‘The Believers’ Ending Explained & Series Recap: What Happens To Win, Dear, And Game?

In The Believers, Win, Dear, and Game were friends running an NFT game called Pirate’s Hell. This naive group of teenagers didn’t really grasp the harsh realities of the world until after they borrowed a significant amount of money from some shady loan sharks. Despite their initial success, the price of their NFTs plummets, wiping out all the profits they had anticipated. This, however, is just the start of their problems. When the loan sharks demand repayment, Win resorts to the world’s oldest business to make money, dragging his friends along with him.

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Considering the theme of this series, I think The Believers, in itself, draws parallels with the Buddhist parable about Mittavinda’s greed and how it leads him to suffer. We see a plethora of characters caught up in an endless web of greed, tumbling down like a domino sequence that starts with a group of teenagers pursuing instant gratification. 

Spoilers Ahead

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What Plan Does Win Come Up With For Paying Back The Loan Sharks? 

The trio knows that they’ll be punished if they do not repay the money within the given time. In total, they borrowed 25 million Baht, but with 200% interest, they’re supposed to pay back 50 million. Yossaphat, the legal representative of the loaning company, even threatens them with consequences, but realistically, there is no way for them to come up with 50 million Baht in 2 months. 

While visiting his mother at the temple in his hometown, Win noticed that the temple had raised an amount of 20 million Baht only through donations. Win, an atheist, hatches an idea to exploit people’s faith to generate the amount. Win does extensive research on how religious schemes work towards generating money because people seek time with the creator. When he brings the idea up to his friends, even though they are reluctant, Win successfully convinces them, probably because all of them are quite desperate. He explains that temples have multiple sources of income. Other than the donation boxes, temples are also run through the donations of individual sponsors. People would do anything to be assured an ounce of peace, and that’s what Win intends to capitalize on. Just like their roles in their NFT business, Win acts as the marketing head and mastermind, Dear is the graphic designer, videographer, and PR manager, while Game works with allocating funds and overseeing ground activities. 

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How Does The Trio Execute Their Plan? 

To lay down their plan, the trio starts looking for a temple among the tens of thousands of temples in Thailand. Their ideal temple should be away from the main city but not completely isolated either. Their endless search finally comes to an end when they stumble upon Phummaram Temple, an old temple that hardly receives any visitors. With the ideal location and size of the temple, Win and the gang decide to go with Phummaram. They track down the liaison to the temple priest, Tang, and strike a deal with him. Tang will be working as their handyman and consultant for 10% of the profit. After convincing the aged abbot at the temple through a tactfully fabricated lie, they claim to the priest that they intend to spread Buddhism to younger people who tend to avoid religion these days. With the old abbot bending to their whims, the trio finally started their operation. With everything in order, they renovate the temple and look for strategies to gather the attention of believers. Initially, they meet with failure, which they didn’t entirely expect, but again, they realize that they need a spiritual leader who can influence people. 


How Does The Trio Meet Dol? 

At first, they track down a Korean monk, Dong-Won, to his temple, but the monk is extremely busy because of his popularity. It is by chance that they run into Dol, a young monk known for his impactful sermons. Monk Dol has a rising popularity amongst his patrons for his kindness and way with words. For instance, Dol’s oratory skills are accurately depicted in a scene when Win and Game get goosebumps listening to his voice. Win even compares it to ASMR, as they chose Monk Dol for their operation. 

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To have Monk Dol go over to Phummaram, Win and Game go to the abbot at Monk Dol’s temple. However, the abbot clarifies that Dol must only go to Phummaram of his own volition. Monk Dol, on the other hand, immediately denies their request. It is Win’s excellent presence of mind and quick wit that convince Monk Dol, who agrees to their request to move to Phummaram temple for three months until Buddhist Lent Day. As expected by Win, their new campaign becomes a success because of Monk Dol’s presence. The once-abandoned temple starts gaining attention from believers as they start to make donations and even bring in sponsorship from political entities. 


How Does Game Tackle The Mani Thong Temple?

Following the surge in Phummaram’s popularity, Chamaiporn Klaiduang, a local political figure, sponsors them. Previously, this politician used to sponsor the Mani Thong Temple, led by Monk Songchai, the district monk. Out of jealousy that the Phummaram temple is gaining popularity, the Mani Thong temple sends goons to terrorize the patrons at Phummaram. 

