Warning: The following article contains spoilers for Netflix’s Maid.
Television shows come and go. We hear about them, speed-watch them, then let them go as a distant memory. But sometimes, certain television shows can knock us for six and leave an imprint on us that we’ll never forget. Maid is one of them.
Following the struggles of Alex, a single mum who escaped an abusive relationship only to be faced with a whole set of new challenges, the narrative highlights a very real, very troubling reality.
Alongside the central plot, which is based on the true story of Stephanie Land’s life, we’re exposed to the difficulties of mental health, navigating toxic relationships and dealing with the trauma of abuse.
While Alex (played by Margaret Qualley in a spine-tinglingly perfect performance) finds work as a maid in her efforts to raise her daughter in a stable life, she still has to prove she’s fit to be a solo-mother.
If you reached the last episode and want some clarification on what exactly went down, look no further.
Here, we explain everything you need to know about Maid‘s emotional ending.
Maid‘s ending explained
The final episode of Maid leads to the pinnacle moment Alex was waiting for—an end to the custody battle between herself and her former husband Sean for their daughter, Maddy.
Alex is desparate to prove her case in court so that she can gain full custody of her daughter, which would allow the pair to move away from the state—and away from Sean.
First, Alex asks her mother Paula (played by Qualley’s real life mother, Andie MacDowell) if she would move away with her and Maddy. But Paula, whose mental health struggles were revealed over the course of the series, isn’t sold on the idea.
To add, Alex’s ‘no contact’ order against Sean for his abusive behaviour is quashed due to a lack of evidence.
Sean is allowed visitations with Maddy, and despite her hesitations to moving away, Alex’s mother Paula makes a deal with Alex that she be present whenever the father is with the child.
Just as all hope for Alex to win the custody case outright begins to disappear, one planned-visit changes everything.
Paula and Sean (who was with Maddy at the time) rock up to see Alex to give her a surprising revelation. Sean finally admits that he has a problem, and that his reliance on alcohol even seeps into his allotted time with his daughter. He agrees to sign over custody of Maddy to Alex, admitting that she’s more competent as a parent than he is.
So what happened to Alex and Maddy in Maid?
After she got full custody of her daughter, Alex finalises her plans to move to Montana. While Alex’s mother Paula had later changed her mind and decided to come with her daughter and granddaughter, she can’t quite follow through.
Instead, just the mother and daughter board the ferry where they begin their new life.