Where the Crawdads Sing ending explained

Based on the book by Delia Owens, Where the Crawdads Sing leaves viewers in wonder by the end.

Where the Crawdads Sing - Courtesy of Michele K. Short/Sony Pictures
Where the Crawdads Sing - Courtesy of Michele K. Short/Sony Pictures /

Where the Crawdads Sing is a mystery drama based on the same-titled novel by Delia Owens and directed by Olivia Newman (First Match) from the screenplay by Lucy Alibar. The story is an unending web that left many viewers scratching their heads in confusion by the end.

The movie stars Daisy Edgar-Jones as Kya, a young girl whose family is poor and living in the marsh of North Carolina in the 1950s. One by one, her family members abandon her because of her abusive father (Garret Dillahunt), until he leaves her when she is seven. She is a survivor and finds ways to make money by selling mussels to the general store whose owners she becomes friends with.

She befriends a boy a little older than herself, Tate Walker (Taylor John Smith), who helps her learn to read, write, and count. They eventually become romantically linked, and then he leaves for college with the promise to return on the 4th of July, which he breaks. She then becomes involved with Chase Andrews (Harris Dickinson), the popular quarterback, and after their breakup, she is accused of his murder.

How and why did Kya kill Chase?

The movie may not have explained it, but the book certainly did. Kya, a child of abuse, refused to let another man treat her in this fashion. She killed Chase due to his unwanted ego-driven advances. She had already experienced the psychological and physical damage this type of relationship could lead to, and she wasn't about to let history repeat itself.

Where the Crawdads Sing -- Courtesy of Michele K. Short/Sony /

While neither the movie nor the book spells out in detail how Kya kills Chase, the explanation by police and the prosecutor is likely how she managed to pull off the murder. She was known to have an appointment in Greenville with her book publisher at the time of the murder. It was suggested that she disguised herself and made the trip home and back, having time to push Chase from the tower and return without anyone noticing she had gone. The book discloses the fact that a person in disguise was on the bus.

Kya was found not guilty at the 1969 trial, and she and Tate did end up spending their lives together, with Tate never really knowing the truth. She died in a boat at their dock, and Tate discovered her body. While boxing up her belongings, he came across a diary entry stating that to protect the prey, sometimes the predator has to be killed with a drawing of Chase along with the shell necklace she made for him, which Tate promptly tosses in the marsh.

Where the Crawdads Sing is currently streaming on Netflix.

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