' Baby Reindeer ' is all in the ending. Its ambiguous epilogue is part of what has made the show a global hit.

The mini-series '' Baby Reindeer '' arrived on Netflix on April 11 without much advance hype, but it quickly became one of the most talked-about TV shows of 2024.

It's not hard to understand why. Based on the Scottish comedian Richard Gadd's award-winning 2019 one man stage show, '' Baby Reindeer '' baits its hook in the first episode, which introduces Martha [ Jessica Gunning ], an emotionally fragile middle-aged woman who appreciates the kindness shown to her by Donny [ Gadd], a struggling stand-up comic who offers her a free drink in the pub where he works.

By the end of that first episode, Martha's neediness has begun to shape into creepiness.

And by the time Donny discovers that his new friend has a history of stalking, she's already begun what will eventually become a torrent of abuse, as she floods his email and social media with poorly spelled messages that insult his character and sometimes threaten sexual violence.

What makes ''Baby Reindeer'' so effective is that as Martha pushes further and further into Donny's personal life - attending his comedy shows, befriending his landlady, calling his parents - the audience share his mounting feelings of powerlessness and frustration, cut with flashes of pity for the woman who is ruining his life.

The show has the '' slow-motion train wreck '' appeal of a twisty true crime documentary, but balanced with empathy for two profoundly broken people.

As the show's seventh and final episode opens, a video of Donny's train-wreck performance has landed on YouTube [ under the title '' Comedian Has Epic Breakdown''] bringing him viral fame and new opportunities.

The pressure of that higher profile - coupled with Martha's ceaseless string threatening voice mail messages - prompts Donny to confide in his unexpectedly sympathetic parents.

Not too long after one of Martha's threats is dire enough to get her arrested - and eventually jailed.  Gadd brings the conflict between Donny and Martha to a logical conclusion, with Martha finally acknowledging the harm she's done by pleading guilty.

So Donny lives happily............ for a day or two.

The World Students Society thanks Noel Murray.


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