Keep Breathing: the ending, explained

Keep Breathing

Keep Breathing is one of the new additions to Netflix’s survival genre and offers some light entertainment. The series, directed by Mark Corden introduces the viewer to Liv, a well-to-do New York lawyer that finds herself in an unlikely predicament when one of her sudden plans goes wrong. The series revolves around Liv and her experiences of the past to survive a gruesome struggle and construct some hidden pieces of Liv’s life puzzle. 

Caution: Spoilers ahead 

Liv survives a plane crash and gets stuck in a jungle 

The series begins with Liv (Melissa Barrera) waiting at an airport to get a flight to Inuvik although no one knows her reasons behind this. She gets a call from a colleague who checks on her, but she dismisses her concern and later realises that her flight is delayed due to a storm that’s been raging on. 

However, she overhears two men planning to fly a private plane towards Inuvik and she urges them to take her on as well. Her offer gets declined, but a committed Liv manages to get what she wants by offering the two one thousand dollars each. The men introduce themselves as Sam, a photographer for national geographic and George, a pilot and they start their flight while Liv dozes off to sleep. 

Later, she is woken up by a steep decline of the plane and the men advise her to put on the seatbelt, knowing they are going to crash. The topsy turvy plane flies very low to the ground and finally crashes into a lake. George’s leg gets wedged in and he is unable to move while Sam manages to get out of the plane, but he cannot swim. Liv does her best to save George but fails. 

Liv is set to survive on her own 

Liv manages to bring Sam to the shore and later sees he too is badly injured. After spending the night looking for any cell phone signal, Liv dozes off to sleep and gets a flashback of her being intimate with a guy. She wakes up the next day to see Sam struggling and he reveals that he wasn’t affiliated with national geographic and he isn’t a photographer at all. 

Sam passes away and Liv is left by herself to survive. She goes back to the crash zone and gets her bag full of postcards and other bags as well. Upon checking the bags, Liv discovers a big stash of drugs and cash. She later keeps the drugs with her and burns all the cash to make herself warm. 

The next day she buries the body of Sam and tries to eat some berries through a trial and error method. Liv manages to find the healthy fruits and she sees a far light of human civilization in the night and decides to follow it. 

Liv starts getting flashbacks of her past 

While going on a daring survival mission to find human contact, Liv continues to get flashbacks from her past, allowing the reader to find the missing pieces to the puzzle. Her mother is a painter from Argentina while her father was a poet. The couple had been madly in love until the birth of Liv.

Flashbacks reveal that her mother had a hard time balancing her work with caring for a younger Liv and had often left her in hunger without any care. The pinnacle of this situation arrives when the mother leaves Liv and her father. These childhood issues make Liv a very closed individual afraid of relationships and fearing people would eventually leave her. 

Her father, on the other hand, had been a constant pillar of support to Liv, although being impatient and frustrated at times. After the father’s death, Liv sees a bunch of postcards addressed to her at her father’s house, the latest one coming from Inuvik, explaining her sudden decision to fly. 

More secrets are revealed as Liv walks into a trap 

Other flashbacks reveal that Liv was interested in a new lawyer at her office called Danny and she was engaged in a romantic relationship with him. However, she decides to break it off fearing her commitment issues before realizing that she was pregnant with his child. 

Meanwhile, while moving closer and closer to the human civilization, she hears a plane flying low and runs past it to get their attention but fails. While running, she falls down a ditch and her leg gets trapped under a big rock. 

She gets a powerful vision of her mother trying to discourage her by saying to give up and use the drugs she found on herself. But she manages to break the rock using a smaller rock and goes forward. Liv arrives at a huge ledge, and she falls. 

Does Liv survive in the end?

Liv wakes up with her leg broken, but she manages to build herself a makeshift crutch and continues to travel. She comes across a river and before crossing it, she meets her father in a vision and confronts him about the postcards. The father reveals that the postcards are his mother’s way of obtaining sympathy and tells her that it doesn’t make her a good mother. 

However, Liv tells him that he shouldn’t be the one to judge but forgives him and starts to cross the river with the postcards. While in the middle, the tide gets stronger, and Liv has swept away and she loses her postcards. However, two men manage to draw her to the bank as she continues to see visions where she successfully delivers her baby with Danny by her side. 

The rescuers administer CPR to her, but they fail to get any response. Just as they and the viewers lose hope, Liv coughs and gasps for air, ending the series. 

The series falls way short in delivering an epic survival quest with its complicated backstories of the characters, but it does enough to give the viewer some closure at the end. The acting of Melissa Barrera as Liv keeps the story together with her enigmatic performance.