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The Ending Of Hollywood Season 1 Explained

Ryan Murphy's shows can be incredibly cynical, but Hollywood season 1 actually has a happy ending, in which — after some minor setbacks — everything pretty much works out for the better. Unless someone invented time travel and forgot to tell us, the only way to change history is through imagination and storytelling, and that's exactly what Hollywood does. While we wait for news from Netflix about a second season, let's break down just what happened at the end of the first.

It can't be stated enough that — as inspiring and uplifting as the Hollywood ending is — it did not happen in real life. Hollywood is alternative historical fiction. The real Eleanor Roosevelt did not really show up to a movie studio and demand more diversity. In real life, Rock Hudson married Henry Wilson's female secretary when a magazine threatened to expose his homosexuality. Peg Entwhistle was a real person, but Meg is not a real film and Ace Studios was not a real company. 

With that in mind (or without it, because Hollywood is about showing us what could have been instead of what was), here's what you need to know about that ending. Naturally, spoilers follow for Hollywood.

Meg wins big at the Oscars

Seriously, Meg took home trophies for Best Supporting Actress, Best Actress, Best Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Picture. It's the perfect night for everyone involved. Anna May Wong finally gets recognized by the academy. Archie kisses his boyfriend Rock, and for the folks at home listening on the radio is sure to thank him as well — making it clear that he refuses to hide who he is and who he loves. Camille's trophy is handed to her by Scarlet O'Hara herself, Vivian Leigh. Plus, even though Jack doesn't win an Oscar, he and Claire get engaged in the greenroom. 

After that, most everyone is able to get work in the film industry off of Meg's success, with one exception. Rock Hudson gets pigeonholed after coming out, and isn't getting as many good parts. He turns to gardening to fill his days, but the show's not over yet.

The next big risk gets the green light

The series doesn't let Henry Wilson off the hook for all of the sexual and emotional abuse he committed, but it does posit an alternative history in which the sight of two men holding hands on the red carpet of the Oscars might have inspired him to change, make amends, and move Hollywood forward with the power he already holds. At the end of the season Wilson gets sober, apologizes to Rock, and pitches him his next film — a love story about two men. 

Some time later Dick Samuels, who led the charge at Ace Studios to get Meg made no matter what it took and was one of the first characters in the show to stand up against the abuse of power in Hollywood, dies. At his funeral, Henry takes his pitch to Avis Amberg and proposes that they take this next big cinematic risk to memorialize Dick. Before they know it, the gang's back together making a romantic movie inspired by Archie's relationship with Rock, directed by Raymond with Rock and Jack in the lead roles. 

It's nice to think about what Hollywood would be like today if just one studio in the Golden Age was willing to take risks. Maybe there wouldn't be decades long gaps between Oscars given to people of color. Maybe the criminals exposed by the #MeToo movement would never have risen to power in the first place. But just because the ending of Hollywood is a fantasy doesn't mean it's not too late.