‘The Abandoned’ Ending Explained & Film Summary: Is The Killer Dead Or Alive?


Netflix’s film, The Abandoned, centers around a serial killer on the loose who mercilessly removes the heart and ring finger of the victims and abandons their bodies to send a message to the authorities. It is evident that the serial killer is challenging the police to find flaws in his methods and catch him if possible. On the other side of the narrative, we have a suicidal police officer, Deputy Captain Wu Chieh, who is grieving the loss of her fiancé, Yang Chen-kuo, who had shot himself to death. Officer Chen shot himself in the police vehicle, leaving a blood stain on the car roof that haunts Deputy Wu throughout the film. She felt that her lover abandoned her in the lonely world, and she didn’t want to be part of it any longer. It was on the night of December 31, 2018, when Deputy Wu decided to take her own life in the same car to finally reunite with Chen in the afterlife. However, before she could do so, a group of teenagers partying on the beach spotted an abandoned body and knocked on Deputy Wu’s car moments before she pulled the trigger. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that an abandoned corpse not only saved Deputy Wu’s life but, through the course of the investigation, helped Wu overcome her grief. So, let’s break down the events of The Abandoned and explain the killer’s motive revealed to us during the film’s ending.

Spoiler Alert

What Happened to Waree Napho?

While Deputy Wu and her new partner Wei-shan were investigating the abandoned corpse, an anonymous caller tipped the police that the dead body belonged to a migrant Thai worker named Waree Napho, who had been missing since December 26th, 2018. As shown in the film, a large number of immigrants entered the country on a daily basis, looking for jobs so that they could send money home. Waree was one of them. When she came to Taiwan, she met with a broker named Yu-sheng, who used to forge fake documents and arrange work for these immigrants so that they could lead a stable life in the new country. However, with Waree, it was different. Yu-sheng fell in love with the Thai woman, but Waree proposed to him for marriage. However, Yu-sheng wasn’t sure about their relationship, which was when Waree started seeing another Thai man named Mankong, who had been on the run from the police for the past 10 years. Apparently, it was Mankong who informed the police about Waree’s corpse. One day, his boss found Waree in the workshop and therefore asked Mankong to dispose of the corpse so as to avoid any legal investigation. Before dumping her body into the river, Mankong cut off the cuffs on her feet and wrists and sent them to the police so that the authorities could track down Waree’s killer.

How Was Yu-sheng Connected to the Murders?

Initially, the police believed that it was the heartbroken lover, Yu-sheng, who killed Waree out of jealousy and then tried to blame it all on Mankong. Even as a viewer, I was suspicious of Yu-sheng’s actions and the way he treated Waree’s sister, Saipin Napho, who had arrived in Taiwan to find her missing sister. Yu-sheng refused to recognize any of the runaway migrants during the police interrogation because he was the one who forged illegal documents for them. Additionally, he had recently disposed of the corpse of an Indonesian immigrant named Yeti Ayuni, whose dead body was found inside the slaughterhouse where she used to work. So, whoever the killer was, they were targeting the migrants who had no family or friends in the foreign country. Later on, the killer would contact the worker’s employers from the victim’s mobile phone and compel them to bury the corpse so as to keep the police away from their illegal businesses. Evidently, Yu-sheng had arranged petty jobs for many of these migrants, which was why his name kept popping up throughout the investigation. The killer, on the other hand, made one grave mistake. He used the victim’s cell phone to contact the next victim, which gave the police a substantial lead in the case.

How Did the Police Catch the Killer?

The serial killer was killing the victims on their birthdays, which eventually exposed the pattern of his killings. Following the trial, Deputy Wu surmised that the killer’s next target would be Waree’s sister, Saipin Napho, who had her birthday on January 6, 2019. Earlier, Yu-sheng had sent Napho away with his friend, Huang Tung-chi, who took her to his house, but she left after getting a call from the killer. While hunting down Tung-chi, Deputy Wu came across a piece of evidence that revealed that the killer was using Tung-chi’s license plate to drive the victims to a warehouse, where he would kill them in the most merciless way possible. Using the disguise, he was able to evade the police, and therefore, Deputy Wu used the traffic signal CCTV to trace the cab, which eventually brought them to the killer’s location.

Inside the cab, Yu-sheng found the identity card of Fan Chang-fu, the photographer who used to forge fake documents for his clients. At this point, Yu-sheng was able to connect the missing dots as he realized that Chang-fu targeted the migrants that Yu-sheng brought to him. The man blamed himself for Waree’s death and decided to take revenge on her killer by any means possible. Soon enough, Chang-fu drove into the parking spot where Yu-sheng and Deputy Wu had been waiting for him. Chang-fu tried to run away, but Deputy Wu captured him with a bit of collateral as her co-partner Wei-shan was stabbed in the process. Fortunately, in the end, the doctors were able to save Wei-shan’s life.

