“Lost Ollie” by Netflix is a fascinating tale that deserves a watch just for its brilliant storytelling. Added to that is a remarkable combination of live-action and stop-motion animation, with almost no difference between the animated puppets and the real-world backgrounds at most times. Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, at the heart of “Lost Ollie” is a soul-warming plot filled with emotional drama with dark turns enough to keep viewers of any age hooked on. Although the plot of a lost toy looking for its best friend, a human, might make it seem too close to the “Toy Story” films, “Lost Ollie” holds its own ground very well and is a watch worthy of remembering.
‘Lost Ollie’ Plot Summary: What Is The Series About?
A little rabbit doll named Ollie wakes up, among various other things, inside a cardboard box, and his very first reaction is to look for his human best friend, Billy. However, Ollie quickly realizes that he has been put in at a thrift store, where the owner, Flossie, marks a resale tag on his long flappy ears. Sometime later, a young girl comes into the shop with her father, and she is immediately interested in Ollie. The doll is relieved to see that this girl can listen to him talk and also make introductions with him, unlike Flossie, to whom he is just a stuffed toy. Ollie tells the girl that he is looking for Billy, but when she asks him for more information like Billy’s full name or his home address, Ollie realizes that he can remember very little and has lost most of his memory. Although the girl offers Ollie to go home with her and be her own, the doll kindly turns her down as he desperately wants to go back to his friend. Later that day, the rabbit doll tries to escape from the shop, only to be hunted down by Flossie’s menacing pet dog, Buttons. Just as the dog is about to attack him, another toy, a clown doll, appears and distracts the animal. This new toy introduces himself as Zozo, and instantly makes friends with Ollie, who tells him of the little memories he has started to get back.
Ollie remembers having spent many loving years with Billy and having even made promises to never part ways; therefore, the toy now makes it his life’s purpose to return to Billy any way he can. The two used to keep a pair of magnetic stars as a symbol of their unity, and it is now, with the help of his star, that Ollie tries to remember more of his past. He gradually recalls having played pirates with Billy, who seemed sad because of his Momma’s poor health and also because of troubles with a bully in school, and Ollie finally remembers a clue to try and get back to him. On Billy’s wall was a collection of photographs and pictures of all the places he had gone to with his parents, and Ollie now makes a hand-sketched map of whatever places he can remember. Zozo, who had been patiently listening to all this, also reveals that he had been looking for someone for most of his life. A dancing doll named Nina used to be the love of his life before they got separated, and Zozo had tried to look for her for many days. The two toys now decide to help each other out on their individual search missions, and they plan to escape from the thrift store. Making clever use of Buttons, they make their escape and prepare for a trip to the places Ollie remembers—the dark river, white tower, mark twain, troll, and finally home, all while also searching for Zozo’s lost love, Nina.
How Does Ollie Try to Find his Best Friend?
While making their escape from the thrift store, Ollie and Zozo are joined by a third toy, a teddy bear named Rosy, who helps them against Buttons’ attack. Rosy, who is really a rough and tough toy with mastery over her two plastic swords, knows Zozo from before and had been looking for him for a long time, now joins the party. Ollie quickly figures out that the dark river is actually the Ohio river, and they take a steamboat ride to cross over to the other side, the city of Louisville. Rosy makes it clear from the very start that she does not consider Ollie’s mission to be of any importance and is only there to accompany Zozo, with whom she had a history. When she sees a tall building that resembles the white tower on Ollie’s map, she does not tell the rabbit anything about it, and it is only when Ollie sees it for himself that he realizes that it is their next destination. After reaching land, the three toys jump onto the saddlebags of a motorcyclist and take a ride to the tall building, which turns out to be a hospital. Throughout this whole journey, Ollie remembers bits and pieces from his past, as he now recalls that he had earlier been to the hospital with Billy when his mother had to undergo an MRI scan there. He remembers how Momma used to always sing a specific song to Billy whenever the boy was scared, and Ollie himself sings the song now, which Zozo seems to recognize from his own past. The experienced clown then figures out the next clue, i.e., what the mark twain on Ollie’s map could mean, and points him towards the nearest train tracks. This indeed works, as Ollie thinks of how Billy used to call trains “twain” in his childhood, and his father would call cargo trains “mark twain” to play along with the boy’s childishness. The three now make their way to the railyard and hop onto a moving cargo train. Rosy slips up and is about to be separated from the group when Ollie’s long flappy ears come to her rescue, and she climbs back up on the train with his help. It is now that the teddy bear gradually grows warmer towards the rabbit but still shows very little affection or kindness towards him.
