‘Family Secrets’ Ending, Explained: How Was Jan Involved In Pawel’s Life? What Happened To Pawel And Kaska?


On Kaska and Jan’s wedding day, Kaska learns multiple truths about her family that left her exasperated. “Family Secrets” is about two dysfunctional families coming together for holy matrimony that is disrupted for some reason or other. Even though Kaska had decided to marry Jan, she could not share the vows with him. Secrets that were kept hidden from her started to spill as the situation spiraled out of control. The series manages to balance the humor and the suspense, but drags it far too long.

Spoilers Ahead

‘Family Secrets’ Plot Summary: What Is The Series About?

Kaska was destined to meet Pawel. He saved her from a potential accident as she was talking on the phone while crossing the road. As luck would have it, they were both about to start studying medicine at the same college. Naturally, they became the best of friends as they spent time together. Their relationship gradually evolved from friendship to romance, just as Pawel had predicted on the first day that their lives coincided. Kaska was madly in love with Pawel, but she did not wish to marry him just because she was pregnant. Even though Pawel insisted, she struggled to commit to marriage. A few days after constantly refusing his proposal, Pawel disappeared. He was gone from her life, leaving no trace behind. She sent multiple texts and emails, but he never contacted her. She could not wrap her head around the possibility of Pawel disappearing just because she was not ready to get married. It did not seem like a valid reason, but then what made him leave Warsaw?

Kaska felt Pawel’s absence every day, but then she met Jan. Jan was a loud personality who became the heart of every party. He concealed his depression with humor and resorted to alcohol and drugs to cope with his dysfunctional family. Jan felt an instant connection with Kaska. It was perhaps also because he had seen her with his father and wanted to find out what his father was up to. Jan knew Kaska was an important piece of the puzzle that his family had created, and she chose to keep her close. Kaska and Jan were far apart in terms of personalities, but Jan never stopped pursuing Kaska. Saddened by the disappearance of her lover and the growing responsibility of raising a child, Kaska gave in to Jan’s request, and the two decided to build a future together. But Kaska did not know that she was being manipulated to fulfill Jan’s dream of having a perfect family. Something that he always desired but could never enjoy. She was his way of getting back at his family for pushing him to the edge. But marriage can never function on deceit, and that was what became clear on their wedding day.

Why Did Kaska’s Mother Disapprove Of Her Marriage With Jan?

Kaska’s mother, Malgozata, wanted more from her life than the usual drudgery. She disapproved of her husband, Marek’s decision to settle away from Warsaw because of a lucrative job offer. She wanted him to be there for his family, whereas he wanted to do more than a part-time job and earn enough to live a fulfilling life. Malgozata refused to leave Warsaw, and Marek had to move out alone. Kaska opposed her mother’s decision; she wanted her mother to support her father on his journey. Her sister, Alicja, felt quite the opposite. She thought that her mother was right to not give in to every whim of their father. As the parents argued, the two sisters dreamt of moving out.

Malgozata was young at heart; she did not wish to rot in her misfortune and wanted to live her life to the fullest. A divine coincidence occurred when she met with an accident and was introduced to Emil. While she was not seriously injured, she surely was madly drawn to the man who was behind the wheel. Emil was a famous plastic surgeon, and also the father of Jan. Emil was notorious for cheating on his wife with several women, and Malgozata was just another fish in the sea. Even though their relationship was a casual one for Emil, it was not the same for Malgozata. She felt alive for the first time in a long time, and she started to love herself in the process. She fell in love with him and wanted a lot more than just a physical relationship. But Emil refused to commit to it. He was not ready to leave his wife, Dorota. No matter how pathetic their marriage was, he cared for her.

When Kaska announced that she would wed Jan, Malgozata refused to accept it. Heartbroken by her failed relationship with Emil, she doubted Kaska for getting romantically involved with him. She had seen the two in a car and started to hate her daughter from that instant. She threw Kaska out of their house to punish her without even allowing her to explain herself. She despised the entire family and did not wish for her daughter to marry their son.

How Was Dorota Responsible For Pawel’s Disappearance?

Dorota was tired of her husband. She had seen and heard him cheat on her on more than one occasion. The worst part was that now her son was aware of his father’s actions as well. To shame Emil, Jan would often bring up uncomfortable topics to discuss over breakfast. From what we know, Dorota was not loyal either. At one point, Emil accused Dorota of being the one to first cheat on him.

Dorota met Pawel when he appeared late for an examination, and she refused to allow him to take the test. Later, Pawel’s father explained how he was responsible for his son’s delay, and Dorota conducted a separate exam for him. Soon, he became her object of desire, and she was determined to own him. Even though Pawel did not show any interest, she refused to give up. She found a reason to live and enjoy her life without realizing how suffocating it was for Pawel. She was a professor and had powers that she threatened to misuse if Pawel refused to give in to her whims and fantasies. Pawel loved Kaska, and Dorota was aware of their relationship. To forcefully build a relationship with him, she threatened to ruin Kaska’s career if he rejected her.

