Where the Crawdads Sing was released on Friday, July 22, 2022. This mystery thriller romantic drama film is based on the 2018 novel of the same name by Delia Owens. The twisted ending of the movie surprised many fans. If you’ve read the book and can’t quite remember how it ended, or you’ve just watched the film and want to understand the final scenes, keep reading. We’ll explain the ending of the film.
Where The Crawdads Sing follows Kya’s journey through a traumatic childhood and isolated life, living alone in the North Carolina marsh.
Everything changes for her when she falls in love with Tate Walker, a boy from the local town. When Tate headed off for higher education and didn’t return to the marsh as promised, Kya crossed paths with Chase Andrews, another local boy who brought her nothing but trouble.
When Chase was found dead in the marsh, Kya got arrested as the suspect in his murder.
At the end of the film, Kya is finally released from jail and acquitted of the murder of Chase Andrews. The people in town realize that this case was brought against the ‘Marsh Girl’ unfairly and she was simply an easy target because the townsfolk hated her.
Later we see that Kya and Tate lived happily at her home in the Marsh and grew old together until Kya died in her 60s. However, the mystery still remained, who actually killed Chase? And where was the shell necklace that Kya gave him? All is then revealed.
How did Chase die in Where the Crawdads Sing
Following Kya’s death, Tate uncovers Chase’s missing shell necklace and poems written by Kya in their home on the Marsh. It is revealed through a poem titled ‘The Firefly’ that Kya was in fact the one to kill Chase.
You can read the poem here: The Firefly Poem Where The Crawdads Sing
After Chase attempted to rape Kya, she realized that she would never be safe from him and decided to take his life and make it look like an accidental fall from the abandoned fire tower. She took back the necklace that she once gave him, and this piece of evidence confirmed to Tate that she had been the one to kill him. Tate destroyed the necklace in a symbolic move that showed he would take Kya’s secret to the grave.
How did Kya kill Chase in the book
The book and the film have the same story and the same ending. Where the Crawdads Sing director Olivia Newman shared that she and the team behind the movie adaptation were never tempted to change the ending from the original book.
Newman said: “Everybody on the project was as passionate about doing the book justice as I was.”
Where The Crawdads Sing never shows us the moment Kya kills Chase Andrews, but how she could have done it is referenced within the movie and we must deduce that is how she did it. As we come to know in the film, Kya had a conference with book publishers when Chase died, giving her an alibi to be outside the marshes on the night he died.
Though, there is a short window of time when she could have committed the murder. As shown in court, Kya chose a motel very close to a bus stop and after having dinner with her publishers, she must have taken the last bus ride home and lured Chase to the top of a tall lookout and pushed him off.
She then would have cleaned off all the fingerprints and taken another bus at 2am back to her hotel to meet with her publishers again.
In the book, it’s at least revealed there was someone in disguise on the bus. This mysterious figure was probably Kya taking the bus back and forth without being noticed.
The book concludes with a poem by Amanda Hamilton aka Kya, called “The Firefly,” which draws on the symbolism Kya finds in how female fireflies attract male mates through false signals only to lure them to their deaths. Kya uses this same tactic of seduction to kill Chase.
Why Kya killed Chase Andrews
For those who haven’t read the book, the reveal that Kya did actually murder Chase may come as a shock.
To understand Kya’s actions, we will have to examine more of the storylines that make up her life. Kya grew up with an abusive father who regularly chose violence to deal with conflict. It led to her entire family leaving not only her father but also her, who was the youngest child in the family. From those experiences, Kya developed a deep-seated trauma not only with abandonment, but with remaining safe within the confines of the marsh. When her father leaves too, Kya attempts to go to school for one day, and then when she is ridiculed and faced with conflict and abuse from her peers, she decides she will learn from nature rather than going to school and living within society.
Kya then spends her entire life actively studying other animals as her education rather than ever assimilating into society. From that, she took up the mindset of the animal food chain and how when an animal feels threatened in nature, it won’t talk things out or move from its territory; but defend it and kill if necessary. And that’s exactly what Kya did. By her own mindset, she might not have ever believed it was the wrong thing to do.
She wrote in her book:
“The marsh knows all about death and doesn’t necessarily define it as tragedy, certainly not a sin. It understands that every creature does what it must to survive. And that sometimes, for prey to live, its predator must die.”
Kya saw Chase as a predator, and she was a woman who felt her actions were crucial to her own survival. The townspeople hated her and were quick to blame her; Kya felt no protection from them and so she had to protect herself. She was raised in the marsh, which means she was at one with nature and didn’t necessarily abide by human laws or their sense of morality.
On the night before she kills Chase, when she is meeting with her publishers, they speak about some of the animals in her book she’s been studying, who have a violent nature.
Kya says, “Some female insects do eat their mates. Fireflies, in fact, have two different light signals. One for mating, and one to attract a male in order to make him her next meal.”
While her colleagues scorn animal behavior, Kya says, “I don’t know if there is a dark side to nature. Just inventive ways to endure. Against all odds.”
The female firefly represents the same kind of power that she herself taps into when she uses her own sex appeal to lure Chase into a death trap.
Chase was someone who took advantage of her, lied to her, and sexually assaulted her. No matter how many times she tried to tell him to leave her alone, his ego-driven toxic masculinity would not back off. Even being engaged to someone in town, he was still expecting a relationship with her. Kya ultimately killed Chase because she didn’t want to live her life in fear, nor did she want to return to her childhood experiences, especially not after she finally had her life in order and a sense of freedom.