Going past the woods, Ollie has a feeling that their next destination, the troll, would be close to the woods, and he jumps off the moving train, followed by his companions. They walk through the forest the whole day and finally reach a giant wooden troll statue. Although the toy does not immediately understand why this place is important in his journey toward going home, walking around a bit leads them to a sign of a school nearby. This further brings back Ollie’s memory, as he remembers going to school with Billy, which means that they are not too far away from Billy’s home. However, Ollie also recalls that Billy did not like going to school at all and had drawn school as only a dark cluster of bad thoughts on the map on his wall, but the toy cannot yet remember the exact reason for it. As Ollie and his two new friends decide to walk towards the school, some creature in the woods, possibly a rat or something of that kind, makes its presence felt, and the toys are too scared to continue on that path. Instead, Zozo suggests that they go to an abandoned amusement park nearby, and Ollie agrees. Walking into the park, which was named Dreamland during its operational days, Zozo turns on all the lights and asks the toy bunny whether he remembers anything about the place. As Ollie grows somewhat confused, things take a dark turn, as Zozo hums the tune of the song Ollie had earlier sang, the same one that Billy’s mother used to always sing, and then makes it known that he had brought Ollie to Dreamland on purpose. The clown says that the sound of a bell inside Ollie, which actually serves as his heart, had reminded him of his lost love, Nina, and then the song that the bunny sings confirmed in his mind that he knew something about Nina, for the song would always keep playing at the amusement park.
Zozo now turns evil and holds Ollie captive, beating him terribly to force him to reveal any information about Nina, even though the bunny honestly admits that he never knew anyone called Nina. Rosy had silently stood during this sudden turn of events, and it now became clear that she had an idea that something like this might happen. Although it is evident from her face that she does not want Ollie to suffer, the teddy does not make any attempt to save him until Zozo leaves her alone with Ollie. Despite the clown telling her to torture Ollie, she cuts him loose and lets him escape, even trying to keep Zozo distracted during Ollie’s attempt to flee. But the evil clown gets wind of it, and he chases the bunny and is about to kill him when Rosy intervenes, and in his rage, Zozo stabs his old friend with her own sword. Ollie manages to escape, and he makes his way to the school building where he used to go with Billy. Entering the empty halls of the building as it is nighttime, Ollie’s memories come back, and he finally realizes why his best friend used to hate coming to school. A few days after Billy’s Momma had tragically passed away, the young boy came to school with his toy best friend, and mustered up the courage to speak in class, only with Ollie’s help. Billy had shared with his classmates how he and Ollie would play pirates, and although everybody was excited to hear it, the class bully, Mike Apple, had made fun of him. Later that day, after class was over, Mike came over to Billy and teased him some more, before snatching Ollie away from him. The bully kept saying how Billy was a baby, for he still played with soft toys and his best friend was a stuffed bunny, and he then threw Ollie away. Although Billy could see Ollie and could have easily picked him up, the young boy tearfully decided not to be a baby anymore, as he was bullied around for it, and left Ollie there on the muddy grounds in front of the school. Ollie now remembers that his best friend had actually abandoned him.
What Was Zozo’s Past, And Why Did He Attack Ollie?
