Netflix’s erotic thriller ‘Fair Play’ ends with an ambiguous smile by the protagonist Emily, specifically after making her partner Luke admit that he raped her. When Luke pretends that they are capable of having a civil conversation without the former’s apology for raping and treating Emily poorly, the latter takes a knife and attacks him. Luke, while shedding blood, ultimately admits his wrongdoings and begs for mercy. After making Luke repent, Emily smiles and scoffs, and the film cuts to black, concluding the highly intricate narrative. So, what does Emily’s smile indicate? Is there any hope left for her and Luke as a couple? Well, let us share our take on the same! SPOILERS AHEAD.
Victory or Forgiveness?
Emily scoffing at Luke happens after a series of events that turn their lives around. When Luke learns that his boss and role model Campbell wants him to quit One Crest Capital, which shatters his dreams of becoming a success at the hedge fund firm, he takes his anger out on Emily. Luke, while putting an end to his time at the firm, reveals to his superiors that Emily has been breaking company policy by sleeping with him. His anger gets manifested in the form of a sexual assault as well. At the engagement party, Luke rapes Emily after they break up as a couple.
Emily then attacks Luke with a knife and smiles at him after making him beg for her mercy. Although some viewers may interpret the smile as a sign that Emily might ultimately forgive Luke, she scoffs at him after establishing her victory over him. When Luke realizes that he will not get promoted at One Crest, he does his best to make sure that Emily will not last long in the chair he has been dreaming of for a considerable while. He reveals that she has been sleeping with him only to bring her down along with him. When he rapes her after the same, she starts to see him as her enemy.
Emily then meets Campbell and presents Luke as a stalker who has been harassing her. She gets rid of any compassion she has towards her former partner after the horrific incident at their engagement party, which makes her vengeful. When Luke appears before her, acting like he hasn’t done anything wrong, she makes him stoop to a beggar. After seeing him beg, without a stable future in the hedge fund and investment industry, Emily must have realized that she has won the battle he started to bring her down, which makes her smile at his misery.
Reclaiming the Power
During a heated argument before their separation, Emily tells Luke that the only man she let walk all over her is the latter. Emily’s words sum up the power dynamics which has been present in their relationship. Emily has always tried to celebrate Luke’s achievements and support him in times of need. When she gets promoted, she tries immensely hard to get Luke promoted as well. Luke, on the other hand, sees his partner as a competitor and makes the latter’s life harder. When One Crest’s doors close in front of him, he even tries to get Emily fired, which justifies Emily’s aforementioned words to her partner.
Luke’s cold reaction to Emily’s promotion makes her uneasy. Their relationship begins to crumble when he decides not to be intimate with him. Gradually, his hostile behavior towards Emily starts to suffocate. Still, she tolerates his for the sake of her love for him. After getting raped, however, Emily changes. She shifts the power dynamics between her and Luke. She takes a stand that she will not let him hurt her after what he did to her at the engagement party. Emily must have been ready to forgive Luke before the incident at the party, as indicated by her kiss.
But after the incident, Emily decides to control the narrative and put an end to Luke’s career in the industry. She portrays him as a stalker and threat upon assuming that power position. Her making him beg is also an indication of the same shift in the dynamics between them. Through her smile, Emily makes it clear that Luke has become a nobody to hurt her anymore.