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The Rising Ending Explained: Who Killed Neve?

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Aikman’s character is clearly a much loved member of the community, and she, Tom (Matthew McNulty), William (Nicholas Gleaves) and Michael (William Ash) have been friends since childhood. While we get to see the closeness of that long a bond, we also get to see the deep-seated resentments and frictions that have developed over the years, particularly between William and Michael. After a heated argument between the brothers, Victoria – ever the peacemaker – comforts Michael. Seeing an opportunity to act on a long-harboured attraction to her, he attempts to kiss her. When Victoria pulls away, he apologises and dismisses it as a drunken mistake.

Overwhelmed by the party and the arguments, and with her itch and disconnection growing, Victoria leaves and heads to Keaton Hall to get some space. She is an architect and has drawn up plans for William’s soon-to-begin renovations of the place.  Assuming she is alone in the building, she lets her guard down, only to be startled by a creak behind her.  Michael has followed her to Keaton Hall, and he tries to coax Victoria into admitting to an attraction between them. When Victoria rejects him again, something changes in him. Victoria goes on to say that she feels sorry for Michael, and something is triggered. As Victoria attempts to leave, Michael grabs her wrist.

The skeleton in the basement of Keaton Hall is Victoria’s and her soul, like Neve’s is occupying the space between life and death.

Who Killed Neve?

At first, we suspect Joe (Solly McCleod) is the killer, as does Neve. As most crime dramas and documentaries will tell you, the boyfriend/ husband/ lover is usually the prime suspect. He has Neve’s jacket, and worried about the implications of that, burns it. He also neglects to tell the police that he and Neve argued the night of her death and that she broke up with him. After his arrest, it soon becomes clear the only thing Joe is hiding is a misjudged night with Neve’s stepsister Kate, as a way to recover from the heartbreak of being dumped. Neve next suspects, Alex (Nenda Neururer), Joe’s cousin. She’s recently returned to town and has a troubled past that the town has never forgiven her for. Neve and Alex have an instant, undeniable connection, not least because Alex is one of the few people who can see her in her undead state. When Neve tells her someone gave her GHB at the rave the night of her death, Alex neglects to mention that it was her. She also doesn’t tell her that they kissed that night, which leads Neve to question what else she is hiding. After a brief falling out between the two, they are drawn back together. Alex remains Neve’s closest ally until the end, and from their ultimately tragic romance, Alex finds the strength to finally confront her past.

During the penultimate episode, Neve is stuck in the Keaton Hall basement with Victoria and Victoria’s remains. She walks through Victoria’s last day with her, and is encouraged to try to remember her own. She sees herself at the party, kissing and doing drugs with Alex, breaking up with Joe and starting the walk home where she comes across Michael, Joe’s father, who she asks for a lift. Once she’s in his van, she tells Michael about her and Joe’s breakup. Neve is drunk and frustrated, and unable to get the seatbelt to work. When Michael leans over to help her, she loses her temper and decides to walk instead, but Michael locks her in. Neve is visibly nervous, but she laughs, and since Michael’s temper is always on a hair trigger, to be laughed at is all he needs to lose it, and he smacks Neve across the face. Neve manages to get out of the van and run into the forest, but Michael gives chase. Neve is running for her life, but in one last attempt to get in control of the situation, she stops and tells Michael that he won’t get away with hitting her, she’ll tell everyone what he’s done. She runs again, but Michael catches up with her and knocks her down with a rock to the back of her head before strangling her with a belt and dumping her body in the river.

What is Wrong With Michael?

Where to start. Michael is the embodiment of the Margaret Atwood quote “Men are afraid women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.” Like most men who hate women, Michael feels entitled to their love, respect and bodies should he want them. Any perceived slight puts women in his proximity at risk of violence. He is obsessed with women thinking that they’re better than him, despite the whole town viewing him as a perpetual screw-up. He has grown up in William’s shadow and even his son prefers his successful uncle over his loser father. But from Michael’s perspective, a woman is usually to blame. When William decides to cut him out of the buying of Keaton Hall, it is Christine (Ann Ogbomo), William’s wife, who gets blamed. When Victoria rejects him, it is because she has always thought she was better than him. When he chases and murders Neve, it is because she has always thought she was too good for his son and this town.

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