‘Keep Breathing’ Ending, Explained: Does Liv Make It Out Alive?

Netflix has just added a new miniseries, “Keep Breathing,” to the existing line-up of survival dramas. But this series turns out to show more human psychics than its survival traits. Here we incessantly see the protagonist’s dreams, delusions, and flashbacks throughout the six episodes, which usually we don’t expect much from a survival thriller. Still, this series manages to engage the audience because everyone wants to see how the protagonist thrives till the end. This show has amazing locations, wonderful camera work, and subtle acting by Liv (Melissa Barrera), the protagonist. But due to the director’s lack of clear vision, we deviate from the main plot repeatedly. Even so, what we saw in this 6-episode drama might have been enough for a two-hour movie. Anyway, now that “Keep Breathing” has been launched as a series, let’s take a long breath and discuss it in detail.

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Spoilers Ahead


Why Does Liv Want To Go To Inuvik?

“Keep Breathing” begins with the protagonist, Liv, sitting at the airport with the sound of a baby wailing in the background, which she seems to be listening to very intently. Then when the authorities inform Liv that her flight to Inuvik has got stuck, she loses patience and starts to shout at them. She constantly says that she has someone to meet. We can barely assume who that is, but it must be some important person in her life. And we soon realize that Liv is so obsessed with meeting that person that she does something that anyone else would think twice about. Overhearing two strangers discussing going to Inuvik, she directly approaches them to take her with them on their plane. This obsession is quite unbelievable and terrifying. This shows us that Liv has some past with the person she is going to meet. That could be the only reason for her desperation.

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Then we see Liv getting on the plane without having any doubt in her mind. As the plane takes off, mid-flight, Liv comes to know that the two co-pilots are actually from National Geographic. Liv calmly dives into her memories with the headphones on. And in some flashbacks of her memories, we see her colleague, Danny, who seems to be her lover. We see them having dinner together, talking, and getting close to each other through her flashbacks. Liv gets a message from Dany on her phone saying that he wants to talk to her. But talk about what? What is Liv even so upset about? It’s questionable whether we also see a bit of guilt on her face. 

Suddenly, Liv’s peace is disturbed by the increasing turbulence, and we see the plane crash into the forest trees and plunge straight into the water of a basin. Liv regains consciousness of being inside the plane, which is upside down due to the accident. We see the two co-pilots scrambling to escape. Luckily, Liv is not hurt, but she tries to save the other two. One of the pilots dies after a piece of metal penetrates his leg. He bleeds profusely and cannot even breathe in the depths of the water. But the other pilot, Sam, gets out of the plane anyway. Liv, knowing how to swim, saves Sam and brings him to shore. The way we saw Liv talking to the airport receptionist or Sam or her friend Ruth over the phone in a very rude tone, we get an idea that she is an arrogant and tough person, but her efforts to save Sam show that she has a heart of gold. We don’t see Liv giving up after that. She even tries to save Sam, but unfortunately, a sharp object penetrates his leg, and he bleeds vigorously. Liv uses her scarf and a stick to make a tourniquet, which finally stops his bleeding. But the big problem occurs when neither Liv’s nor Sam’s phones have any signal to contact. After many attempts, when the tower fails to match, a frustrated Liv hopes that National Geographic will send the right people to the rescue. But the next morning, the real mystery is revealed. 

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Liv’s Struggle To Be Alive

In between, we see Liv knocking on the door of her own memories. Sometimes, we see her reminiscing about the moments she spent with her lover, Dany, whom she may unknowingly love or want to be close to, as he gives off a positive vibe. We see that when Liv breaks down, she can feel Dany giving her the right advice at the right time. Also, we see the traces of her childhood in the mirror of her memories, where her chaotic mother and domineering father reside. We get a clear impression that Liv has been carrying childhood trauma for a long time. As we peek into Liv’s past, we see how she avoids human interaction because of her traumatized experiences; we see her sick father, whom she wants to see for one last time. But her dreams are shattered the next morning when she discovers Sam’s true identity. Before Sam takes his last breath, he confesses that he is not a National Geographic guy and forbids Liv to hope that someone will come and rescue them. Liv gets an utter shock, and she feels that there is no way to escape.

But the brave and optimistic Liv decides to approach the wreckage of the plane by swimming through the basin, and her preparation for that makes her survival believable enough. We see her floating on water to reach the plane with a pile of wood, and alongside this struggle, we also get glimpses of a horrific event from her past. We see that after the death of her father, an unconscious Liv sets her house on fire after drinking too much. These two simultaneous incidents show Liv’s unconsciousness, other-mindedness, and tendency to get out of a situation even after being victimized. 

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On the way back to shore, Liv finds a wild bear has eaten her remaining power bar, and as the bear moves towards Sam’s corpse, Liv is able to scare the bear away with an indomitable scream. The bear is wild but succumbs to Liv’s wildness. Returning to the shore, she opened Sam’s bags, and we finally got to know how big of a mistake it was for Liv to get on a plane with two strangers. Sam and his friend were actually drug dealers, as evidenced by their having bags full of money and stashes of drugs. But Liv, who is eager to find a way to escape, sets the fire by burning the money with the help of glasses and the sun, drops the drugs from the container, and catches the water from the basin in those jars. But we still see her struggle to gather food and to find a drink. The intelligent Liv took the broken metal parts of the plane and hit it to shape it into a pot and finally contained the water into it to boil it in the fire. Now she has water to drink. She also brings some wild berries from the forest and tastes each of them. But the tastier berries turn out to be poisonous. Later, she gets to know from the poop of the bear exactly which berries in this forest are edible and which are not. So, going out in search of food, she can gather just the right berries for her. But suddenly, in the flowing water of the basin, a great truth is revealed before our eyes. Liv picks up a photo floating in the water, and we see it’s the USG plate of her pregnancy.


