What happened in the After Life season 3 finale? Ricky Gervais explains ending (2022)

After Life spoilers ahead.

Ricky Gervais's tale of grief and moving on has come to its suitably heartwarming and heartbreaking conclusion with After Life season three.

Tony has been struggling for a while now, and though we see his efforts to move forward being knocked back once or twice, his friends are always on standby to help him out.

So how did his story end? In typical Gervais style, it happens in a far-from-simple way. But thankfully, in an exclusive chat with Digital Spy, the cast were on hand to give their verdict on Tony's future.

Here's everything you need to know.

What happened in the After Life season 3 finale? Ricky Gervais explains ending (1)

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What happened to Tony?

In the show's finale, Tony and his beloved dog Brandy are seen fading away after a day at the Tambury Fair. It's left up to viewers to decide what has happened to Tony.

But in an exclusive chat with Digital Spy, Ricky told us the ending has a far more simple meaning than how it may initially appear.

"It's just that life goes on, you know? When we're all dead and buried, that field's still there, the Tambury Fair is still going, that tree is still there, and it's basically said that we all die, but not today, " he said.

"That's what the ending is saying. 'We all die, but not today'. [...] Enjoy it while you can, life is so finite. Whenever you are born, and whenever you die, it's all over. So enjoy that bit, that tiny little bit.

"You don't exist for 13 and a half billion years, then you have 80-90 years if you're lucky, and then you die, never to exist again. So all you've got is experience and then you're dead and buried and forgotten."

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"I think some people will find it devastating," Diane Morgan added. "They'll look at it, and they'll go, 'Oh, God, what does that mean?' You know, and they'll read all kinds of things into it. But hopefully, you've got to see that that's it. Life goes on."

"It's very subtle, and it could mean different things and depending on where you are yourself, but I'm undecided," Jo Hartley, who plays June, said. "I just don't know. I love it and it's simple and it is a sort of, I guess about life goes on. Content[ment] and acceptance, I guess acceptance and the realisation that we all do leave this place and we have to make the most of it. Well, we're here and it's important. He was in love and it was a love story."

If you want the full breakdown, here's how the story played out.

Moving On

Throughout the series, Tony (Ricky Gervais) has been trying his best to move on from the death of his late wife Lisa (Kerry Godliman), but as most of us who have lost someone will know, that is far easier said than done.

In season three, we see Tony refuse to act on his feelings towards Emma (Ashley Jensen), the nurse who looked after his now late father.

Despite her attempts to bond with him, and his attempts to bond with her, it sadly never quite matches up as he consistently compares her to Lisa, and Emma simply can't compete.

They eventually call time on their situation, with Lisa being offered a date with an old schoolmate, which Tony encourages.

Apart from that, life goes on in the town of Tambury, with Tony travelling around town with co-worker Lenny (Tony Way) hearing the weird and wonderful things locals are up to.

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But while in previous episodes we've seen him angry and on the brink of ending his life, this time round he appears a bit more hopeful and is spending more time with those around him.

This, despite his best efforts, includes postman Pat (Joe Wilkinson), who isn't enjoying life as the boyfriend of sex worker Roxy.

By the end of the series, Pat and Roxy break up, with Roxy (the absent Roisin Conaty) refusing to give up the job she loves when he gives her an ultimatum.

The Final Fair

In the final episode, Tony is joined by Lisa's brother Matt (Tom Basden) at her graveside, and the two share a moment of reflection before Matt heads off to work at the Gazette.

Anne (Penelope Wilton) then joins him, and the pair share the stories of meeting their significant lost others at the same time. Anne remembers regretting not laughing at her husband Stan's rude joke during their first date and Tony reflects on meeting Lisa at the Tambury Fair, and says he feels bad that he had teased Lisa about there being no afterlife, because she wanted to believe in angels.

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Anne tells him that angels live on earth, in the form of charity workers, NHS nurses and dogs, as they save lives naturally. "If you want to be an angel you've got to do it while you're alive. Be good and do good things," she says, and tells him he's her angel.

