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The Lovebirds Netflix Ending Explained
Netflix’s The Lovebirds is a romantic comedy, sure, but it’s also a crime mystery. The movie begins by focusing on the crumbling years-long romance between Leilani (Issa Rae) and Jibran (Kumail Nanjiani), whose disputes range from disagreeing on whether or not they should apply to be on The Amazing Race to a difference of opinion on the validity of the institution of marriage. But then the story turns into a saga featuring Eyes Wide Shut–style elite sex parties, a blackmail ring, and one deadly dirty cop. And while the laughs keep coming throughout, the plot actually gets kind of complicated.
The pair spends most of the movie trying to solve the mysteries surrounding Bicycle and Mustache.
While en route to a friend’s dinner party, Leilani and Jibran hit a bicycle messenger with their car. The injured dude, who they decide to call Bicycle, was able to ride away, but Mustache (so named because he has a mustache) surprises the couple by saying he’s a police officer pursuing a criminal and commandeering their car to chase Bicycle down. At first, Leilani and Jibran think they’re part of a legal police chase—but instead Mustache purposefully runs over Bicycle, killing him, and hops out of the car.
Happier times for Leilani and Jibran, before they bickered over her social media use and were targeted for death by a powerful sex cult and its sociopathic hitman.
Afraid that the murder will be pinned on them, Leilani and Jibran decide to unravel the case rather than turn to the police for help. Using Bicycle’s phone, they head for a mysterious rendezvous with Edie (Anna Camp), who thinks they’ve been sent by Bicycle. She demands that they hand over pictures—but Leilani and Jibran have no clue what she’s talking about. So they’re taken hostage and tortured by Edie and her husband, who’s revealed to be a congressman. Luckily, they’re able to break free and head to Bicycle’s address.
There, they find a bunch of frat boys running an operation that involves packaging up and delivering photographs. Using techniques learned at their own very recent kidnapping, they menace one of the youths into spilling the details: The kids work for Bicycle, and their operation blackmails rich members (including the torturous Congress-couple) of a creepy sex cult named Sacrarium. Leilani and Jibran sneak their way into a Sacrarium meeting, where they take in a fun bingo game/menacing public orgy, before their interloper status is revealed.
Here’s how The Lovebirds ends.
Before the Sacrarium members can do god-knows-what to Leilani and Jibran, the police break up the whole event and take in the pair. They learn they were never suspects in Bicycle’s murder, and truly could have just gone to the cops at the beginning of the saga and sorted everything out. What a day, but all’s well that ends well, right? Well, not yet. They’re given a ride home in a police car, only to realize that their driver is none other that Mustache himself. He wasn’t lying when he told them he was a cop—he’s just a corrupt cop who was both working with the Sacrarium and with Bicycle to extort those kinky rich folks.
While unravelling a blackmail plot with a growing body count, the pair take a ride on one of New Orleans’ gorgeous historic streetcars.
Bicycle apparently double crossed him, so Mustache offed his former pal, and now he’s going to kill Leilani and Jibran to cover his own tracks. Luckily, the bickering couple is able to work together to fight off Mustache, who’s arrested. The film ends a year later, with the pair putting that teamwork to use as contestants on The Amazing Race.
There’s one question we never get the answer to, though. Mustache is an experienced police officer and member of multiple shady organizations who’s proven himself willing to kill—so why did he commit a murder in front of Leilani and Jibran and then just hop out of the car? Shouldn’t he have tried to finish them off right there and then, rather than tracking them down and attempting to kill them later? That would have made for a pretty short and grim movie, though.
Gabrielle Bruney is a writer and editor for Esquire, where she focuses on politics and culture.
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