Why was Chang-fu killing the migrants?

The best thing about Netflix’s The Abandoned was that it didn’t clearly explain Chang-fu’s motives because, in reality, there aren’t any. It is always a mix of many complex emotions that generate from one’s past experiences and daily life. In the case of Chang-fu, he was running an old photo studio that was on the brink of collapse. He believed that the immigrants were stealing his job and livelihood, which was one of the reasons for his hatred towards them, but why only women? A flashback scene suggested that Chang-fu had married (or was in love with) a migrant who betrayed his trust and ran away. On his birthday, the woman sedated him and his mother with a drug-infused birthday cake and used the opportunity to steal her passport that Chang-fu had locked away. It was evident that Chang-fu was madly in love with this woman, but we are not sure whether she shared the same feelings for Chang-fu or not. It could be possible that Chang-fu had kept her as a captive, and the woman was looking for an opportunity to run away from his grasp. Whatever the case might be, Chang-fu lost his grip after his lover “abandoned” him. He couldn’t let go of the past, which was the reason why he targeted female migrants and started killing them on their birthdays to take revenge for his own unrequited love. The question is: would killing these innocent victims have brought his lover back?

After killing his victims, Chang-fu removed their hearts and their ring fingers, which were connected by a vein called Vena amoris, or the Vein of Love. Chang-fu stored their organs in a glass jar and clicked pictures with them so as to make sure that the “love” of these women never abandoned him again. Chang-fu had a troubled mind, and what was worse was the fact that he started enjoying killing his victims. Yet, the film isn’t without flaws. How a “photographer” became such a skilled surgeon overnight is beyond our understanding.

If one draws a parallel between Chang-fu and Deputy Wu, then they were both heartbroken individuals who were abandoned by their lovers. While Chang-fu couldn’t handle the grief and started killing innocent victims to overcome his pain, Deputy Wu became a victim of her own feelings and tried to end her own life before Waree’s corpse saved her life. The line of distinction between the protagonist and the antagonist is clearly visible during the climax of the film, which brings us to the final face-off between these two lost souls.

How did Chang-fu die?

Deputy Wu could have turned Chang-fu over to the police the moment she arrested him, but she didn’t have the time to follow the procedure, as in such a case, she would have lost Saipin Napho forever. She knew that if she tried to handle Chang-fu alone, he might fall for her trap and reveal Napho’s location, finding a woman detective weak and vulnerable. And that was exactly what happened. Chang-fu finally brought Wu to the isolated warehouse, where he had earlier lit up an object that filled the locked chamber with carbon monoxide so as to slowly poison Napho to her death.

As Chang-fu and Wu stepped inside the protected chamber, Chang-fu tried to lock the inspector inside to kill her with poisonous gas. When he failed to escape, he tried to suffocate Wu to her death, and she had no means left but to shoot Chang-fu to put an end to his killings. She shot Chang-fu in the chest, thereby killing the man on the spot. However, Wu was still locked inside the poisonous chamber, and she didn’t have the combination codes to open the door. The inspector once again tried to shoot herself to end her misery, but this time around, she had a civilian’s life to save. If Wu had given up, then Napho would have died with her. It was in those last moments that Wu remembered Chen-kuo’s words, who had asked her to keep on living her life no matter what happened. Wu couldn’t break her promise and therefore used the last ounce of her strength to break the glass window so that poisonous gas could leave the chamber. It was how Wu saved Napho’s life.

Did Deputy Wu overcome her grief?

The Abandoned didn’t explain why Yang Chen-kuo committed suicide. Maybe the film wasn’t about it. At the center of the conflict was a grieving woman who couldn’t handle the loss of a loved one and therefore chose the easiest way out. However, through the course of the film, Deputy Wu learned a very simple fact. Sometimes it is easier to run away from the past than to face it. We dwell so much in our own pain that we fail to notice the miseries around us. Deputy Wu understood the fact that the killings wouldn’t stop if she didn’t intervene. No one would have caught Chang-fu if it were not for Deputy Wu. And this was not the end of the road for her. A lot of such crimes will keep occurring in the future, and it is her moral duty to put those criminals behind bars so that no other innocent individuals turn up dead like Waree or Yeti. In the grand scheme of things, Deputy Wu had a crucial role to play, and therefore she decided to move on from her past so that she could focus on what she did best, i.e., catching criminals.

The Abandoned’s ending revealed that Deputy Wu finally got rid of Chen-kuo’s car with the blood-stained hole in it. She left her engagement ring inside the car, implying that she had decided to move on with her life. The woman also adopted Chang-fu’s pet dog as a gesture of kindness, and perhaps it would be her new partner in life until she falls in love once again in the future.

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Shikhar Agrawal
Shikhar Agrawal
I am an Onstage Dramatist and a Screenwriter. I have been working in the Indian Film Industry for the past 12 years, writing dialogues for various films and television shows.

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