Why The Ending Of 'Happy Death Day 2U' Is So Upsetting: Explained

Happy Death Day 2U Poster
There is a lot that I have to say about “Happy Death Day 2U,” and most of it revolves around the ending. Yes, all these months later it is one of those movie conclusions that is just as upsetting to contemplate now, as it was watching it then.

There is room to talk about how the much-anticipated follow-up significantly abandons its murder mystery roots and leans heavily into sci-fi. However, the thing that undermines the sequel most is its ending. Why? Because the way the cleverly titled, “Happy Death Day 2U” ends is so upsetting.


Not solely in the sense that it does not end like I would prefer. It is because of the seeming message that the “Happy Death Day 2U” ending sends and the decisions the characters make. Let’s dive into it and recap what happens. After all, that is essential to explain why the conclusion is so disturbing.

Spoilers for the ending of “Happy Death Day 2U” are discussed beyond this point.

In “Happy Death Day 2U,” Tree finds herself in an alternate timeline where her mother is still alive. Think “Mirage” and “Dark.” In short, at the end of the movie, she decides to return to the “real” timeline because Carter is not in love with her in the new one.

In essence, she chooses to have her mom die so that she can be with her boyfriend. Saving your mother’s life should always take precedence over everything. The thing about time travel and loops is that you cannot excuse a character for not altering time to save a loved one’s life.

If they have the ability to and they choose not to save them, they have basically killed them. For all intents and purposes, Tree let/allowed/had her mom die, so that she could be with her boyfriend.

A living parent versus a boyfriend? There is no question. Parental unit! Every. Freaking. Time. The ending of “Happy Death Day 2U” seems to infer that having a love interest is more important than having a parent.


As for grief, if it is avoidable, there is no need to experience it for the sake of personal character development. Tree remembered what it felt like to lose her mom in the new timeline. Lesson learned with the bonus of a reversal in the tragedy’s real-life implications.

Another thing brought up is that Tree would be living a lie to stay in the alternate dimension. Tree would not have been living fiction to remain in the timeline her mom was alive in. She would have been living a previously unrealized truth.

Making Tree's ultimate decision all the more confusing is that there is really no need for Tree to embrace this “either-or” scenario. “Happy Death Day 2U” alludes that no sacrifices are necessary. Usually, the plot device of someone else's death will make it impossible for a character to alter course. That is not used in “Happy Death Day 2U.”

Carter had already started to fall in love with her in the alternate timeline. She could have her mom alive and a relationship with her boyfriend. Tree did not have to choose, and even if she did, she chose wrong.

Bottom Line: Tree should have stayed in the world her mom was alive in. Accepted it and tried to win back Carter. If this version of him was worth fighting for. It is hard to get past some of the choices he makes in the alternate timeline. If their relationship was truly meant to be, it would be in any dimension.


Aside from that, why would Carter want to be with someone who let their mom die, so they could be together? He struck me as a better person than that in “Happy Death Day,” and by the end of it, so did Tree. I guess timelines can be deceiving.

I really enjoyed the first movie and hope if a third one ever happens, it can right the wrongs of the “Happy Death Day 2U” ending, and let Tree's mom live. Having her mom alive should have been Tree's first and only priority. Boyfriends come and go; parents do not.

[Featured Image by Universal Pictures / Blumhouse Productions]

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