‘Boat Story’ Recap And Ending Explained: What Is The Meaning Of The Post Credit Scene?

The BBC One series Boat Story is a harrowing tale about drugs and violence set in a quaint British town where seemingly nothing ever happens. Much of the events of the series are depicted through the shock these small-town folks are experiencing over something even happening in this hamlet of a town. Even the police don’t take things seriously, and well, the NHS is being NHS even in this limited series. 


All in all, I like the different trajectories that British cinema is taking. Boat Story itself is a Tarantino-esque production. Maybe not that good, but it’s got eccentric characters, guns, drugs, and violence. But someone like me who has absolutely no association with the US or the UK, except for a heavy media consumption habit, would kind of like watching a series like Boat Story. The Americans have used this formula already, but who doesn’t like hearing a bit of that thick cockney (scoff)? The entire theme of the series is pretty much like the criminal drama version of a Morgan Freeman narrative.

Spoilers Ahead


What’s The Story About?

Janet is a single woman in her 30s in the small town of Applebury who recently got ditched by her ex-boyfriend after he got involved with a Christian woman and was ‘born again.’ Her ex-boyfriend, Peter, had a son, Alan, whom Janet was extremely close to. In fact, Alan sees Janet as his own mother, but after getting together with his Christian girlfriend, Peter is against letting Janet anywhere near his son. At times, Peter even threatens her with a restraining order. Janet used to work at a factory until she ended up losing her left hand in a freak accident. To help her ease her pain, her boss offered her some whiskey, which the boss later used against her so that he didn’t have to pay compensation.

Samuel is a black man who recently moved to Applebury with his family. Samuel has a gambling addiction, because of which he lost his house and all his money. Before moving to this small town, he was a lawyer in London, but now he’s trying to run away from the people to whom he owes the money. Samuel’s family knows nothing about the addiction and thinks their recent move was motivated by Samuel’s own interests. 


Both Janet and Samuel are down on their luck. They’re broke and in need of a significant financial breakthrough. This is until they come across a boat full of cocaine and two dead bodies while walking their dogs on the local beach. Janet and Samuel know nothing about each other, but uncovering this mysterious treasure trove gets Samuel thinking. Despite her initial reluctance, Janet accompanies Samuel in stealing the contraband before someone else finds it. Expectedly, shortly after, the bodies on the boat are discovered by another passerby, who reports it to the police. However, as this incident makes the news, the people involved in the drug business follow this cold trail that Janet and Samuel left behind. 

Who Is Responsible For The Shooting At The Police Station?

After finding the cocaine shipment, Janet and Samuel have it stored away from prying eyes at a local storage facility. After the incident makes it to the news, Le Tailleur, or The Tailor, the French drug lord to whom the shipment originally belonged, sends his men to the police station to find out more about the missing shipment. However, his main henchman, Guy, is a rather violent man of his own volition. Accompanied by two other men, Guy arrives at the Applebury police station and massacres the staff present at the station. This complicates things further for The Tailor because, regardless of their notoriety, they still haven’t found the missing shipment. This prompts The Tailor to come to Applebury and see things through with Guy’s help.


How Do Janet And Samuel Make Money From The Cocaine?

Janet and Samuel, though strangers to each other, jump on the chance to make some money when they find the shipment. After having stored it away, Samuel uses his contacts as a lawyer to find a buyer who can afford to purchase the entire shipment, which eventually leads him to Vinnie. Samuel visits Craig in prison, and is a former client of his and is about to finish his sentence for drug-related charges. After Craig’s meeting with Samuel, he mentions the details of his conversation to his cellmate Andy, who is also being released soon. Having owed money to Vinnie before his imprisonment, Andy spills the news about Craig’s friend, who is selling cocaine. In the meantime, Samuel and Janet come up with an alias claiming to work for the Kosovar Group, an anonymous drug trafficking organization from Albania. Vinnie and his men, being a naive gang of hoodlums, buy their cover and offer them $5 million for their product. 

How Does The Tailor Catch Up With Samuel And Janet?

