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S01.E01: The Undoing

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Grace and Jonathan Fraser are living an idyllic life on the upper East Side of Manhattan. In preparation for a fundraiser at their son Henry's private school, Grace co-chairs the school's auction committee and notes the other mothers' prickly treatment of Elena, a young mom who's new to the group. The night of the Fundraiser, Grace tries to comfort an inconsolable Elena, while Jonathan departs for a medical conference early the next morning. As Grace awaits Jonathan's return, she's blindsided by news of a tragedy within the school community.

Airing Sunday, October 25, 2020.

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I am usually not an HBO person but I love a good thriller and with both Nichole Kidman and Lily Rabe in this I decided to give it a chance to impress me...and so far it has.   Like I said I enjoy a good thriller and a dead parent along with Grace’s  missing husband makes this all so much fun.   I mean Grace couldn’t have acted sketchier with the cops if she tried.   So I am definitely in for the long haul.   Plus yeah Grace and Elena possible affair.   Goody.  

Edited by Chaos Theory
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I wasn't crazy about Hugh Grant in it but Nicole is excellent as always.  How is it possible that she is even more beautiful?

Hugh looks old.  I think he and Nicole are about the same age?  Right?

Edited by susannot
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I don't for a second believe that Jonathan killed Elena.  That would be way too obvious.  Could they have worked "its always the husband" into the script any more than they did? 

Grace's story to the kid about the dead dog was total BS, right? 

Is it really police procedure to immediately question the parents of the deceased's kid's classmates so soon after discovering the murder?  I mean, I could see doing that if the investigation led you there, but it seemed as if this was immediately after the body was found.  Wouldn't they be focused on her family and people who actually knew her? 

I know we were supposed to think that the parents who could afford to send their kids to the pricey school were completely out of touch, but I have a hard time believing that even they would seriously auction off a glass of water.  Just ask for a donation and be done with it. 

I'll probably get flamed for saying this, but Elena was waaayyy to free with the nudity.  Who does that?  I'm all for having a positive body image, but I don't think a nursing blanket when nursing in public or a towel when in the locker room is too much to ask.  I did enjoy Grace's reaction when Elena kept standing in front of her totally naked.  When she was recounting it to Jonathan, I kept thinking of the old comedy routine of the difference between naked and nekkid.  Naked is no clothes.  Nekkid is no clothes and your up to something.  

Right now, my money is on either Grace's father or her kid being the culprit.  I'm leaning towards the kid. 

59 minutes ago, susannot said:

Hugh looks old. 

I have to disagree.  I think he's actually gotten better looking with age.  Certainly better than his Divine Brown days.    

ETA:  I would love to read Grace's first patient's Yelp review of Grace's practice.  

Edited by Bulldog
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I love this show. I totally love it. I hate that we cannot binge watch it. HBO never drops the whole series, they make you wait week to week. It does get frustrating.

Can we get a speculation thread so we can indulge in some amateur detective work based on clues we see? I have a few thoughts but if I am right, I don't want to spoil the series. 

18 minutes ago, Bulldog said:

Right now, my money is on either Grace's father or her kid being the culprit.  I'm leaning towards the kid. 

Can we speculate in an episode thread? 

Edited by DakotaLavender · Reason: fixed messy typos
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47 minutes ago, susannot said:

I wasn't crazy about Hugh Grant in it but Nicole is excellent as always.  How is it possible that she is even more beautiful?

Hugh looks old.  I think he and Nicole are about the same age?  Right?

Hugh is a couple of years younger, both in their early 50’s.

I was throughly bored with this up until the murder. Not really interested in the lives of private school mothers on auction committees.

The timing of the mid afternoon auction in such formal wear, forcing people to take time off from work was weird to me. Maybe to better show off the setting?

I’m distracted by the actor playing Kidman’s son, who in no way looks like the child of this couple (of course, Hugh could be a stepfather). I think he is the same kid who was in a recent season of The Sinner.

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1 hour ago, Rickster said:

Hugh is a couple of years younger, both in their early 50’s.

