‘The Replacement Daughter’ Ending Explained: What Happens To Jessica?

Here we are again, with another Lifetime release. This one’s called The Replacement Daughter, and it has everything that you would expect from a Lifetime thriller: a naive protagonist, cardboard characters, and an utterly stupid villain who gets apprehended by the end. But like always, it is very much watchable in a “so bad that it’s good” manner. That’s what life is for you!

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Spoilers Ahead


What Happens in the Movie?

Straight-A student Jessica is awaiting a full scholarship from the prestigious Stelford University. She is in absolute need of that, as her financial situation is not so good. Jessica’s mother, Liza, runs a beauty salon. Her business is not particularly booming, and what makes things further worse is that the landlord, Ray, constantly keeps threatening Liza to evict her. Not much is shown about Jessica’s life at school, except she has a very supportive best friend, Vanessa, and a classmate, Shane, who keeps looking at her in a strange manner. 

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What Happens to Liza?

Adhering to the staple formula of most Lifetime movies, Liza suffers a terrible accident and ends up in a coma. Her friend and business partner Helen makes sure that Jessica is taken care of, but soon, a mysterious stranger attacks and kills Helen. This provides ample opportunity for Eva, a wealthy client of Liza, to step in as Jessica’s guardian for the time being, as she’s seventeen, i.e., still a minor. Jessica does seem a little apprehensive about Eva stepping in like this, but there’s no reason for her to not trust this woman and her generosity. Eva also promises Jessica to financially help with her education, which only proves what a gem of a human being this person is. But make no mistake, this is a Lifetime thriller, and nothing is what it seems like. 


What is Eva’s plan?

The best thing about any Lifetime movie is decoding the “wrong” in what seems normal. You know for a fact that something is off with someone, and it is fun to predict what that is. In The Replacement Daughter, it is obviously Eva who’s not what she appears to be. The title of the movie is way too obvious and gives away the plot. The moment Eva mentions her daughter Sarah, who’s apparently traveling in Europe in her gap year, you realize she is lying. Sarah is obviously dead, and what Eva basically wants to do is replace Jessica with Sarah, no matter how ludicrous that sounds. There’s a catch, though: Sarah and Jessica happen to be lookalikes. And why is that? Because both of them are actually Liza’s daughters. It makes all the sense in the world for Liza to give away one of her daughters for adoption, given her troublesome financial state. So that’s how Sarah ended up with Eva, who was desperate to have a child but couldn’t have one. Sarah became the world of Eva until fate turned real sour and she died of cancer. Eva’s businessman husband also died soon of a heart attack, and she was left alone in this world. However, that clearly doesn’t justify her actions—befriending Liza under the pretext of a client, then hiring a loser to kill her. And that loser happens to be none other than Shane’s gambler dad, who messed up the assignment. He tried again at the hospital, but this attempt was also unsuccessful. Shane, however, is not a part of his father’s shady activities. He did manage to stumble onto Sarah’s photo, which baffled him as the dead girl looked just like his classmate, Jessica.

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What Happens to Jessica in the End?

Thanks to Shane giving her a heads-up, Jessica confronts Eva about Sarah. But Eva turns things around by telling Jessica the whole story in a rather sympathetic tone. Not to mention, she skips the part where she plays the mastermind behind Liza’s accident and Helen’s murder. At least for a while, Eva does manage to establish herself as this sad woman who was only trying to let Liza know about her dead daughter but couldn’t muster the courage. 

For a while, Jessica bonds with Eva, thanks to ice cream, piano, and bowling. Things would have worked out well for Eva if only she hadn’t pursued this terribly flawed plan! Eva obviously refused to acknowledge that Jessica is not Sarah, and she’s Liza’s daughter only. So the idea of replacing Sarah with Jessica just because she looks like her is downright stupid anyway! Mrs. Durant, aka the old housekeeper, who has been looking after Eva ever since she was a child, also tries to make her realize that. But Eva was doomed from the very beginning, given that she’s a Lifetime villain. 

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So Eva does everything that a sensible person should never do. When Jessica finds the bunch of fake passports—of hers and Eva’s—under different names, she takes them up with Eva again. This time Eva drugs her (Mrs. Durant is the one who actually does it, despite all her reservations) and locks her up in the room. It’s not that Eva didn’t consider the fact that people would look for Jessica, especially when Vanessa had come to the house before—in happier times. But Eva had her plan in motion already, and she thought that by the time the law came to look for her, she would be far away. This is exactly the kind of thing a Lifetime villain does, and Eva only follows the norms. As you would expect, Vanessa does become suspicious, and she and Shane eventually figure out what’s really going on. Not that Jessica needs anyone’s help, as she proves to be strong enough to take down Eva.

I thought things would end with that, but The Replacement Daughter has a small epilogue. After all the trouble she had gone through, Liza deserved to wake up from the coma. This is definitely good news for Jessica, although I’m not sure what will happen to her education at Stelford now that Eva is out of the picture. We also find Eva in the asylum, wearing all orange and mistaking the doctor for her daughter Sarah. The poor woman really needs some better therapy, I suppose!

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Rohitavra Majumdar
Rohitavra Majumdar
Rohitavra likes to talk about movies, music, photography, food, and football. He has a government job to get by, but all those other things are what keep him going.

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