After his freaky experience with the DTs, Don's finally given up on life. He steals Helen's leopard print coat, trades it at a nearby pawnshop for a gun, and prepares to end his suffering once and for all.
Luckily, he's stopped by Helen, who rushes back to the apartment at the last second. Then, mid-conversation, they're interrupted by another guest—Nat, with Don's typewriter in hand. For some reason, this is the push Don needs, prompting him to finally get started on his novel The Bottle and kick booze once and for all.
Or is it? Although things are looking good for Don (especially after he throws a cigarette into a glass of whiskey instead of drinking it), we know for a fact that he's gotten clean before…only to fall back off the wagon. What makes this time any different?
We're not sure, to be honest. As if to parallel this ambiguity, the film closes with a reversal of its opening shot, panning from the bottle hanging out of the window back to the Manhattan skyline. Whether you see this as an indication that the cycle is beginning anew, or evidence that Don now has full perception of his situation, this is a fascinating way to close things out.