Realizing how obsessive Dorota was becoming of him, he told her that he would report her to the university for stalking and molesting a student. He got out of her car and accused her of being selfish and mentally unstable. Dorota felt insulted and could not accept the fact that she was failing to get hold of the person she had been dreaming about. In that moment of rage and rejection, she drove the car over him. She informed her husband about it, and he advised her to leave the body. Dorota attempted to take her life after the incident, but she was rescued by Emil. The situation left a scar on the couple. They were involved in a murder, but they never heard of Pawel ever again.

‘Family Secrets’ Season 1: Ending Explained – What Happened To Pawel And Kaska?

While Emil and Dorota believed that they had left Pawel to die, they did not know that their son had followed them that night. Jan followed Dorota after overhearing their argument about Pawel. Jan knew from a young age that his parents were not loyal to one another, and that affected him deeply. He would always suspect his father and his mother of cheating on their relationship. He wanted to find out what his mother was up to, and that was when he witnessed his mother run her car over her lover. As Emil and Dorota left the scene, Jan walked up to Pawel and helped him get into his car. He sheltered Pawel and provided him with the necessary treatment. When Pawel asked him why he chose to treat him in his house, Jan said that Pawel, in a subconscious state, had told him he did not wish to be admitted to the hospital to stay away from a police case. Pawel did not know what to trust. While he was grateful to Jan for helping him out, he could not help but doubt his intention. One night, when Jan threw a party at his house, Pawel noticed Kaska there. By the time he ran down to greet her, she had left in her car. Jan stopped Pawel and told him that the girl he was chasing was his fiancé. Pawel was caught off-guard; he did not know that Kaska was already in a relationship with another man. Jan lied to Pawel because he knew that Kaska and Pawel were lovers, and he had started to grow an interest in her. He was aware that by calling her his fiancé, he would be able to keep Pawel away from her.

Pawel vanished within a few days after the incident. He took off without informing anyone where he was going. Kaska tried to contact him several times, but he never responded to her calls or texts. He secretly met the director of the university to discuss his future. He was informed that he had to be transferred to another university because of Dorota. Emil knew about his wife’s affair and asked the director to make sure that he no longer studied there. The university director warned him about the odd couple, advising him to stay away from them and continue his studies at another university. Pawel tried to talk to Kaska, but he heard her talk over the phone with Jan and did not wish to interfere in her relationship. He was ashamed of himself for falling prey to Professor Dorota. He did know what to say to Kaska, and the fact that Jan’s mother tried to molest him could break her down. Even though he loved her, he could not confront her.

Kaska was Jan’s project; he knew she was pregnant when they first made love, even though she did not disclose it at that time. He wanted to experience the joy of raising a family, even if the child was not his. Kaska could not reject his proposal. She had tried to contact Pawel and even visited his father, but he never considered showing up. Kaska believed that Jan would provide a father figure to her child, and she agreed to raise the baby with him. While Jan intended to have the perfect family, he knew from early on that it would be far from it. He cheated on Kaska after he discovered that she was contacting Pawel even after they had a wedding date fixed. Jan was just like his parents; he was obsessed with Kaska even after knowing that she loved Pawel, the man he pushed away from her life. He was ready to achieve his goal at the cost of Kaska’s happiness. 

But on their wedding day, Kaska could not stop thinking about Pawel. She hoped for him to show up, but he never came. She cited various reasons to delay their marriage because, deep down, she knew this was all too wrong. She could never forget the fact that she had once seen Pawel and Dorota together in a classroom sharing a kiss. But Dorota refused to share any details about Pawel; instead, she tried to poison Kaska’s mind by stating how Pawel was repulsed by her. Ultimately, her grandmother motivated her to do what she wanted instead of settling for the easier option. Meanwhile, Jan, too, realized that he was chasing the impossible and confided the truth in Kaska. He called Pawel and asked him to come to the wedding. Pawel was not sure if going to the wedding was a good idea, but his father and grandmother pushed him to go get his girl. Pawel cycled, and Kaska ran to meet her lover. They finally met in the middle of the road, just like they did the first time. Only this time, she was on the other side and was waiting for the traffic to clear to embrace him. But just as Pawel was about to cross the road, a truck crossed by, and “Family Secrets” Season 1 ended on a cliffhanger.

We could hear a drop. Therefore, it could either be Pawel or Jan (who was behind him) who met with an accident. “Family Secrets” allows the audience to choose their preferred ending. Pawel could be alive, and they could unite as they had intended to, or he could have been hit by the truck, and their love story could be in jeopardy. Or did Jan completely lose his mind and push Pawel to die? The ending could also be an indication of another season of “Family Secrets.” Though the secrets that existed between the two families are pretty much covered in this season, another season might just be wishful thinking. I feel that the cliffhanger was the best way to end the rollercoaster series.

“Family Secrets” is a 2022 Polish Comedy Crime series streaming on Netflix.

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Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni has worked as a film researcher on a government-sponsored project and is currently employed as a film studies teacher at a private institute. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies. Film History and feminist reading of cinema are her areas of interest.

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