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Finch Ending Explained: How Tom Hanks’ Robotic Odyssey Fetched Its Profound Conclusion

Tom Hanks telling a story at the campfire in Finch.
(Image credit: Apple TV+)

Warning: spoilers for Apple TV+’s Finch are in play. If you haven’t seen the film yet, and want to remain unspoiled, turn back now.

Heading into director Miguel Sapochnik’s Apple TV+ original, Finch, there are certain expectations when it comes to what’s going to happen in the Tom Hanks apocalypse dramedy. As Hanks’ Finch Weinberg is trying to train a robot caretaker, played by Caleb Landry Jones, to look after his dog, the implications are already heading towards the bittersweet. While the Finch ending absolutely delivers on that end, it does so with surprising results. 

As we’re about to dig deep into what happens in Finch, it should be noted yet again that we’re going to hit spoiler territory pretty hard. So, anybody who wants to experience this road trip with fresh eyes should head over to a piece of twist-free coverage, courtesy of CinemaBlend. If you’re still with us, climb aboard the RV and get ready to rediscover the tale of Finch Weinberg’s journey wandering through the apocalypse. 

Jeff points at a butterfly smushed on the windshield in Finch.

(Image credit: Apple TV+)

What Happened At The End Of Finch?

Once upon a time, after what feels like days of driving, and a handful of speed bumps ranging from a huge dust storm to a car chase that leaves the RV’s solar panels smashed, the story of Finch came to a bittersweet stop. Finding a patch of the United States that isn’t subject to the damage from the weakened ozone layer, Jeff (Caleb Landry Jones) alerts Finch (Tom Hanks) to a colony of butterflies. Life has found a way, and this calls for a celebration! 

Camping in this new oasis of safety, the terminally ill Finch dresses in a fancy white suit, and sits to enjoy life with Jeff, as well as his dog Goodyear (Seamus). Watching the robot caretaker playing fetch with his canine friend, Finch seems to grow weaker, and heads back to the camper to lie down. Later that evening, while lying in bed with his best friend, the man passes on peacefully in his sleep. 

Born of Viking blood, as his mother would say, Finch Weinberg is given an appropriate funeral. Jeff wraps the body in a sheet, and burns it on a funeral pyre, with Goodyear by his side. The dog has now accepted him as his sworn protector as a friend, and the two move on with their journey to San Francisco as initially planned. 

Tom Hanks looks worried in a dark setting in Finch.

(Image credit: Apple TV+)

The Apocalypse, According To Finch Weinberg

In his life before the apocalypse, Finch Weinberg was a pretty closed off man. Toiling away as a robotics engineer at TAE Industries, Finch saw its protagonist spared from a massive solar flare by being so engrossed in his work. Making the underground lab his home, Finch took care of Goodyear, while trying to create his would-be successor. The way that Finch Weinberg lays out the apocalypse, the solar flare’s arrival was just the start of the end times. 

Weakening the ozone layer, and killing major electrical grids with its EMP, society’s ultimate downfall came from a lack of collaboration, in Finch’s vision of the future. Scavenging became commonplace, leading to violent confrontations, and ultimately a lack of trust among survivors. That last part is most evident in Finch Weinberg’s own behavior, as he tries to teach Jeff the best ways to navigate the dangers of the world. And, one fateful day hammered home most of those lessons that our human protagonist would pass onto his robotic friend.

Seamus sits on a blanket by the campfire in Finch.

(Image credit: Apple TV+)

Does Goodyear The Dog Die In Finch?

You might think it’s weird to even ask this question of Finch’s narrative, but considering there’s a website literally named “Does The Dog Die?”, you can see why we’d want to get this subject out of the way. That being said, no, Goodyear the Dog does not die in Finch. While this movie absolutely has its moments of tear jerking, the closest this good boy gets to danger is in the flashback where Tom Hanks’s Finch meets Goodyear during one of the darkest moments of his life. 

Seamus and Tom Hanks ride together in the RV in Finch.

(Image credit: Apple TV+)

How Finch Met Goodyear

The incident that brought Finch and Goodyear together was one of great sorrow. Told through a flashback, we see Finch’s eponymous human hiding from a mother and daughter during a supply run. As the young girl was armed with a gun, and her mother taught her to shoot any strangers she saw, Finch Weinberg didn’t want to die because of the package of noodles he was scavenging. Describing the climate of the world in response to Jeff telling him that he believed in him, Finch painted the following picture: 

Hunger turned men into murderers, but it made me a coward. How can you believe in that?

