The Pale Horse re-imagines a classic Agatha Christie tale and the ending has left some fans baffled.

Everyone loves a good murder mystery story and the legendary Agatha Christie is responsible for some of the best-known tales in the genre.

We all know and love Agatha Christie’s most famous creations Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple but BBC One’s adaptation of The Pale Horse re-tells one of the author’s slightly lesser-known, but still brilliant, works.   

The BBC’s adaptation was divided into two parts, the first of which arrived on February 9th with the second following a week later on February 16th and in typical murder mystery fashion, viewers were taken along a long and winding road filled with plenty of twists and turns before coming to a dramatic conclusion.

But while we may have learned the identity of the vindictive serial killer behind the murders in The Pale Horse, the very end of the final episode has had fans scratching their heads. 

The Pale Horse on the BBC

The Pale Horse follows Mark Easterbrook (Rufus Sewell) as he inadvertently becomes embroiled in a sinister serial killing plot when a list of names is found in a recently deceased woman’s shoe.

It quickly transpires that this collection of names, including his own, is a list of people who recently died or are soon to die.  

Mark’s investigation into the list takes him to the village of Much Deeping where he comes across three ‘witches’ at a place called The Pale Horse and the blame looks to be shifting onto these three mysterious women.

What happens at the end?

Eventually, however, Mark comes face to face with the real killer, a pharmacist, with some horrendous teeth, by the name of Zachariah Osborne (Bertie Carvel).

It is revealed that Zachariah has been poisoning the victims on the mysterious list with a drug that leaves no traces and has killed over 30 people, so many in fact, that he’s lost count. 

However, Mark sees to it that Zachariah won’t be poisoning any more helpless victims by killing him with a crowbar.

It’s all been fairly simple stuff until now, but as Mark returns home, he sees that the newspaper is reporting that he’s died and moments later Mark sees an apparent vision of his first wife, Delphine, as she electrocutes herself in the bath. But what does this literally shocking ending mean? 

What does the ending mean?

The ending of The Pale Horse on the BBC is left decidedly ambiguous as the power cuts, the screen goes black and the credits roll.

But the easiest deduction we can take from the episode’s conclusion is that somewhere along the line, Mark was indeed poisoned by Zachariah and him seeing visions of his dead wife is him being welcomed into the afterlife, possibly seeing key moments from his life passing before his eyes.

Or perhaps the mysterious witches had something to do with the killing spree after all?

Either way, it’s certainly a departure from Agatha Christie’s original work, which plenty of fans have been quick to point out but it was hardly surprising that we got one final dramatic twist before the very end.

Episodes 1 and 2 of The Pale Horse are available to stream now on BBC iPlayer.

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