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What Happened in Apples Never Fall? The Shocking Twist Ending Explained — Including [Spoiler's] Fate

Joy Delaney's fate was finally revealed in the season finale of Apples Never Fall, but it led to an explosive confrontation.

By Jill Sederstrom

Spoilers follow for the entire season of Apples Never Fall

Peacock’s limited series Apples Never Fall has revealed Joy Delaney’s shocking fate — and it may not be what you were expecting. 

The show, which dropped its entire season on Peacock on March 14, is based on the bestselling book of the same name by Liane Moriarty (who's penned other hit novels like Nine Perfect Strangers and Big Little Lies). It centers around the Delaneys, a family who has plenty of secrets, many of which are exposed after their matriarch, Joy (Annette Bening), went missing.

Joy's disappearance rocks the community, especially as her husband, Stan (Sam Neill), becomes the prime suspect in the case. The two were tennis coaches who ran a prestigious tennis academy in West Palm Beach Florida, but their marriage had been rocky recently — and Stan acted strangely after Joy initially vanished. Complicating matters is a mysterious young woman named Savannah, who the couple let stay in their home for an extended shortly before Joy disappeared.

What really happened? Well, the season finale revealed Joy's fate.

Who killed Joy Delaney in Apples Never Fall? 

No one actually killed Joy. Days after she mysteriously disappeared, the family matriarch was found alive and well, just as her husband was looking at a lengthy prison sentence, or even death, for her supposed murder. The reprieve couldn’t have come at a better time.

It turns out, Joy had willingly walked out of her life for a temporary break just as her husband, Stan, did for years in their marriage while they raised their four children, all to give herself a moment to recalibrate. But that doesn’t exactly mean she wasn’t in danger. Joy unwittingly sought refuge with Savannah, a mysterious stranger who showed up at the newly retired couple’s door months earlier with an explosive secret of her own.

When Joy discovered Savannah’s true identity during their time in the secluded Georgia mountains, and the reason she targeted the family, it led to a harrowing confrontation that nearly cost Joy her life.

Annette Bening as joy on Apples Never Fall

All the pieces of the puzzle, from Joy’s abandoned bike to her bloody jacket buried in the neighbor’s yard, finally fell into place in the limited series’ final episode. 

As viewers finally discovered, Joy had been riding her bike home, carrying a basket of apples, when she hit a pothole on the road, damaging the front tire of the bike and cutting her leg. Joy tried to call all four of her children and husband for help, but everyone ignored her call. It was a final insult after months of being shut out by everyone in the family after she admitted to encouraging Stan’s most promising tennis student, Harry Hadad, to find another coach years earlier in an attempt to save the family.

RELATED: Yes, Apples Never Fall Will Be a Little Different from the Book — But Liane Moriarty Approves

Infuriated, and alone on the side of the road, Joy abandoned the bike, used her white tennis jacket to tie around her bloody leg, and then hobbled home on her own. She threw the jacket away in an outdoor trash can just outside her house, but in her fury, she missed the trash can and the jacket slid to the ground, where the neighbor’s dog quickly picked it up and buried the treasure in the backyard.

Back inside, Joy changed her clothes and then noticed a FedEx package laying on the table with an excerpt from Harry’s book. In it, Harry, now a huge tennis star, admitted to cheating at tennis matches as a teen, an allegation the Delaney’s son Troy (Jake Lacy) had insisted on for years but Stan had never acknowledged. 

“I know why because he was your prodigy,” Joy told Stan moments later after confronting him about the revelation. “You thought he was your ticket. More important to defend him than your own son.” 

The argument quickly devolved into each spouse blaming the other for a long list of past grievances, before Stan flew into a rage and began smashing the Harry Hadad trophies he was storing in his office as his podcast tape continued to roll, capturing the loud argument and Joy screaming for him to “Stop it!” The recording would later be used as a critical piece of evidence against him. 

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As Stan tried to get past Joy, she scratched him in the face and Stan stormed out of the house, something he often did throughout their marriage any time life got hard. Joy checked her phone one last time and saw that her adult children were continuing to ignore her. She dropped the phone into a nearby laundry basket in frustration before heading to a bar to drown her sorrows. 