Hugh is older than Nicole. He is 60 and she is 53.

Edited by Norma Desmond
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The one thing that kept bugging me: shouldn’t Grace know how to correctly pronounce her own last name? It’s Fraser and her husband correctly pronounced it as Fray-zer while she repeatedly pronounced it as Fray-zher which woukd be Frasier.

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 I went into this show with no expectations - just something to watch - but I'm riveted now. 

2 hours ago, Bulldog said:

Grace's story to the kid about the dead dog was total BS, right? 

I was suspicious of the dog story, too.

2 hours ago, Bulldog said:

Right now, my money is on either Grace's father or her kid being the culprit.  I'm leaning towards the kid. 

Grace's father? Interesting. 

2 hours ago, Bulldog said:

I have to disagree.  I think he's actually gotten better looking with age.  Certainly better than his Divine Brown days.    

Yes, I think Hugh looks as good as ever. He's just a handsome devil.

2 hours ago, nb360 said:

There are some points that are not credible: would the wealthy Grace and the “scholarship mom” go to the same gym? 

I wondered about this, too. At one point, Sylvia mentioned to Grace that Elena would just sit on a bench outside of the school. I'm curious if she had her eye on Grace for awhile, maybe even followed her and saw the gym she went to. She may not have had a membership, just somehow finagled her way in to get to Grace. If she can be brazen enough to saunter around naked like that, I can see her sneaking her way into a gym locker room.

And where is Jonathan??? That came out of nowhere for me while I was focused on Grace and Elena. Is he having an affair? I wish I could binge watch this.

Edited by Quita · Reason: Posted the same thought twice
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28 minutes ago, Quita said:

 I went into this show with no expectations - just something to watch - but I'm riveted now. 

I wish I could binge watch this.

I am also riveted and as I said, I do not understand why HBO just does not put the entire series up On Demand. I remember waiting week to week for "The Night Of" also to crawl to the end. 

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8 hours ago, Quita said:

 I went into this show with no expectations - just something to watch - but I'm riveted now. 

I was suspicious of the dog story, too.

Grace's father? Interesting. 

Yes, I think Hugh looks as good as ever. He's just a handsome devil.

I wondered about this, too. At one point, Sylvia mentioned to Grace that Elena would just sit on a bench outside of the school. I'm curious if she had her eye on Grace for awhile, maybe even followed her and saw the gym she went to. She may not have had a membership, just somehow finagled her way in to get to Grace. If she can be brazen enough to saunter around naked like that, I can see her sneaking her way into a gym locker room.

And where is Jonathan??? That came out of nowhere for me while I was focused on Grace and Elena. Is he having an affair? I wish I could binge watch this.

I thought perhaps the bench sitting mention indicated that Hugh Grant and Elena could easily have crossed paths since he walked his son to school. I also thought that since her father was leaving the party early it could indicate that he had interacted with Elena before NK & HG arrived without her seeing it.  But her overall demeanor talking with the police would indicate she knows something more.  

This had been promoted so relentlessly I was prepared to hate it, but really enjoyed it.  Elena's 'aggressive' nudity and overall weirdness drew me in.

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3 hours ago, larapu2000 said:

I thought perhaps the bench sitting mention indicated that Hugh Grant and Elena could easily have crossed paths since he walked his son to school. I also thought that since her father was leaving the party early it could indicate that he had interacted with Elena before NK & HG arrived without her seeing it.  But her overall demeanor talking with the police would indicate she knows something more.  

This had been promoted so relentlessly I was prepared to hate it, but really enjoyed it.  Elena's 'aggressive' nudity and overall weirdness drew me in.

That's true. It could be that Elena and Jonathan met up at some point. I did remember her father leaving the party early, but didn't think much of it. He could've had interaction with Elena, too. I definitely agree that Grace knows more than she's saying and made it fairly obvious in her conversation with the police.

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The one that played the son is Noah Jupe from A Quiet Place and Ford VS Ferrari. He also played in Honey Boy as the Shia Labeuf character. 

