I review 'The Undoing'
Hello everyone! Welcome back to another review post! I think reviewing TV shows and books are my favourite types of posts - I can just go on and on and on. In this post, I'll be reviewing the TV show that has us all gripped - The Undoing! Enjoy!
OMG. What a show! Like, I have so many questions! Let's get into it. The show starts off relatively normally. Nicole Kidman as Grace Fraser, married to Hugh Grant - Jonathan Fraser, both parents to Henry Fraser. They are quite a well-off family, in fact, you could go so far as to say, they absolutely reek of money. Apart from that, they seem pretty normal. It's only really when Elena is introduced, that there is the creation of suspense. Now, I hadn't really watched any trailers for the show, or seen any clips or spoilers on social media, so I had no idea what direction the show was going in. (This is now the ONLY way I'll be watching shows from now on - no trailers). When Elena appears - seemingly innocently - as part of the school committee, you know she is gonna be a huge part of the story.
I have to be honest here. I had no preconceived image in my head of what the show would entail. So when Elena instantly showed an interest in Grace Fraser, I was almost sure the storyline was going to be some sort of affair between the two women. In fact, up until episode 3, I was still convinced that it was going to be written in at some point. But alas, it wasn't meant to be. Anyways, from episode 1 I was HOOKED.
Things between Jonathan and Grace seem great. Jonathan doesn't even seem phased when Grace tells him about Elena's revealing nature. He laughs it off with an inappropriate comment. He seems totally relaxed, I didn't even see it coming. The tension between Grace and Elena, which is built quite quickly in the first episode, is alarming. You kind of want to tell them both to 'spit it out!'. The scene between the two woman in the closet (or bathroom?) is tense. However, the lift is where it's at. Grace just seems like a kind woman who wants to help, but Elena is giving off vibes that she wants something more. The kiss in the lift? I don't really know what to make of it, except Grace is obviously startled. (See why I thought it was going to be an affair?)
You don't really see where the story is going, until Elena is found dead by her son (poor boy) and Jonathan has confusingly, disappeared. He's left his phone at home (what kind of killer does that!) and he is unreachable. All seems well when Elena's husband turns himself in. But that doesn't last long. Suddenly, Grace is faced with all these home-truths she has NO idea about. Jonathan has been a busy boy! He's been having an affair with Elena, whom he previously met when he was treating her son (Miguel) for a tumour. He's also managed to father a daughter with Elena, and yes that's the same little baby who was coo-ing at Grace in the first episode. You can definitely feel Grace's rage, she just wants to get her hands on Jonathan and demand answers, but at the same time she is hurt and betrayed by her husband, when things between them 'had never been better'. Poor Grace. And Henry. What a charming young boy (must get it from his father). He is really supportive of Grace, he comes across very mature but at the same time he wants to believe his father is innocent.
So by the end of episode 2, we have all the facts. We know Jonathan is a suspect because of his affair with Elena. Jonathan was FIRED from the hospital 3 months ago (I mean how do you get away with not having a job for 3 months but PRETENDING to go to work every single day?), Jonathan has a daughter with Elena, he treated her son Miguel for a tumour (which is how they met) and when Elena is found bludgeoned to death, Jonathan just happens to have disappeared. You really do feel for Grace and Henry at this point, they have no answers. By this time, word has got out that they are looking for Jonathan, and Grace is suddenly finding her world crumbling around her. She is being stared at, talked about...etc. Her and Henry decide to escape to the beach house, where they show glimpses of someone watching Grace.
Obviously its Jonathan, who approaches Grace by putting his hands around her mouth and claiming that whilst he did have an affair, he did not murder Elena. Oh well, that just makes everything okay doesn’t it?!? Grace calls the police immediately, they take Jonathan to prison and he becomes the prime suspect.
Other secrets also begin to unravel whilst Jonathan is in prison. Firstly, Grace's father had given Jonathan $500,000 who had claimed it was to help him and Grace out. However, it was actually to pay the expensive school fees of Miguel, Elena's son. Also, how sweet is Grace's dad. Like, he can see right through Jonathan from the beginning, he doesn't trust him and Gramps turns out to be right all along! I really like his relationship with Grace and the fact they kind of become more close because Jonathan turned out to be an adulterer, murderer and liar. I also just really liked Franklin (Grace's dad) as a character. I feel like those types of characters are really rare in popular tv shows and they never get enough screen time. But I feel like this show had the perfect balance of all the characters, and I loved watching Franklin play a supportive father. And the small scene where Grace and her father are playing chess and they start to discuss their own family. It reminded me so much of The Queen's Gambit (a MUST watch if you haven't already).
