‘This Town’ Ending Explained & Series Recap: Do Dante’s And Bardy’s Dreams Come True?

The whole concept of art triumphing over every worldly problem sounds novel on paper, but it’s really hard to execute on screen. There’s a huge risk of things turning into a gimmicky mess. But that’s not the case with Steven Knight’s latest show, This Town, which is truly magnificent in every possible sense. It drops you in a world of chaos that is filled with genuinely likable characters worthy enough to root for. Engaging from the spectacular opening sequence of a riot breaking out to the final scene of a maddeningly beautiful concert, This Town is an ingenious piece of work. The 80s’ set Irish drama is a heady mix of many genres, from crime noir to coming of age to dysfunctional family drama to musical. Imagine if Sons of Anarchy was made by John Carney, and you get the idea! 


Spoilers Ahead

Meet Dante And Brandon

Dante is so lost in the world of his poetry that he would unintentionally land himself in the middle of riots. The year is 1981, and there’s severe political unrest going on in Birmingham, thanks to the never-ending feud between the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and British Military. But all Dante wants is to put his words on paper. He has strong motivation; his heart was recently broken by this girl named Fiona. She has refused to go out with him for a cup of tea, and Dante strongly believes it’s because he’s a teetotaller non-smoker. Dante doesn’t have many friends, except this local girl, Jeannie, who genuinely cares about the boy ever since they were kids. Jeannie composes music, but words don’t really come to her. Clearly, Jeannie and Dante are in need of each other, but Dante hasn’t been able to realize that yet.


Dante’s father, Deuce, used to be an alcoholic, but he has now found a new purpose in God. His elder brother, Gregory, used to work for local mafia boss Robbie Carmen until he decided to turn over a new leaf and join the British military. While Dante and Deuce deal with their lives in Birmingham, Gregory fights hard against the IRA in Ireland. Although it seems like his heart is not in it, considering he literally screams at an Irish protester, he himself is Irish. Gregory lands himself in further trouble when he gets out of his armored vehicle just to hear some birdsong, which leads to drawing fire on his troop, although nobody gets hurt.

Meanwhile, in Coventry, Dante’s maternal cousin Barden, aka Bardy, is dealing with his own life problem. His father, Eamonn, a staunch IRA member, is hellbent on recruiting him for their cause. Bardy doesn’t want to be a part of it, and his grandmother, Mary, is also strongly against the idea. When Mary decides to do something about preventing her grandson from joining the IRA, she gets threatened by Mrs. Porter, an IRA member and also a friend of Eamonn. It eventually leads to Mary suffering a heart attack and dying.


And Also, Meet Estella

Michelle Dockery’s Estella, inarguably the most fascinating character of the show, is introduced to us right before Mary’s funeral. As Mary’s only living child, Estella has every right to attend her mother’s funeral, but here lies the problem. She’s basically the black sheep of this family, an alcoholic, and also Bardy’s mother (and Eamonn’s estranged wife). Estella is a former IRA, but she got thrown out of the organization due to revealing information about them to random people in a drunken state. Thanks to Eamonn, she manages to avoid the death penalty and now lives in a deserted flat near the M6 highway, which is also Eamonn’s doing. Bardy, however, loves his mother no matter how she is.

On the day of Mary’s funeral in Birmingham, everyone comes together. While Dante and Bardy are genuinely excited to see each other, we feel a certain tension between Deuce and Eamonn. Gregory also arrives to attend his grandmother’s funeral and comes to a truce with Eamonn for the time being, considering they literally represent the two sides in the war. A mysterious figure keeps clicking photos of the funeral (and the people associated with it) from afar. Despite promising Bardy that she would adhere to the not-drinking rule at Mary’s funeral, Estella barges into the funeral heavily drunk, which visibly upsets Eamonn. However, that hardly matters given the heartfelt eulogy she gives to her mother, singing a version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” the popular Israel Kamakawiwo’ole song. Not only does the song seem absolutely fitting to describe the relationship between Mary and Estelle, but it also induces an urge inside Dante to turn his poetry into songs, for which he would need Jeannie. Dante also starts thinking about someone who would be able to sing his songs, and who’s better than his gifted cousin, Bardy, to pull that off? And while Bardy seems initially skeptical, he doesn’t really have anything substantial to do in his life other than helping his genius cousin achieve his dream. 


