The undoing director Susanne Bier reveals about this stunning homicide weapon: “Nothing is precisely because it appears”
[Warning: The following contains spoilers for the latest episode of The Undoing, “Trial By Fury.” Read at your own risk!]
In its penultimate episode, HBO’s The Undoing just messed up everything we thought we knew about the murder of Elena Alves (Matilda de Angelis). Once again.
The episode not only revealed that Henry (Noah Jupe) had previously seen Jonathan (Hugh Grant) and Elena together and helped hide the affair from Grace (Nicole Kidman), but it looks like he has the murder weapon even stowed his violin case. Now that her son has kept these secrets from her as well, Grace is officially three to three against the men in her life who are longtime liars.
The episode, titled “Trial By Fury,” revolved around Jonathan’s trial for Elena’s murder. His expensive defense attorney Haley Fitzgerald (Noma Dumezweni) did exactly what she promised by poking holes in the state’s case exams with her stabbing cross. Haley is convincing enough that Detective Joe Mendoza (Edgar Ramirez) failed to adequately rule out other suspects, including Grace, who appeared on security footage outside Elena’s studio on the night of the murder, and Elena’s husband Fernando (Ismael Cruz Cordova). Who knew about the matter and the fact that Elena’s baby’s father is Jonathan, not him.
However, the prosecution also had to put forward some effective arguments to the jury, including portraying a brutally bloody shot of the murder scene and staging a terrifying reenactment of how many times Elena’s head must have been smashed with her own hammer. Grace’s best friend Sylvia (Lily Rabe) remains convinced Jonathan is guilty, and so could Grace after hearing what Jonathan’s mother had to say about him.
Grace contacts her estranged mother-in-law to follow Jonathan’s new story of feeling guilty for the accidental death of his little sister Katie, who ran out onto the street when he was supposed to watch her as children. The way he relates it, this incident has been his secret shame for decades and that’s why he went into pediatric oncology to save the lives of children. His mother’s version of his story is much grimmer, however, and casts him out as a downright sociopath who was not bothered by the death of little Katie for a single second of his childhood.
So, on the way to the final, a series of puzzles have to be solved: Why did Henry hide this hammer? Who did Jonathan mean when he said in his television interview that he knew who killed Elena? Is he a real sociopath? Did Jonathan Kill Elena and Is Justice Served?
TV Guide spoke to director Susanne Bier about where we are after Episode 5 and what lies ahead of us at the finale of The Undoing.
In this episode, Grace was just shocked by all three men in her life. Her husband, father and son kept enormous secrets from her. What does it say about them that even though it is their job to see through people’s self-portrayals that they were all able to lie to them and hide that information about themselves?
Susanne beer: I think that is often the case. When I went to school there were many children whose parents were therapists and most of them [of those] Children were the most screwed up children. I often think it’s like; I think you know that you can be a great therapist and not necessarily understand what is going on in your own life. And that doesn’t mean you’re flat or stupid. It is the nature of the distance that real analysis takes. And I think it’s very real and true.
Can you talk about the dilemma Grace is facing now? It’s hard to believe that she still thinks Jonathan innocent after learning what she’s got from his mother, but she still wants to protect her family.
beer: I mean, she faces a number of dilemmas. I think her biggest dilemma is making up her own mind because she was torn between her love for him or her growing uncertainty about his truthfulness, her confusion about her father, and her confusion about her son. I think her biggest challenge is figuring out who she is, what she wants, and where she will go with everything she knows.
Do you think the police are right that they know something we haven’t discovered yet?
beer: It’s very interesting because when you talk about the police and Edgar Ramirez’s role, you’re touching on the belongings [dynamic]. And I think what he represents is an amazing detective who is fed up with … the advantage of being white and privileged. And I think he has a strong feeling that she is hiding something. It doesn’t have to be a lie, but it’s not cooperative and we are dealing with a really terrible crime. He’s obviously frustrated about it. You know, it might not lie, but it doesn’t necessarily provide old pictures.
Now that we’ve learned more about Elena’s past with Jonathan, what do you think was her motivation for getting so close to Grace?
beer: I think Elena is a very sad character. I think she is a woman who almost lost her son to illness and she fell in love with the wrong man and she is a desperate woman. And I think in some ways her desire to get closer to Grace is a way to understand yourself, to understand your situation, to understand what her life is about. I think she is deeply distressed and incredibly unhappy and confused.
Can you give us a taste of what we’ll find out about the gun?
beer: Well, nothing is exactly as it seems.
What do you think is Grace’s biggest fear in the last episode?
beer: I think her biggest fear is [her] terrible creepy suspicion [being confirmed]. What the nature of this suspicion is we’ll find out in Episode 6, but I think their greatest fear is an unspeakable truth.
The undoing finale will air on Sunday, November 29th at 9 / 8c on HBO.