Many years back, in 1965, Zozo used to be a spring-doll in one of the stalls at the Wonderland amusement park. The stall would essentially let visitors play a game where they would have to throw balls at Zozo, who only had a torso, and the rest of his body down below was a spring, which would get them some rewards. Zozo’s life was all about getting hit and then springing back up again, but amidst all this, he would be mesmerized by the stall that was right opposite to his. It was a stall named Bali Hai, in which a wooden puppet named Nina used to dance to music, and Zozo found himself rather attracted to her. Nina, too, expressed her attraction towards the clown, and gradually she would sneak up to Zozo’s stall at night, and the two would spend romantic hours together. The song “All I have to do is dream” by the Everly Brothers used to play in the park at this time, and it had become associated with Nina’s memory in Zozo’s mind. This was indeed the same song that Ollie had earlier sung, the one that Billy’s mother used to sing too. All went well until the amusement park was closed in 1970, and all the items were auctioned off. Right in front of Zozo’s eyes, his beloved Nina was bought off and taken away by a young girl and her father, and the clown was left alone. Sometime after, a storm seemed to bring down all the stalls at the abandoned park, and Zozo was finally set free from the fixed stand and spring. Finding a pair of doll legs, he had stitched them onto his lower body, and had become complete. Next, he went along, searching for his love, as he believed he could still unite with her.
It was during his search that he had found a pink teddy bear, all torn apart and damaged, and had used his sewing skills to fix her up. This bear was indeed Rosy, and the two became friends quickly, with Rosie developing a feeling of always being indebted to his savior. Together, they went around looking for Nina, but no trace of her seemed to turn up. Gradually, Zozo grew frustrated and bitter about his loss, and his desperation brought out a terrible dark side in him. The clown would beat up toys relentlessly, looking for any information about his beloved, and Rosy did not like seeing her friend change right in front of her eyes. Zozo, too, realized that his bitterness was affecting Rosy, and one day, as she was sleeping, the clown left her a note and abandoned her. Since then, he had made his way to Flossie’s thrift store and remained there after losing hope of finding Nina again. It was then that he suddenly heard Ollie’s bell tinkling and realized that it was the same bell that Nina had on her body. It was for this that he started to help Ollie, for he believed the bunny could lead him to his lover, and when Ollie could not say anything, he turned against him. All this while, Rosy had been looking for her close friend and savior, for she knew he would end up harming himself and others, and decided to tag along when she finally found her. However, she finally decided to stand up against his evil nature when Ollie told her about love, and how it was love that was making him look for Billy with such desperation.
Had Billy Really Abandoned Ollie?
Although Billy had left his toy best friend after being bullied by his classmate, he soon regretted having done so and went looking for Ollie. Unable to find him anywhere, the young boy made a bunch of hand-drawn missing posters with Ollie’s picture on them, and went around town sticking them up in public places. Despite the title of the show being centered around Ollie, “Lost Ollie” actually spends a lot of time with Billy to finely shape up his character and create an emotional connection between him and the viewers. The young boy was indeed in a very difficult time in life and was having trouble dealing with the sudden changes he had to face. First, he was often bullied at school for not looking like his parents, for he was adopted (obviously, the parents never directly told him about this), and then for being shy and an introvert with a sharp creative imagination. In many ways, his Momma was a very close friend to Billy, as she would tell him about how love was more important than having blood ties with the ones he loved, and she would appreciate his skills of imagination. However, Momma found out that she was suffering from a terminal illness, and she refused to go for any treatment, spending her last few days with her loving family. This sickness confused and saddened Billy’s father terribly, for he was not ready to lose his beloved partner, and he would often scold young Billy for believing that Ollie was alive and would tell him to act like a grown-up. It was Billy’s mother who had actually stitched Ollie up for the boy when he was just a baby, and Ollie remained the boy’s best friend throughout his childhood years. The pair of magnetic stars that Billy always kept with himself and Ollie were actually a pair of his mother’s earrings, which she had given him during her MRI scan, and they had remained with the boy since then.
