What made HBO’s six-part thriller The Undoing killer viewing?

The Undoing, HBO’s six-part psychological thriller, concluded last night in an epically dramatic finale which finally revealed the killer of Elena Alves.

Over the last five weeks, an increasing number of viewers have tuned in to watch the adaptation of Jean Hanff Korelitz’s 2014 novel You Should Have Known.

Part rom-com part killer thriller, the series follows Grace Fraser (Nicole Kidman) and her husband Jonathan (Hugh Grant) through an emotional and legal battle after Jonathan is accused of the brutal murder of his lover Elena (Matilda De Angelis).

Creator David E. Kelley artfully set ups the series in episode one with heart-warming family scenes and shots of snow falling in Central Park, before the news of Elena’s death breaks and Grace discovers her husband is missing.

As Jonathan’s lies unravel, his wife becomes both suspicious and mysterious, and viewers are left not knowing which of the star-studded cast of characters could possibly have committed this murder.

With a cleverly written, suspicious best friend played by Lily Rabe, Donald Sutherland’s terrifying elite and serious grandfather figure Franklin, and an excellently executed performance by Noah Jupe as the son Henry, everyone was a possible, if not plausible, suspect.

Some viewers took to Twitter to praise everything about the show from Nicole Kidman’s witch-like wardrobe to Donald Sutherland’s magnificent eyebrows, with one fan writing: ‘[it was] the best series I’ve seen in a long time’.

And whilst The Undoing brought in a bigger crowd than recent HBO-Sky collaboration hit ‘Big Little Lies’, the critics were less impressed.

Many were quick to point out the over dramatization and lack of credibility of some parts of the show, with Judy Berman of Time magazine saying that the roles were ‘so flimsily, impersonally written’ and the Guardian’s Lucy Mangan stating that the show was ‘a disappointing dud’.

And whilst the drama no doubt added to the series, there were a few clear plot holes throughout the episodes which left viewers with many questions unanswered.

For instance, why did Jonathan say he was going to Cleveland before the murder occurred, if he had no idea it was going to happen?

As well as this, why were the scenes exposing Jonathan borrowing £500,000 from his father-in-law, Grace’s flashbacks to the murder and Franklin going to Fernando’s apartment included but not returned to?  

Whilst all these loose ends acted as red herrings to drive the audience away from the ultimate truth, they make for a partly unsatisfying ending. 

But it was the brilliantly executed acting that saved the show from its writing downfalls, with special mentions to detective duo Édgar Ramírez and Michael Devine, and Noma Dumezweni, who stole every scene she was in with artful grace and excellence.

And it was certainly a breath of fresh air to see Hugh Grant embrace the dark side as a lying sociopath after his career as light-hearted romcom lead man.

Whilst The Undoing may not have had the twist we were all waiting for, the finale was still dramatic with tense courtroom scenes, a rogue witness and a gut-wrenching last-ditch getaway attempt.

As the murderer was revealed, the series finale became a farewell, and the show was finally all undone.

With no room for a sequel, one question remains: who really was the opening girl in the credits?

Featured image credit: Sky via YouTube

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