The Occupant ending explained - Netflix's insidious, creeping thriller untangled

Gabriella Geisinger
Photo credit: Quim Vives - Netflix

From Digital Spy

The Occupant spoilers follow.

There's no time like the present to dig into Netflix's ever-expanding catalogue of thrillers. Last week, we got the Spanish-language aptly timed horror-thriller The Platform. This week, we're treated to another Spanish thriller: The Occupant (Hogar, in Spanish, which translates to home).

Hogar doesn't just mean home literally, it's also a sensation (like hygge) about a place where one truly belongs, which makes The Occupant as a title feel a lot less impactful than the original Spanish.

The story follows Javier Muñoz (not to be confused with the real Javier Muñoz, star of Hamilton) a once-successful advertising executive who now can't find work and can no longer afford his apartment. With finances getting thinner, he makes the fateful decision to leave his home, which he and his family can no longer afford.

Photo credit: Quim Vives - Netflix

But he soon realises that he still has a key to the property, and becomes obsessed with the family now living there: husband and wife Tomás (Mario Casas) and Lara (Bruna Cusí), and their daughter Monica. Little by little, Javier begins infiltrating their lives, determined to recover the life he has lost, come what may. Warning: spoilers ahead.

The straw that pushes Javier over the edge is when a former colleague dupes him into interviewing for, and nearly accepting, an unpaid internship. Upon discovering the set of keys, which Javier took from their nanny, he breaks into his old apartment and begins to snoop.

He sees pictures of the tenant's wife and daughter after an accident, and also discovers he is an alcoholic. Javier shows up at one of his AA meetings and tells a story similar to what he's gleaned of the tenant's life as his own.

Photo credit: Quim Vives - Netflix

The tenant, who introduces himself as Tomás, offers Javier some advice and the two strike up a friendship, with Javier asking Tomás to be his sponsor. Eventually, he ingratiates himself enough that Tomás invites him over for dinner.

Javier's wife, Marga (Ruth Díaz) thinks Javier is going to classes to try and get his career back, while she helps keep their son from being bullied at school. Meanwhile, as Javier attends dinner at his old apartment he is spotted by a groundskeeper named Damian (David Ramírez).

In his talks with Tomás, Javier learns that he's only successful because he works at Lara's father's company and that he and Lara often fight. Javier's plan begins to accelerate, and he lures Tomás to him by feigning to drink a bottle of gin and crashing his car.

Photo credit: Quim Vives - Netflix

When Tomás arrives at the scene of the crash, he wrestles the bottle from Javier only to spill it on himself. He offers Javier sage advice, comparing their alcoholism to his peanut allergy: just one could kill you. Javier asks to borrow Tomás' phone to call a tow truck but instead sends himself an email from Tomás' account that the viewer can't see.

Damian, who has realised what Javier is doing, blackmails Javier – asking him to sneak into Tomás' apartment and steal a pair of the daughter Monica's underwear. Yep, he's a paedophile. Javier acquiesces and breaks into the house to steal Monica's underwear.

Things begin to fall apart for Tomás when Lara smells the gin on his shirt and confronts him. Tomás tells her the truth, so Lara meets with Javier to ask him to stop seeing Tomás, fearing her husband may relapse.

Photo credit: Quim Vives - Netflix

Javier turns the tables, insisting he has no idea what she's talking about, there was no car crash. Tomás messaged him asking for help because he had drunk and was out of control; Javier shows Lara the email as 'proof'.

When Javier delivers the underwear to Damian, Damian asks for more: a camera to be put in Monica's bedroom. Javier takes the camera, and heads to the building, entering its utility room.

Back at home, Tomás and Lara fight and Tomás leaves. Javier goes to Tomás' work and, perhaps understandably, Tomás beats up Javier, now realising that their entire friendship was a farce.

While this is going on, Damian begins to work on the grounds at the building. As he tugs on the cable to start the leafblower it explodes, Javier having sabotaged it and solving his blackmail problem. Beaten and bruised, Javier goes to Lara who tends to his wounds.

Photo credit: Quim Vives - Netflix

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This is when Javier says he knows that Tomás has been violent, only Lara says that it was a drunk driving accident. We never learn the truth. As a precaution, Javier gives her pepper spray (which we saw him tampering with, adding peanut oil to its contents) before leaving.

Later, to make things better, Javier offers to introduce Lara and Monica to a famous gymnast for whom he did some work. Having received a picture of his wife and daughter with Javier and the gymnast, Tomás flies into a rage and heads to his old apartment to confront Lara.

Afraid for her life, Lara sprays him with the pepper spray, only he reacts to the peanut oil and goes into anaphylactic shock. Her phone begins to ring; it's Javier, saying he saw Tomás heading in after him and wants to know if Lara is okay.

Photo credit: Quim Vives - Netflix

She tells Javier what happened, and he comes to her 'rescue', telling her to hide with Monica in the bedroom. As he kneels beside Tomás' body to swap the pepper spray, Tomás begins to groan.

"You don't deserve them," Javier says, before placing a gloved hand over Tomás' mouth and suffocating him. A few months later, Javier has taken over in Tomás' position and married Lara.

But all is not well in paradise. Marga shows up at Javier's work and tells him she found the bottle of peanut oil, put the whole thing together and is going to go to the police. Javier retaliates, saying if she does he'll take all the money he's set aside for their son and spend it on lawyers.

Marga caves and leaves. Javier returns to his new home, a huge, modern building with a beautiful view, and his new wife and daughter. Hogar is where the heart is, after all.

The Occupant is now available on Netflix.

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