Cherry ending explained: Coming to terms with disaster

Anthony and Joe Russo helmed Cherry has seen the light of day on Apple TV+ and tells a gripping story of an Army veteran turned drug addict and bank robber.

Adapted from the 2018 semi-autobiographical novel by debutant author, Nico Walker, Cherry takes you on a journey of a nameless protagonist (Tom Holland) who drops out of college at the age of 19 and joins the army after his girlfriend, Emily, dumps him.

Emily soon has a change of heart and confesses her love to him. However, the couple decides to continue down their separate paths —with Emily going to college in Montreal and the protagonist serving his time in Iraq — before they resume their lives together. They also get married before they part.

The protagonist does his best in the field by serving in over 250 combat missions that earn him seven medals. His eventual return spells disaster for him as his undiagnosed PTSD transforms him into an addict and the resultant drug debt forces him to rob banks.

Emily too has a breakdown but transcends into this self destructive blackhole with her husband.

Do the junkie couple get their lives back or are they beyond saving?

Here is the ending of Cherry explained in detail:

Crippling realisations

After a heroin induced afternoon, the couple fall asleep but the protagonist wakes up to find Emily unconscious and unable to breathe. He rushes the love of his life to a hospital and admits to the staff that the cause of this medical emergency was the aforementioned hard drug.

Emily’s mother confronts the protagonist and convinces/threatens him to walk out of her daughter’s life if he still loves her. He has a breakdown in his car and comes to terms with the toxic lifestyle he’s bestowed upon the both of them, and distances himself from Emily.

A little while later, she gets out of rehab and asks him to come back into her life. The protagonist initially declines, but when Emily threatens to get high with or without him, he takes her back home. The resultant relapse sucks the remaining energy out of them but a bigger threat looms overhead.

Debt to pay

The protagonist involves an associate drug dealer, Pills and Coke, and his friend, James Lightfoot, for a bank robbery but Pills bails midway due to the influence of Clonazepam. The robbery gets botched and they barely escape with their lives. Furthermore, they realise that Pills has been hit by a stray bullet and is bleeding to death.

James refuses to take them to the hospital owing to the protagonist’s face all over the news and they have no choice but to let Pills die. This incident is a further nudge into a dismal abyss for everyone involved and even puts the distraught couple at crossroads with their main dealer, Black.

Pills and Coke was the middle man between them but his death sees Black threatening to kill Emily if the protagonist doesn’t clear the debt he owes. Fed up of this corrupted lifestyle, he robs one last bank and politely asks the cashier to sound the alarm.

He shoves the stolen money into Black’s car, clearing his debt and walks away. He then shoots his gun in the middle of a random street and pierces his foot with one final needle of heroin before getting arrested.

Redemption road

The protagonist’s arrest is a dire consequence initially as his narcotics withdrawal worsens, with him puking blood and shivering like a maniac, in prison.

However, his determination to get clean sees him detoxing, focusing on his health and going to anonymous meetings for de addiction.

Through the years, he rises up the ranks of good behaviour and positivity within the prison that leads to him getting parole after almost a decade.

Older, wiser, and clean, the protagonist walks out of prison with his head held high and looks around to see ‘a now clean’ Emily waiting for him by a car. The couple shares a smile and reunite as they proudly don their wedding rings.

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