Afterlife by Ricky Gervais has just dropped on Netflix and it’s arguably one of the densest and most emotional comedies that the creator has ever written.
The show deals with a lot in its six episode run and throughout this video I’ll be, breaking down some of the biggest takeaways from the series including my personal thoughts on it.
This is full spoilers ahead, so if you don’t want to know anything about Afterlife, then I highly recommend that you turn off now.
With that out the way, I’m Deffinition, Welcome To The Channel and let’s dive into my Spoiler Review of Afterlife.
Afterlife Plot Summary
Afterlife follows Tony, played by Ricky Gervais, who has recently lost his wife and in doing so also lost his meaning for living. Similar to Gervais in real life, Tony is an Atheist who really seems to struggle with just how cruel and unfair that life can be at certain times.
The character is brutal to those around him, suicidal and also completely unwilling to accept help as he states the one thing that would make him happy, which is the return of his wife, is completely impossible.
This is a man who is really at rock bottom and the season deals with him coming to grips with the fact that life does have it’s redeeming qualities.
Tony works for a paper and deals with their ridiculous stories such as a local baby that looks like Adolf Hitler, a Damp Stain that looks like Kenneth Brannagh and a boy who can play two recorders through his nostrils. It’s on these journeys that Tony, after hearing the life stories of those he is mocking, comes to realise that he hasn’t been singled out. Everyone in their life has been dealt a bad hand and has had to recover from it, which begins to inspire him.
Afterlife Ending Explained
By the end of the series Tony comes to realise that in loss there is also the opportunity to regain and grow. Though the people he encounters too had to deal with their own tragedies, they managed to learn from it, accept it and treasure the precious memories that they were left with.
Tony accepts that even though he doesn’t believe in an afterlife, that still doesn’t mean that life is pointless. He states we should appreciate what we have as we never know when it’s going to be taken away.
One day you will hug the person you love for the last time and not even know it. This adds value to every moment and Tony regains his appreciation for the world around him and all it’s magnificence.
Afterlife’s Best Moment
For me, the most touching moment in the piece comes from when Tony visits his Father in the final episode and though he has severe dementia, his father recognises his son and one of their happiest memories comes back. On the surface, the story of Tony painting the wall in their house would be a perhaps a negative one, however the two look back on it fondly and smile, which to me sums up the message of the show.
Even things that we think are bad, come to have their own beauty and magic to them that we will one day look back upon fondly because it made up our lives.
By the end, Andy learns that the trick to a happy life is to find who is nice and who isn’t and spend the precious time that we do have with the former. This is symbolised by him cutting out his therapist and instead of turning to his brother Matt for consolation realising that the two will have more of a connection and will be able to heal each other rather than relying on an outsider. Matt has a failing marriage and, inspired by Tony he decides to work on it and repair his life. Matt is the true winner here as he manages to succeed in keeping Tony alive long enough to realise that he didn’t want to kill himself.
Tony confesses how much that he loves the people around him and that he can’t live without them and though he deals with loss he also accepts it. Tony finally asks out his father’s nurse and the two begin a new life together, happy at what they have and what it could lead to.
The Message Of Afterlife
Afterlife is about learning to love again after loss. Whilst this could primarily be thought of as just Tony re-engaging in a relationship it also has to do with his love of life, the world and the people in it.
It’s a truly powerful message and the piece works as an excellent mental health case study that showcases that though we will all face tragedy, that too has it’s own beauty and that’s the meaning of life.
Obviously, I’d love to hear your thoughts on Afterlife and if you enjoyed it. Make sure you leave your review in the comments below and let me know if you took anything different from the show as I’d love to read it.
If you enjoyed this video then please like it and make sure you check out my breakdown of this weekend’s other big release, Captain Marvel, which will be linked after this video.