Finally, the time arrived when Billy’s mother passed away, and while the young boy had a difficult time, his father struggled even more, to come to terms with the loss. He grew careless and neglectful of his young boy, and on the particular day that Billy went looking for Ollie, he did not even notice his absence from the house until late in the evening. All this while, Billy went around looking for his toy and walked through the woods to find the wooden troll statue and then the abandoned amusement park. As he tried to break into the place where Ollie was earlier seen held captive by Zozo, a friend of his father found him and took him back to town. While waiting at the local pub, the boy ran into Mike Apple, who again started to bully and tease the boy about the death of his mother and the loss of his toy friend, but Billy now decided to stand up for himself. Getting into an altercation, he was about to thrash the bully down when his father entered the pub and took him away. While driving him back home, Billy’s father finally realized his mistake and opened up to his son. Together, they entered their home, and at the same time, Ollie was seen arriving in front of the house. However, to Ollie’s great dismay, he sees that the house is now dark and abandoned, with nobody in it. While “Lost Ollie” craftily combined the two sides of Ollie and Billy looking for each other, the two sides were taking place in two different timelines. Ollie had remained unconscious for many years before waking up inside the thrift store, and this was why he had lost so much of his memory. While Billy had tried looking for him within a day or two of their separation, Ollie was looking for his best friend many years later.
At present, Ollie walks into the empty house and sees the wall of pictures that Billy had in his room. He sees one of the missing posters that Billy had made for him on the wall and realizes that his best friend had actually tried to look for him. The toy now remembers Billy’s mother as well, and it is revealed that she was the little girl who had bought Nina from the auction. She had dearly loved Nina and played with her so much that the doll had fallen apart out of use. However, the mother could not really throw her away and instead decided to pass on Nina’s presence somehow. After stitching up Ollie, she sewed the bell that Nina had on her body into Ollie’s body, making it the heart of the new toy for her baby son. As Ollie looks at a photograph of the mother as a young girl with Nina in her hands, Zozo appears behind him and vengefully chases him. The clown catches up with Ollie and beats him down when the bunny tells him the truth about Nina. For a moment, Zozo seems to be apologizing, but the bitterness in him takes over quickly, and he pulls out Nina’s bell from inside Ollie. Before he can completely take apart the bell and kill Ollie, as it is his heart, Rosy appears and kills Zozo with her sword, before herself falling dead because of the earlier sword stab. As rain heavily poured down from the skies that night, the three toys lay around lifeless in puddles of water.
‘Lost Ollie’ Ending Explained: How Does Ollie Reunite With His Best Friend, Billy?
The next morning, or a day or two later, a man driving by the road takes notice of the rabbit doll lying in the puddle and immediately takes it from there. Taking the toy home, he sews it back with the utmost care and puts the bell inside its body to make Ollie complete once again. Very soon, this man is revealed to be Billy, who is now an adult man living in a house close to the abandoned house where he had grown up. Billy now takes Ollie and gifts him to his own young daughter, Suzy, and this girl too has been seen earlier, as it was she who wanted to take Ollie home in “Lost Ollie” episode 1. Suzy is ecstatic to see Ollie, who she recognizes immediately, for they had made their introductions earlier, and although Billy is a bit shocked as to how she knows his name, he does not seem to care much. Billy, too, is tremendously happy to finally reunite with his childhood best friend, and he pulls out his star, which magnetically fits onto the one on Billy’s chest. As he tells his daughter about how the toy used to be his best friend during childhood, the two spend hours outside their house, just like young Billy used to spend time with his parents many years back. It is with these scenes that “Lost Ollie” comes to an emotional and heartwarming end.
Along with being the story of Ollie’s grand odyssey (the series is actually based on William Joyce’s book for children titled “Ollie’s Odyssey”) towards home, the show makes a lot of commentaries about life and love that are worth paying attention to. The lessons of love and kindness that Billy’s Momma left him are all very genuinely and convincingly presented. At the very end, Ollie talks to Billy through Suzy, as she is the only one who can hear him now, and tells him about the last words that his mother had left for him. Asking Ollie to convey her message to him, Momma had asked Billy to be sad but never bitter about her loss, also reminding him that losing someone does not necessarily mean that they are gone. Indeed, his mother’s words and, in many senses, her nature live on with Billy as an adult, as scenes of him spending time with young Suzy exactly resemble scenes of Billy’s time with his mother. It is Zozo the clown who forms a contrast to Momma’s advice, for it was his bitterness due to the loss of his beloved that turned him evil. Perhaps most importantly, Ollie remained on as a constant reminder of Momma and her values, not just with Billy but now also with his own daughter.
“Lost Ollie” is a 2022 Animated Adventure mini-series created by Shannon Tindle.