After Life 3 ending explained with Tony and Lisa

After Life season 3 ending explained by Ricky Gervais as viewers are left confused and heartbroken

WARNING: Spoilers contained in this article

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After Life season 3 – one of January’s top TV highlights – has just dropped on Netflix and, judging by Twitter, millions of fans have already arrived at the ending.

If you’ve not yet watched, two warnings: the final episode will leave you with an almighty lump in the throat; there are huge spoilers immediately ahead in this article!

After Life season 3 ending – what happened

So, the closing moments of After Life season 3 see Tony walking through a field, away from Tambury Fair.

At one point his late wife Lisa appears beside him and their dog Brandy; the husband and wife briefly hold hands before she fades away.

Then Brandy disappears, before Tony himself vanishes into thin air.

kerry godliman and ricky gervais in after life
Kerry Godliman plays Lisa, late wife of Ricky Gervais’s Tony in After Life (Credit: Netflix)

Read more: Ricky Gervais claims to have written the worst thing to appear on TV in After Life 3

Did Tony kill himself in After Life?

Fans of the drama have been speculating about what the After Life season 3 ending actually means – and are interpreting it in different ways.

Some fear it represented Tony’s suicide – contemplating taking his life has been a theme throughout the show.

“Another brilliant season but a bit confused about the ending, why did Tony salute his friend? Did Tony commit suicide?? Thank you for such a fantastic series,” one tweeted.

“Ricky Gervais was right to kill off his own character because nobody expected that,” another viewer assumed.

“So when Tony commits suicide at the end, who says the line ‘Everyone dies in the end?'” someone else asked.

Despite the assumptions that Tony chooses to take his own life at the end, there’s actually a more positive and life-affirming message behind it.

Read more: After Life season 3 – what the critics are saying

after life season 3 release date cast ricky gervais
Ricky Gervais has explained the After Life season 3 ending (Credit: Netflix)

After Life season 3 ending – Ricky Gervais explains all

Show creator Ricky Gervais has explained what the After Life season 3 ending actually means in a chat with Tilly Pearce at Digital Spy.

“It’s just that life goes on, you know? When we’re all dead and buried, that field’s still there, the Tambury Fair is still going, that tree is still there, and it’s basically said that we all die, but not today,” he revealed.

“That’s what the ending is saying. ‘We all die, but not today’. Enjoy it while you can, life is so finite. Whenever you are born, and whenever you die, it’s all over. So enjoy that bit, that tiny little bit.

“You don’t exist for 13 and a half billion years, then you have 80-90 years if you’re lucky, and then you die, never to exist again. So all you’ve got is experience and then you’re dead and buried and forgotten.”

Read more: After Life fans furious as Mrs Brown’s Boys ‘steals’ National Television Award

Will there be an After Life season 4?

No, After Life has wrapped up after three seasons now and it’s highly unlikely there will ever be more.

“I never really planned the third until it happened. I said to Netflix, ‘I’ll do a third if the second goes down a storm’, because you don’t want to do it for the sake of it. You want it to be demanded,” Ricky explained to Radio Times.

“I think it’s the right decision artistically. It’s a finite story, and that’s its strength. At the moment, I’m 99% sure this should be it.

“I don’t think I can top that ending. And it’s not the end. It’s there forever. It’ll always be around.”

Ricky is now working on another – as yet undisclosed – project for Netflix.

In the meantime you can catch some of the After Life cast in some other fantastic shows. Kerry Godliman, who plays Lisa, takes the lead in Acorn TV’s brilliant crime drama Whitstable Pearl.

Acorn TV is also the home of cosy crime caper, Agatha Raisin, starring Ashley Jensen, who plays Emma in After Life.

Diane Morgan, who plays Kath, is currently appearing on BBC2 with the second series of her comedy Mandy.

What is the song playing over the After Life season 3 ending?

The haunting song is called Both Sides Now, by the legendary Joni Mitchell.

The lyrics ‘I’ve looked at love from both sides now’ only fuelled some viewers’ theories that Tony plans to die at the end.

In choosing this track, Ricky Gervais has arguably eclipsed the one genuinely good moment in Love Actually.

Up until its use in After Life, Both Sides Now had been synonymous with that heartbreaking scene in the rom com just after Emma Thompson’s character Karen realises her husband Harry (Alan Rickman) is cheating on her.

She absents herself to the bedroom and quietly sobs before composing herself, as Joni’s pained vocals play out.

How many TV and film fans will now associate it with Tony’s final moments in After Life instead?

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Have you watched After Life season 3 yet? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix and let us know what you think of it – and that ending.

Kaggie Hyland