Hulu’s ‘Darby and the Dead’ follows Darby Harper, who gains the ability to see dead people after a near-death experience as a child. Now in high school, she helps the deceased fulfill unfinished businesses on Earth so they can move on into the afterlife. However, things get complicated when Darby’s rival, Capri Donahue, passes away and turns to her for help.
Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers
Darby and the Dead starts with her explaining how an accident at the beach took her mom’s life and nearly killed her when she was a kid. Darby was dead for a while but was resuscitated. Unfortunately, her mom wasn’t so lucky.
Since that day, her life changed as she gained the ability to see dead people. In high school, Darby has no friends and loves to stay alone. Furthermore, she works part-time as a helper for the deceased.
She assists them in carrying out unfinished business so they can finally move on into the afterlife. Darby breaks the fourth wall constantly in the film and further explains her life.
Her closest friend is a dead guy named Gary, who used to be the school groundskeeper. He is waiting for his wife to die in hopes of moving on together. Ironically, Darby never saw her mom after her death and doesn’t like to talk about her.
We are then introduced to the school’s Queen Bee, Capri Donahue. She was good friends with Darby as a kid, but now they mutually hate each other.
Darby is also introduced to a new kid named Alex and shows him around before excusing herself into her solitary existence. Things soon go from bad to worse when Capri meets with a freak accident in the girls’ bathroom.
She falls into a pool of water while holding a hair straightener and gets electrocuted to death. The whole school mourns for the perished diva, who was supposed to turn 17 soon.
For Darby, things get much worse when Capri shows up to seek her help as a spirit. She is frustrated at not being able to attend her party and tries to convince Darby to make sure it doesn’t get canceled.
Capri comes up with a plan to pass into the afterlife on the day of her birthday and almost bullies Darby into helping her with her ghostly powers.
She gives her a makeover and tasks her with becoming popular at school. Darby starts getting attention, and Capri urges her to join the cheer team to win over her pretentious friends, Piper, Taylor, and Bree.
She even asks her to get her boyfriend, James, on board with the party plan. Although, she worries that he might think the girls are using Capri’s death for followers.
Darby and the Dead ending explained in detail:
Does Darby become popular?
From being an absolute loner, Darby starts becoming the center of attention. She hits it off with Alex, but Capri refuses to let her be friends with a nobody.
Capri trains Darby for the tryouts and is impressed with her skills. It is revealed that Darby’s mom was a famous cheer captain during her time at school, and she always wanted to follow in her footsteps. However, Darby left that dream behind after her death.
The tryouts arrive, and Darby makes it to the team. She is also surprised to find that Alex has taken up the role of the team mascot, which requires him to wear a donut costume.
Using her newfound popularity, Darby manages to befriend Piper, Taylor, and Bree. She also convinces them to throw a massive party in Capri’s memory under the guise of accidental electrocution awareness.
Everything seems to be going according to plan until Capri starts getting jealous of all the attention Darby starts getting.
Why do Darby and Capri fall out?
Capri’s frustrations go overboard when she finds out that Darby has got a nomination for homecoming queen. Everyone praises her for the idea of the party, which is Capri’s.
Darby tries to take the attention off her and says nice things about Capri, but it all falls on deaf ears. Meanwhile, Gary brings a dead friend to see Darby and asks her if she can help him send a message to his son.
However, she is occupied with her new popular lifestyle and neglects her ghost-helping duties. She even forgets to meet Alex for coffee, breaking his heart.
She visits James to give him homework and realizes he is still mourning Capri’s death. They bond over dealing with death, and James starts liking Darby. He offers to go to school with her, triggering the rumor of their dating.
Darby realizes that he is bonding with her to cope with trauma and tries to deny these falsified claims in front of her friends. Capri wants to apologize to Darby for being jealous but gets enraged when she hears about the James situation (Which is blatantly exaggerated).
Does Capri move into the afterlife?
Capri and Darby get into a heated exchange, and the former insults Darby’s mother. The dead cheerleader then threatens to wreck Darby’s social life that she helped create and orders her to stay away from her party.
Darby doesn’t intend on going anyway but goes out for a drive with James to clear the air. He confesses that he isn’t ready to be in a relationship, and they agree to stay friends.
Unfortunately, he drives to the party, and Darby is terrified. It all goes downhill when James discovers that the party is Darby’s idea. Before she can apologize, Capri shows up and starts making an ouija board float in front of everyone. She even cuts out the music and urges Darby to speak the truth.
Unable to take it anymore, Darby comes clean about her ability to see dead people in front of her entire class. She reveals that Capri was responsible for her rise to popularity, and she herself is nothing but a freak.
After being booed by her peers, Darby goes home, and Capri is visibly upset. She apologizes to her friend and confesses that the whole party plan was rather shallow.
Darby forgives her, but Capri has another surprise up her sleeve. She brings Darby’s mom to see her and finally get the closure she desperately needs.
Her mom tells her she stuck around because Darby was her unfinished business. She wanted to make sure her daughter opened her heart to people again. Ironically, Capri’s selfish agenda indirectly helped her break out of her shell.
Capri finally moves on and thanks Darby for her help. Furthermore, Darby discovers that Alex can see dead people too. After meeting with a near-fatal accident the year before, he gained the same powers as Darby.
The two decide to work together, and Darby finally watches old videos of her mom with her dad. She then notices her mom’s spirit pass into the afterlife as well.