ExplainersChernobyl 1986 ending explained: Tribute to Chernobyl liquidators

Chernobyl 1986 ending explained: Tribute to Chernobyl liquidators

Chernobyl 1986 is a Russian disaster movie directed by and starring Danila Kozlovsky in the lead role. The movie narrates the catastrophic incident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant on 26 April, 1986. It is now streaming on Netflix.

Chernobyl 1986 attempts to explore how the tragedy shaped the personal lives of the people affected by it. The movie follows Alexey, a fireman at the power station in Pripyat. The movie opens with him reuniting with his old love Olga at a salon, after almost ten years.

With this reconciliation, Alexey finds out that he is the father of Olga’s ten-year-old son named Alex, and forms a bond with him. When Alexey discovers his newfound family, he retires from his old job and plans to start a new life in Kiev, along with Olga and his son.

Unfortunately, when Alexey is all set to leave the city after the farewell, reactor number 4 in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant explodes, causing havoc in the town. 

Alexey ultimately decides to protect the city from the burning flames. However, he stays unaware of the highly fatal radioactive contamination from the reactor. On reaching the site, Alex witnesses the state of his fellow firemen and the critical situation at hand.

Alexey goes on to rescue the firemen stuck at the top of the power plant, putting his own life at risk. He successfully carries them out at the cost of getting contaminated.

All the severe cases of contamination get rushed to the local hospital, including Alexey. Luckily, Alexey’s contamination levels turn out to be low compared to others.

Alexey gets summoned by the commission set up to deal with the incident. The commission informs Alexey that the water in a reservoir beneath the reactor core needs to be drained out, otherwise the radiation would contaminate a large part of Europe. 

Alexey is asked to take up the job of one of the liquidators, with the incentive of the best treatment in Switzerland. He initially refuses to volunteer and returns to evacuate the city with Olga and his son. But he discovers that Alex got highly exposed to the radiation as he was near the plant at the time of the explosion. Alexey sends Olga and Alex to Kiev and hands out money to Olga for his treatment. He returns to the commission to save the lives of his people and to arrange special treatment for Alex.

Chernobyl 1986 ending explained in detail:

The initial failure

Alexey volunteers for the risky mission and requests the commission to send his son to Switzerland for treatment in his place. The commission agrees to his request. 

He finds a shorter way to the reservoir and gets accompanied by Valery and other divers for the mission. The divers swim through boiling hot water and reach the reservoir. Alexey carried Valery on his back as Valery attempted to make the water drain using breakers. But regrettably, their plan fails to work.

Borris, one of the divers did not survive the mission due to excessive contamination. Alexey and Valery managed to survive after their treatment.

Valery informs Alexey that he is volunteering for the second infiltration due to the urgency. There are no volunteers other than him, only soldiers who have no idea of the reactor’s structure. 

A brief reunion

Alexey returns to Kiev and reunites shortly with Olga. He finds her going through a tough time in his absence, while Alex was kept in a separate ward.

Alexey informs her of the medical treatment he has arranged for Alex, and they both drop him at the airport, from where he is taken to Switzerland on a charter plane.

The next morning, Olga wakes up with a note left by Alexey. He lets her know that he is going back. Olga weeps as she knows that he is going on a death mission.

The final mission

Alexey and Valery assemble to carry out the last mission. Through the route of water, they reach the reservoir filled with water up to face. 

Alexey and Valery dive deep and try to make their plan work by manually opening the valve. After several attempts, they manage to open it and drain the water from the reservoir.

While returning, Valery gets trapped and struggles, but he cuts the connecting cable making it possible for Alexey to escape. However, Alexey keeps on trying to pull him up. After the water gets drained, the rescue team finds Alexey alive but highly exposed.

Olga visits Alexey for the last time, and cuddles him without a hazmat suit. The narrative shifts three months later, as Alex arrives from Switzerland after his treatment. 


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