Episode 7 is a well-paced, tense and captivating ending as the lead character deals with her demons and finds her place in the world.
This recap of Netflix limited series The Queen’s Gambit episode 7, “End Game” — the ending explained — contains significant spoilers.
We recapped every episode — check out the archive.
The finale begins with young Beth with her biological mother — they head to her father’s new house, and her mother begs him for help, but he tells her to leave. They drive off, and her mother says they have a problem to solve — the problem is Beth.
The ending of The Queen’s Gambit gives Beth her final demons — episode 7 is whether or not she can overcome them and achieve what she set out to do.
Beth wants a drink
In the present day, Jolene checks out her house — she tells Beth that Mr Shaibel has died and invites her to the funeral. Jolene explains how she’s training to be paralegal — she seems to have got her life in order and wants to be a lawyer. Jolene checks out her bathroom cabinet and sees the tranquillisers. Beth admits if she doesn’t go to Russia, she will drink. She knows she needs to train, but all she wants is a drink.
Revisiting the orphanage
Episode 7 sees Beth go full circle — it’s almost like the character needs this experience to bring her back to where she needs to be.
Beth raises how it might be in her blood as her biological mother went crazy. Jolene tells her she needs to dig herself out and gives her a present; it’s the book “Modern Openings” that she stole from the orphanage. Beth and Jolene visit their orphanage; Beth does not want to go inside, but they still attend the funeral.
After the funeral, Beth changes her mind and enters the orphanage. She walks around the place and senses nostalgia. In the basement, Beth sees loads of newspaper cuttings that Mr Shaibel left behind of all her achievements and headline stories. Beth returns to Jolene with a photo of her and Mr Shaibel and sobs.
It’s here that the character realises that she has a lot of people in her life that love and admire her. She’s not as alone as she thought.
Sticking to her values
Christian Crusade visits Beth, and they want her to make a statement against communism because they feel it spreads atheism. Beth isn’t comfortable with the statement as she doesn’t feel she is Christian. The organisation officials are not happy that she will not comply, especially as they have funded her — Beth gives them back their money. She rings Benny later, and he thinks she is crazy. Beth asks Benny if he has money to help her, but he insists he doesn’t have it — she doesn’t want to go to Russia by herself. Benny is angry at her for not coming back to New York.
Jolene’s kind offer
Beth needs funding, so she rings around authorities and banks. While playing squash with Jolene, she admits to regretting buying the house. Jolene offers to pay for Beth’s trip and admits to following her career as well. She wants to be there for Beth, like family.
The Netflix series has always led up to this point — Russia. It had to be Russia where Beth needed to overcome her demons.
As part of her trip, Beth has security from the State Department. Her security lays down the rules on the plane — she has to report anything suspicious, and she’s not allowed to drink. Beth keeps mocking the complex rules as some of them lack common sense.
The Russians love chess
The tournament is set up intensely; the Russians take the occasion very seriously. Ironically, in the audience, there’s a Russian female champion that has never faced men. Beth eases through the first round. She’s struggling to adjust to the culture — it’s not like Paris where she can shop, drink and waste money. She also sees how many people in Russia play chess — it’s part of the culture. The more rounds she wins, her popularity rises with the locals with Beth having to sign loads of autographs.
Beating famous grandmasters
Beth continues beating formidable grandmasters — in one of the games, they have to adjourn as it’s getting late. Before she heads to her room, she sees her latest opponent with Borgov trying to plan her defeat. Beth returns to her room and practises the plays. When the game resumes, Beth beats him. The opponent tells her that she’s the best chess player he’s ever played.
Getting over her demons
One night, Beth goes to bed and remembers her biological mother calling her the problem. Her mother asks her to close her eyes as she speeds up the car. Beth then empties her tranquillisers down the toilet.
This is a big moment for Beth as she’s beginning to recognise her past and how it is feeding her addiction. The Queen’s Gambit ending is finding a light at the end of the tunnel for the character.
An old flame returns
In the final, she’s once again playing Borgov. The crowd are on tenterhooks. She’s forcing Borgov against his own style, but it’s a close game — Borgov suddenly adjourns. Before Beth heads to her hotel room, journalists ask her questions and then Townes shows up and gets her attention. The pair hug it out.
Time to strategize
Townes tells Beth that she broke his heart. They both forgive each other for the past and the confusion that they both faced. Beth tells Townes that she needs the pills and alcohol to win — she feels it needs to be cloudy for her to focus but Townes questions if she needs them. The next morning, Benny and Harry and her friends ring her with a strategy to finish Borgov. Beth is elated that her friends ring her — she feels loved. They give her a break down of variations.
Beth versus Borgov part 3
The finale returns to the game, and it’s as tense as ever. Borgov plays a pawn in a way he wasn’t meant to that completely takes Beth by surprise. She takes a deep breath, looks at the ceiling and imagines the rest of the chess plays. Everyone is confused to what she’s doing looking up — she finds her move. Borgov suddenly looks nervous and has a look of defeat on his face. He offers a draw which he rarely does. Beth doesn’t accept the draw. It’s all about the end game. She makes her final move, and she looks shocked as she knows what she has just achieved. A slight smile stretches on Borgov’s face, and he says “It’s your game” and resigns. He takes defeat gracefully and hugs her. The entire crowd applaud Beth. Her friends back at home hear the news and explode into celebrations.
This feels like a joyous moment because the Netflix series has done well to build up to this defining moment — Borgov was always the opponent Beth desperately wanted to beat, and she did it in the toughest place: Russia.
Beth is elated at her win — her security guard tells her that the President has invited her to the White House and it’s a big deal that she’s beat the Soviets at their own game. She’s told that they will give her talking points for the White House dinner. Beth asks if she can leave the car and walk — her security guard expresses that she will miss the plane. She walks through Moscow and sees plenty of older people playing chess. They all stand up and shake her hand. She decides to play chess with one of them and the series ends.
This scene signaled that Beth had finally found her place in the world — all episode she felt out of place in Moscow, but the ending of The Queen’s Gambit sees her amongst people she can walk amongst. Noticeably throughout the final episode, Beth removes herself from politics and religion. Her neutral view spoke volumes in the story — she did not want to be known as a “pawn” for political or religious gain — she wanted to be known as the best chess player in the world. This serves parallels to the start of the series where all her interviews were about how she was a woman and that irked her.
The Queen’s Gambit episode 7 is a well-paced, tense, and captivating ending as the lead character deals with her demons and finds her place in the world.