'The Red Shadows' Finale: That Mysterious Ending Explained

The Red Shadows Les Ombres Rouges Lannick Gautry Gabriel Garnier Raphaël Lenglet Frédéric Garnier Nadia Farès Aurore Garnier Paoletti Manon Azem Clara Garnier Antoine Duléry Jacques Garnier Sundance Now
Image by Sundance Now / Acorn TV

After six episodes, “The Red Shadows” (“Les Ombres Rouges”) finale arrived. Did it resolve all of the mysteries it introduced throughout its run? Without spoiling anything, it is fair to say the Sundance Now series brought Season 1 to a riveting close. That said, it is time that all of the ending’s twists and turns were explained.

Spoilers for the ending of “The Red Shadows” Season 1 are discussed and explained below.

To get to them, it merits breaking down the mysterious finale into the main questions that haunted the series since it began. The ending of “The Red Shadows” will be explained question-by-question. First things first, though. The previous episode left viewers with a jaw-dropping pre-finale cliffhanger, and the French-language drama wasted no time revealing its outcome.

Does Aurore Survive?

No. Aurore is killed by her husband’s lover. “The Red Shadows” reveals the twist in its opening minutes as Aurore’s body is discovered near the sea. Surprisingly, it does not take long for Aurore’s husband to realize that his mistress, Jeanne, is the one who murdered his wife.

Romain notices one of the beads from the bracelet that his and Aurore’s daughter had made for her in Jeanne’s home. Jeanne ends up confessing to murdering Aurore and being Baptisti’s mole. “The Red Shadows” ending sees Jeanne get carted off to prison. If you have seen the French series, “La Mante,” you may not consider that much of a punishment.

Who Is Clara’s Biological Father?

“The Red Shadows” ends without viewers ever learning who Clara’s biological father is. She demands to know throughout the finale and is never given an answer. Her adoptive father, Jacques, rescues her after she is kidnapped, which means that Clara will have a dad, no matter what.

At first, I was disappointed not to find out the identity of Clara’s biological father. “The Red Shadows” seems to indicate that he played no role in her kidnapping, so it was not entirely necessary to resolve that storyline. The ending leaves it open for a potential Season 2 to theoretically reveal her biological father’s identity. Billed as a limited series, that is not entirely likely at this point.

Who Had Clara Kidnapped?

My prime suspect ever since the premiere of “The Red Shadows” – Grandpa Garnier. How much, his wife (aka Grandma Garnier) knew about Clara’s kidnapping before and after, is left open to speculation. She intimates that she and gramps have always been partners in crime, so it is hard to believe she knew nothing. It is another open-ended mystery.

Why did Grandpa Garnier have Clara kidnapped? He knew that Clara was not his biological granddaughter and staged the kidnapping/ransom to keep Clara and Aurore’s mom from leaving his son, Jacques. Their mother’s death was apparently collateral damage in the scheme, though, gramps was not mourning the turn of events.

Did Grandpa Garnier Get Arrested?

No. Fréd confronts his grandfather over having Baptisti blackmail him over his sexuality and his subsequent extramarital affair. Grandpa Garnier tells Fréd that he is just like his mother. He adds that she died because she “behaved like a slut.” Fréd explodes. The next time “The Red Shadows” shows Grandpa Garnier, he is dead. Fréd admits killing his grandfather to his family.

His siblings (Gabriel and Clara) and father agree to cover it up. Fréd and Gabriel dump their grandfather’s body into the sea. “The Red Shadows” ends with an ominous statement from Grandma Garnier, “I hope they give him back to me.” Everyone shoots a look at one another. Is Fréd faking that his grandfather is being held for ransom? The camera zooms out.

What Happens to Thelma?

After trying to set up Hugo for killing the drug dealer, Thelma’s conscience (and her brother-in-law Romain’s investigation) ends up sealing her fate. Thelma confesses to stealing her father’s car and running over the drug dealer. She begs for Hugo’s forgiveness, but he turns away from her, disgusted. “The Red Shadows” ending does not give Thelma any absolution.

Thelma is led off to prison for an unknown term. How long will she stay? It is another thing that the ending of “The Red Shadows” leaves up to viewers to decide. In this and many other plot points, the series sets itself up to return. Even though, I have come across nothing hinting at a Season 2. Goodbye Thelma!

Who Reported The Kidnapping?

It was Fréd who called the police after Clara’s kidnapping and the ransom demand, all those years ago. Hence, a lot of his internal angst. Fréd and his father, Jacques, were arguably two of the most compelling characters on “The Red Shadows.” Sadly, they only got the attention they deserved in the finale.

I wish Fréd (Raphaël Lenglet) had been more involved with Clara and Aurore’s story from the get-go. Actor Raphaël Lenglet absolutely nailed the scene where Fréd goes to the club to tell Gabriel about Aurore’s death. If there ever is a Season 2, I would like to spend more time exploring his character.

Final Ending Thoughts

“The Red Shadows” is a compelling show that would have been great to binge in a straight line. It possesses an intricate storyline that requires remembering a lot of little clues. The first (and so far, only, season) set up quite the canvas. By the time of its ending, it seems like “The Red Shadows” revealed, or gave rise to, a crime family.

The ending leaves this viewer wondering if there is not more to explore where the Garniers are concerned. Clara still needs answers and a chance to bond with her family. There is a considerable bit of backstory regarding her life that remains unanswered. It stands to reason that figures from Clara’s past could always come back to haunt her in a theoretical Season 2.

Loose Ends and Season 2?

What does the future hold for the hotel? In the finale, Fréd and Gabriel act as though that is not an issue despite both desperately desiring its sale earlier. I suppose Fréd is not in as much of a hurry since he got rid of his grandfather, who he wanted to be out from under.

Much like France’s “The Bonfire of Destiny” ending, there are a myriad of potential stories left to tell and loose ends to tie up if there were a Season 2. “The Red Shadows” created a fascinating world in a short period. Who is to say what it could do if given a second season to develop it? Of course, the mystery that started it all has been solved...for the most part.

You can currently stream “The Red Shadows” (“Les Ombres Rouges”) in its entirety on Sundance Now. The series is one of many great shows available to watch now.