His perceived cowardice didn’t just pertain to hiding from the mother and daughter, but rather his inaction to try and save them from another looter. Finch shows us Mr. Weinberg hiding firmly in place when a man with a shotgun shows up, demanding that those two hand over their spoils. The young girl shoots, prompting the man to murder her and her mother. When the coast is clear, Finch leaves his hiding place, prompted by a whimpering noise. Opening the little girl’s backpack, he sees the small dog he’d come to know as Goodyear. Though he failed to protect two fellow humans that day, Finch’s hero goes on to make sure nothing happens to that dog.  

Jeff's head hooked up to the lab's computers in Finch.

(Image credit: Apple TV+)

How Finch’s Robotic Caretaker Grew

Part of Finch’s quest to make sure Goodyear is taken care of lies in the fact that Finch Weinberg was building him a robotic caretaker. The machine that would come to name itself Jeff started as a simple project, filled with all the knowledge that Finch could scrounge from his home library of textbooks, manuals, and so on. However, by the time the massive storm system that threatened his home base in St. Louis hit, Finch could upload roughly 75% of the data he meant to fill Jeff’s head with. 

Throughout Finch’s journey, we see Jeff grow through instruction from Finch himself. Learning skills like walking, driving, and spotting appropriate venues for scavenging, Jeff gradually becomes more human in the process. His vocal cadence becomes more lifelike, Goodyear starts to trust him more, and Jeff even starts to dream! Rather than coming off the assembly line as a perfect, internet enhanced AI, Finch’s Jeff shows true organic growth in his thought patterns. Of course, the most important lessons that Finch Weinberg left Jeff with were those of not forgetting to be kind but careful, and to live in the moment. 

Tom Hanks smiles while sitting in the passengers seat in Finch.

(Image credit: Apple TV+)

From St. Louis To San Francisco: The Deeper Purpose Behind Finch’s Road Trip

Finch includes those tenets in the education of Jeff the robot because of some very important events that shaped Finch Weinberg’s life. They aren’t limited to his post-apocalyptic experiences either, as Finch decided on San Francisco as his final destination, because it was the city he was supposed to meet his absent father in. That meeting never took place, with a postcard on his 16th birthday as the only real contact between father and son.

Even Finch’s final costume change for Tom Hanks’ bittersweet protagonist is spawned from this sad tale. Anticipating his meeting with his father, Finch bought a nice white suit just for the occasion. But, sadly, he would never hear further word from his father, and ultimately would fail to even see the world as he’d intended to as an adult. When Finch’s apocalyptic events roll around, Finch Weinberg had been in St. Louis pretty much his whole life, making San Francisco the ultimate road trip. Unfortunately, he wouldn’t make it to the Golden Gate Bridge as planned; but Jeff and Goodyear would get there in his stead.

Seamus and Jeff standing together in Finch.

(Image credit: Apple TV+)

What’s Next For Jeff And Goodyear?

The final moments of Finch see Jeff and Goodyear standing on the Golden Gate Bridge. Overgrown with vegetation, and littered with notices of where people have gone in search of refuge, the former roadway is now a monument to humanity’s resilience. Gathering that they could find fellow survivors and help them out, Jeff sets out with his canine friend; but not before leaving Finch’s postcard at the bridge. Scrawled on the front is a crude drawing of the trio, together. 

If the makers of Finch really wanted to, they could make a sequel that focuses on Jeff and Goodyear’s journeys into the unknown. With the West Coast apparently thriving more than the midwestern United States, there’s a lot of ground that could still be covered. Though this might not be another project to add to the roster of upcoming Tom Hanks movies to look out for, there’s still a huge potential for the story started in Finch to be expanded.

Should you be one of those readers that likes to spoil movies before you’ve seen them, Finch is now available on Apple TV+ for your enjoyment. And, if you’re looking for more Hanks excitement on that platform, you can also catch the World War II drama Greyhound, which is also available for streaming. Don’t forget to check out the 2021 new movie releases on your way out, as your next night out at the movies could come sooner than you think.

Mike Reyes

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.