Meanwhile, Ekkachai, a new monk who recently graduated from Bangkok, joins Phummaram Temple. Ekkachai’s arrival changes the dynamics at the temple. Earlier, Win and his friends were in power and were swindling money easily; however, Ekkachai made the whole process quite difficult. Despite his obstruction of Win’s operation, he informs Game about who might be responsible for sending goons to the temple. In retaliation, Game uncovers dirt on Monk Songchai and makes it viral overnight. The next day, during the first day of the merit-making events, Songchai arrives at Phummaram temple and asks Monk Veera to shut down the event. Monk Veera also reveals that he knows that Win and his friends are making profits for themselves at the temple, but before they can terminate the operation, Monk Veera’s health deteriorates. As the second-in-command, Monk Ekkachai allows Win to continue to merit-making events as it is good for the temple. 


Why Do The Police Raid Phummaram Temple?

Through the steady flow of his own 10% cut, Tang starts to become rich as well. He spends all this money on his friends and women at the cabaret bar he frequents; however, he also becomes sick of them being dependent on him and hatches his own side business. He offers to use the temple as a front for his drug trafficking business. Tang’s friends disguise themselves as newly ordained monks and infiltrate the temple. Even Monk Ekkachai notices something off about these new monks when they cause a ruckus in the temple, which is very unruly for Buddhist monks. Tang’s operation is a short-lived one anyway, as pretty soon the police catch a hint of it. This incident, however, negatively impacts the image of the temple, even causing a display of public violence on the premises. The police arrest the fake monks while Tang is still on the run. 

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Why Does Monk Dol Return To Phummaram Temple?

Monk Dol’s campaign at the temple had reached its end. His presence had served its purpose, and it was time he departed. During his stay at Phummaram, he had to spend time with Dear quite a lot for the PR work. They often indulged in conversations regarding spirituality and even love and suffering. Buddhist monks have to take a vow of celibacy before being ordained, and because of that, they cannot indulge in a physical or romantic relationship. It might even be the first time Monk Dol was this close to a woman. Monk Dol, despite his idealistic nature, finds himself unusually drawn to Dear. 

When he returns to his forest temple, Monk Dol is unable to focus during his meditation. Thinking about Dear, he even recites the wrong sutras. As a monk, it is extremely wrong of him to have thoughts like these, but he cannot seem to control his mind. When he gets to hear about the drug bust at Phummaram Temple, Monk Dol sees this as an opportunity to reunite with Dear, under the pretense of helping the temple regain its followers. 

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In the tenets of Buddhism, even lust is categorized under the evil of greed, which again sheds light on the depiction of greed as a motif in The Believers.


How Does Win Gain Back The Temple’s Popularity?

Even though the drug bust negatively impacted the temple’s image, the videos of the incident have gone viral. Using this opportunity, Win comes up with a plan to sell sacred amulets. To learn more about sacred items, Win and his friends go to Monk Ekkachai, who gives them a map of Thailand, highlighting all the temples around the country in possession of the sacred ingredients. Along with Monk Dol, Win and Dear embark on a journey to gather these ingredients. 

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Meanwhile, Game, who is at Phummaram Temple overseeing their operation in Win and Dear’s absence, is unaware that the drug bust has also drawn the attention of the police to Win, Game, and Dear. Yod, an eccentric detective at the local police branch, is already on the trio’s trail. He singles out Game due to his affluent family background and decides to question him. When Game learns of the police’s interest in him, he becomes paranoid and informs Win about the development. However, Win dismisses the situation, seemingly unfazed. He opts to keep his plans to himself, revealing them only at the last moment. But when Win’s scheme to sell totems and amulets falls flat, Game’s anxiety intensifies, especially since the loan sharks have already issued threats. This negligence deepens the rift between the two friends.

Win’s patience finally pays off when he gambles on an ingenious yet gritty marketing tactic. Disguised as press reporters interviewing emergency responders, Win and Dear find themselves at the scene of a gruesome road accident. Amidst the chaos, they notice one of the drivers is still alive. In a daring move, Win attempts to plant one of his totems on the man, but his efforts fail. The man survives the ordeal but is left paralyzed. When Win approaches the man to offer payment in exchange for endorsing the totem as having saved his life, he is met with rejection. The man, still dealing with his newfound disability, asks Win and Dear to leave him be. However, in a miraculous turn of events, the man begins to regain sensation in his legs, attributing it to the supposed sacred powers of Win’s totem. Word spreads rapidly about the miraculous recovery, and demand for Phummaram Temple’s totems skyrockets, causing their stocks to sell out rapidly.