After receiving the money, Janet and Samuel both have plans with their newfound wealth. Janet uses the money to bribe Peter to not move to Australia so that she can stay near Alan, which seems to work as she offers Peter a huge amount of money. Samuel, on the other hand, burns a chunk of this money on gambling. Meanwhile, Guy finally tracks down Samuel to his house. During a family dinner at Samuel’s, to which Janet is also invited, Guy overhears Janet and Samuel discuss the money, confirming his suspicions. The next day, on their way to retrieve the money kept at the storage unit, Guy confronts them for stealing and holds them at gunpoint to get them to return the amount to him; however, the money is missing from the storage. After finally finding the money that was stolen by the manager of the storage, Guy takes Samuel and Janet to finally meet The Tailor. Handing the French man back his money, Samuel admits that he spent almost half a million of it, but The Tailor discloses that the cocaine that they sold was worth over 10 million, which was double the amount that they had been paid by Vinnie. Normally, The Tailor would’ve executed them then and there, but circumstances have changed for the French drug lord as well. 


How Does The Tailor Meet Pat Tooh?

Pat Tooh is a woman running a bakery in Applebury. Her son, Ben, is a police constable who has taken it upon himself to catch the people behind the police station massacre. The Tailor meets Pat after he tracks down the person who first reported the boat to the police. However, after disclosing everything she knows to the French man, their encounter turns sweet and they end up sleeping together. Since then, The Tailor has become a frequent visitor for Pat. She finds it a bit strange, considering that he’s a French man she knows nothing about, turning him down. For The Tailor, however, this is the first time that he has been in love. He has spent his entire life in this vicious line of business, only caring about the money he makes. However, after meeting Pat Tooh, he has a new outlook on life. After trying to convince Pat, she gives it some thought and decides to date The Tailor. 

How Does The Tailor Get Shot?

In an attempt to rid themselves of the drug lord, Janet and Samuel hatch a plan so that Vinnie and The Tailor’s gangs will eliminate each other in a standoff. After being given 24 hours to return with the rest of the $5 million they owed the Frenchman, Janet strategically escapes and finds Vinnie, while Samuel distracts Guy, trying to invoke empathy in the otherwise cold henchman. Janet steals a 3D-printed model of Samuel’s face from his house and shows it to Vinnie to convince him that the real Kosovar was upset that Janet and Samuel used their names. She adds that, in defense, she had used Vinnie’s involvement, which is why the Kosovars are now coming for him as well. The French man and Guy arrive at the venue along with Vinnie and his men. As the confrontation turns violent, The Tailor has Vinnie shot dead along with the rest of his men. Seeking opportunity in the chaos, Janet and Samuel make a run for it but are cornered by Guy. In defense, Janet grabs a gun and shoots The Tailor, who immediately collapses. 


What Is The Tailor’s Secret?

Throughout the series, it is depicted as if Tailor had lost his twin brother and father in a car accident when he was a child. This story had been a source of Pat’s sympathy towards her new lover as well. When The Tailor opened his eyes after his accident, Madame Bethune was the person who found him and nursed him back to health. His relationship with the older woman had never been revealed, but it is suggested that the French man saw the woman in Pat. This resemblance was a part of the reason for his infatuation with Pat as well. 

After getting shot, The Tailor is admitted to the hospital and miraculously survives the ordeal. Pat pays him a visit, asking him about how he got shot, but isn’t too convinced by the excuse he gives. Out of suspicion, she looks through his wallet when he’s not looking and finds an old cutout from a newspaper referring to Les Enfants, a really old black-and-white French movie. It turns out that The Tailor never had a twin or a Madam Bethune in his life. He had been obsessed with the movie since he was a child. The movie had been an escape for him throughout his difficult childhood. He especially had a core memory associated with this movie, when his father had requested that he watch it while he murdered his mother. Additionally, Pat had an uncanny resemblance to the actress who played Madame Bethune. 


Why Does The Tailor Let Janet And Samuel Go?

