The Unforgivable (2021) summary and ending explained

Netflix’s The Unforgivable deals with an ex-convict, Ruth Slater who gets separated from her five year old sister, Katherine, after committing a murder and tries to locate her after serving a 20 year sentence.

The story kicks off with Ruth Slater (Sandra Bullock) packing her stuff for her scheduled release and reminiscing certain old memories with a little girl.

She gets released from prison after serving her punishment for 20 years, having been convicted for killing a cop when she and her only family, her little sister, were being forced to evict the house after her father’s suicide.

Her parole officer, Vincent Cross (Rob Morgan) finds her a job at a sea-food packing plant. While working there she also finds a job at a carpentry shop endorsing her excellent skill.

The story moves on to Katherine “Katie” Malcolm (Aisling Franciosi) having flashes of her earlier life which she fails to connect. She meets with an accident distracted by her thoughts while driving and gets hospitalized. She is attended to by her adoptive family and they take her home. She continues having problems with sleeping because of the specific nightmares.

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Keith Wehlan (Thomas Guiry) is the son of the deceased cop and he starts following Ruth. He wants to avenge his father’s death and consults his elder brother, Steve Wehlan (Will Pullen). Steve is against the plan initially but later meets Ruth in disguise.

After having a random conversation with her, he feels that she doesn’t repent her actions of killing his dad. He hides himself in the carpentry shop and goes through Ruth’s diary with a letter to her sister, Katherine and a photo of little Katherine. He formulates a plan to harm her sister and talks about it with Keith.

If you wish to know how Ruth comes out of this mess, here is a detailed explanation.

The Unforgivable ending explained in detail:

Ruth’s struggles

Ruth starts settling in her new life and tries hard to search for Katherine. She travels to their former home and stands afar. John Ingram (Vincent D’Onofrio), the current owner of the property brings her inside knowing Ruth to be a former neighbour.

While offering her a ride, John becomes aware of the fact that Ruth lived with her little sister in their house earlier and the system separated Ruth from her one and only family. A lawyer by profession, John offers to help her out.

Ruth finds a friend in Blake (Jon Bernthal) but soon their connection is affected by the fact that Ruth was convicted of murdering a cop. The word gets out and Ruth faces extreme agitation from her co-workers.

Ruth tries hard contacting John but he disconnects because he has already uncovered her identity. Ruth tells him the whole truth on voicemail and he decides to help, by arranging a meeting with the Malcom family.

The Malcolms have never told Katherine about Ruth. Emily Malcolm (Emma Nelson), Katherine’s sister overhears her parents talking about meeting Ruth. The Malcoms finally decide to meet but they engage in a fight and Ruth is deprived of any opportunity to meet her sister.

Emily rummages through her house to find about Ruth and comes across her letters to Katherine that she found in the basement. Emily breaks down reading those letters and gives Ruth a call. Ruth is delighted and they talk about Katherine on their meet.

Steve follows

Steve who was keeping an eye on Ruth starts following Emily thinking her to be Katherine. Emily asks Ruth to visit Katherine’s piano rehearsal. However, as she prepares to go for the rehearsal and tries to contact John. When she can’t reach him on call, she visits his house.

On arrival, she is rejected entry by John’s wife, Liz Ingram (Viola Davis) who was always enraged by his decision to help Ruth. She rejects her because she is a convict. During their fall-out, a huge missing link is revealed.

It comes to notice that it was actually little Katherine who shot down the police officer during the eviction process. She was too small to understand what happened and Ruth took the whole blame on herself and surrendered.

Liz quickly gives her a ride to the piano rehearsal but Ruth receives a call. Steve calls her to inform that he has kidnapped Katherine and tells Ruth to come in unarmed. Ruth quickly leaves.

Finally united

Ruth arrives and finds that Steve has actually kidnapped Emily. Steve wants to kill Emily (whom he believes to be Katherine) in front of Ruth so that she can feel the exact same pain as Steve who lost his father.

Ruth tried to console Steve by convincing him that life is not the same without the missing person. Steve controls himself from committing the crime and Ruth saves Emily.

Liz informs the police and Steve is arrested. Katherine and the whole Malcolm family arrives. Katherine comes and pulls Ruth in an embrace.

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