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The Ending Of Made For Love Season 1 Explained

Contains spoilers for season 1 of Made for Love

After eight episodes of experimental microchips, scheming dolphins, and conversations with bowling alley urinals, the first season of HBO Max's Made For Love ended with a stunning twist. The finale saw married couple Hazel (Cristin Milioti) and Byron (Billy Magnussen) finally hashing things out after Hazel made her escape from Byron's home and ultra-advanced simulated world known as the Hub. Their meeting proved to be literally climactic, but it wasn't the only major moment of the finale.

In the first season of Made for Love, there was a big focus on Hazel's relationship with her estranged father, Herb (Ray Romano). When Hazel fled from the Hub at the beginning of the season, she turned to her father for help. This proved to be uncomfortable for both of them as being a good father to Hazel hasn't historically been one of Herb's strong suits. However, their struggle to extricate Hazel from Byron's grasp and remove the Made for Love microchip he implanted in her brain proved to be a bonding experience. While Hazel's relationship with Byron has driven much of the actual plot, a revelation about Herb's health leads to her making the most shocking decision of the season.

Here's how everything played out in the finale of Made for Love season 1, as well as some ideas about where the show might be going if it gets a second season.

Hazel and Byron have an eventful meeting

Byron's storyline throughout the season has largely revolved around him trying to find a way to get Hazel to meet with him. He ultimately succeeds after he drone-delivers divorce papers to her and arranges an in-person meeting at a diner in the middle of nowhere.

Hazel arrives ready to sign the divorce papers and, of course, Byron makes several pleas to get her to come back to the Hub, promising to "introduce the element of choice into our protocol." So much of her life in the Hub involved Byron mining her for data so that he could make their lives artificially pleasurable. As she tells him, "I had to give you all of my vulnerability and you wouldn't give me any of yours." At this moment, though, she has a bit of an upper hand, so she uses the opportunity to turn the tables on Byron and interrogate him.

After getting some personal details out of Byron, including his real name (Greg Benson) and his family history, she asks him to tell her what excites him. He responds, "Watching you," before unexpectedly reaching a climax there at the diner table while Hazel looks on in disgust.

The moment is repulsive, darkly humorous, and very illuminating. Byron is someone who has spent so much of his life trying to engineer a world in which he's able to have full control over everything — his environment, his emotions, his partner's emotions, etc. When that ability to control is stripped away even a little, he has a rather extreme reaction. Contrary to the image he's used his fortune to cultivate, he's actually someone who possesses very little control when he doesn't have access to the tools he's created for himself.

Herb's secrets come to light

While Hazel and Byron are having their chat, Herb and his old flame Judiff (Kym Whitley), who has been trying to help Hazel get free of Byron, are in the parking lot outside. Judiff is convinced that Byron's offer to sign the divorce papers if Hazel meets with him is not without an ulterior motive. Using her skills of persuasion, she has a busboy bug the ketchup bottle at the table so she and Herb can listen in.

Judiff's surveillance and information gathering abilities previously lead her to discover a secret Herb has been keeping from everybody: he's dying of pancreatic cancer. After she found some heavy-duty painkillers in his bathroom, he confessed that he decided to forgo treatment as he doesn't think it will do him any good in the long run. Hazel doesn't know about this, but as we soon find out, Byron does.

After she has rejected all of his pitches, Byron throws out a final Hail Mary pass. He tells her that if she and Herb move to the Hub, Byron can give her father world-class medical care that would potentially save his life. Hazel, however, doesn't budge. She incredulously tells Byron she doesn't believe him, and when he presses, she says bluntly, "I'd rather let him die."

In the parking lot, Herb and Judiff overhear Hazel's answer. Judiff is upset for Herb, but while he's clearly a bit shaken, he says that he understands that she is standing her ground.

And stand her ground she does. Hazel leaves the diner with the signed divorce papers in hand. However, while that seems like the end of her saga, the season has one last reveal to drop in our laps.

The surprising twist at the end of Made for Love season 1

Back at Herb's house, he and Hazel celebrate with a couple of beers. She brings up Byron's final offer and unconvincingly brushes it off as fake, which Herb plays along with. This, in a way, is their own version of the Hub. Both of them know that Herb's cancer is real, but they are choosing to pretend it's not to avoid breaking the illusion they are opting to accept as reality.

The next morning they continue the charade over breakfast. When Hazel gets up and announces that she's going out on a walk, Herb says, "If you're gone for a while and you come back and I'm asleep, it doesn't mean I wasn't worried about where you were, it just...I got tired."

Previously in the season, Hazel confronted Herb about his lack of attentiveness when she was young. Here, he appears to be making an attempt to address that and in doing so, he's also highlighting the ways in which Hazel's relationship with him is the polar opposite of her relationship with Byron. While Byron wants to control every aspect of her life and monitor her at all times, Herb didn't notice when she went missing for 12 hours without any contact.

As Hazel leaves for her walk, it becomes clear that she hasn't quite figured out where on the spectrum she's trying to be. She steps outside the house and looks up to the sky, where a panel begins to glitch out. She and Herb are actually in the Hub. A flashback reveals that she did indeed take Byron up on his offer and secretly drugged her father so he wouldn't know what was going on.

The season ends with her walking with Byron into his house, right back where she started.

What to expect if Made for Love gets a second season

The twist provides a nice setup for a second season. Hazel is back in the Hub and while she has a bit more power than she previously wielded, she's still at Byron's mercy. Even though he often presents as a bit of a buffoon, he's an incredibly powerful man and poses a huge risk to her desire for freedom. The resigned look on Hazel's face in the final moments of the episode seems to imply that she's well aware of that fact.

Judiff also knows how dangerous Byron is and that Hazel and Herb are now in the Hub. Although we haven't seen too much of what she's capable of in season 1, Judiff now seems poised to potentially be a powerful ally on the outside should Hazel plan another escape. She was introduced as a character who has the tenacity and ability to get Hazel free of Byron once and for all. Hopefully, a second season will give her the opportunity to put those traits to the test.

Something else we'd like to see addressed in season 2 is whatever became of Fiffany (Noma Dumezweni) and Herringbone (Dan Bakkedahl). The last we saw either of Byron's (former) henchpeople, they were trapped in Pasture Cubes, a never virtual purgatory where Byron seems intent to leave them to die. However, considering we didn't actually see either of them expire in season 1, it feels like we could see them break free and return for season 2.

And finally, there's the biggest unsolved conflict, which is that the Made for Love chip is still theoretically implanted in Hazel's head. All of those various details should combine nicely for a tense and involving season 2.