Lyle, Frankie And Robert In ‘Boy Swallows Universe,’ Explained: Is Lyle Dead?


When Boy Swallows Universe started, we expected to see a dysfunctional and abusive family where the kid was just trying to survive. Instead, we saw one of the most loving families, where the members risked everything for each other’s well-being. The entire premise of the series is about the protection and safety of family members, and the happy ending is also based on them being together.

Spoiler Alert

Why did Frankie leave Robert?

Frankie and Robert were in love, and he had protected her from a bad situation when they got together first. They had two children, but life wasn’t easy for them because they were both addicts and had a lot of mental health issues to deal with. Robert was a drunkard, and he frequently got panic attacks. Frankie put up with them until one day when she realized that Robert’s condition was a danger to her children. Additionally, Frankie was dealing with her own addiction. She must have been clean for a while, but being near Robert, who was constantly drunk, was a source of temptation for her, and she knew that if she stayed with him, she would give in, and her children wouldn’t have anyone to take care of them. That is why she found it better to leave him, and Robert also let her go since he felt that he had let his family down when he placed them in such danger.

How Does Lyle Die?

The problem with Frankie was that she was a good woman, but she almost always relied on others to take care of her and her children. Eli and Gus constantly told her that she was talented and that she could go to university and be a teacher, but Frankie never committed to the idea. It probably wasn’t the fact that she didn’t believe in herself but more that she felt the ship had sailed or perhaps that their economic situation would not permit that dream for her. However, Frankie was the only one who felt that way.

Lyle was a good man who loved Frankie, Eli, and Gus and wanted to do the best he could for their sake. There is a point when Frankie is completely addicted to drugs, and Lyle leaves the kids alone to go do something. He comes back almost immediately and makes sure that Frankie gets clean, but that one incident is enough for Eli to keep reminding him that he is not their real father. To be fair, Lyle wouldn’t be alone in that because even Robert mentions that he was not used to Eli calling him ‘dad.’

Lyle started dealing drugs because that was a good source of income. It paid more than what he was earning from his odd jobs, and it enabled him to give his family what they wanted. There is an instance where he buys an expensive dress for Frankie because he sees her eyeing it. There was no need for that dress, and we suspect that the family could have done without the extra money that Lyle was trying to earn. But in the absence of that, they would be living hand to mouth. Lyle often heard Eli say that he was not good enough for Frankie and she could do better. Maybe Eli was trying to earn more so that he could be worthy of the family he loved. More money would mean a better house for them, a college education for the kids, and enough financial freedom for Frankie to go back to school and achieve her dreams. Sadly, Lyle tried to employ shortcuts even here, and that cost him his life. He was reducing the quality of Bich Dang’s drugs so that he would be able to sell more and pocket the extra money. The word got out about it, and Lyle was killed by Tytus Broz, who was Bich Dang’s boss and the person she answered to. Since Tytus Broz was in the illegal business of harvesting limbs, he made use of Lyle in every way he could to cover his losses from the drugs. Lyle’s leg was found on the beach. We suspect that this leg was discarded because it had a tattoo on it, meaning it was ‘corrupted.’ The rest of Lyle’s body parts were used for Tytus’ business, and maybe his head was preserved either as a trophy or for some further experiments. After Lyle’s death and Frankie’s incarceration, the boys had to go live with their biological father.

Is Robert a good man?

Robert is a good man, though he struggles to be a decent father. After his family left him, he gave in to his addiction, and this state of his was one of the reasons Eli was so desperate to meet his mother and see if they had other options. The first time that Gus and Eli realized that Robert loved them was when he admitted to the school teacher and counselor that he loved his children and regretted the accident that had taken them away from him.

Years later, when Frankie came back to live in his house, he made immediate changes to accommodate her despite having previously acted like he did not want to meet her. He sold all his books, his lifelong companions, for twenty dollars. He even got a job and started working out because Frankie liked ‘big arms.’ Living with his children and now meeting the love of his life again had taught Robert a lot of perseverance, which is why he was able to let go of the alcohol. He could have quit it before as well, but he did not because he did not feel the need to. With Frankie around, he kept away from the bottle because she had previously left him because of that, and also to not tempt her towards her own addiction. Robert admits that having his family around made him happy enough that he wasn’t tempted to drink.

In the series finale, Robert also takes a hit to his jugular to protect his family. He had already proved that he was dependable and good, but with this action, he proved that he was not a placeholder for Lyle but someone who loved his family with body and soul. Our guess is that Frankie had been waiting to see that in Robert all these years. That is why it was so easy for her to fall back in love with him because she never fell out of it. And with that, the happy family was once again complete.

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Divya Malladi
Divya Malladi
Divya spends way more time on Netflix and regrets most of what she watches. Hence she has too many opinions that she tries to put to productive spin through her writings. Her New Year resolution is to know that her opinions are validated.

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