After getting shot, The Tailor has a change of mind about his violent ways. In resemblance to the events of his favorite movie, he wakes up to Pat tending to him at the hospital, which makes him give up everything else and get away with his lover. In the meantime, Guy wants to tie up loose ends and wishes to bring in Janet and Samuel, who are in hiding, for his boss. To lure Janet in, he abducts Alan to gain leverage over her. He awaits Janet at her house but is confronted by Ben Tooh, and ends up killing him. Finding out about this, Samuel confesses his secret about the whole ordeal to his family and locks them up in a container to protect them from The Tailor. Janet and Samuel then proceed to abduct Pat as a bargaining tool in exchange for Alan. In addition to Alan’s safe return, Samuel demands the money that they had handed over to the old man. The Tailor, presumably a changed man now to ensure the safety of his lover, agrees to their demands. After a successful exchange, he lets Janet and Samuel get away with Alan and the money. 

How Does The Tailor Die?

Even after having the money and Alan back safe with her, Janet feels anxious about Pat being with the old man. Especially after finding out about Ben’s murder, Janet feels empathetic that Pat is with the man who is responsible for her son’s death. She therefore heads to The Tailor’s boat, where he plans to sail away with his lover. On the way to the boat with Alan, suspicious that The Tailor might be living his own rendition of the movie in his head, she watches Le Enfants only to realize that the main character kills Madame Bethune and eats her in the end. Sneaking onto the boat, Janet confronts Pat and tells her about the movie, but before they can get away, The Tailor calls Pat for dinner. Using this opportunity to cause a distraction, Janet attacks the old man, who overpowers her instead. However, to save Janet’s life, Pat deals the final blow, killing The Tailor. In the aftermath, Janet reveals her son,  Ben’s fate to Pat. 


What Happens To Janet, Samuel, And Pat?

Janet and Samuel had supposedly split the money equally; however, it was later revealed that Samuel had been tricked by Janet. The bag in which he carried the money actually contained Alan’s tuba instead of the money. Samuel was even abandoned by his family because of his reckless behavior. After a brief arrest on suspicion of Ben’s murder, the charges against him were dropped once the truth about the situation was clarified to the authorities. Left without the money and his family, he felt guilty about his gambling addiction, which made him join a gambling addiction support group. It was here that he found a book editor with whom he wrote a hypothetical memoir about the incidents in his life. His book became a bestseller and got its own play and film adaptation. As for his share of the money, Janet gave the $2 million to his wife and daughter, as she felt bad for the way Samuel had treated them. It has not been clear whether Janet found a legal way to unite with her son, but she is seen in a European country with Alan as they spend time joyfully listening to jazz. Quite naturally, Pat had a tough time moving on from her son’s death, but even so, she resolved that she would never live a life of excitement again, until she came across a Spanish man. 

What Is The Meaning Of The Post Credit Scene?

Boat Story ends with a very unexpected and unsettling post-credit scene. I was actually expecting it to be Morgan Freeman, in all honesty, but who I was not expecting was Billy Nixon from The Tourist. It turns out that the narrator is Elias, played by Olafur Olafsson. In the brief scene, Elias seems to be narrating the entire story to a man he has taken hostage. It seems as if he’s trying to address the moral in this story and how the mistakes that Janet and Samuel made have had such a huge impact on him as well. He comforts the hostage in a manner similar to Samuel comforting Janet the first time they came across the boat. Dressed in a priest’s habit, he wields his shotgun and heads out as the police arrive at the venue. 


Being a limited series, it is unlikely that there is going to be a second season, but Elias was probably inspired by this story to take the actions that he did. Samuel had no plan when he convinced Janet to steal the cocaine from the boat, but probably Elias did, as he seemed sure that his story would not end up the way Samuel and Janet’s did. This scene makes us wonder if there is an ulterior meaning to this story altogether. Was this story even real in the universe where Elias exists? Objectively, it is not impossible for two strangers to find the opportunity to make millions and actually take it up. It is very much possible that Samuel did release this bestseller and people like Elias came across it. Perhaps Samuel’s book ended up becoming a bible for people like Elias who are at a dead end. 

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Shrey Ashley Philip
Shrey Ashley Philip
A teacher, photographer, linguist, and songwriter, Shrey started out as a Biotechnology graduate, but shifted to studying Japanese. Now he talks about movies, advocates for ADHD awareness, and embraces Albert Camus.

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