Spoiler Alert: This article contains spoilers for Modern Love Season 2.
There’s nothing quite like an unrequited love story, and the third episode of Modern Love is truly that, but with a twist ending. The Modern Love episodes are all based on true stories published in the New York Times’ “Modern Love” section, and “Strangers on a (Dublin) Train” is no different. Well, except for the fact that it’s actually a “Tiny Love Story” and leaves much guessing up to the reader.
So, the writers of the Modern Love episode decide to embellish a bit on the original author’s story. The real-life story leaves us wanting more, and even with the embellishments, it was important to keep the integrity of a similar ending. So here’s everything we know about the ending of “Strangers on a (Dublin) Train.”
The ending of 'Modern Love' "Strangers on a (Dublin) Train" is left up to our interpretation.
Long story short, a young man (Kit Harington) and a woman (Lucy Boynton) meet on a train that’s going from Galway to Dublin. Throughout the ride, the two hit it off with an innocent flirtation, deep conversation, and some classing teasing. But instead of exchanging phone numbers, trying to keep it romantic, they decide to meet up back at the station in two weeks.
It is romantic, but unfortunately, due to circumstances outside of their control, they’re not able to get back to the station. They’re kept apart by an emerging threat in the world, and authorities don’t allow them to meet up. So, the man does what he can to find her.
He remembers hearing the name of her street — Oxmantown Road — and decides to go find her, Love Actually-style, knocking on every door. The ending is just a pan-out of how long this road really is. Does he ever find her? Well, it’s left up to our interpretation.
"Strangers on a (Dublin) Train" is based on a true story.
All the Modern Love episodes are based on true stories, but this one is particularly tragic. It was submitted by Cecilia Pesao, who was traveling from Paris to Barcelona (a much longer train ride than the Dublin one, for what it’s worth).
She writes in her 100-word story, “On March 19, I’d wait for his train at the Gare de Lyon railway station. We didn’t know that coronavirus would confine us in different countries.”
This is something that we can all understand — the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted all of our plans. Some of us were in long-distance relationships that couldn’t make it, and others had plans to move across the world. For these two passengers, they might never meet again. Or would they?
Cecilia spoke with Esquire about how the real-life story ended. While they really didn’t exchange numbers, she revealed, “He contacted me on Twitter. He found me and he wrote to me, so that's how we stayed in contact after. I was in Paris and he followed me to send me a message that he was stuck.” So much for a modern take on a classic love story — thanks to social media, it wasn’t too hard to find and contact each other.
In some ways, it’s sweet that he made the effort though! They actually continued talking, but it fizzled out and they never saw each other again. He doesn’t even know that Modern Love is retelling his little locomotive love story — could this publicity bring about a new ending?
Modern Love Season 2 is streaming on Amazon Prime now.