Later on that day, he and Lenny go to a cancer hospice, where they meet two little girls. One had shaved her head to be the same as her sick sister, raising £1,200 in the process. When he asks their name, the sick girl reveals her name is Lisa, which takes him aback and makes him upset.

But rather than tell the girls that she had died from cancer, he lies, and says that he was upset because he was "happy" and that she was waiting at home for him.

As he leaves, he runs into another sick child, a young boy holding the hand of the nurse, and the pair immediately take a shine to each other. Together they mock Lenny for going bald for 'eating too many biscuits and looking like Shrek'. The boy then asks Tony to come back and make him laugh again, and Tony promises to come back every day until he's better.

But Tony's stumped when the boy adds he could "end up in Heaven", and asks him if he believes in an afterlife.

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A choked up and touched Tony again lies and says that he does to comfort him, in a roundabout way fixing what he felt like he failed to do with Lisa.

The interaction sparks something in Tony, and as Lisa is heard reciting the Bereavement Poem, he heads to the bank, finally cashing in her life insurance policy of £150,000 after previously refusing to do so.

But rather than keep it, he instead decides to use it to help others. The first person he gives money to is Matt, acknowledging that he had lost Lisa too.

He later hands out cheques, first to Lenny for his upcoming wedding to June, then to intern Coleen so she can afford somewhere decent to live. The cancer ward also gets a hefty cheque, and he replaces savings of an old woman who was targeted by a scammer.

Explaining his decision, he tells Matt: "I thought not caring was a superpower. I was wrong. Caring about stuff, that's what really matters. Kindness, and making other people feel good.

"That's the real superpower, and we've all got it."

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He admits he's still struggling with his depression, and at times even feels like he wants to die, but wants to help others, feeling like helping the little boy put his own problems on hold.

Meanwhile, Tony's colleague Kath (Diane Morgan) is continuing her quest to find herself, heading to laughter yoga. But instead of finding it exhilarating, she breaks down in tears because she feels so lonely. She's asked to leave as it's 'bringing the vibe down'.

Kath later catches up with Tony at the Tambury Fair, and she finds some comfort after a dog up for adoption at the Dogs' Trust tent takes a shine to her. Tony tells her that his own dog, Brandy, saved his life, and knows when he's feeling lonely.

Her luck also changes when Tony introduces her to Postman Pat, and the pair seem to hit it off.

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By the time of the Tambury Fair, Tony seems to be a bit more content with life, even running past Emma with her new boyfriend, and exchange pleasantries knowing that their split was for the best.

He also talks about his father comparing life to a ride at the fair, saying you can only go around once, and when you can't take any more, you have to get off so someone else can get on.

Meanwhile, Brian hits a new low as he's strapped in the stocks for one of the stalls. The local louts spot his vulnerable state and make fun of him, accosting him and creating a 'human centipede' with him despite his protests for them to stop. Eventually, his ex-wife Elizabeth's hard nut boyfriend Mickey comes to his rescue, beating the men to a pulp so they back off.

Brian's grateful, but feels like he's hit his lowest point. In a moment of compassion, the wannabe stand-up comedian is asked to make jokes, and Coleen surprisingly finds him funny. In a small moment of hope, he asks her to join him for a coffee which she accepts.

At the end of the episode, Tony looks around the fair and sees his friends and loved ones happy and having fun, and smiles. He's once again reminded of his time with Lisa, including being at the fair, at the beach, and during her chemotherapy.

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Brandy looks up at him, and together they walk off. Lenny catches Tony as he leaves, asking him to smile and take a picture. Tony agrees and gives his pal a salute before walking off. Lenny appears to realise something, and looks a little worried about him, but ultimately does nothing.

In the show's final moments, Tony walks through the common with Lisa and Brandy. Lisa then fades away, followed by Brandy, and finally himself.

After Life is available now on Netflix.

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