As for Nicole Kidman, her best look was in Moulin Rouge. I don't know what convinced her to tamper her looks in the coming years. I think ever since she married Keith Urban, she was slowly morphing into him. And she did not have to do that. What a shame. The frozen face should be a lesson to everyone to not tamper what God gave you.

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2 minutes ago, teddysmom said:

Was that Nicole singing during opening credits? It sounded like her. 

Yes, it was Nicole singing.

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I was confused at the end. So Grace's husband left his cell phone behind, right? That's what she found in the drawer? And she started calling different hotels trying to find him and got some guy whose voice she didn't recognize? Same name? Is her husband an imposter or something? Who goes out of town to a convention without even telling his wife where he's going to be staying?

And yeah . . . why did the cops make a beeline for Grace in such an early stage of their investigation? 

I haven't read the book or anything but I'm starting to wonder if this is a some weird delusion that Grace is under and none of what we're watching is really the way it's playing out.

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2 hours ago, teddysmom said:

Was that Nicole singing during opening credits? It sounded like her. 

Yes, it was.  I could tell by the lilt in her voice during certain parts; reminding me of her Moulin Rouge performance.

Loving the show, so far.  Nicole looks amazing with that hair.  Love a good slowburn thriller/whodunit.

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57 minutes ago, iMonrey said:

I was confused at the end. So Grace's husband left his cell phone behind, right? That's what she found in the drawer? And she started calling different hotels trying to find him and got some guy whose voice she didn't recognize? Same name? Is her husband an imposter or something? Who goes out of town to a convention without even telling his wife where he's going to be staying?

And yeah . . . why did the cops make a beeline for Grace in such an early stage of their investigation? 

I haven't read the book or anything but I'm starting to wonder if this is a some weird delusion that Grace is under and none of what we're watching is really the way it's playing out.

Jonathan mentioned possibly coming home early and was joking about Hyatt points or the free breakfast, so Grace knew he was supposed to be at a Hyatt in the Cleveland area. I can understand her not knowing where he's staying. My husband traveled a lot for work (pre-Covid) and I'd rarely ask where he was staying because I can always reach him on his cell and don't need to call a hotel to ring his room.

I haven't read the book either. Maybe what Grace is seeing isn't completely true. Hmmm . . .

Edited by Quita · Reason: Punctuation
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15 hours ago, CarpeFelis said:

The one thing that kept bugging me: shouldn’t Grace know how to correctly pronounce her own last name? It’s Fraser and her husband correctly pronounced it as Fray-zer while she repeatedly pronounced it as Fray-zher which woukd be Frasier.

One is the British pronunciation, and the other is the American version. 

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3 hours ago, iMonrey said:

I was confused at the end. So Grace's husband left his cell phone behind, right? That's what she found in the drawer? And she started calling different hotels trying to find him and got some guy whose voice she didn't recognize? Same name? Is her husband an imposter or something? Who goes out of town to a convention without even telling his wife where he's going to be staying?

I think the hotel that Grace called first was where she thought he was staying.  When she was told that he wasn't registered there, she started calling other hotels under the same brand in the area looking for him.  She finally did get somebody with the same name.  It seems kind of a stretch, but I suppose the name isn't that unique that there couldn't be somebody with the same name staying in a hotel at the same time. (Although, from the tone of that guy's wife, I think he's going to have some explaining to do.) It never occurred to me that Jonathan could be an imposter, although I guess anything is possible.   We did have the flashback of him with the sick patient. 

Another thing that I meant to mention earlier . . . there was something said very quickly about Grace and Jonathan not paying the tuition for their son's schooling.  I think it was implied that Grace's father is paying the tuition.  I would think two apparently successful doctors in NYC should be able to easily swing the private school tuition.  Maybe Grace and Jonathan aren't as well off financially as their lifestyle would lead you to believe. Or, maybe I misinterpreted the whole thing. 

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I’m confused about the scene in the hospital where Jonathan was comforting his young patient. Was that what Grace was picturing him doing in that moment or was that real?  It was shot in such a gauzy way, and a blurry shadow appeared in the background so I am not 100% sure. I feel like we might be in for more “was that real time, a memory or an assumption” scenes like this. 

