Major spoilers ahead. As the end of Bad Times at the El Royale nears, it’s unclear who’s going to make it out alive or what they’ll even do with themselves if they do. I mean, how do you go on after witnessing multiple murders and numerous crimes? But, as shown in an epilogue/pre-credits scene for Bad Times at the El Royale, two of the characters do make it out alive, and even continue on with business as usual, which is quite a feat after what they’ve been through.
This movie is a long one, clocking in at 2 hours and 21 minutes, so if you were in a rush to leave as soon as the screen went black once again, you might’ve missed the very last scene. Here’s how we got to it and what happens:
At the end of the movie, after the big blowout fight full of hellish flames and deathbed confessions, the only two people remaining are singer Darlene Sweet (Cynthia Erivo) and not-an-actual-priest Father Daniel Flynn (Jeff Bridges). There’s a lot going on in this movie, but these two had plans when they arrived at the hotel that weren’t so sinister compared to what everyone else was up to. Darlene was simply staying at the hotel before a performance in Reno, and Father Flynn was there to retrieve some stolen cash his partner buried in one of the hotel rooms 10 years prior. At one of the big turning points in the film, Darlene teams up with Flynn, with the deal being that they’ll split the cash.
Then Chris Hemsworth shows up as a cult leader, yadda yadda yadda, Darlene and Flynn somehow manage to take everyone out, and as El Royale burns around them, they scrounge up what cash they can before going on their way.
So, seeing as everyone else is dead, the final scene features Darlene and Flynn. In the scene, we find out that Darlene actually does make it to Reno for her gig, and while she’s up on stage Father Flynn shows up and joins the audience. The two give each other a little smile and a nod, as Darlene continues her set.
Darlene and Flynn had been through a lot together — him lying about being a priest, her smashing him on the head with a liquor bottle, her threatening to kill him in a car, them coming together to avoid certain death while uncovering a decade-old bag of cash from below hotel room floorboards. As director Drew Goddard told What Culture, “My hope for the film is that people can relate to the different characters at different times in the movie. When we started to screen the film, we found that people have allegiance with one character and then that allegiance changes and changes again and again.” If there was anyone in the movie worth rooting for by the end, it was (in a sort of messed up way) Flynn and Darlene. Good on them for making it to Reno.