Swallow ending explained – what happens to Tolani and Rose?

October 2, 2021
Christina Geani 0
Ending Explained, Netflix

This article contains major spoilers, including for Swallow’s ending.

Swallow is a Nigerian social issue drama that tells a story about Tolani, a naive secretary that gets involved in drug smuggling with her friend, Rose. It covers diverse issues such as drug smuggling, misogyny, corruption, the patriarchal system, and poverty. To quickly recap what’s happening, Tolani and Rose are working at the same Bank in Lagos. One day, Rose is fired because she slaps their boss, Solako. Nobody believes her about his harassment towards her, including Tolani. Moreover, she refuses to fill in the report because Rose no longer believes in the system.

After Rose gets fired, Tolani is transferred to fill in her position. Meanwhile, Rose occasionally starts seeing OC, a rich guy that both of them meet at the market. After their encounter, Rose starts to enjoy his wealth, until he asks her to do something for him that reveals the reason behind it. Back to Rose, she finally understands what Rose is dealing with in Solako. He tries to harass her but she ends up getting all the gossip and had her reports about the harassment declined by her co-workers. Moreover, her relationship with her long-term boyfriend is not going anywhere either. The question is, what exactly happens to Tolani that makes her so distressed upon her arrival in her hometown? What is going to happen to Rose? Does Tolani marry Sanwoo in the end? Well, let’s finds out. 

So after experiencing sexual harassment from Solako, Tolani reminisces back to her mother’s words when she was a child: the only way to prove our dignity is to take care of ourselves from men. The event triggers her to fill in the report to the headquarters yet the co-workers are too scared to admit the reports, for now. She also starts to reconsider lending her money to her long-term boyfriend. But later, she still lends it anyway only to lose all of her money due to Sanwo being manipulated and tricked by his friends. He swears to pay her money back, but Tolani swears that she does not want to see him anymore. Left with nothing, Tolani remembers her father’s words that nothing is permanent in this life.

So after Rose reveals that OC is working as a drug smuggler, she asks Tolani to join her to end their poverty. Tolani refuses the offer until she loses all of her money due to her boyfriend’s carelessness and frustration about the injustice and patriarchal system at the bank. She finally reconsiders giving it a try. Rose helps Tolani with practicing how to swallow her drugs but she fails multiple times, but she still determines to learn how to do it. Later, the two plan everything for their departure for their upcoming illegal activities. 

After attending Church with Ignatius, where she witnesses the corruption that the priest is complicit it, Tolani mocks his faith which leads to quarrels. At that time, Tolani begins to remember her father’s teaching about seeking help by sticking to their faith and traditions especially in hopelessness. Tolani decides to withdraw from the plans to drug smuggling resulting in Rose’s angst towards her. She tries to warn Rose for the last time. But nobody can stop Rose from breaking away from poverty. 

The next day, Tolani confronts Solako with three bird feathers and ashes. She uses the traditional ways to get what she wants. She demands her holiday rights and uses her methods by cursing his family and blowing the ashes and feathers upon him. But it works. He grants her holiday rights. She also reconciles with Ignatius afterward due to their quarrels about differences in faith. 

It is also one day before Rose’s departure, the two share a moment where Rose apologizes for her actions towards Tolani. The saddest part is that Rose has been living by being taken advantage of the system, there are no more dignity leaves for her to fight. 

At the airport, Rose anxiously swallows the drugs. She successfully passes the immigration and passport check. Meanwhile, after successfully receiving her holiday, Tolani is asking her house mother to guard her room where later, the woman warns her to be careful of drug smugglers upon reading the newspaper which makes her uncomfortable. Rose, on the other hand, is seen sitting on the plane on her way to England. Suddenly, her face turns pale and her body starts to react oddly. She begins to have difficulty in breathing. The passenger next to her is panicky asking about her condition; she keeps her mouth shut followed by her tears. It turns out, it is the last time we ever see her on-screen. Rose did not make it to England. The drugs pack that she is hiding inside of her body unravels, leading to her death. As the newspaper says, “A drug smuggler dies mid-ways at the planes to England.”

Upon Rose’s death, OC tries to get rid of all the evidence and witness to save himself. He sneaks to Tolani’s room at night and warns her to move far away from the city if she wants to stay alive. He blames her for Rose’s death. After hearing about Rose’s death, Tolani breaks down into tears while repeating the words, “I have already warned you, Rose.” 

Swallow ending

The scenes later are the continuous scene from the beginning of the film. Tolani finally opens up to her mother about her life. Tolani decides to breaks away from Lagos. Surprisingly, her boyfriend comes to visit her house. After three years she begs for him to come, the time finally comes. Her mother gives the two of them some room for privacy. He informs her that he finally got a decent job at the consultant office. He is now working as an accountant and pays her money back. He promises to pay her the rest the next time he receives his paycheck. The two finally reconcile and they walk hand in hand in the village. Her boyfriend, who has no idea about what’s going on, asks about Rose’s whereabouts. Tolani vaguely answers, “She’s home,” followed by her boyfriend’s reply, “Good. Everyone deserves a rest,”

The two shares a kiss as they part ways. Tolani is asking for help to pack her remaining things at Lugos. He promises to do what she asks him to and come back. So it seems that Tolani is leaving her job and everything behind. Well, I guess we can all conclude it’s a fair ending for Tolani after all the drama she goes through. Everyone deserves a rest.

You can stream Swallow exclusively on Netflix. Did you have any thoughts about the Swallow ending? Let us know in the comments.

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