December 02, 2020
The star-studded HBO show may have had an underwhelming ending, plot holes and shockingly bad accents, but watching New York in all its pre-pandemic glory more than made up for it
The Undoing was the perfect pandemic TV | Arwa Mahdawi
If you want to murder people for entertainment there are certain rules that really ought to be followed. Namely, you’ve got to give an attentive audience a chance to work out whodunit. The members of the Detection Club, a 1930s secret society of British mystery writers including Agatha Christie and GK Chesterton, were obsessed with this idea of “fair play”. Members of the club pledged not to conceal vital clues from the reader and make no use of “Divine Revelation, Feminine Intuition, Mumbo Jumbo, Jiggery-Pokery, Coincidence, or Act of God.”
What, one wonders, would the Detection Club have made of The Undoing? The star-studded HBO drama on Sky Atlantic didn’t include any divine revelations but it had a hell of a lot of bizarre plot holes and red herrings. I won’t spoil the ending for those who haven’t seen it, but it left audiences feeling duped rather than out-smarted. The show gave you all the clues to figure out whodunit – it shoved them right in your face at the beginning and left them there – but somehow it didn’t really play fair. There were too many loose ends and unbelievable plot points. You also spent half the time wondering why everyone’s accent kept changing; Nicole Kidman, in particular, seemed to forget she was playing an American.
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