The Wolf Ending Doesn’t Make a Lick of Sense

Not that it matters with a story this lurid, but the finale of BBC One crime thriller Wolf is... not sane. Spoilers ahead.

Ukweli Roach as DI Jack Caffery in BBC drama Wolf
Photo: BBC

Warning: contains spoilers for the Wolf finale.

Twists exist to make things fun, not to make them efficient – just ask a helter-skelter. BBC crime thriller Wolf is very much a helter-skelter of a show. It spins you around and around until you feel sick and think up is down – very entertaining in the moment, but by the time you’ve handed the little coir mat back to the man with the bum-bag full of 50p pieces, you’re left standing outside WHSmith with questions. 

Questions like: was this show set in a parallel world where everyone has to do a jury duty-style stint as the senior investigating officer in a murder investigation? Because these are not good coppers. Or good criminals, for that matter. With huge spoilers, let’s dig in to that ending.

The Big Ewan Twist

Just before the end credits, the forensic report came through on the toy that Jack’s paedophile neighbour Ivan Penderecki had taunted him with: it contained a perfect match for Ewan’s fingerprint. But the toy wasn’t produced until 2004, and Ewan disappeared at the age of 10 in 1998, which meant that Jack’s brother must have lived for at least another six years after being abducted, and could even still be alive now.

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That means that the shadow Jack saw moving under the basement door in Penderecki’s house on the night he snuck in days after his brother’s disappearance (leaving behind the shoe that Penderecki returned to him 25 years later) could have been Ewan.

All of which poses the question: what on Earth were the police playing at? A child who lives opposite a known child sex offender disappears, and nobody searches the paeodophile’s basement?

Why Jack Destroyed Evidence of the Real Donkey Pitch Killer(s)

It wasn’t cult leader Bones or paedophile Minet Kable who killed Sophie and Hugo, but a tag-team of Lucia Anchor-Ferrers and Iwan Rheon‘s character “Molina” (whose real name we’ll never know). They met at a residential psychiatric unit Lucia had been sent away to after she exhibited psychopathic behaviour by destroying some flowers and killing a cat (it always starts with cats). Molina worked there as a cleaner.

Lucia’s father knew that she was one of the Donkey Pitch killers, and had kept her absence from the family home on the night of the murders a secret from everybody, including his wife. Before he died from a combination of home-invasion-related-stress and a recent heart transplant, Oliver made a written confession naming Lucia as responsible for the murders. After Lucia accidentally died by falling off a balcony while taunting DI Jack Caffrey, Jack read the confession and tore it up. His logic was that child abduction-planning paedophile Minet Kable deserved to be locked up, and now that Lucia and Molina were both dead, they couldn’t hurt anybody ever again, so why rock the boat? Once again, stellar police work.

Molina and Lucia’s Plan Would Never Have Worked

Well, those two were – what’s the polite term? – batshit psychos, so strategising wasn’t exactly their forte. The original plan, in which Molina and his hired accomplice stage a home invasion and frighten Lucia’s father into making them a hefty bank transfer, was risky enough. The second plan after Oliver tried to alert the authorities that his family was being held hostage instead of transferring the money, was even worse.

Bear in mind that Lucia and Molina had already got away with a double murder five years ago, and add in the (entirely unnecessary) murder of housekeeper Becka, now dismembered and buried in nearby woods. Their revised get-the-inheritance scheme involved the addition of an extra two murders – those of Matilda and Kiernan Anchor-Ferrers – over a number of years, despite Matilda and her nosy neighbour Louise having clearly seen Molina’s face and being able to describe it to the police who would find his DNA in every room of that house. Had he been successful in killing DI Caffrey, how Molina was planning to get away with the murder of a police detective, is unclear. He wouldn’t have, is the point. Theirs was not a foolproof plan.

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Who Survived the Bloodbath?

The only two people to walk out of the Anchor-Ferrers house were DI Caffrey and Matilda. Oliver died of a heart attack, Matilda stabbed “Honey” to death with her sharpened bra wire, Lucia accidentally fell off the balcony to her death while taunting Caffrey, and Molina was strangled to death by Caffrey using an electrical cable.

Caffrey having destroyed Oliver’s written confession, presumably Matilda Anchor-Ferrers will never find out that her daughter was one of the Donkey Pitch Killers. She and her unseen son Kiernan are the family’s only survivors, along with Bear the dog, who went to live happily ever after with Sophie’s grandfather.

Why Lucia Killed Hugo and Sophie

Revenge, pure and simple. Hugo had been cheating on his girlfriend Sophie with Lucia, and when Lucia showed up at a party, he and Sophie humiliated and assaulted her by trapping Lucia in a pig pen and branding her flesh with a hot iron. In retaliation, Lucia and Molina enacted a campaign of psychological warfare on them that culminated in their murders. A campaign of psychological warfare that the investigating police didn’t think was relevant to their murders two weeks later. It rained apparently, so there was no point actually investigating.

Hugo’s wayward older brother Theo was just a red herring, it transpired. The people responsible for the horror movie pranks and hardcore porn screenings at Hugo and Sophie’s homes were Lucia and Molina, wearing Bones-inspired hazmat suits and gas masks.

What “The Walking Man” Tells Caffrey About Ewan

Caffrey was drawn back into the Donkey Pitch case when a character only identified as “The Walking Man” promised to give him information on his brother Ewan’s disappearance in exchange for Caffrey investigating the origin of a stray dog. “The Walking Man” is a character who’s searching for clues about his own missing daughter, and recurs in some of Mo Hayder’s other Jack Caffrey novels (Wolf is number seven in the book series).

The information The Walking Man has to tell Jack is that Ivan Penderecki did indeed break into local homes to watch children sleeping before Ewan’s disappearance, and that he did take Ewan. Penderecki was always planning to abduct Ewan, and so Jack shouldn’t feel guilty that the argument he and Ewan had over the treehouse sped up the process. When Jack destroys the treehouse at the end, it presumably symbolises him letting go of that guilt and sending Penderecki a threatening message.

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Why Was It Called “Wolf”?

In Mo Hayder’s book of the same name, the seventh in her DI Jack Caffery series, Oliver Anchor-Ferrers was a scientist and weapons engineer. He’d designed a new kind of missile known as “the Wolf”, which had the quasi-magical ability to select and seek out its own targets. That explains the title of the book at least, but as Oliver’s work and the missile were never mentioned in the TV series, it’s less clear why the name stuck.

Perhaps the series’ most pressing question is why DI Caffrey is bothering with being a police detective at all, seeing as he inherited a four-bed semi in Balham that’s easily worth over a million quid (as, for that matter, does his ex-con child-abducting neighbour, plus a basement). Sell up, Jack, get yourself a little flat and take some time off.

And one final query: who are they going to cast in that Dishwasher advert now?

Wolf is available to stream on BBC iPlayer.