Welcome to the Ending Explained for ‘Dear Child,’ a new Netflix-produced thriller based on the novel of the same name written by Romy Hausman. The book became a bestseller and quickly rose in the popularity of book lists in Europe and then in America. ‘Dear Child’ mixes the grittiness of something like Gone Girl with the anxiety-inducing premise of Room, and the result is a solid thriller that will keep you guessing until the very end. ‘Dear Child’ might not be the most unique of thrillers out there, and its conclusion, while satisfying, feels rather generic, but it is still a very good watch.
The miniseries stars Julika Jenkins, Naila Schuberth, Kim Riedle, Justus von Dohnányi, Hans Löw, Haley Louise Jones, and Sammy Schrein. Schuberth quickly becomes the highlight of the show as she takes the lead and becomes one of the most interesting characters in the story.
The young actress manages to simultaneously look both innocent and creepy, which helps preserve the creepy vibes the show wants to present. Haley Louise Jones also has an amazing screen presence, and we would love to have her character appear in many more shows. Let’s hope the show is successful enough to see them both in future projects.
The following paragraphs contain spoilers for ‘Dear Child’. Read at your own risk.
Who is Lena Beck?
The key to a good thriller is a good mystery premise. The audience needs to drop onboard something they know they want to find out. If the premise manages to ignite a sense of intrigue in the audience, then half the work is done. The rest of the work is to execute that idea and deliver a conclusion that feels both resonant and satisfying, at least on an intellectual level.
Sure, things can be left in the air, but the conclusion needs to be at least complete on a thematic level. ‘Dear Child’ offers such a conclusion that it might not be the most satisfying one, but for the characters, it is the right one.
We see a mysterious woman escaping through the woods when the show starts. Whatever has happened to her is not good, and she looks terrified. She comes across a car on the road, and sadly, she gets hit by the driver.
The next we see, the woman is being taken to a hospital in an ambulance, and a young girl is by her side. The girl, Hannah, is the woman’s daughter, or so she says, and she reveals that her mother’s name is Lena. They are both taken to the hospital, and when the report goes into the emergency system, we meet another important character, Detective Bühling.
Bühling immediately calls the Beck family, which consists of Matthias and Karin, who are entering their third age. They both wake up to Bühling’s news that their daughter Lena has been found. We learn that for 13 years, their daughter Lena has been missing. Bühling was the detective on the case and had a chip on his shoulder as he never resolved it.
Lena is taken into surgery at the hospital, and nurse Ruth takes Hannah. Hannah reveals a terrible truth: her little brother Jonathan and her mother have been trapped in a room for who knows how long. It seems like their father has them trapped in there, but Hannah, knowing nothing of the world, cannot tell that her situation is awful.
Nurse Ruth reports this to the detective who has taken the case, Aida Kurt. Bühling arrives and, being state police, has more seniority than Aida, but he promises to keep Aida in the loop. Bühling revealed himself to be a friend of the Beck family, and there could be a conflict of interest there.
Matthias and Karin arrive at the hospital. Lena’s surgery was a success, but when they can visit, they realize that this is not their daughter. However, when they see young Hannah, they become shocked at how much the girl looks like their daughter when she was a child. If this is not Lena, then who is it?
Who Kidnapped Lena?
The mystery is already established; we have a woman who says she is Lena but doesn’t look like Lena, and yet, her daughter looks just like Lena when she was a child. What is happening? To understand what is happening, we have to meet a man named Lars Rogner, the kidnapper.
In a flashback, we see the real Lena, Matthias, and Karin’s daughter letting Rogner enter their house. You see, Rogner works installing security systems and was there to repair something. Lena is kind to him, and he takes advantage by kidnapping her and trapping her in a room. This would be the place where Lena would die years later.
Rogner rapes and gets Lena pregnant. From this event, Hannah and Jonathan come to life. They are all dominated completely by Rogner, who has imposed many rules. However, Lena dies from complications when she is about to deliver their third child. The baby dies as well.
And so, looking to repair his “perfect” family, Rogner begins kidnapping another woman who fits the build and age of Lena. The Lena we meet at the start of the miniseries is the third, and her real name is Jasmin Grass. She has been kidnapped for several months and has been forced to adopt Lena’s role in the family.
Lena has also been raped, and Rogner believes she is pregnant. When she gets hit by the car, Hannah begs her father to let her go to the hospital to get better. Hannah says she is a better Lena than the one before. Rogner, in his lunacy, allows this to happen and promises they will be back together.
Hannah is actually his father’s accomplice, and when the time comes, she allows Rogner inside the Beck’s house and takes Jasmin and her with him. However, this time, Jasmin is not ready to give her life away one more time. She will die before that happens. She says she needs to pee and forces Rogner to stop the van. Bühling and Matthias are in pursuit.
Jasmin is ready to stake her life for her freedom. She fakes herself fainting, and when Rogner goes to check on her, she stabs him in the neck with a hidden piece of glass. She stabs him multiple times until he is dead. Bühling arrives to see Rogner in the final moments. Matthias also arrives, and together, they see Jasmin playing with Hannah on the beach.
Jasmin is fulfilling the promise the original Lena made to Hannah before she died. Hannah says she likes the beach, but it is cold. Hannah summarizes the human experience without knowing it: it can simultaneously be beautiful and pleasant but cold and sad.
Time passes, and all the characters move on. Bühling can finally put an end to the case in his head. The Becks can give closure to their dead daughter and focus on giving their grandchildren the psychological help they need. Meanwhile, Jasmin goes back to her normal routine.