After the funeral, Gregory takes Dante and Bardy to the local pub, where Dante uncharacteristically gets involved in a brawl with Jeannie’s boyfriend, Tyro. To everyone’s surprise, Dante pretty much humiliates Tyro and his friend in front of everyone—before Gregory and Bardy take him out of the pub. Gregory warns his brother to stay out of trouble, as Carmen is already scouting him. Carmen’s Birmingham-based gang is called Zulu. Thanks to Dante giving Carmen a visit to return a spacesuit, one of his prized possessions that got looted during the riot (and then rediscovered by Dante and Jeannie), Carmen has already taken an interest in the kid.

Gregory’s Dilemma

If Estella is the most fascinating character in This Town,  then Gregory has to be the most cheerworthy one. From the very first appearance, he appears to be a level-headed man who’s trying to fix everything. Unfortunately, Gregory finds himself in a real bad spot right after Mary’s funeral. He’s visited by a certain commander of the British military, named Bentley, who orders Gregory to spy on his family and provide essential information regarding what the IRA is planning. 


Despite not wanting to do anything with the IRA, Bardy is forced to participate in an operation by Eamonn, although his activity remains limited to a phone call only. And the reason Bardy couldn’t refuse? Because if he had, a lot of innocent people would have died in the bombing of Coventry railway station. Unfortunately, this also gets him noticed by Bentley, who now has no problem forcing Gregory to do the spying as Gregory’s refusal would mean his beloved cousin’s life getting pretty much ruined. Seeing no other way out, Gregory agrees to help Bentley, and he also brings Bardy into the fold. It makes all the sense in the world that Bardy would revolt against his father and the organization that’s pretty much responsible for separating his parents, as well as sort of murdering his grandmother.

The Band, The Bait, And The Hook

The beauty of “The Town” lies in the story and how everything comes together in the end. And the reason it soars is the impeccable writing, which lets a character seamlessly juggle separate story arcs. While Bardy is very much invested in Dante’s band and has grown quite fond of Jeannie, he’s also part of Gregory’s big plan of nailing the IRA and potentially getting out British military’s clutches. The plan is rather simple, but extremely dangerous. Bardy has to make the IRA (and Eamonn) believe that his eyes have now opened and he indeed wants to be an active part of the revolution. Thanks to Eamonn having already invested in the idea of making his son follow his path, Bardy doesn’t have much of a problem, although Mrs. Porter seems suspicious of him. Gregory’s plan seems to work out as Bardy easily manages to get into the inner circle and manages to find out the name of the IRA Coventry division bomb-maker, Terry. Bardy also hears IRA members, including his father, talking about some kind of operation in London, which sort of baffles Gregory and Bentley as well.


While Bardy is out there snitching on the IRA, Gregory moves ahead with the most important part of his plan, which is dangling the bait. He arranged a meeting with the IRA through the Zulus, thanks to his past connection with Carmen. Then he tells the two IRA members about a mole amongst them who goes by the code name “Lemongrass.” Gregory refuses to give away more, citing that anyone can be Lemongrass, including one of the visiting IRA members. With one of their regular exchanging or explosives operations suffering a sudden halt thanks to a random roadblock, the IRA does get spooked and start discussing amongst them about Lemongrass. Bardy, despite being anxious as hell, manages to hold on to his nerves.

In the midst of all the planning, scheming, and this whole pressure cooker situation, Dante goes ahead with his dream. He somehow manages to woo Fiona in the process. Although what started as a means to impress the girl he likes soon turns into something way more serious. With Jeannie discovering a huge, deserted warehouse in Coventry, the band starts rehearsing in full swing. Fiona arrives and asks to be a part of the band, but now that his motive has changed, Dante doesn’t hesitate at all to refuse her. She’s obviously dejected, and Dante can’t see it, thanks to being someone who’s probably on the spectrum (there are a lot of suggestions, although the show never clearly states it). However, realizing Fiona’s experience working at a record store will eventually come in handy for them, Jeannie brings her into the fold. Jeannie also has to overcome her own trouble, which is ditching her controlling boyfriend for good.


