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BBC's The Pale Horse's confusing ending explained

Do you need a bit more of an explanation about what happened on The Pale Horse?

Emmy Griffiths

After the two-part Agatha Christie special, The Pale Horse, finished on Sunday night, we think it's fair to say that plenty of viewers were somewhat baffled by the ending – and we don't blame them! The mystery drama follows a recently remarried widower, Mark, who finds himself included in a list of people who have all died from seemingly natural causes – and is led to believe that a trio of witches have cursed him and the others. So what actually went down in the ending?

WATCH: The Pale Horse final moments confuse viewers

In the second episode, Mark becomes convinced that the witches really do have supernatural powers and goes to them, asking for them to take the curse off him and to kill his new wife, Hermia, who he believes has had the curse placed on him, and police officer Sean Pertwee, who was suspicious of him following the death of his first wife, Delphine. It is revealed that other perpetrators who have had a loved one killed, including Mark's godson, David Ardingly, were sent a card offering to "remove the obstacle" to their happiness.

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Osborne killed the list of people

It is revealed that while these people did go to the witches and speak the name of the person they wanted killed, it was actually Osborne, the handyman who also featured on the list and was seemingly terrified that he and Mark would be dead next, who had sent out the cards – telling them to say the name to the witches at The Pale Horse, then using an associate, Jessie, to speak to the witches and find out who had visited them. As such, the witches were entirely innocent in the scheme, and only showed up to funerals after realising that they were being used.

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Delphine wanted her fortune told

After finding out that Jessie had become a liability, Osborne gave her the same poison he had given the other victims – thallium – which made it appear that the victims die from natural causes. In her final moments, Jessie wrote the names of who would die – and included Mark as his wife, Delphine, had visited the witches. However, it becomes clear that Delphine had met with the witches because she simply wanted her fortune told, with no idea about the murderous scheme.

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Hermia awakens to find the witches sat with her

Osborne also poisoned Hermia and Sean as per Mark's request – but doesn't manage to kill Hermia. When she awakens from her coma, the witches are sat by her side, presumably to tell her that Mark had finished them wanting her dead. Mark then returns home and reads a headline announcing his death - then has a vision of the moment he kills his beloved first wife Delphine in a jealous rage. The supernatural twist revealed that the witches really did have powers, and it is indicated that they killed Mark and cursed him to relive Delphine's death.