‘Eric’ ending explained: does Edgar make it home?
(Credit: Netflix)

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'Eric' ending explained: does Edgar make it home?

The prospect of Benedict Cumberbatch playing a puppeteer who begins manifesting a furry blue beast that accompanies him everywhere he goes might have the trappings of a whimsical comedy on paper, but Netflix’s Eric is anything but.

The two-time Academy Award nominee instead anchors an emotional, troubling, harrowing, and ultimately devastating multi-pronged narrative that begins with the unexplained disappearance of his nine-year-old son Edgar, but gradually reveals itself to be a story with wide-ranging social and societal implications.

There’s an ongoing investigation into a mysterious teenager, a dogged detective trying to solve the case in the face of corruption, and shady political machinations trying to prevent the real truth from being uncovered, with Cumberbatch’s Vincent finding himself coming apart at the seams as he loses grip on his family, his career, his latent addiction issues, and ultimately his sanity.

The longer Eric wears on, the more concerned viewers found themselves becoming with Edgar’s ultimate fate, especially when the shadow of some very unseemly deeds loomed large over the proceedings. Everything isn’t quite wrapped up in a neat little bow, but the show nonetheless ties up its loose ends in a fashion that resolves most of its lingering mysteries without ending on a resoundingly downbeat note.

In the final episode, Vincent realises that he was within feet of his missing son, but opting to take a hit on a crack pipe and pass out in another substance-induced haze ended up taking precedence. Having followed Edgar into the tunnels beneath New York City, he’s informed by Bamar Kane’s Yuusuf Egbe that far from being kidnapped, the boy ventured into the underground of his own volition, and it’s the prime suspect in the case that’s been keeping him safe from harm the whole time.

Realising that he drove his own son away with his abrasive personality and constant arguments with Gaby Hoffman’s estranged wife Cassie, Vincent makes a mad dash to the TV studio where he’d recently been fired, puts on the Eric costume, and hijacks a protest urging his son to come home so that he can turn over a new leaf and become a different – and better – man and father.

It finally clicks for Vincent that he’s been the problem all along, and in one final desperate plea, he says he’ll race his son home. When he gets there, Edgar is waiting outside the door, and by regaining his son he also regains his sense of self. Not only that, but he pledges to become the father he should have been all along, not the chiding and distant figure who’d become far too similar to his own father without him even realising the damage he was inflicting on his child.

It might be an obvious metaphor, but Vincent was the monster from the beginning, not Eric. Once he gets that through his head, Edgar is more than happy to end his self-imposed exile, reunite with his father, and set the stage for a brand new chapter in their healing relationship.