Everything You Need To Know About The Ending Of ‘One Day’

Of what-ifs and what-could-have-beens

Ready for a series that will make you think for days about the highs and lows of romance? If a nostalgic, heartwrenching story is your cup of tea, add One Day to your watchlist. We’ve rounded up what you need to know about the plot, cast, and more. And if you’ve binge-watched the entire show, skip to the end of the article for more details about the ending.

'One Day' Netflix Ending Explained

Get ready to be sucked into the unique relationship between Dex and Em. (Photo from: Netflix Media Center)

One Day: plot, cast, and more

When stripped down to its core, One Day is a story of the unlikely friendship between Dexter Mayhew and Emma Morley. Two complex characters who are both flawed yet intriguing and relatable. 

The first time they met was on 15 July 1988, on their graduation night at Edinburgh University. They went their separate ways after, but they would always reunite whether by mail, phone, or in person on the same day every year. From strangers, they become each other’s most important person as they go through life, whether they accept it or not. It’ll keep you asking, “Will they or won’t they?”

Snapshots from every year of their intertwined story.

The story is based on the novel of the same name by David Nicholls. It was adapted into a movie starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess. Now, it’s a 14-episode series starring Ambika Mod as Emma and Leo Woodall as Dexter. 

Other cast members include Essie Davis as Dex’s mum, Tim McInnerny as Dex’s Dad, and Amber Grappy as Emma’s best friend Tilly (before Dex came into the picture). Jonny Weldon plays the role of Ian and Eleanor Tomlinson portrays Sylvie — crucial romantic interests in Emma and Dex’s lives, respectively. 

One Day ending explained

'One Day' Netflix ending explained

A scene in the final episode. (Photo from: Netflix Media Center)

Just when they were about to finally start a brand-new chapter together, Dex and Emma’s relationship ended with a tragic accident — Emma was on her bike on her way to meet Dex when a car slammed into her. This happened on 15 July 2002, 14 years after the two first met. 

Part of the heartbreak as a viewer is the feeling of “what could have been”. In those 14 years that passed by, they only shared two years of actually being in a romantic relationship. 

One Day shows how there are some things and people that we can take for granted. While watching the show, you might have missed some Easter eggs too. 

Did you spot these easter eggs in One Day?

1. The importance of 15 July AKA St. Swithin’s Day

All of the episodes of One Day happen on 15 July. What’s so special about this day? It comes from an old folklore that supposedly predicted the weather for the rest of the summer. There’s no scientific evidence behind it, but what makes it so special for the series is that from the time Emma and Dex met in 1988, every 15 July, it never rained. 

It only rained on 15 July 2002 when Emma died, which can symbolically mean that Dexter will have to live with the grief and pain for the rest of his life.

But if you’re also looking for a way to heal from the heartbreak this series gave us, other theories offer a glimmer of hope.

2. Dex and Jazz’s hike up Arthur’s Seat

Before the credits roll in, Dex is seen with his daughter Jazz in 2005, and they go through the spots where he and Emma share their precious memories together. 

One location which made an impact in the ending is their hike up Arthur’s Seat. A few yellow flowers were growing on the hill, which will make you think of Emma in her yellow top and the first time they went up on that hill. The flowers could mean that despite the tragedy, life can go on, and it’s like Emma’s spirit was still with Dex. 

3. Jazz’s red hair tie

Aside from the flowers, some viewers noticed that Jazz wore a red hair tie which was similar to the one Emma wore in the first episode. People also wondered why Jazz’s hair looked curly (like Emma’s) and she said during their hike up that her dad was “so slow” which was similar to what Emma said in the past. People theorised that this was an alternate ending. However, this doesn’t align with the worldbuilding of the series (sorry, guys, no magic or time travel themes here), and it kind of cancels the weight of their story.

So what do we think of the red hair tie? It simply seems to symbolise that his daughter is now the love of his life. 

Which easter egg do you like most?

(Cover photos from: Netflix Media Center)

On the lookout for shows with guaranteed happy endings? Check out Marry My Husband.

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