Leo Ending Explained – Why does Ms. Malkin abandon Leo?

By Amanda Guarragi
Published: November 20, 2023
Leo (2023) ending explained
Leo (2023) | Image via Netflix

In Leo (2023) on Netflix, the titular lizard wants to help the students, and while he does that he tends to forget that he wanted to escape. Unfortunately, during the film’s ending, he finally gets to visit the Everglades — but not quite in the manner that he intended.

The more students take Leo home, the more he tells each of them that he has a special connection with them. Everyone loves Leo and he starts collecting a handful of phones so he can stay in touch with the children. He’s texting each of them on different devices and giving them advice throughout the week.

Squirtle is so tired of what he sees that he records Leo talking to multiple students at once and he livestreams it to their phones. The students are saddened to find out that Leo thought they were all special which dampened their relationship with him. They built their friendship on trust because they would share their thoughts with him and no one else. So then the students think that he had been sharing their secrets with other members of the class.

Leo (2023) Ending Explained

Why does Ms. Malkin abandon Leo?

While this meeting happens in the classroom Ms. Malkin enters and catches Leo speaking. She knows that the good behavior from the students and the unity isn’t coming from her being a good teacher but from a lizard giving them good advice. Ms. Malkin then takes Leo home and they have a heart-to-heart. He hopes that she remembers that little girl from the fifth grade and how excited she was to learn.

She has lost the joy of teaching because no one has given her a chance to have her classroom, she has been substituting for years. He wants to help her but she is set in her ways. She knows that she can become a full-time teacher without Leo helping the students and getting by on her merit. It isn’t until Ms. Malkin’s students win the award to go to a theme park that she decides she needs to get rid of Leo for good.

Does Leo survive?

Ms. Malkin drops Leo off on the outskirts of the Everglades National Park. He has always said that he wanted to go to the Everglades but not the way Ms. Malkin does it. She lies to him and says that the students lost the competition and that they were so upset with him. She said that they didn’t need him anymore. So Leo has to fend for himself and walk through the Everglades on his own. On his journey, he finds other animals, but more importantly, he finds other lizards who help him understand that he has decades more to go and that he’s not dying. Lizards do not die at 75, they live until they’re 100.

Meanwhile, Squirtle goes to the theme park with all the students and they are all worried about Leo. They don’t know where he went so Squirtle tells them what Ms.Malkin did to him. She has a change of heart in that moment and helps the children get to the Everglades to save Leo. Before the alligators get to him and his friends in the Everglades the students come in with the school bus to save him.

How does Leo end?

They return to the classroom and they each take turns with Leo and Squirtle for the remainder of the year. Squirtle and Leo say goodbye to all the students and Ms. Malkin wants to keep them as class pets for her permanent classroom next year. Unfortunately for the three of them, they are stuck with the pre-schoolers.

What did you think of the ending of Leo (2023)? Comment below.

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