Following the plan of a detective novel, theories were circulated and the stories separated. Everyone seemed to have a hunch about who struck the fateful blow at the woman who had no other purpose than to be the tragic victim of the piece.
With each twist and turn, a different character was momentarily thrown with suspicion. As the plot unraveled, the HBO drama also upped its stakes: The payoff would, after all, have to satisfy the audience’s investment hours.
The final episode, aptly titled “The Bloody Truth,” finally yielded all the answers we had been looking for. Through flashbacks, we get to see Elena’s final violent moments and the true identity of her killer.
It turned out that the killer had been in our field of vision the entire time. There were no last-minute reveals or shocking twists and turns when it comes to this; the evidence had continued to point to Jonathan Fraser (Hugh Grant) throughout, and it was he who was guilty.
Her son Henry (Noah Jupe) had the murder weapon, only she had discovered it in the outdoor fireplace at the family beach house. Convinced that his father must therefore be guilty, he decided to try to protect him by concealing the vital piece of evidence that would undoubtedly have sent his father to prison for a long, long time. Not only that, but Henry put it through the dishwasher – twice! Cleaning it from blood and fingerprints.
Recapping questionable unofficial advice from their attorney Haley Fitzgerald (Noma Dumezweni), Jonathan, Grace (Nicole Kidman) and their father Franklin (Donald Sutherland) ended up deciding not to turn that over to authorities. Jonathan’s trial had been razor-sharp, and this new “coincidence” would have been too abstract a thing for his defense team to explain to the jury.
On the surface, it may seem lazy of The Undoing to have gone off with the obvious suspect. But what the final episode shows us that the series was never a detective novel after all.
Rather than trying to outsmart the show and guess who the killer was, it turns out we should have been paying more attention to the man in the frame from the start: Jonathan Fraser.
While this may have been a very different kind of resolution than what viewers were expecting in the end, it was certainly no less powerful. The Undoing has shattered our expectations of a seemingly classic murder mystery. The Undoing aired on HBO and Sky Atlantic and is currently available on the NOW TV streaming service.