The Undoing on HBO feels like the New York response to Big Little Lies…and not just because Nicole Kidman is at the center. If I weren’t so obsessed with solving a murder, I’d be wondering if these Upper East Side moms know Blair and Serena. Let’s get down to business and figure out who killed Elena Alves on The Undoing—or at the very least, narrow down the suspects with these theories.
Don’t try the book The Undoing is based on for answers either—they’ve already made changes to Jean Hanff Korelitz’s original novel, so it’s no use peeking at the last page for spoilers. We’re on our own. Here are all the potential killers so far.
[There are spoilers ahead, duh. Enter at your own risk!]
It was Jonathan Fraser all along, duh.
All the evidence points to Grace’s husband, right? He had an affair with Elena that resulted in a baby daughter. He lied about losing his job and where he was on the night of her murder. He claims that he confronted Elena at her studio, left to go to a bar, and then returned to find her dead body. It doesn’t get more sus than that. When has a tragic coincidence like that ever really happened? The show is doing a good job casting reasonable doubt on the prime suspect, but I can’t shake the feeling that we’re going to circle back to reveal that Jonathan did it.
Right before the series finale, Grace learns that when Jonathan was a teenager, his sister got hit by a car when he was supposed to be taking care of her. His own mother believes he felt no remorse. The version of this story Jonathan originally told Grace is that a dog got hit by a car, not a girl. He dehumanized his own sister. That casts a lot of doubt on Jonathan’s mental wellness and capacity for empathy.
It’s also, like, a major red flag for me that Jonathan keeps calling Elena crazy and/or a stalker. Don’t trust men who do this!
Okay, but what if it was Henry?
Has this been a story about a child murderer all along?! He knew about the affair. He’s been acting shady this entire time. Then, in the penultimate episode, Grace finds the alleged murder weapon in her young son’s violin case. This discovery comes on the heels of Grace’s discovery that her husband might be a sociopath—could he have passed that along to her son? This is, by the way, very much like Ziggy in Big Little Lies.
Also, Noah Jupe may be young, but he’s become an in-demand actor in the past two years after his performances in A Quiet Place, Ford v. Ferrari, and Honey Boy. Sorry to the A-list stars in The Undoing cast, but if anyone is setting off that little alarm you have in your head when the Law & Order: SVU guest star is too famous not to be the murderer, it should be Noah.
Grace killed Elena and doesn’t remember.
Midway through the series, the Hot Detective showed Grace surveillance footage that puts her at the scene too. She doesn’t recall being there. What else has she forgotten? It feels like The Undoing is leading to some kind of horrifying twist, and there’s nothing more horrifying than committing a murder you don’t even remember. It also feels like there’s more to Grace and Elena’s relationship. Why was she intimidating her at the gym? I have a lot of questions about that whole sitch.
Is this why Nicole took on this project? So she could play a killer herself? Intriguing….
There’s also Sylvia, Grace’s supposed BFF.
Another cast member who sticks out is Lily Rabe, who plays Grace’s friend and lawyer involved somewhat in the case. This cast is stacked, TBH—there aren’t really any unknowns in the bunch. Lily has been murdered many times onscreen as an American Horror Story alum, so maybe she’s flipping the script on The Undoing. Sylvia is the only one of the moms who stands by Grace’s side and seems to be a true friend. However, she also hid Jonathan’s affair and firing from Grace for months. She’s not that good of a friend.
Grace’s father “took care” of a potential scandal.
This theory is not nearly as fun, but we already know that Franklin, played by the great Donald Sutherland, loaned Jonathan money to help cover up the affair and get Elena’s older son into Reardon School. How far would he go to keep his daughter and son-in-law out of trouble? (Although, like, Grace and Jonathan are in a lot of trouble, so he obviously didn’t do a good job if he was the one who killed Elena or hired someone to do it.)
*Actually*, Elena’s husband, Fernando, did it after all.
If it turns out that Elena’s husband found out about the affair and killed her in a jealous rage, there has to be some other juicy twist coming, right? That’s too basic for a whodunnit. But with his alibi now called into question, it’s totally a possibility. As the snooty Upper East Side mothers said at the beginning of the series, it’s always the husband. Ending it this way would lowkey be a letdown, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen.
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