With Treo taking his revenge on Dante, he goes to Coventry to stay there in Estella’s flat for a while, mainly to hide his bruises from Deuce. While Gregory takes care of Treo, Dante finds a new source of inspiration in his aunt, Estella—so much so that he brings Estella into the band as a backing vocalist. Estella also finds it really difficult, with her home getting wrecked by burglars thanks to her alcohol addiction reaching its peak. However, Dante makes sure his aunt is okay while Bardy and Eamonn manage to locate the burglars and get Estella’s wedding ring back, all thanks to their IRA influence. As the story progresses, it gets pretty clear that Eamonn is still in love with his wife, but he’s too much of a jingoist to make his family a priority. Estella, however, has moved on, and a new romance is about to happen between her and Deuce, which is even approved by Gregory.

Do Dante’s And Bardy’s Dreams Come True?

It’s amazing how poetry (and then songs) plays a pivotal part in the story of This Town,  almost like a character in the narrative. And if you think about it, all the major characters—from Dante to Bardy to Gregory to Jeannie and even Fiona—are all trying their best to get out of the ghetto and to make something out of their lives. As this story gets closer to the climax, it becomes evident that the band is their only ticket to reaching that goal of making their life meaningful. For Bardy, it’s his way out of the IRA, as if he got famous, he wouldn’t be able to do the shady things for the IRA. And for Dante, it reaches the point of either this or nothing. Dante gets so obsessed with his dream that he doesn’t hesitate to participate in a drug-fueled erotic journey. Jeannie and Fiona rescue Dante, while Gregory joins the band on his own in order to make everyone fall in line. Thanks to Fiona, the band also finds their drummer, Maddie, but her drug addiction also seems quite alarming and causes a lot of trouble, including pushing Dante towards the hellhole. 


Eamonn and Bardy go to London, where the father basically uses his son to honeytrap a British official and subsequently make a plan to kill that man. Thanks to Bardy spilling the information to Gregory, the plan doesn’t go accordingly, and the IRA is now fully convinced of the Lemongrass theory. Although they still suspect Gregory is playing them, Gregory manages to outsmart them, this time by giving away the real identity of Lemongrass, Mrs. Porter. With Eamonn and other IRA members taking care of Mrs. Porter, Bardy has now managed to find his freedom—at least from Bentley and the British Government. But to get completely out of the IRA, he needs another thing to work out—the band. I thought it was a wonderful moment for Bentley to acknowledge that Bardy does have great singing skills and might actually become a rock star someday. 

The central theme of This Town has to be taking a stand against oppression, where art becomes a weapon. And it reaches the finale when, during the climax, Deuce’s factory closes down and he leads a protest against it, which lands him in jail. Not only is Deuce severely tortured by the police, but he also gets humiliated for his skin color. It’s rather sad to see the character, who has continuously offered guidance and help to everyone else, get broken and go on a bender by himself. But Deuce should be glad to have a son like Gregory who brings him back to his senses. Thanks to Gregory’s involvement, Deuce also becomes the driver for the band. Dante’s decision to change the name of the band to “F*** The Factory” (I’m going to use FFF from this point on) seems only fitting as a tribute to what his father has gone through. 


The romance between Deuce and Estella finally takes off as well, but not without Eamonn literally barging in with a gun in his hand and then realizing it’s time for him to let Estella go, as she has clearly moved on from him. This Town ends with FFF performing in Robbie Carmen’s newly opened nightclub, although with the purpose of expanding his drug business. However, considering the first person in FFF is a thunderous success, we can make the assumption that Dante and Bardy are going to make it big real soon, and they’re going to take their loved ones along with them.

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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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