HBO Max’s thriller series ‘The Tourist’ centres around a car rollover victim named Elliot Stanley, who completely loses his memory due to the incident. With the help of a few acquaintances in the town of Burnt Ridge, Elliot tries to find out more about his identity and involvement in a series of perplexing predicaments.
Written by Harry and Jack Williams, the series progresses through Elliot’s attempts to unravel the mystery behind his enemies, who unceasingly chase him. The first season of the engrossing series ends with a cliffhanger, leaving the viewers nothing but stunned. If you are trying to make sense of its ending, we have got you covered! SPOILERS AHEAD.
The Tourist Recap
A man gets chased by a giant truck as he drives through the Australian outback in his car. After considerable effort, he loses the truck but eventually gets hit by the same. He wakes up in a hospital in the town of Cooper Springs, without any memory of his past or identity.
Probationary constable Helen Chambers visits the man and tries to retrieve information about him but fails to do so. From his clothes, the man gets a scrap paper with the address of a diner along with the date of a meeting.
The man discharges himself from the hospital and goes to the diner in Burnt Ridge, a nearby town, and sits at the table mentioned in the paper. When he steps out to go to the restroom, a bomb explodes at the diner. He realizes that he is being hunted by an unknown enemy.
With the help of Sue, the owner of his shelter in the town, the man tries to find out what he was doing in the region prior to his memory loss. At that point, he receives a call from a man buried in an oil drum, seeking his help.
Along with Luci, a waiter at the diner, the man locates the buried man but finds out that he is dead. While returning, he notices that Luci’s handwriting and the handwriting on the scrap paper are the same. When he confronts, Luci reveals that he is Elliot Stanley, her ex-boyfriend.
As they return to Burnt Ridge, a fellow named Billy arrives at Sue’s home and tries to kill Elliot, Luci, and Helen. Elliot saves Helen from Billy and they both escape. Billy goes to Luci’s place and gets killed after a fight. Meanwhile, Detective Rogers arrives at Burnt Ridge to investigate the explosion. He alerts police stations nearby to find Elliot.
When Helen realizes that the police are looking for Elliot, she pleads with him to surrender. However, he holds her at gunpoint to flee from the region and find Luci, who tries to leave the town. During their expedition, Helen and Elliot start to nurture a bond.
By that time, Kosta Panigiris, an infamous drug lord, arrives at Burnt Ridge for Elliot. He kidnaps Rogers’ wife and asks the detective to find and take Elliot to him. The detective agrees and locates Elliot at a nearby motel. When a local police officer named Lammon comes in the way of Rogers’ plan, he kills him and takes Elliot to Kosta.
Kosta threatens to kill Elliot unless he finds a bag that contains $1 million Elliot stole from the notorious criminal. As they try to locate the bag, Elliot starts to remember his past and realize that he was Kosta’s accountant. Meanwhile, Luci arrives to save Elliot.
A shootout ensues when Elliot and Luci try to escape, which results in Kosta’s instant and Luci’s eventual deaths. Upon escaping, Elliot meets Helen. They find out that Detective Rogers has framed them for the murder of officer Lammon.
The Tourist Ending: Is Elliot Dead or Alive? Why Does He Try to Kill Himself?
When Helen realizes that her and Elliot’s lives are being targeted, the probationary constable calls her colleague Freddie for help. Freddie discovers a speed camera photo that clearly shows that it was Detective Rogers who had Elliot under custody and not the other way as the police officer told his superiors.
Still, Elliot gets imprisoned for holding a group of people hostages. While he waits for the bail, Lena Pascal comes to see him. To a perplexed Elliot, Lena reveals that he used her and a group of women for heroin trafficking.
Lena shows the scar of the cut made to retrieve heroin bags from her stomach to Elliot and tells him how her comrades died during the mission. An astounded Elliot tries to dismiss her accusations but her persistence to let him know of his cruelties get better off him.
His conscience gets filled with guilt as he realizes that he pushed two innocent women to death for his selfishness which he can’t even remember. The terrifying and upsetting presence, revelation, and scar of Lena escalate the guilt that grows in Elliot. His tearful eyes see Lena as the embodiment of his ruthlessness.
Upon Elliot’s release from prison, he contemplates life and the guilt leads him to commit suicide. After ensuring that Kosta’s $1 million will reach the hands of Sue, he crashes his own car to die. Elliot survives the crash and stays away from death but not for long.
When Helen comes to know about Lena’s revelation, she confronts Elliot for being such a dreadful man. The bond they gradually nurture gets shattered when Helen realizes that she can’t accept what Elliot did to Lena and other women of her group. Seeing his “only friend in the whole wide world” walks away from him, Elliot decides to end his life.
The guilt of harming Lena and killing her friends and the grief of separating from Helen make Elliot vulnerable. In addition, the helplessness of not understanding whether anything about his past is actually true leads Elliot to death again.
He swallows a handful of pills to die, expecting death to conquer him any second. The first season of the show ends before we get to see whether Elliot actually dies or not. Right after he swallows the pills, Elliot receives a message from Helen. He picks up the phone and sees a burrito emoji, the symbol of his happiness.
Helen’s message may give Elliot the satisfaction of dying peacefully, knowing that the one person he cares for in this world has forgiven him. He may still accept death and cherishes a moment of happiness seeing the emoji before he dies. Otherwise, Helen’s message may retrieve Elliot from the clutches of death.
He may realize that Helen has forgiven him and there’s a ray of hope to be a better person. He may seek emergency medical assistance and stay alive to give himself a second chance at life as a new person. Either way, we may need to wait for the potential second season of the show to know without a doubt.