Another secret is the fact that Sylvia (Grace's best friend) was hired by Jonathan to act as his lawyer. She was representing him against the hospital (where he worked) who wanted to dismiss Jonathan because of complaints filed against his character. He got fired, but then called Sylvia to tell her that the case was miraculously thrown out, and everything was fine again. This was quite clearly a lie which led him to pretend that he was still working at the hospital. Sylvia hid this from Grace, until obviously, all the evidence pointed towards him. I just want to say Sylvia is a great friend. When everyone was talking about Grace and looking at her, Sylvia was there to comfort her and be there for her. She also definitely helped her in the last episode by sharing information with the prosecution.
Personally, when Jonathan showed up at the beach house, I didn't think he had done it. I definitely believed he had an affair, was the father and all the rest of it, but I didn't think he was the murderer. In fact, at the end of episode 3, I began to think Grace might have done it, and pinned it on Jonathan as some sort of revenge! Up until the end, the show had you guessing as to what alternative there could be. Grace decided to defend Jonathan and believes he didn't murder Elena, so I guess as the audience we all believed the same. In episode 5, we see that Henry has the murder weapon hidden in his violin case and EVEN at that point, I began to think, maybe it was Henry. The conversation between Grace and Jonathan discussing the finding, and Jonathan suggesting that it could have been Henry - I mean, WHAT?! At the time, it didn't seem impossible, I kind of thought that it could have been Henry as well, but once you see the ending, it's like, what a psychopath!
Best bit till last - THAT ENDING. Up until the ending, I was waiting for some last-minute twist, or character, for some alternative explanation on who could have murdered Elena. Even after Grace's phone call with Jonathans mum, I STILL thought he was innocent. But when Grace took the stand, I had an inkling that Jonathans case was about to go down the drain. And that's what happened. I admire Grace for that because she so badly wanted to believe he was innocent. Even I wanted to believe that! Then, if that wasn't enough, he kidnaps his own son and goes on a drive, speeding away as if he wasn't going to get caught. At this point, we begin to see Jonathans version of events and learn that he was in fact the one, who bludgeoned Elena to death. It's quite shocking even though there was no other suspect all along. My jaw literally dropped when they showed him murdering her, and this shows how clever the writers of the show are. The ending is tense, I was literally on edge waiting to see what would happen to Henry. I genuinely thought he would end up throwing the car off the bridge or crashing it, and was so relieved when he stopped. AND, I was SO GLAD he didn't throw himself off that bridge. That could have turned the whole show into a flop. Now he's gonna suffer and rot in jail, which is what he truly deserves!
Honestly, I feel like this show has really switched up the game. We all thought it was a whodunnit up until the very last moment, where we realise, it's NOT a whodunnit - it's a 'he-done-it-and-we-can't-see-past-his-charm'! It was different to anything I've ever seen before and I've watched A LOT of shows. I was apprehensive at first, even after getting half-way through the show, just because these types of thriller shows always end up having an ending that seems like it was written to a deadline and they couldn't think of anything better. But, I was wrong. It was clever, fresh and an absolute MUST WATCH. I'm just SO glad I binged it all together and didn't watch it on a weekly basis - I don't know how I could have survived a full week on those cliffhangers!
I want to end by saying, I absolutely ADORE Hugh Grant and Nicole Kidman. Hugh Grant has been one of my favourite actors for a while now, ever since I watched the Bridget Jones movies and Love Actually. There's something so charming about him (that's what makes him a great villain). Nicole Kidman, she was amazing in Big Little Lies. I actually read the book, before the tv series was made, and I thought she played Celeste wonderfully. She's so elegant and so so stunning. I read recently that Hugh Grant is over rom-coms and wants to start playing more 'bad-guy' characters. I am SO here for that, especially after watching his character in this show.
ALSO, I loved loved loved Henry's character. Sometimes when shows include children in these types of stories, I end up feeling really bad for them. But in this show, surprisingly, I didn't feel bad and this was in a good way. I thought his character came across as someone mature, and that really ties in well with the rest of the characters and their family background. And (more for viewers in the UK) did you know that Henry is the real life son of Julie (played by Katy Cavanagh-Jupe) from Coronation Street? I was stunned - acting really does run in the family!
That's the end of this review! I really hope you all enjoyed reading it and agreed with a lot of the things I noticed. If you did (and even if you didn't), let me know in the comment box below or alternatively on my Instagram or Twitter (linked below). Follow me on there for more regular updates on my blog and me. If you enjoyed this blog post, I've also reviewed this season of The Crown which you can find if you click here. Subscribe by leaving your email below and you'll receive regular updates on my blog posts!
Thanks for reading!