Five Thoughts on The Undoing
After watching the fourth episode of The Undoing on HBO, I texted Beth and asked permission to email her my whodunit theory. I needed be on record as having been right about the pivotal question of this six-part miniseries: who killed of Elena Alves?
Was it Nicole Kidman’s Grace? Was it her cheating husband, Hugh Grant? Was it the waiter who kept bringing all that bread to the table during that awkward lunch scene? Oh, I knew who it was, and I sent it right to Beth’s inbox.*
(*Amy was 100% wrong.)
Truth be told, I was not looking to pause my re-watch of The Americans. But I started having serious FOMO when every podcast and Twitter person was hot on this show about a successful UES therapist whose doctor-husband is suspected of a brutal murder. I had to make a concerted effort to avoid any spoilers — lots of hitting fast forward on Las Culturistas, singing “lalalalalalalala, I can’t hear you!” — but I finally found the time to binge all the episodes before the Sunday finale.
Plus, The Undoing felt like I was doing something with people. I can’t meet y’all at the bar, but it was nice knowing we were all watching the same thing at the same time.
It was the a nice little distraction for the end of of 2020, and now that we know who did it — and who didn’t — , I have a few parting thoughts before I get back to Philip and Elizabeth Jennings:
Are you for real?!
Maybe it’s because we just put up our white Christmas tree — named Liberatree — but when I watch this show, all I can see is camp. Everything is heightened and so totally bonkers in terms of plot that I cannot take it seriously. I couldn’t be bothered to remember most characters’ names, and yet I couldn’t look away. This isn’t hate watching; it’s camp watching.
I wanted to see what totally implausible thing Hugh Grant was going to do next, through that weirdly focused camera lens. It’s not TV, it’s
Does Mr. Alves think Hugh Grant killed his wife? Yup. Is he going to let Hugh into his apartment to hold that baby? Sure, why not. Are children allowed in the courtroom for a gruesome murder trial, a crime that came about because of too much diddling? Come sit on the front row, kids! Does Donald Sutherland go anywhere other than the Met to look at that one Turner painting every single day? You bet your Connie Chung he doesn’t.
I was incredulous the entire time, and yet my WTF face was always staring at the screen. Susan Sontag would approve. The only thing this show was missing was Charles Nelson Reilly.
Oof that wig
Nicole Kidman’s wigs are awful, so I guess we know what that Outlander wig person has been up to. Why does Kidman insist on wearing bad wigs when her own hair seems perfectly fine (see also Big Little Lies). In The Undoing, her red ringlets always fall along her face and in front of her shoulders. Not once did she touch her hair as it brushed her cheeks, and it drove me to absolute distraction.
I screamed! Am I talking about the scene when Grace opens up her kid’s violin case and finds the murder hammer? Nope. I’m talking about when she walks out in that metallic Givenchy! I have coveted this dress since the moment I saw it a few years ago, and this was the universe telling me I need to have it. I’ll skip a few mortgage payments. It will be fine.
Iridescent pleating with an open back AND undertitty? When I die, let this be what I wear in heaven.
Nicole Kidman wearing @Givenchy in The Undoing (2020) Lady Gaga wearing the same dress for @ELLEmagazine (2018)
— RITCHIEEEEEE (@OkHeDidTHAT) November 9, 2020
This show was paid for by The Pedestrian Society of New York City. So much walking. I think the character of Grace was inspired by Bonnie Hunt in Dave. We’re walking, we’re walking.
I’d like to get a better look at the shoes Grace wears on her jaunts. And that blonde lady lawyer friend is such a bitch, you know she points at Grace’s walking footwear and says, “What are those!”
Where are you from again?
The accents are terrible. Lord, help. We already know Kidman cannot do an American accent. But then, the casting agent doubled down and gave us some British actor doing a tough New York public defender, who may have been born in Brooklyn but was raised in Philly by way of Maine? I haven’t heard such a bad accent since Jennifer Lopez’s dad in The Wedding Planner.
The District Attorney is no better. She’s Danish in real life, but her character is doing her best “I went to Choate, and Hugh Grant totally killed that woman with a hammer, and we own Greenland!”
At least Venezuelan-born Edgar Ramirez sticks with his own accent as the hot detective. I’m shocked his direction wasn’t to play a Welshman who dreamt of coming to America for a career in law and order. Immigrants! We get the job done!
So who was the killer? The cheating husband. Like florals for spring, it’s always the cheating husband. And Amy did not have that in her email.
The entire season of The Undoing is streaming now on HBO Max. But if you got to the end of this article, you probably already knew that.
Amy takes pride in being a grumpy optimist. Want to talk sports ball? Amy is your girl. Her favorite New York Times crossword puzzle day is Tuesday. If your book is set in the former Soviet Union or World War 2, Amy will read it. As a recovered Southern Baptist, she is raising her daughter to be happy.