Where The Crawdads Sing Ending Explained: Who Killed Chase Andrews And Why?

SPOILERS are ahead for the Where The Crawdads Sing ending.

When Where The Crawdads Sing begins, two young boys find the dead body of a man named Chase Andrews deep in the marshes of North Carolina. Not too soon after, the townspeople suspect who they call the “Marsh Girl” (Daisy Edgar-Jones’ Kya) and she is taken into police custody. As Kya is placed on trial, we learn who the Marsh Girl is and in time, how the victim came to his death. Let’s talk about the ending of 2022’s latest book-to-movie adaptation

The new release is an adaptation of Delia Owens 2018 bestselling novel.The book was quickly featured on Reese Witherspoon's book club before the actress/producer worked alongside Sony to adapt the flick with her massive production company, Hello Sunshine with the author's involvement as well. In this article, we’re examining the ending of Where The Crawdads Sing based on the movie itself, though it should be noted both endings are not too far off from one another. 

Daisy Edgar Jones as Kya in Where The Crawdads Sing movie

(Image credit: Sony)

The Big Twist At The End Of Where The Crawdads Sing

After a cutthroat trial led by Kya’s lawyer (David Strathairn), the jury rules that she is innocent and Chase Andrews’ death is thought to be an accident. Kya then lives out her days alongside her first love, Tate (Taylor John Smith) into their old age within the marsh. Kya eventually dies on a boat while on the marsh not soon after she sees an image of her late mother coming home as she remembered her. An aged Tate goes through their home and finds a hidden notebook, inside featuring illustrations, secret poetry and most importantly, the shell necklace that was never found during Chase Andrews trial.

Previously in the movie, Chase’s mother had testified that Chase was wearing the shell necklace, which Kya gave him earlier in the film while they were together, the last time she saw him before he died. However, when his dead body was found, it was gone. The authorities had searched Kya’s home without any luck finding the shell necklace, but it was under their noses the whole time. In the notebook, Kya has illustrated Chase and speaks of him as prey. Kya killed Chase, despite being proved innocent in court decades before. 

Harris Dickinson as Chase Andrews in Where The Crawdads Sing

(Image credit: Sony)

How Chase Andrews Was Killed 

Where The Crawdads Sing never shows us the moment Kya kills Chase Andrews, but how she could have done it is referenced within the movie and we must deduce that is how she did it. As we come to know in the film, Kya had a conference with book publishers when Chase died, giving her an alibi to be outside the marshes on the night he died. Though, there is a short window of time when she could have committed the murder. As shown in court, Kya chose a motel very close to a bus stop and after having dinner with her publishers, she must have taken the last bus ride home and lured Chase to the top of a tall lookout and pushed him off. 

She then would have cleaned off all the fingerprints and taken the earliest bus back to her motel to meet with her publishers again, who noted she was “unruffled” in their next meeting. And along with collecting her many samples of feathers and shells over the years, she had to collect one of Chase in her murder and hide it away for Tate to find following her death. From what the movie shows us, Kya never told a single soul about the murder she committed and was pretty unbothered by committing the act or showing remorse for it. 

Daisy Edgar-Jones in Where the Crawdads Sing

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Releasing)

The Clues That Back Up The Twist Ending

While the ending to Where The Crawdads Sing is shocking and crafted by design to mislead its audience into believing she is innocent before the truth is revealed, there are a few clues throughout the movie to back up Kya being Chase’s murderer. For one, Chase was incredibly cruel to Kya and had backed her into a corner, with no intention of taking no for an answer. Chase loved Kya, but he showed signs of being very abusive toward her throughout the film. He allowed her little consent through their sexual interactions and nearly raped her in their last interaction, which ended in Kya saying she would “kill him” if he came near her again. 

Kya is shown throughout the film to care very deeply about her home in the marsh and escape into the real world was not an option for her. She renewed the deed to her property in the marsh with the money she made off of her book too. But Chase continued to threaten that by coming by and treating her poorly (and even being engaged to someone in town, while still expecting a relationship with her). From Kya’s point of view to live the life she wanted, Chase was the only thing standing in her way. Plus, on the night before she kills him, when she is meeting with her publishers, they speak about some of the animals in her book she’s been studying, who have a violent nature. While her colleagues scorn the animal behavior, Kya says she believes nature doesn’t have a dark side, “just inventive ways to endure.” It shows Kya perhaps looked at the murder as a means for survival for herself, especially after a string of incidents of abuse. 

Daisy Edgar-Jones and Harris Dickinson in Where the Crawdads Sing

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Releasing)

The Deeper Reasons Behind Kya’s Actions

To understand Kya’s actions even further, we’ll have to examine more of the storylines that make up her life. For one, Kya grew up under an abusive father who regularly chose violence to deal with conflict. It led to her entire family leaving not only him but her, who was the youngest child in the family. From those experiences, Kya developed a deep-seated trauma not only with abandonment, but with remaining safe within the confines of the marsh. When her father leaves too, Kya attempts to go to school for one day and then when she is ridiculed and faced with conflict and abuse from her peers, she decides she will learn from nature rather than going to school and living within society. 

Kya then spends her entire life actively studying other animals as her education rather than ever assimilating in society. From that, one assumes she took up the mindset of the animal food chain and how when an animal feels threatened in nature, it won’t talk things out or move from its territory, but defend it and kill if necessary. And that’s exactly what Kya did. By her own mindset, she might not have ever believed it was the wrong thing to do.

Now that’s an ending that will make you look hard at Taylor Swift’s “Carolina” lyrics with brand new eyes. Check back here on CinemaBlend for more breakdowns of endings for the next 2022 upcoming movies

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.