Undone’s ending is defined by Alma’s thoughts
The primary half of Amazon’s animated drama Undone finds Alma (Rosa Salazar) grappling with a newfound relationship with time, slipping between the previous and the current, in a position to relive moments again and again. The writers fastidiously tread between attributing Alma’s slipping sense of actuality to tremendous powers or as signs of her declining psychological well being.
Issues change within the sixth episode. The standpoint pivots from Alma to her boyfriend Sam, who doesn’t see her as a traveller of time and area however as a lady in restoration now transfixed on her lifeless father. She mutters to herself. She appears to be like vacantly into area. The present’s first episode reveals that Alma’s grandmother had schizophrenia, a historical past that Sam, together with Alma’s mom Camila and her sister Becca are very conscious of.
So is the time journey actual or is it occurring all in her head? The reply will get a little bit difficult. The ending at first softly suggests an consequence, with out outright confirming it, then blurs it once more. Ambiguity works for the story itself, however ultimately, the message Undone was finally after is left obscured.
[Ed. note: This post contains major spoilers for the end of Undone]
Alma completes her mission within the remaining episode of Undone. In her final time slip into the previous, she learns the reality about her father’s automotive accident — he was the one who purposefully swerved his personal automotive off a cliff — and influences previous occasions, in order that as an alternative of heading to his lab that evening, her father continues to take her trick-or-treating. When she comes again to the current, Alma believes she must go to a selected place in Mexico, the place her father will emerge alive and the timelines will merge.
From the best way Sam, Camila, and Becca see it, the reply is clear. Alma is exhibiting signs of schizophrenia. Sam confronts her about this earlier than she leaves for Mexico, however to no avail. Camila tries to assist Alma look inward, revealing that Alma’s father had additionally began to exhibit signs within the 12 months earlier than he died.
However there’s the truth that Alma is aware of issues that she shouldn’t have the ability to by standard means. She manages to pinpoint the precise tragic backstory of a lady she’s by no means met earlier than. She is aware of concerning the combat her mother and father had the evening her father died, is aware of that her mom determined to go away her father as a result of he was doing experiments on Alma — one thing her mom has not disclosed to anybody. In the long run, she learns that her father’s accident was by his personal design, which nobody alive is aware of.
Undone doesn’t want the reply spelled out to be efficient, even when the present softly suggests what is actually occurring. By suggesting the reality, as an alternative of outright saying it, the present permits its remaining level — to face concern of the unknown, we want each other — to shine by way of, by closing in on Becca and Alma’s relationship.
Whereas Sam and Camila have been probably the most concerned in Alma’s wrestle, Becca has kind of resigned herself to pretending every thing is ok. However at this level, with Alma stealing her mom’s keys and driving to a pyramid in Mexico, it has change into clear it’s not.
With out prompting from her involved mom, Becca travels to Mexico to be with Alma. As a substitute of forcing Alma to come back dwelling, Becca sits together with her to attend for the solar to come back up, listening tearfully as Alma talks about beginning over and about not being damaged when the timelines rearrange. She doesn’t discuss all the way down to Alma or inform her that it’s all in her head. She stays. She gives help. She listens.
When it appears to be like like their father gained’t present up, Alma claims that his astral self should’ve gotten caught. It’s the one rationalization, she insists.
Becca gently brushes Alma’s hair away, earlier than she softly says, “There may be one other rationalization.”
Alma is resistant at first. She nonetheless needs there to be extra to the world. However Becca is light, stating that they’re right here collectively. It’s a wonderful morning. She can be there for Alma, their mom can be there for Alma. Nobody thinks she is damaged or messy.
Becca takes the time to know Alma and ultimately gives her assist in a means that nobody within the present has earlier than. However Undone isn’t nearly providing assist; it’s about receiving the assistance of others. And on this final susceptible second, Alma realizes that she does, the truth is, must open up and permit others in.
The suggestion that the entire time journey has occurred in Alma’s head, a mere facet impact of her schizophrenia by no means reductions her experiences as faux or unimportant. The slips by way of time and her conversations together with her lifeless father are part of her actuality and her journey that allowed her to course of her trauma, attain this epiphany, and ultimately settle for the assistance that she wants.
However as an alternative of ending there, the present lingers and distorts issues as soon as extra. Alma needs to be sure that their father won’t emerge. Becca leaves for the automotive and Alma will get one final second alone. The solar comes up. The music quickens. Her jaw goes a little bit slack as she sees one thing within the distance, one thing that we as viewers don’t get to see.
By strolling that advantageous line tremendous powers and psychological fabrications, Undone was by no means going to be a clear means out. On a macro stage, the scene appears to work thematically. Maybe it’s simply one other slip again into Alma’s standpoint. This imaginative and prescient of sunshine and readability is all in her head, however as a result of she’s lastly accepted assist, it exhibits she’s on the proper timeline. Maybe her father did come again from the lifeless and the unknown Alma now faces is what occurs when the timelines rearrange.
The ending leaves viewers with unnerving implications. If this gentle is in Alma’s head, she nonetheless thinks it’s actual, probably inflicting her to double down on her mission and switch away from the assistance she’s lastly realized she’s wanted. If the sunshine is actual, then schizophrenia was only a pink herring to boost the stakes, as an alternative of a really actual psychological sickness dealt with with shocking poignancy two minutes prior.
The reality gained’t be revealed, and in a means, it displays Alma’s state of affairs herself; with out a tidy conclusion, we discover ourselves going through the unknown.