There, she remembered a letter she had in her purse from Savannah, the mysterious stranger who showed up at their door months earlier claiming to be a victim of domestic violence. Joy called Savannah using the bar’s phone and her one-time house guest showed up to meet her.

Savannah admitted that she was really just a “con artist” and “not a good person.” After weeks of staying at the Delaneys' home and relying on their kindness, she told Joy she suddenly left after Troy agreed to pay her a large amount of money.

At the meeting at the bar, Savannah admitted that she had used a fake name to trick the family, but she also acknowledged that what began as a lie later changed when she started having real feelings for the Delaneys. 

“You were just so kind and I started to love you and your world,” she confessed. 

RELATED: Jake Lacy Shares the Sweetest BTS Moment from The Office — and It Has to Do with Jenna Fischer

Savannah apologized and told Joy she was heading to her remote cabin in the Georgia mountains. Joy, still angry with her own family, agreed to join Savannah to get away for a few days.

“Let them miss me for once,” she said. 

Once at the cabin, Savannah initially offered Joy a landline phone to call her family (Joy refused at the time), but Savannah later snuck out in the middle of the night to cut the phone line, essentially cutting Joy off from the outside world. 

Back in West Palm Beach, a desperate search for the missing mom was launched. Although Savannah was tracking all the progress on her cell phone (she lied and told Joy she had no service in the mountains), Joy was completely unaware that police considered her a missing person.

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After days of relaxing, gardening, and even hitting a karaoke night, Joy started to worry about her family after learning from one of Savannah’s neighbors that a hurricane hit West Palm Beach. By this time, Stan had been arrested for Joy’s murder and was spending his days in lockup. 

Who is Savannah?

Joy then realized Savannah was actually Harry Haddad's troubled younger sister, Lindsay. She targeted the Delaneys to get revenge.

Joy realized the landline phone wasn’t working and insisted Savannah take her back to Florida. Savannah seemingly agreed and told Joy she was going to go fill the car up with gas. While she was gone, Joy started to search for a bag to pack her things and discovered a hidden one in Savannah’s closet with a gun as well as paperwork for a restraining order, revealing that Savannah’s real name was Lindsay Hadad. 

Savannah and Joy got on the road to return to Florida, but Joy soon realized that Savannah missed the turn and Savannah, who knew her identity had been discovered, began to accelerate at dangerous speeds. She told Joy that she grew up with an abusive mother. When Joy told Harry to fire Stan as his coach, it was all the motivation Harry and the children’s father needed to leave town and leave Savannah/Lindsay behind alone to face the abuse on her own.

“Before that it wasn’t easy, believe me, but at least I had a brother, at least I had my father, at least it wasn’t just me and her,” she explained as the car continued to accelerate. “She wasn’t a mom like you, Joy. She was poison and they left me with her. You gave half my family a reason to leave.”

Savannah/Lindsay confessed that she wanted to “destroy your family like you destroyed mine.” Just as the tension was reaching a fever pitch, the car crashed into another vehicle. Joy was knocked unconscious by the blast, but Savannah/Lindsay managed to make an escape after apologizing to a comatose Joy.

Georgia Flood attends the Los Angeles Premiere Of Peacock's New Series "Apples Never Fall"

While there was no killer, Joy did nearly meet her end at the hands of Savannah.

How Did Apples Never Fall End?

Joy recovered and was reunited with her family. Stan was released from jail and the family talked through their issues together. Stan even found a way to forgive his grown children for turning on him in the aftermath of the disappearance. 

Stan later confessed to Joy that he left the house for long stretches during their marriage, because his own father was physically abusive and “never walked away from anything and he should have.” Stan left to cool down, sometimes just driving around or sleeping in his car, because he never wanted to hurt his own family like his father had done to him.

He asked Joy for her forgiveness and begged her to stay in the marriage. 

The series ended with the entire family putting their differences aside to clean up the debris left by the hurricane together. Savannah's fate remains unknown.

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