'The Undoing' Finale Leaves Some Big Questions Unanswered
Albany clams? Hammer washing? We're as perplexed as you are.
The biggest reveal in the finale of HBO's The Undoing turned out to be that the show wasn't actually much of a mystery at all. Yes, spoiler alert, Hugh Grant's Jonathan Fraser was the culprit all along. He murdered his lover Elena Alves (Matilda De Angelis) in a fit of rage after she mentioned that she was going to get closer to his wife, Grace (Nicole Kidman), and child Henry (Noah Jupe). This is all to say that the entire show was essentially a red herring. In the pilot you learn that Jonathan might have killed Elena, and then you are strung along as Grace considers other possible options: Elena's husband? Their son, Henry? Her father, Franklin? But in the end it really was Jonathan, a charming pediatric oncologist who is also a sociopathic murderer. Remember, when he was a teen, he didn't kill the family dog, he "killed the family sister."
The finale was met with a collective groan by Twitter fans who felt they'd been suckered by the David E. Kelley–scripted series directed by Susanne Bier. It's not that The Undoing didn't have any redeeming qualities. Grant's performance, despite ending with an absolutely ludicrous chase sequence during which he recited nursery rhymes and talked about fried clams, was wonderfully maniacal and worthy of accolades. Still, The Undoing is ultimately a show that ends with Nicole Kidman chasing down Grant and their son via helicopter for a brief, anticlimactic confrontation on a bridge in Kingston, NY. It also left us with a lot of unanswered questions.
Can you really put sculpting hammers through a dishwasher?
The finale picks up with Grace confronting Henry about the sledgehammer she found in his violin case at the end of Episode 5. It turns out that Henry had found the murder weapon in an outdoor fireplace at his family's beach house and, to save his father, ran the sculpting hammer through the dishwasher—twice. Are sculpting hammers even dishwasher safe? And would a dishwasher fully clean the object? I mean, sometimes it's hard to even get pasta sauce off a bowl in the dishwasher. The Frasers must own a pretty strong dishwasher to get rid of all that blood.
What was all that about Albany clams?
On the drive north after kidnapping Henry, Jonathan says, "Right, I say it is very nearly fried clam o'clock," and starts rambling about how wonderful the fried clams at the fictional Bollie's of Albany are. Having never tasted fried clams from Albany, I must ask: Is the landlocked capital city of New York really a fried clams destination? If you're actually in the mood for fried clams before you plan to either jump off a bridge or go to prison for life, why not head straight for the known fried clams purveyors in Connecticut and other New England states?
Why was Donald Sutherland in this?
Donald Sutherland's presence seemed entirely like a misdirect. He's Grace's rich, menacing father, and... that's all he's here to do ultimately. I definitely was not the only person to think his Franklin Reinhardt might actually be the killer, but even if that didn't turn out to be the case, why was Sutherland's part as the protective family patriarch so thin? Why did they show him creepily peering up from the street at Fernando holding his baby in the Alves' apartment in Episode 3, or give him that face-melting confrontation with the private school headmaster if he wasn't ever going to be a suspect? Hats off to his epic eyebrows, though.
Can Noma Dumezweni get a spinoff?
Aside from Hugh Grant, the series standout was clearly Noma Dumezweni, who played the ultimately undermined defense lawyer Haley Fitzgerald. I have no interest in revisiting the Fraser family, but how about a spinoff starring Dumezweni teaming up with Grace's weird friend Sylvia, played by Lily Rabe? It could be just like one of David E. Kelley's old legal shows like Ally McBeal or Boston Legal. Consider it, HBO!
How many coats does Grace actually own?
Obviously the true star of The Undoing was Grace's fabulous wardrobe. How does one even have that many coats? And where can we buy them?
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