'Expats' director explains that very open-ended finale, shares what she thinks happens next

Warning: Spoilers ahead of the finale of "Expats."

The “Expats” finale leaves many questions unanswered.

The show, starring Nicole Kidman, Sarayu Blue and Ji-young Yoo, follows three American women living in Hong Kong who come from very different backgrounds and perspectives. The three are connected by a tragedy that set off a ripple effect in their lives.

“It’s ultimately a series that challenges the audience’s empathy,” director Lulu Wang tells TODAY.com “And asks the question of who deserves our empathy.”

The series is based on Janice Y.K. Lee’s book “The Expatriates.”

Over the course of the six-episode miniseries, viewers saw Margaret (Kidman) and husband Clarke (Brian Tee) grapple with the disappearance of their young son, Gus, after Mercy (Yoo) loses track of him at a night market.

While dealing with her guilt, Mercy begins having an affair with David (Jack Huston), Hilary’s (Blue) husband. David and Hilary have been struggling with their marriage and have opposite views about starting a family. Their marriage is further torn apart when Mercy finds out that she is pregnant with David's child.

With all three women’s lives intertwined, Wang explains why the show’s finale deviates from the book’s ending, leaving room for interpretation. The ending of “Expats,” she says, reflects on the importance of finding strength from within to move on without closure.

What happens at the end of 'Expats'?

Wang says she loved the sentiment of how the book ends — where all three women eventually forge a supportive bond after Mercy gives birth — but she also wanted the ending to be more abstract “to leave us with this sense that they are all trying to move on, but we’re not quite sure if they forgive each other.”

Wang says the show is about finding a way to move on, even when you don’t have closure, “Because I think that’s the way life works.”

“Oftentimes, we don’t get closure, we don’t get to say goodbye,” she says.

The final episode depicts all three women seemingly talking to each other about their lives after Gus’ disappearance and the guilt and heartbreak that they all experienced.

Viewers see Margaret and her family pack up to return to the U.S. Mercy's mom finds out that she is pregnant, and David offers to support her and the baby.

Hilary returns home to Los Angeles to see her father, who is hospitalized. While there, she meets her half-siblings and gets in a confrontation with her dad right before he goes into surgery, calling him out for abusing and cheating on her mom.

Below, Wang shares more insight on the “Expats” ending and what she envisions happening to the characters.

What happened to Gus?

Gus was never found. In previous episodes, Margaret and Clarke had to go to the coroner in Shenzhen on the mainland to identify the body of a boy they found.

While there and locked in a waiting room, Clarke reveals that he believes Gus was taken from them because "he looked like me."

"You didn’t lose him. No, they took him. They took him because he looked like me," he tells Margaret. "White kid is too much trouble on the black market, but Gus looked like me."

He adds that he thinks a child with more Asian features would be easier to slip through the border than one with white features.

Eventually, the coroner allows the couple to review the body and it is not their son. Clarke collapses in tears — he had been praying for closure — but Margaret stands strong, holding onto hope she will eventually find Gus.

Nicole Kidman as Margaret and Brian Tee as Clarke in
Nicole Kidman as Margaret and Brian Tee as Clarke in

Did Margaret and her family return to the US?

Viewers saw Margaret and her family ultimately decide to go back to the U.S. As they make plans to relocate, Margaret asks their nanny Essie (Ruby Ruiz) to move with them to America and continue caring for her two surviving children.

The request came as a shock to Essie, who in part, blamed herself for not being there when Gus disappeared. At the same time, Margaret revealed to Essie that she had been jealous of her closeness to Gus and her two other kids, and that’s why she asked Mercy to look over them the evening of the child's disappearance.

The family, along with Essie, go to the airport when Margaret decides she cannot leave Gus behind. She then returns to the city, as her family departs for the U.S. without her.

Ruby Ruiz as Essie in
Ruby Ruiz as Essie in

Wang tells TODAY.com that she envisions Margaret going back and forth from Hong Kong to the U.S. “probably for years and years.”

Gus’ disappearance “changes her fundamentally as a person.” Wang says that the incident highlights and strips away Margaret’s privileges and shows that “she doesn’t have as many choices as she used to have because her life is now centered around finding her son.”

While making the show, Wang looked into real reports of what happens to children who went missing and are found years later. Wang believes Margaret “finds him eventually” and they reunite but it might be “years and years later.”

Did Hilary and David get back together?

Hilary and David decide to get divorced, but they appear to be cordial.

When Hilary returned from visiting her parents, David greeted her at the airport with flowers because her father died. Hilary has a breakdown and starts shouting that she “killed her father” because she told him he was a terrible person who abused and hit her mom right before his surgery. As they drive home, David comforts Hilary in the backseat of their car.

Hilary also asks how Mercy is doing with her pregnancy and he tells her that Mercy wants nothing to do with him. Hilary says that Mercy “might come around” and all he has to do is be a “good guy.”

He also tells her that Mercy asked for her number and Hilary agrees to speak with her. The two share a hug when they return to their apartment, and it's understood that David has moved out.

Hilary Star as Sarayu Blue in
Hilary Star as Sarayu Blue in

Hilary gets a fresh start, redecorates her home and appears to be content.

“I think Hilary ends up with a younger, very sexy, younger man,” Wang says about the character’s future. “She’s just gonna always love her life and she’s learning to center herself for the first time and not worry about what people think about her.”

Wang also thinks that David will be the one to end up alone. However, he will be a present parent. “I think that he’ll be a good dad to Mercy’s kid whenever he can, but he’s got a lot of work to do.”

Did Mercy have her baby?

During a doctor's visit, Mercy finds out she is 24 weeks along. She would go on to have her baby, a daughter, and have her mother's full support.

During a conversation with David, Mercy tells him that she has decided to go through with the pregnancy by herself. It is unknown how much of a role he plays in the rest of Mercy's pregnancy journey.

In what appears to be a conversation with Margaret, Mercy asks if she ever thought about having her baby because she feels like she owes her so much. Margaret asks if Mercy wants her baby, and Mercy says she does, but is “terrified for her already.”

Wang says that the show’s ending is “actually the beginning of a story” for Mercy.

“For Mercy, having the baby is the new beginning for her,” the director explains. “And she’s going to fail, she’s going to have moments where she’s a bad mom, and she’s going to beat herself up and she’s just going to have to make her way through it and make the best choice that you can in every moment.”

Ji-young Yoo as Mercy in
Ji-young Yoo as Mercy in

Will there be a Season 2 of 'Expats'?

“Expats” leaves room for more story as Wang shares, but the filmmaker never thought about continuing the show.

“I think it just depends," she says, adding that she made the show she wanted. “I made things with a beginning, middle and end. I very much see it as a complete thing, like if I was making a feature film.”

However, she says, “I’m never going to say never. That’s my rule. But right now, there’s no talk of doing another season.”

This article was originally published on TODAY.com