveals the truth.
When Matilde alongside the additional police force goes to find ‘Mody’ to investigate the death of Carrel, they reach the place where Adrien was hiding. They try to chase him but he escapes. In a voice message left by Nora, he gets to know that his mother was about to babysit his son.
He then calls up Nora, to tell the truth about his mother and warns her to keep their child away from her. As Nora rushes to get her child out of danger, she encounters Solange and the latter accuses Nora to have begun this mess.
Why does Solange blame Nora?
One night, Solange went to Adrien’s house for dinner. Adrien wasn’t around and so it was just Nora entertaining her mother-in-law. This was the time when Adrien had just started working on his draft based on Albert’s story.
Nora spills the beans and tells Solange about Adrien’s story that she had been reading behind his back. When Solange gets to know that her son knew about Albert, she goes to meet the old man. Albert is shocked to see Solange. The latter tells Albert that she now knew he was meeting Adrien.
That’s when Solange tells Albert to lie to Adrien and makes him take up all the blame for the past murders. Albert must do it as a sacrifice given to his son.
Albert and Solange had made each other promises in the past of being the only people they would ever love and they kept that promise till the very end.
Does Mathilde arrest ‘Mody’?
Adrien surrenders as soon as he finishes his story and warns Nora about his mother. He is put to question by Mathilde about Carrel.
The season ends with Adrien telling the story about him, Albert, Salonge, and Carrel, however, this time it is uncertain if he speaks the truth.