WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR HBO’S SERIES THE UNDOING.
I had no idea the world was as obsessed as I was with this series until Monday morning when I got three messages in a group text from friends waiting eagerly to rehash and devour it. A Google search quickly showed that everyone from The Atlantic to Vulture have picked it apart post-mortem. After reading their takes and garnering reactions from the Twitterverse, I will first address the most talked about plot holes and questions before diving into my own.
The Hammer in the Dishwasher
One of Jen Chaney and Kathryn VanArendonk‘s biggest issues with this was believing a 13-year-old boy could run a dishwasher to begin with, let alone twice without his mother noticing. To be fair, they didn’t say all kids this age couldn’t do it, they just said it was “questionable” and “generally implausible.” This had me wondering if my expectations for my 11-year-old son are too high? So I asked him to come into our kitchen and run our dishwasher as if his life depended on it with zero guidance from me, and guess what? He figured it out with very little trouble. He even thought to use the “sanitize” cycle (perfect for murder weapons!). I asked when he was done, “What would you do if you couldn’t figure it out?” When I told him that calling me wasn’t an option because it had to be kept a secret from everyone, I’m sure his first thought was that I was insane, but his second thought was to Google it. So if my husband or I commit murder with a sculpting hammer and Jed finds the weapon, at least I know he’s capable of running it through the dishwasher if need be, which brings me to their second gripe about this: A sculpting hammer isn’t dishwasher safe. As a woman who uses every domestic shortcut available, I can tell you that even the cheapest wooden spoons can hold up in the dishwasher with minimal splintering. Yes, wood and fine cutlery are better off hand-washed, but they will survive two cycles in a decent dishwasher. Also, Grace’s life has been ripped apart: her husband has been lying to her, cheating on her, has been accused of murder, and is a fugitive, so I can see how she might not notice the dishwasher running. I can come up with like three reasons right now not to notice my dishwasher and the only thing upsetting me (other than a global health pandemic) is that there isn’t a new This Is Us episode this week.
GRACE’S “FLASHBACKS” TO THE MURDER
Several people have questioned how Grace could have flashbacks of the murder when she wasn’t there, calling this a hole in the plot. What some refer to as flashbacks, I interpreted as visualizations. I never thought she was reliving the murder in her head rather she was trying to envision what might have happened. I play out vivid scenarios in my head all the time, so this made sense to me.
My God, the helicopter. First, I love the Twitter traction this is getting (“absolute grandpa goals” — ha!). Second, we’re seeing two major types of comments here: The in-your-face abundance of wealth and power it takes to have a personal helicopter and pilot ready on a moment’s notice AND the logistics of the chase/landing on the bridge. I don’t know much about flying a helicopter, but apparently the bridge landing was unrealistic. I’m just going to chalk that up to the suspended disbelief required for gratuitous sensational endings in this genre. After all this is David Kelley, not Woody Allen. The wealth and power speaks to the overarching theme of privilege that The Atlantic covered so well and that I’d like to talk more about, starting with The Hair.
Much like the City was thought of as the fifth main character in Sex and the City, you can’t ignore Grace’s scene-stealing perfectly looped locks. I could not get over that she wore it down it every single scene. Even at a men’s prison and walking around Manhattan and the park in the middle the night by herself, she let her hair flow. I find this more unrealistic than the helicopter landing. First, as a matter of safety, it is street smart to pull your hair up in a baseball cap if you’re going to walk the streets alone that late at night. And I can’t imagine wanting it down at a men’s prison where it could be easily yanked through the bars (okay I have a wild imagination, but was anyone else thinking that?). I saw her hair as an extension and symbol of her power and privilege, much like a male lion’s mane can symbolize confidence and power.
WEALTH + POWER
It was just everywhere, wasn’t it? From Grace’s jewel-toned boho jackets to her father’s Bruce Wayne-like mansion, money dripped over every scene. It’s what makes this series so addictive, but also unfortunately so polarizing and unrelatable. I’ve been addicted to glamour-driven shows since Brandon and Brenda Walsh moved to Beverly Hills in 1990. But at least I had someone to root for… the Walshes were “regular” people in a new, opulent world. If it had just been the rest of the gang, Donna Martin would never have graduated. Or maybe she would’ve? She has quite the powerful father.
Also, Hugh Grant is so dreamy he can pummel my face into liquid and get away with it anytime he wants.