Not Okay ending explained — will Rowan discover Danni’s secret?

By Marc Miller
Published: July 29, 2022 (Last updated: February 1, 2023)
Not Okay ending explained — will Rowan discover Danni's secret?

This article contains major spoilers for the ending of Not Okay.

Ready Steady Cut film critic M.N. Miller calls Not OkayA lightning quick, irreverent comedy with a breakout performance from Don’t Make Me Go’s Mia Isaac!”

The new dark, satirical comedy from writer and director Quinn Shephard, Not Okay, follows Zoey Deutch as Danni Sanders, an ignorant millennial employed as a photo editor. She is in her late 20s or early 30s and regrets not being around for 9/11. Yes, you read that correctly. Why? Naturally, she missed that she was not a witness to feeling a sense of community afterward because she could not bond with her peers. The poor thing was on a cruise with her parents and sadly never knew anyone who died during the tragedy.

Her boss cannot stand her because she has no idea on insensitive her actions and comments are. Her coworkers do not respect her because she is unknowingly disrespectful to disadvantaged groups — she thinks minorities have it all because they have a sense of community, like LGBTQ+ bowling nights. Oh, and she does not know most of their names and refuses to acknowledge said names when corrected. Even her mother (Embeth Davidtz) will not spend a night hanging out with her.

Danni also has a crush on a social media star from Maine, Colin (The Outfit’s Dylan O’Brien), who causes her to stammer and lie after a chance encounter. She tells him she is going to a writer’s retreat in France. She lies to her boss to get time off. Danni lies to her parents, so they will send her money to pay for it. However, as Danni is sleeping in her Bushwick apartment while she is supposed to be in France, a terrorist attack occurs. This happened after she made fake posts about being in Paris that day. Danni takes pictures all over New York and photoshops them to make it look like she is having the time of her life in the land of love.

Danni is given a sense of love and self-worth when she gets concerned with direct messages on social media making sure she is okay — even from Colin. She heads to the airport, puts on her red beret, then quickly mixes in with a flight of Americans returning from the tragedy. A camera crew is there that captures her being embraced by her parents, who are shedding tears of joy. To keep up the ruse, Danni visits support groups of someone who survives the type of gun violence.

There, she meets Rowan (a fantastic Mia Isaac), who survived a school shooting, but lost her big sister. Under Rowan’s help, Dannie writes an essay on her “experiences” that brought her social media fame and sparked the #NotOkay movement, symbolized by her red beret. They become remarkably close, but with each passing day, Danni begins to refocus her priorities from people like Colin to Rowan’s plight. Whether she had a warped case of Munchausen’s syndrome (yes, I know it does not fit, but this is like self-sabotage), or histrionic personality disorder (HPD), it all led to her finding a community of peers under a false pretense. Eventually, when Rowan is in the hospital for a panic attack, Danni can no longer look her in the eyes.

Hulu’s Not Okay’s ending explained

Eventually, her coworker Harper (Servant‘s Nadia Alexander) puts it together. She tells Danni that either she will author her own story about Danni’s little game, or she can come clean. So, Danni wrote a piece for her job and posted it online, explaining her actions and apologizing. Danni loses her job, must move back in with her parents, and loses Rowan’s friendship.

Danni joins a “canceled” support group. There, they suggest she apologize to the people she hurt. Yes, she already did that online. However, they mean in person. How? Danni will show up to open mike night for local artists that Rowan frequents. She has her speech all written out, but unknowingly, Rowan takes the stage for a spoken word poem performance (as Danni says, this sounds like Hamilton). She delivers a powerful speech on how Danni stole her voice, took her sister’s place, and eventually will forgive her, but they will never be okay.

Danni realizes there is nothing she can say to fix what she did. She rises from her seat, turns to leave, and walks up the stairs until she disappears into the dark shadows. Danni allows Rowan to have her time so she can stand up and no longer sit down.

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