The Baby Reindeer ending, explained.

Baby Reindeer has fast become the world's buzziest show. 

Based on the true story of actor Richard Gadd, it follows a comedian/barmen named Donny who finds himself with a stalker called Martha, after he offers her a free cup of tea. 

It's brilliant and has been brought to life in a way that has transfixed audiences. But we need to talk about the ending. While it ties together the series's main themes in a poignant way — it is still a little ambiguous. So what exactly happened?

But first, watch the trailer for Baby Reindeer here. Post continues below.

Video via Netflix.

Donny shares his secrets.

The episode opens on a high note for Donny. His raw, confessional comedy set about his stalking ordeal and sexual abuse has gone viral, catapulting his career to new heights. 

"It's like my life began three decades in, and all I needed to do to achieve it was be honest with myself," Donny narrates.

However, his newfound success is marred when Martha, his stalker, gets hold of his phone number and threatens to reveal his secrets to his parents. Donny preemptively visits his family in Scotland to tell them everything. 


In a moving scene, his father shares he too was sexually abused, growing up in the Catholic church. Their heart-to-heart leaves Donny feeling lighter and supported.

Martha is arrested.

Donny reports Martha's escalating threats to the police. She is eventually arrested, pleads guilty to 18 months of stalking and harassing Donny, and is sentenced to nine months in prison plus a five-year restraining order. It's the last time Donny sees her.

In the aftermath, Donny becomes obsessed with categorising and listening to Martha's old voicemails to him. His ex Keeley visits and, concerned by his mental state, convinces him to move back in with her mother. There, Donny finds an old script with notes from Darrien, the older man who had groomed and sexually assaulted him years ago.

Donny and Martha in Baby Reindeer. Image: Netflix.


Donny sees Darrien again.

Donny visits Darrien, who dismissively calls Donny's public confession "brave" and offers him a job, saying "it won't be like last time." As they talk, it's clear the power dynamic between abuser and victim still exists. Donny agrees to the gig but has a panic attack after leaving. 

For comfort, he starts listening to Martha's old messages complimenting him. 

He enters a bar and orders her signature drink — a Coke, but with alcohol. When the bartender serves him, Donny realises he forgot his wallet. The bartender gives him the drink on the house, just like Donny did for Martha.

Donny looks up at the bartender with a mix of emotions. The show cuts to black, leaving the ending ambiguous.

In those final moments, a voicemail reveals why Martha always called Donny her "baby reindeer." She explains it was the name of her favourite childhood stuffed animal, her only source of comfort when her parents fought. 


"You are the spit of that reindeer," Martha tearfully tells Donny. "It means so much to me. You mean so much to me." 

Hearing this, Donny breaks down crying, gaining deeper insight into Martha's troubled psyche.

What does the Baby Reindeer ending mean?

Gadd prefers to let viewers draw their own conclusions about the ending. 

It could suggest Donny has become like Martha, seeking validation from her messages. Or it could represent growth and self-awareness that he has the power to make different choices than she did.

Either way, the finale makes clear that trauma and toxic relationships leave lasting scars. There are no tidy resolutions, only messy, ongoing struggles. But in telling his story honestly, both in the show and in real life, Gadd captures important truths about abuse, mental illness, and human connection.

While Martha is never excused for her actions, the show portrays her with nuance and empathy as a troubled soul failed by the system. Meanwhile, Donny survives his ordeals, but healing is an ongoing journey. The poignant final scene leaves him, and viewers, with much to reflect on.

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Feature image: Netflix.