Warning: Spoilers ahead for the Dash & Lily finale, “New Year’s Eve.”
“I really enjoyed that scene. Because we finally get to have a scene together,” Dash & Lily leading man Austin Abrams told Refinery29 on a recent Zoom call with his Netflix love interest, Midori Francis. Abrams was thinking back to the day he and Francis shot the dreamy final scene of their teen holiday rom-com.
“We don’t get to have that many scenes together,” Abrams pointed out.
When you step back and really consider Dash & Lily you see the truth in Abrams’ sentiment. Despite the intense intimacy Abrams’ titular character Dash forges with Francis’ Lily over the series, the pair don’t end up in the same room until sixth episode “Christmas Eve.” To make matters even more dramatic, neither Dash nor Lily realize they met their romantic holiday pen pal until following chapter “Christmas,” which leads to more ill-will than declarations of love. Dash and Lily don’t kiss until the finale, “New Year’s Eve.” Then, it’s fade to black for New York City’s most lovable young couple.
While fans may be desperate to know what the new year brought for Dash and Lily — one can only imagine their bookish Valentine’s Day — Abrams, Francis, and their co-stars insist their New Year’s Eve farewell is the most magical ending you could have.
“New Year’s Eve” enters its final crescendo as Lily has agreed to move to Fiji with her parents (Jennifer Ikeda and Teen Wolf villain Gideon Emery) following a disastrous first official meeting with Dash. Bags have been packed and plane tickets booked, all in an effort to help Lily forget all about Dash. Lily is in a taxi to JFK when when her older brother Langston (Troy Iwata) sends her a letter from Dash, which serves as his last plea for romantic reconciliation. Dash's words work, and Lily hops out of the car to go find her crush.
“I think she was still very much in New York. I don’t think she got very far. I think there were several blocks of traffic,” Francis said, explaining how her character managed to make it from the gridlocked airport route to the Strand bookstore, where she meets Dash.
Once Lily arrives at the Strand, Jeff the Elf (Michael Cyril Creighton), who is Lily's friend, opens the locked store for her. Inside, Lily finds the entire bookstore decorated with holiday magic, complete with Christmas tree ornaments nodding to Dash and Lily’s dare-fueled hijinks from episodes’ past. The duo airs out their many feelings and share their first kiss. Then, in a stroke of good news, Lily is told she can stay in New York and live with her grandpa Arthur (James Saito) instead of following her parents to Fiji. Locked in the Strand on New Years Eve, Dash and Lily are free to keep making out as the celebratory fireworks go off behind them, ending the series.
“I like how it is clean in that sense,” Abrams said. “I always think that’s a good thing: to let the audience’s imagination fill in the blanks of what’s possible.”
Francis sees the closing moment as the perfect conclusion to two individual tales of personal evolution. “This is a love story for sure … But this is also a story about two people growing and becoming themselves,” she said. “It’s about the dares. It’s about their solo adventures and growing separately from each other.”
Now that Dash and Lily have pushed their own limits, they can figure out their relationship together. That’s why Francis and Abrams are both optimistic about their characters' mysterious future. “I don’t know there’s anything I necessarily need [to happen]. But, what do I hope? Hopefully that connection is still there. Hopefully it follows them as they get to know each other as people,” Abrams said. Francis agreed, adding, “Because it’s a whole different thing talking to someone out loud with your words, versus in a book. So hopefully, fingers crossed, it goes well.”
At least the two actors most involved with getting Dash and Lily together have some ideas about the couple’s future. “I hope that they renovate a bus together and turn it into a little tiny home,” Troy Iwata, who plays Lily’s brother Langston joked, noting he’s been seeing the trend on social media lately. Dante Brown, aka Dash’s best friend Boomer, had a more Dash & Lily-style emotional take. “That’s what I would like to see happen: Them being together. Not a breakup. But, them understanding each other really well in a teenage sense,” Brown said.
“Young adults, we always see the breakups. We want to see somebody in a lasting relationship — in a healthy relationship at that. To teach kids there are healthy relationships, you know?”