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The ending of 'Baby Reindeer', explained: What does 'baby reindeer' mean?

The Netflix series comes full circle in a poetic last scene.
Baby Reindeer
Richard Gadd as Donny Dunn and Jessica Gunning as Martha.Ed Miller / Ed Miller/Netflix

After taking viewers through an intense rollercoaster of emotions, "Baby Reindeer" ends on a somber, bittersweet note.

Before that, the main character, Donny Dunn (Richard Gadd) endures a harrowing experience with stalking — based on Gadd's real experiences. In the show, Donny is stalked by a woman named Martha (Jessica Gunning), who bombards him with emails and infiltrates his daily life.

Whether you're looking for spoilers or are trying to make sense of the fascinating end to the epic saga, we're breaking down everything that happens in the "Baby Reindeer" finale.

Donny's career takes off

Donny during a comedy show.
Donny during a comedy show.Ed Miller / Netflix

In Episode Six of "Baby Reindeer," Donny hits the stage for a comedy act. When he realizes he's bombing the performance, he gives an impromptu, raw confession of everything he's been going through the past few years.

Donny takes the audience through the sexual assault he endured at the hands of Darrien (Tom Goodman-Hill), an older man he had trusted, his foray into dating a transgender woman and his recent experience with stalking.

Unbeknownst to Donny, an audience member tapes the performance and posts it on YouTube. It quickly goes viral and the comedian suddenly finds himself in demand professionally.

Donny is so busy that he doesn't even notice that Martha (Jessica Gunning) hasn't been emailing him. He then makes the mistake of adding his personal cell phone number in his email away message, and Martha sees it.

Martha threatens to tell Donny's family about his darkest secrets

Baby Reindeer
Martha repeatedly visits Donny at the bar where he works.Ed Miller / Netflix

After getting hold of Donny's cell phone number, Martha leaves him a voicemail to tell him that she heard about his viral video. She threatens to tell his parents about his rape and relationship with Teri (Nava Mau).

Donny beats her to it and travels to Scotland to tell his parents the whole story in person. He's surprised to see how supportive they are and even learns that his father also experienced sexual abuse when he was younger.

Donny reports Martha to the police again

Once he returns from Scotland, Donny notices a number of voicemails from Martha. He goes to the police station again to report her and an officer encourages him to wait for Martha to say something that they can use to expedite the case against her.

Donny becomes obsessed with figuring out what Martha's intentions are. He misses out on potential work opportunities because he's so busy listening to her voicemails and soon begins to relate to her even more.

Meanwhile, life is moving on around Donny and he sees Teri with a new man. As he narrates the scene, he admits that Martha "managed to distract me from all the things that I'd lost."

Over time, Martha threatens Donny via voicemail on many occasions, but he declines to share the threats with the police.

“(I was) holding off reporting her out of fascination or empathy or guilt, any excuse really to keep her in my life,” he says.

Martha threatens Donny's family  

Baby Reindeer
Donny and Martha during happier times.Ed Miller / Ed Miller/Netflix

Despite his growing fascination with Martha, Donny decides to report her to the police after she threatens to harm his family. She's then arrested and charged with three counts of stalking and harassment.

“By the time a date was set for her plea hearing, I really couldn't tell whether it was putting an end to her fascination or mine,” he says.

Martha is sentenced to prison

Donny attends the hearing and watches as the judge reads the charges aloud to Martha, who pleads guilty to all counts and begins to cry.

Martha is sentenced to nine months in prison and Donny is granted a five-year restraining order against her. While narrating the scene, Donny says the court hearing was the last time he laid eyes on Martha.

Back at home, he begins to reflect on his stalking experience and writes, "I felt sorry for her. That's the first feeling I felt."

Donny moves back in with his ex-girlfriend's mother

Concerned about Donny, his ex-girlfriend Keeley (Shalom Brune-Franklin) shows up to his apartment and suggests that he move back in with her mother. She then notices that Donny has a wall full of photos and messages from Martha. He explains that he's been trying to make sense of the whole situation.

Donny does move back in with Keeley's mother, who left him some of his old belongings in his closet. There, he finds a script with notes from Darrien. He proceeds to visit him at home and they catch up.

Darrien says he saw Donny's viral video and invites him to work with him, promising that it won’t be like the last time. Donny says he'd like that but after leaving, he is visibly distraught by the experience of talking to his abuser once again.

Donny's story comes full circle

While walking home, Donny starts playing Martha's voicemails to comfort himself. He stops by a bar and orders a drink, then listens to a voicemail where Martha explains the meaning of the nickname, she created for him: "Baby reindeer."

“I had this wee cuddly toy when I was young. Went with me everywhere. Earliest memory I have, I think, was Christmastime. This old photo of me, sitting with this paper hat on my head and this baby reindeer beside me. Anyway, this reindeer was this cuddly, fluffy thing. It had big lips, huge eyes and the cutest wee bum. I still have it to this day. It was the only good thing about my childhood. I’d hug it when (my parents) fought. And they fought a lot, you know? Well, you are the spit(ting image) of that reindeer. The same nose. Same eyes. Same cute wee bum. It means so much to me. You mean so much to me,” she says while crying.

Donny begins crying in the bar and realizes he forgot his wallet when the bartender brings his drink over and asks if he's OK.

"Don't worry about it. It's on me," the bartender says, echoing the first scene of the show.

Donny looks up and stares at him. The series ends on a similar note to how it all began when Donny gave Martha a drink on the house.