Never Ending Delusions

Liv might want to bring this baby into the world and give her everything she didn’t get herself as a child. But now, her situation engages us, and we feel for her character. Liv, we understand, is both intelligent and brave. As soon as she puts herself in danger, she also dares to find a way out. But there are voices in her head from time to time. We hear many forms of this voice, perhaps because of the lack of food and water that is happening to her, which is very normal, or maybe she has experienced this before. But what is this feeling? We have already seen that Sam is dead, but alone; Liv creates a lifeless image of him in her head and interacts with it. Although Sam’s imaginary figure is unlike Liv’s optimism, for her lonesome situation, something is better than nothing at all. Sam’s voice is negative toward her as she eventually characterizes him as a dishonest person. Suddenly, in thick darkness, we see Liv finding a sliver of light, and she sees that light on a distant high hill, which convinces her that her destination is that distant city where the person she came to meet stays. Maybe that is what Liv is really seeing, or it is just one of her delusions. At this stage of her situation, it’s hard for her to verify what is true and what is not.

Liv has been determined to get there no matter what, but is interrupted by an endless stream of memories, where we find out who that special someone is. Delving into Liv’s past, we come to know that her mother was a great artist but clumsy and arrogant. On the contrary, her marital turmoil with her husband was also in the game. When Liv’s parents separated during her childhood, her father became suspicious of Liv’s casual drawing and thought that she might resemble her mother. Burdened by this pressure, she wants to meet her mother once when she grows up and ask her why she left them. That special person in Inuvik is none other than Liv’s mother. To avoid getting lost on the forest road, Liv ties the trees with red string, which she got from Sam’s bags. But in the end, Liv not only loses her way, but while going round and round on the same road, she finally falls into a shallow ditch and injures herself. 


‘Keep Breathing’ Ending Explained: How is Liv going to Make It Out Alive?

Sam’s existence leaves Liv behind, but this time we see her mother’s imaginary figure by her side, who talks to her, and she finds herself once again lost in all the memories of her past. Her delusions race through her head, reminding her of how she’s trying to save her own childhood from trauma and how she mistreated Dany, which makes her feel guilty until she sees the doors of memories opening before her eyes. And we feel Liv’s struggles to learn how to survive in a situation she was never prepared for. She is deprived of her luxurious life, and now life has brought her into this hollow that she loses all hope of escape from. At times, Liv thought of turning to drugs for temporary peace, as she heard her mother’s voice suggest, but she dismissed the thought because she was optimistic about her unborn child. Liv’s mother never thought about her child, but Liv does, and that’s why she ignores her mother’s voice and finds a way to escape into the shallows. Liv crosses that road and finds a bright world, but the danger is here too. She still has the forest to cross. A perilous Liv continues on her way, regretting her misbehavior with Danny and leaving a voice message to him that she cannot send due to lack of network. Even Liv imagines Dany’s existence next to her as positive energy on the road, and sometimes imagines her own father too. Previously, Sam or her mom had just puzzled her, but Dany and her dad gave her survival gear, which led Liv to find a torrential river. She loads herself with a thick and wide wooden trunk and floats down the river. 

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Liv floats down the stream and begins to dream again where she and Dany arrive at the hospital, and Liv goes into labor to give birth to her child. We see her desires symbolize her struggling for life simultaneously. As Liv struggles to survive in the stream, she dreams that she is also fighting to give birth. And by the end, we see Liv’s frozen body being carried ashore by some saviors, as well as Liv giving birth to her child in her dream. The rescuers give Liv stimulation, checking her pulse to make sure she’s alive. Meanwhile, in Liv’s dream, the doctors try to make her newborn cry, and when the baby cries, Liv smiles at peace. But in reality, when the Saviors finally give up hope of saving Liv, she suddenly takes a long breath and comes alive.


Final Words: Why The Survival Of Liv Is Worth Watching?

“Keep Breathing” is undoubtedly a good story and a decent survival drama. But this recipe lacks many ingredients. There is a lack of good writing skills, a good screenplay, and a bit of thrill, which the audience usually looks for in a survival drama. From the first episode of “Keep Breathing,” the story becomes predictable for us. But this story could have been more engaging if we could have focused more on Liv’s adventures instead of her repetitive memories. Nothing in the series gives us a bone-clenching experience, not even the sudden arrival of a wild bear. It’s annoying enough that we see Liv rehashing her age-old past before each new experience. In the first three episodes, a little love for this series awakens, but the audience may fall asleep after watching the next three. The memories are so overwhelming that after three days of being trapped in an unfamiliar place with only USG photos in sight, Liv starts looking for food.

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We know that “Keep Breathing” may not just be in a survival genre, but a large part of it focuses on emotional situations and moves forward, but no one wants to see repetitive presentations. There was no creativity in the delusional scenes either. A generic treatment that has become a classic feature of Hollywood psychological dramas has been shown in this miniseries. It should never be said that this series is totally unwatchable. Brilliant camera work proves that this series falls under a good production design, so it’s okay if you want to watch it. But if you are watching the first three episodes and you jump right to the last one, you’re not going to miss any major parts of the story. 


“Keep Breathing” is a Drama Thriller Miniseries streaming on Netflix.

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Poulami Nanda
Poulami Nanda
Poulami Nanda hails from a medical background, yet her journey is to cross the boundaries of medicine and survive in the cinematic world. The surrealistic beauty of cinema and art has attracted her from a very young age. She loves to write poems, songs, and stories, but her dream is to write films someday. She has also worked as a painter, but nothing attracts her more than cinema. Through her writings, she wants to explore the world of cinema more and more and take her readers on the same ride.

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