Revenant Season 1 Episode 12 Recap and Ending Explained

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: July 29, 2023
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Revenant Season 1 Episode 12 Recap and Ending Explained


Revenant delivers a satisfying, surprisingly emotional conclusion as it lays its ghost story to rest.

This article contains spoilers for the ending of Revenant Season 1 Episode 12. 

The hardest thing a streaming drama can do these days is end. For all the complaining people do about “cancel culture”, there is nothing more at risk of being canceled than your favorite show. That’s why they never end. A finale these days is basically synonymous with “cliffhanger”.

So, Revenant had its work cut out. The good news is that after weeks of getting its money’s worth out of what by all accounts has been a fairly standard demonic possession story, it had the decency to provide a helping of satisfaction with its resolution.

Revenant Season 1 Ending Explained

What does Hyangi ask San-yeong’s mother to do?

Things begin with Hyangi, empowered by the retrieval of all five objects, fully taking over San-yeong’s body. Essentially in disguise she returns to her mother’s café, and tries to avoid suspicion by taking the piece of the jade headpiece Hong-sae hands her with her right hand, rather than her left (remember that previous plot point about Hyangi being left-handed.)

Hae-sang remains unconvinced, though, and so too does San-yeong’s mother. Hyangi isn’t having that, so the two of them have something of a disagreement. With San-yeong trapped in the same nebulous purgatory where Hyangi has been languishing, fighting off a faceless long-haired ghost that owes a debt, like all of these things, to Samara from The Ring, her mother has to bargain for her freedom. Hyangi makes the terms pretty clear – kill Hae-sang.  

Speaking of Hae-sang, he’s busy trying to banish Hyangi by placing the five objects with protective rope at the sites of Hyangi’s victims and burning a talisman with Hyangi’s name on it in the same spots. When San-yeong’s mother comes at him with a knife, he isn’t especially surprised. Through the information she gives him and his own observations he deduces that San-yeong has switched places with Hyangi.

What is the key to getting rid of Hyangi?

Hong-sae also knows something’s up and follows San-yeong through various shops, noting down her moves. He eventually deduces that she plans to poison San-yeong’s mother, but he’s promptly confronted by Hyangi herself, who thanks to the discovery of the fifth object no longer has the power to influence people to go after their desires. Still, the spirit is adamant that things aren’t looking good for San-yeong either way.

Hong-sae receives a call about the investigation into Hae-sang’s grandmother’s death and rushes over there to give him the news – grandma left a message before dying. Putting two and two together, and recalling the death of Mokdan, Hae-sang is able to recall that Mokdan’s preserved finger was the source of the ghost. So, Hyangi’s digit must be laying around somewhere, and discovering it could bring an end to the ghoul, but they can’t find it anywhere.

How is Hyangi defeated?

When San-yeong’s mother returns home and tells Hyangi that they’re looking for her finger, Hyangi hands her a glass of poisoned juice and tells her San-yeong will be spared if she necks it. She also messages Hong-sae with a lure, using San-yeong’s mother’s phone to claim Hyangi is trying to kill her, but it’s a blunder since Hae-sang never told her the ghost’s name.

Through possessing San-yeong, Hyangi can remember seeing where the box with the finger in it was hidden. Once it’s revealed, though, Hae-sang arrives in the nick of time to snatch it and douse it in oil, preparing to burn it. Seeing the danger, Hyangi starts to attack herself with various furnishings, attempting to kill San-yeong’s body so that she cannot be brought back from “the mirror”.

Seemingly with no choice, Hae-sang hands the box back over, but San-yeong, fighting back from the “other side”, so to speak, summons up the strength to take control and burn the box and finger both.

How does Revenant end?

After her struggles, San-yeong realizes she can fight for herself and the life she wants to live. She can care for her loved ones and take control of her future, making the most of every moment. Her worsening eye condition might be a kind of ticking clock, but she’s even prepared to tell her mother the truth about that once she has recovered from her ordeal.

Hae-sang’s grandmother’s death is ruled as a suicide, and Hae-sang himself continues to give his folklore classes, reassuring his students of his own sanity is not necessarily the sanity of a world in which ghosts keen for revenge freely roam.

And thus, with a firework display, the show ends with the bad spirits being kept away, and the good ones being born aloft on the light, visible to San-yeong and Hae-sang. Whispers of those lost along the way creep into the ears of the main characters as they reflect on what they’ve seen, who they are, and what their futures might hold.

You can stream Revenant Season 1 Episode 12 exclusively on Disney+. What did you think of the ending of Revenant Season 1? Let us know in the comments.

Additional reading:

Disney+, Endings Explained, Streaming Service, TV, TV - Ending Explained, Weekly TV
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