'The Undoing' Ending Explained: It was never about who killed Elena but when Grace would cut ties with Jonathan
'The Undoing' starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant in lead roles came to an end and proved how fragile a family is based on the foundation of lies
One of the scenes in 'The Undoing' that hit us really hard was when the music of Schubert's 'Serenade' would play in the background while Grace Fraser tossed and turned alone in her bed. This scene truly captures the essence of the show as it portrays a woman who has been cheated on contemplate the very counterintuitive act of returning to her husband who had been an infidel.
From the beginning of the show, it was never about who killed Elena Alves, but about how much Grace Fraser had to be pushed to move out of the confirmation bias that she had had.
All the times that the audiences were served with different suspects including Grace, her son Henry and her father Franklin, it seemed as if the show was centered on unraveling the murder mystery. The truth, however, is that the show was centered on 'The Undoing' of a family. The finale, Episode 6, ties in this theme brilliantly as Grace finally decides that Jonathan, for all the reasons that he should be a part of Henry's life, is a true monster. The reason Grace comes to this conclusion in huge parts is because of Henry.
After having found the hammer that Jonathan had hidden at the family home where he had been arrested by the cops, Henry had found it and assuming (rightly) that the murderer was probably his dad, he not only hid the murder weapon from his mother and authorities, but he also put the hammer in the dishwasher removing any evidence that Jonathan had in fact committed the crime. Even then, Grace was ready to support Jonathan in court, just to get the case over with.
However, things flipped the moment Jonathan tried to pin the blame for the murder on his son. After all, did we not try to fit him into the category of the suspect ourselves? So you might wonder, did Grace really know that her husband did kill Elena? A hint regarding this is held in the conversation that Grace has with her father about how she was someone who had always been able to gauge how a situation would pan out. She observed and rightly judged people for who they were, which really helped her in understanding cause and effect unlike anyone else.
So Franklin telling her to see the cause that is right in front of her is an indication of if Grace had known from the beginning that the man behind the murder was after all her husband. She had enough circumstantial evidence the moment she had had the conversation with Jonathan's mother and had found out how he had not grieved his sister's loss.
The fact that she was ready to cut off a part of her family that was toxic and abusive truly registers only when she tells her son that she is ready to do anything in his best interest. Both Grace and Henry realize that letting Jonathan back into the family may not be in their best interest at the same moment and that is why their family caves in too. The foundation that Grace and Jonathan's family was built on, was a lie and it lasted all of 17 years.
The moment Grace realized that it was time for her to take a step back, she does so after careful planning. It was she who had hired Hailee Fitzgerald for Jonathan, so if she were to outsmart the lawyer, she needed more help and that is where her friend Sylvia played a part. She set herself up as someone who would appear to testify for the defendant, who happens to be her husband, while in fact, she set Jonathan up to take the fall for a crime that he had committed.
What we must truly consider here is this question. What if Jonathan hadn't forgotten to get rid of the hammer? Would Grace have been able to live with a man that she knew was capable of murder, was probably a monster? As Hailee had said, Grace was in Jonathan's camp until the moment that the hammer had surfaced. It was he who had lost her support, not because he was a murderer but because there is now solid evidence that links him to Elena's murder, making it extremely hard for her to ignore the connection.
When Henry is kidnapped by his father Jonathan on the day that he is expected to receive the verdict, Grace's worst fear has been realized and she sees her father's fear turned into reality as well. This monster has been let out and now, to cut him off was Grace's only endgame.
New episodes of 'The Undoing' air every Sunday at 9 pm ET on HBO.