The Believers Ending Explained – Religion Remains A Racket

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: March 30, 2024 (Last updated: 3 weeks ago)
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The Believers Ending Explained - Religion Remains A Racket
The Believers | Image via Netflix

WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS

The Believers gets darker and more complex as it goes along, so it’s really no surprise that its ending isn’t entirely complete. What begins as a relatively light drama about three friends trying to clear a bad debt by taking advantage of the pious morphs into something else entirely, with many more moving parts than initially expected. Luckily, we’re here to break it all down, explore how religion intersects with capitalism, and explain what happened to everyone at the end of Season 1.

The Believers Season 1 Ending Explained

The three friends at the heart of the show, Win, Dear, and Game, find themselves in hot water with dangerous creditors after their NFT game business goes bust. Forced to think outside the box to come up with a solution, they decide to modernize a failing Buddhist temple and market it to a fresh demographic so they can use the profits to pay off the dangerous loan shark, Yossaphat, who funded and subsequently ruined their business.

The temple of choice is the Phummaram Temple, a run-down place of worship monitored by a caretaker, Tang, and an aging Abbot. Tang’s a delinquent who already blows the near-untraceable donation money on his extracurricular activities, so he’s happy to agree to the trio’s proposal. They also recruit the semi-famed Monk Dol to draw crowds. But things start to go wrong on two fronts: One, when Monk Ekachai returns from Bangkok and becomes concerned about the Abbot’s worsening health, and two, when Tang allows his drinking buddies access to the temple for private services that include an underground drug ring.

Soon, the cops – and one in particular named Yod – are sniffing around the place, the temple is a scandal, and the money dries up. Tang returns after hiding from the law to try and extort Game and ends up dead in mysterious circumstances, and Yod rumbles Win’s scheme of selling religious amulets.

Tang’s Killer

As we mentioned in our review of The Believers, the introduction of the drug plot is where the show goes a little off the rails, since it drags things into murkier territory than the unethical but not quite illegal religious economy. And that all happens through Tang.

When Tang turns up dead, then, it’s not a shock or a tragedy. But it is a mystery. The culprit turns out to be Ekachai. But why?

Well, Ekachai has a mission to promote Buddhism far and wide, seemingly by any means necessary. He needs control of the temple to do it, and he needs the temple to be popular. This aligns his goals with Win’s, since he also needs the temple to be popular for the financial upsides. Win brought the crowds and took the money; Ekachai enjoyed the crowds and took the power and influence. Worsening the Abbot’s health was just a part of that power grab. Killing Tang was protecting the scheme from the negative attention he kept encouraging – as well as preventing him from using any leverage he might have had to shut down the operation.

Win, Dear, and Game Are Exonerated… Sort Of

The wheeling and dealing of the central trio had to catch up with them eventually, and it does when Ekachai’s promotion of Game to Monk’s Assistant provides a direct link between the temple’s funds and Win, Dear, and Game. Despite having swerved a lot of outright illegality and been careful not to leave a trail of their activities behind, there’s enough to justify an arrest.

However, Yod’s boss mysteriously shuts the case down. Win and Dear go inexplicably free. Well… “free” isn’t quite the word. They’re promptly introduced to their benefactor, a local politician who had made substantial donations to the Phummaram Temple and had a vested interest in its continued operation. Recognising Win, Dear, and Game can apply the same strategies to other provincial temples, they’re blackmailed into working for a crooked politician rather than being at the mercy of a dangerous loan shark. Out of the frying pan…

A Potential Season 2

Needless to say, the ending of The Believers hardly brings the story to a close. In fact, the plot remains very much open and ongoing, and it’s only complicated further by the enduring mystery of Win’s father’s mysterious disappearance.

Yod, annoyed at the turn of events, wants Win and his friends to rat out the politician’s connections to the temples in exchange for information about Win’s father. Since Win also finds a clue imploring him to investigate his father’s disappearance, this remains a major thread that could be explored in a potential Season 2.

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