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The Ending Of Netflix's Kate Explained

Mary Elizabeth Winstead proved how much butt she could kick when she played the anti-hero known as Huntress in 2020's "Birds of Prey." With a tragic backstory and a penchant for a crossbow, audiences came to love the character, who definitely had some anger issues. Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett) may be the first new character from that movie to get her own spinoff, but we essentially get an excellent Huntress story in the latest Netflix original film — "Kate."

Winstead plays the eponymous assassin who realizes it's time to get out of the game after she inadvertently kills a man in front of his daughter. Months later, when she's out on the town, she discovers someone poisoned her, and she only has 24 hours to live. She uses what little time she has left to track down the man responsible for her demise.

Unlike many other films with a similar premise, Kate doesn't concern herself with trying to find a cure. She pretty much accepts her fate and grabs some drugs to boost her adrenaline for the time being. She merely wants closure and the knowledge she got revenge on the person responsible for her death. The movie doesn't exactly hold your hand through the twisty final act, so here's what you need to know about the action-packed "Kate" ending.

Contains spoilers for "Kate"

The master plan all along ...

Kate goes on a rampage and kills various members of the Yakuza as she hunts for answers about who poisoned her. Once she gets a name, it's merely a matter of drawing him out of hiding so that she can put a bullet through his head. When the time comes for her to confront Kijima (Jun Kunimura), he tells her he has no reason to kill her. It's then he reveals the actual machinations of what's been going on the entire time. 

As it turns out, Kijima wasn't behind any of this. Renji (Tadanobu Asano) ordered the hit in the first scene that resulted in the death of Ani's (Miku Martineau) father. Renji collaborated with Varrick (Woody Harrelson), and even though the latter didn't know about the plot until after the fact, he ultimately went along with it. Renji couldn't risk Kate living a civilian life and potentially divulging secrets of what she had done, or else it would jeopardize the power he so desperately wanted. 

It's your classic revenge thriller double-cross. Varrick never really had Kate's best interests at heart. He used her as a tool to take out anyone with a bounty on their head, but the second she becomes even the slightest bit of a liability, he wants to do away with her. 

Sparing Ani from the same fate

Once Varrick reveals to Ani that Kate killed her father, Ani shoots Kate. She then goes off with Varrick, and it's then we realize what his game the whole time has been. 

Through a flashback sequence, we learn Kate's parents died when she was 12 years old. Shortly thereafter, Varrick picked her up and presumably began training her to be a deadly assassin. From the looks of it, he wanted to do the same thing with Ani. Kate pretty much murdered her entire family trying to find the one responsible for poisoning her, so she really doesn't have anyone left. She would've made the ideal assassin at that point, and she already knew her way around a gun pretty well. 

Of course, Kate isn't going to let that happen since the two bonded over the course of the film. There's no way Kate can save herself, so she eliminates Varrick and Renji for her final act of bravery. Simultaneously, she reconciles with Ani, showing her there's another way in life. It makes for a sense of closure Kate ultimately wanted to achieve, and in the end, she technically got what she wanted. She tried to stop being an assassin so that she could start a family, and for a short while, she got precisely that with Ani.

Is Kate dead?

Yes, by the end of the film, Kate has succumbed to her injuries. There's really no way around it. In addition to the poisoning, she's also been shot and sliced so many times; it's kind of a miracle she was able to walk around and fight for as long as she did. However, once her enemies are dead and Ani is safe, there's no reason to continue fighting. She lies down as the faint sound of a heartbeat can be heard over the music. Right before the movie cuts to credits, the heartbeat stops, indicating her death.

Throughout the film, we come to empathize with Kate. We don't want her to die, and as she goes about on her killing spree, we keep hoping there will be some sort of mention of a cure. But that never comes. When you live a life of violence, there's only one way you can go out. At least Kate died knowing she did something good in the world to rectify somewhat all of the harm she caused. That means you should probably get any ideas of a "Kate 2" out of your mind now because a sequel doesn't seem likely.

Kate follows in a trend of female assassin movies

Stop us if you've heard this one before. You have a female assassin who's been trained to be the best at killing people since she was a little girl, but things take a dark turn when she finds herself on the wrong end of a barrel. That's because "Kate" is the third movie this year to have that premise. First, the other Netflix original movie, "Gunpowder Milkshake," debuted on the streaming service in July 2021. A month later, "The Protégé" came out, seeing Maggie Q as the gun-toting hitwoman. None of these films hold back on the gore, and they all have stylistic flourishes to spare.

Of course, killer women are nothing new to film, dating back to arguably the best female assassin movie of all time — 1973's "Lady Snowblood." If you enjoyed the action and mayhem of "Kate," you need to do yourself a favor and check out Chan-wook Park "Lady Vengeance" trilogy. It will give you a newfound appreciation for the genre and show you just how much those movies continue to influence action filmmakers to this day.