What the finale of the Sally Rooney book and BBC series means

The BBC’s 12-part series Conversations with Friends is adapted from Irish writer Sally Rooney’s 2017 debut novel of the same name.

It is the second BBC-Rooney outing – the first, Normal People, broadcast in 2020 at the height of lockdown due to Covid, was met with rave reviews.

So what is the verdict on Conversations with Friends and (spoiler alert) what happens in the end?

What is ‘Conversations with Friends’ about?

Set in Dublin, we meet students Frances (Alison Oliver) and her friend and ex-girlfriend Bobbi (Sasha Lane) who encounter the impressive and wealthy married couple Melissa (Jemima Kirke) and Nick (Joe Alwyn) on Dublin’s literary scene

The four become entangled in a “complicated web of friendship, infidelity and lies”, as the programme notes explain.

Bobbi has a crush on Melissa, a writer, while Frances embarks on a dangerous affair with Nick, an actor.

Reviews of Conversations with Friends have not quite matched the rapturous response given to Normal People, with critics somewhat less enamoured with the series.

Bobbi (Sasha Lane) and Frances (Alison Oliver) become involved with a married couple (Photo: Element Pictures/Enda Bowe/BBC)

Who’s in the cast ?

The cast includes:

What happens in the end?

Spoiler alert

The various deceptions among the four are revealed.

Melissa initially feels betrayed by Frances, but then sees Nick is happier since he met her. She allows the affair to carry on for a while, but then Nick and Melissa begin to work through their marriage problems and start to sleep together again.

When Nick admits to sleeping with Melissa again, Frances ends their relationship.

Meanwhile, Bobbi feels angry with Frances over her affair with Nick and it seems like their friendship has ended for good.

Eventually, however, the pair reconcile and things look like they are back on track as they rekindle their relationship.

This stability is derailed when Nick mistakenly calls Frances instead of Melissa.

They begin to chat and it is clear that their feelings for each other have not subsided.

Nick tearfully admits to Frances: “I have this impulse to be available to you all the time.” To which Frances says: “Nick? Come and get me.”

Another ambiguous ending from Rooney.

It leaves viewers wondering: will they continue their affair clandestinely? Or are they now willing to break free from Bobbi and Melissa for good? Or perhaps the finale points to neither.

How can I watch it?

All the episodes are available to watch on BBC iPlayer here.

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