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Does Win Pay Off His Debt To Yossaphat?

With Phummaram’s amulets becoming a trend across the nation, their demand keeps on increasing, and so does their price. Win even makes an online marketplace for the sale of these amulets, which people seem to preorder as well. With this operation finally becoming a commercial success, Win and Dear make enough money to pay the complete amount that they owe to Yossaphat. However, this sudden attention exposes more loopholes in Win’s operation to Detective Yod. 


How Does Tang Die?

After the drug bust at the temple, Tang has still not been caught. Following Game’s rift with Win, he stops indulging in the temple’s affairs and spends his time at home, looking after his sick grandfather. It is at this point that he is contacted by Tang, who shows up at his house, begging for 500,000 Baht. He has been on the run, and he needs this money to escape the police. Initially reluctant, Game feels bad for Tang and ends up giving him the amount. However, Tang shows up again the next day, this time threatening Game for 3 million Baht at gunpoint. Game doesn’t have this much money, especially since his falling out with Win; he cannot even arrange it. Instead, Win offers Tang shelter until he can arrange the money. 

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At the safehouse, Tang mentions that the person he worked for might even kill him if he doesn’t run away. This prompts Game to wonder who this person might be. Seeking answers, he visits the temple after a few days to get answers from Monk Veera, who is unable to speak because of his sickness. When he is caught by Monk Ekkachai, he shares his troubles with the monk, who tries to provide him with a solution. By the time Game returns to Tang’s safehouse, he finds Tang dead. 


Who Did Tang Work For?

Yod finally sanctions a warrant for the arrest of Win, Game, and Dear. He cracks down on the temple, suspecting money laundering and drug trafficking, even bringing in Monk Dol for questioning as a suspect. The police, however, are unable to find Game, as he’s still on the run. After receiving a message from Monk Ekkachai, he sneaks into the temple and heads to Monk Veera’s chamber, where he finds Ekkachai. It turns out that Ekkachai was the one who killed Tang. It was indeed Ekkachai for whom Tang was working. Tang’s irresponsible behavior was the reason for the drug bust, which made him a liability. This is why Ekkachai had to kill Tang. 

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What Happens To Win, Dear, And Game?

Ekkachai discloses that he doesn’t wish to hurt Game or his friends. He wants them to keep working on their illegal business, as it is making them quite a fortune. Following their arrest, Win and Dear are relentlessly interrogated by Detective Yod, who is hellbent on making Win confess to his crimes. Win, however, tactfully answers all the questions, clarifying that whatever he did wasn’t entirely illegal. This interrogation goes on until Yod receives an order from his boss to let them go. Despite Yod’s protests, his boss shuts down the investigation, showing the corruption in his ranks. 

As soon as Win and Dear step out of the police station, they are picked up by some men who clarify that they’re going to see the person who had them freed. They head to a restaurant, where they come across Game, already seated next to the boss behind the whole conspiracy. It turns out that it was Chamaiporn Klaiduang, the local politician, who had been running all these illegal businesses. She threatens Win, Game, and Dear to continue the operations in exchange for their family’s safety, to which the trio end up complying.

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In the end, Win is approached by Yod, who clarifies that he wants Win’s help to uncover the corruption. In exchange, Yod offers to reveal everything he knows about the disappearance of Win’s father. Game goes back home and is met with his family’s disappointment, while Dear prepares to leave the country and blocks Win’s contact on her phone. 


What Can We Expect In Season 2?

Season 1 of The Believers leaves a lot to imagination. There are still lots of loose ends that haven’t been addressed in this epic cliffhanger. It’s quite obvious that Win, Game, and Dear will unite again and join forces against Chamaiporn and Monk Ekkachai. Detective Yod has a lot to offer in the next season. He will be met with a lot of enemies, even in the police force, if they come to know of his intentions. However, with Win’s help, he might be able to stay ahead of the antagonist. 

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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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