What a finale!
The story of Jonathan, Grace, and Henry Fraser is over, and by the skin of their teeth, they all lived to the end.
The Undoing Season 1 Episode 6 confirmed that Jonathan Fraser was a cold-blooded murderer.
There is a reason The Undoing worked so well as a series, and it all comes down to casting.
I never doubted that Jonathan murdered Elena, but I’ve had the unfortunate displeasure of being duped by a sociopath with narcissistic personality disorder.
Casting Hugh Grant, once the world’s rom-com sweetheart, in the role of a man as cold and unfeeling as Jonathan Fraser allowed the audience to search for any indication that Jonathan wasn’t the killer. Hugh Grant cannot be a killer!
But Jonathan was the killer, and just like Grace and all of her clients before her — just like me when I was enmeshed with someone similar to Jonathan — the audience grappled with a charming, good-looking, and successful man being able to carry out something so atrocious.
Grace took walks. Therefore, it could have been Grace because it couldn’t have been Jonathan. That would be too predictable, it was said. The same was said when Henry found the hammer (which was more like a mallet, right?).
We would rather believe that Henry might have done the unthinkable than believe that Jonathan killed Elena.
And you can talk yourself into the belief that you were gunning for Grace or Henry or even Fernando because it would be less predictable, but there is nothing predictable about Jonathan being the killer.
Not in entertainment, especially, but certainly not in the world. All you have to do is watch ID or Deadline or 48 Hours to see how often people are duped into getting too close to people (unfortunately often men) like Jonathan.
It’s never fun to blame the victim, but Elena was nearly as self-absorbed as Jonathan. She was having an affair; she got a lot of male attention. She got so much that she believed she had Jonathan wrapped around her finger.
That much was apparent as she taunted him, saying he would never leave her. The two of them would have been a great couple if only Jonathan weren’t a great percentage more damaged than Elena.
She never saw it coming. Why? Because Jonathan knew how to turn on the charm, but she had no idea that he could turn it off so utterly, so quickly.
Until Grace saw the pain in her son’s face as he agonized over what his father had done, Grace couldn’t really see it, either. Despite all of her counseling of women in very similar situations, she couldn’t place herself in that role.
Her testimony was played brilliantly. She got Sylvia to drop the information the prosecutor needed to turn the table on Jonathan. Unlike Jonathan, though, it truly pained her to turn on him. She still loved the man.
I’d like to think that by the time he put Henry’s life in danger more times than we should have to count, she was no longer susceptible to his charms, and that’s how it appeared as the man she married, and the father of her son turned into the monster Franklin described before her eyes on that bridge.
How long was Haley snowed by her client? Was it a slow transition, or was it a rapid progression once he blamed her for Grace’s testimony?
Jonathan: It’s over. She fucked us, and you let it happen!
Haley: I let it happen. Jonathan, she was with you. She was in your camp, and you lost her because you didn’t get rid of the fucking hammer. You hear that? You didn’t get rid of the fucking hammer. How stupid can you get?
It was very satisfying watching Haley call Jonathan stupid. And Haley needed that win after going to great lengths to free Jonathan from something she must have known he had done once the hammer came into the picture.
What Haley did to Miguel was unconscionable. Is it even legal to call a child to the stand without any preparation, whether they’re on the witness list or not?
It was a portent of what was to come that Jonathan had told the jury he considered Miguel like a son. They had no idea how little he thought of his own son that he was willing to use him as protection against conviction.
Jonathan: Could it be?
Jonathan [sheepishly]: Well, it’s the only other explanation, Grace.
Jonathan: I think you’re asking yourself the same question, Grace. He knew about me and Elena. Saw us at school. Could have been very, very upset, traumatized, more than we know. Could he have there that night, and I don’t know, seen me with her?
Grace: Are you actually asking me, do I think our son beat a woman to death?
The more desperate he got, the easier it was to imagine him swinging that hammer at Elena.
So many times on shows like this, we’re left in the grey area. Not this time. As Jonathan became a fugitive, taking Henry on a trip to who knows where (Albany for Ipswich clams?) and his actions got more brazen, he recalled murdering Elena.
And it was an ugly, brutal murder.
Think about what he did and how he continued his ruse of losing a patient while he made love to Grace later that evening, as we saw on The Undoing Season 1 Episode 1. Normal people cannot imagine that.
But we’ve all seen enough of it on television to know that these types of cases aren’t as few and far between as we’d like. There are real Jonathan Frasers out there preying on people all the time.
The Undoing was incredibly entertaining and filled with exciting performances. Grant played his role perfectly, and Donald Sutherland proved why he’s so treasured in his craft.
Nicole Kidman did what she always does, and if she hadn’t played such a similar role in Big Little Lies, I might have been wowed by her performance, too. But she gets a high score for her vocals on the theme song, a breathy and haunting cover of Dream a Little Dream of Me.
Hopefully, we’ll get more miniseries in the true sense of the word.
What did you think of the finale? Were you still hoping that someone else was responsible for Elena’s murder? If so, was it really because you thought it was predictable, or did you find it too hard to believe someone like Jonathan could do it?
Hit the comments!!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Critic’s Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.