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The Ending Of Space Sweepers Explained

Described as "Korea's very first space-set blockbuster," Netflix's film Space Sweepers has received critical acclaim and considerable viewership in the weeks since its February 5, 2021 release. The film joins a growing body of South Korean movies that have connected with worldwide audiences and critics alike in recent decades.

Space Sweepers is set in a near future where the UTS Corporation has terraformed Mars, and ships crowded with "space sweepers" collect and sell debris from a wounded Earth's orbit. The movie follows one such ship, the Victory, and its crew of misfits, including the former child soldier Kim Tae-ho (Song Joong-ki). Tae-ho is a grieving father whose only objective in life is to find his daughter Su-ni's body, which is currently lost in space.

When the Victory crew discovers an abandoned girl with mysterious powers — known as Dorothy but then named Kot-nim (Park Ye-rin) — Tae-ho is nearly tempted into selling the child out to the malevolent UTS in exchange for his daughter's remains. It wouldn't be much of a fun space adventure if that was the final scene, so what inspires Tae-ho to save Kot-nim and find the closure he needs? Let's unpack the ending of Space Sweepers.

Tae-ho comes around and saves Kot-nim

Part of the power of Space Sweepers' ending is that Tae-ho gets what he's always wanted – his daughter's belongings — but he realizes letting Kot-nim die at the hands of UTS would betray Su-ni's memory. As a former-child-soldier-turned-adoptive-parent, Tae-ho had vowed to Su-ni that he'd change his ways. When Tae-ho buys back his daughter's clothes and her writing book, an inscription from her reminds him of that promise: to be the best man she could know. This causes the remorseful Tae-ho to join the Victory crew in stopping UTS' explosives, wired to kill Kot-nim and ruin Earth as well.

Despite the best efforts of the UTS forces and CEO James Sullivan (Richard Armitage), the Victory and other space sweepers stop the bomb from reaching Earth. UTS is exposed in the process, and the Victory crew adopts Kot-nim.

Before the film ends, Kot-nim uses her nanotechnology powers to help Tae-ho finally say goodbye to his daughter. Tae-ho at last finds a new lease on life in the form of Kot-nim, and the Victory members happily continue space-sweeping while helping to grow trees on a recovering Earth.

Space Sweepers is currently streaming on Netflix.