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16 minutes ago, Magoo said:

I’m confused about the scene in the hospital where Jonathan was comforting his young patient. Was that what Grace was picturing him doing in that moment or was that real?  It was shot in such a gauzy way, and a blurry shadow appeared in the background so I am not 100% sure. I feel like we might be in for more “was that real time, a memory or an assumption” scenes like this. 

I hadn't considered that it might be Grace's imagination, but you might be right.  I just assumed it was something she had witnessed.  (Maybe she had come to visit Jonathan at the hospital?)  The more I think about it, I think its more likely that Grace might be an unreliable narrator and her perception of the events around her might not be entirely accurate.  

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3 hours ago, iMonrey said:

I was confused at the end. So Grace's husband left his cell phone behind, right? That's what she found in the drawer? And she started calling different hotels trying to find him and got some guy whose voice she didn't recognize? Same name? Is her husband an imposter or something?

Jonathan Fraser seems like a common enough name—just coincidence. My theory is that there is no convention and he’s just using it as a cover to cheat on her, so he could be anywhere.

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20 hours ago, DakotaLavender said:

I love this show. I totally love it. I hate that we cannot binge watch it. HBO never drops the whole series, they make you wait week to week. It does get frustrating.

I am going to have to break down and read the book. I can't wait. Will continue to watch just to see it play out. Plus Hugh Grant and Nicole with her marvelous hair.

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2 hours ago, Valentine said:

I am going to have to break down and read the book. I can't wait. Will continue to watch just to see it play out. Plus Hugh Grant and Nicole with her marvelous hair.

At some point I may PM you to ask who did it. But not yet. I will wait until my frustration level has peaked. 

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11 hours ago, Bluesky said:

It wasn’t her husband, it was a different guy with the same name.

Oh! Thanks for clarifying that!

9 hours ago, Quita said:

I did remember her father leaving the party early, but didn't think much of it. He could've had interaction with Elena, too. I definitely agree that Grace knows more than she's saying and made it fairly obvious in her conversation with the police.

What if the father, in addition to paying the tuition for Grace and Jonathan's child, also pays the tuition for the "scholarship child"? As someone up above stated, it's odd that two successful NY doctors wouldn't be able to manage private school tuition for one child.

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4 hours ago, Bulldog said:

I hadn't considered that it might be Grace's imagination, but you might be right.  I just assumed it was something she had witnessed.  (Maybe she had come to visit Jonathan at the hospital?)  The more I think about it, I think its more likely that Grace might be an unreliable narrator and her perception of the events around her might not be entirely accurate.  

it was a weird thing to say to a sick kid: You can't die or I will kill you (paraphrased). They are too young to understand that type of tongue in cheek biting humor. It may be a way of showing that her husband is a nut. 

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As noted in the pinned mod note, book discussion is not allowed in episode topics; this includes mentioning/hinting that you know the ending of the book (either by reading or looking it up). Please stick to discussing the episode, and take informed posts to the appropriate topic. Thank you!

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5 hours ago, Bulldog said:

Another thing that I meant to mention earlier . . . there was something said very quickly about Grace and Jonathan not paying the tuition for their son's schooling.  I think it was implied that Grace's father is paying the tuition.  I would think two apparently successful doctors in NYC should be able to easily swing the private school tuition.  Maybe Grace and Jonathan aren't as well off financially as their lifestyle would lead you to believe. Or, maybe I misinterpreted the whole thing. 

Anywhere but manhattan their salaries would be considered high.  But that multi million dollar townhouse and $50,000 tuition and every thing else would probably be out of their league.  Apparently the father is the big money guy.  

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Loved loved loved it!!!!

I'm torn between just staying put or sneaking into the book thread *wails*

I know things are going to go to sh*t as it has to with a murder mystery drama but I thought Nicole and Hugh were such a cute couple!

Nicole's hair is glorious!!! 

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I liked this fine but I am so distracted by Nicole's face. Is it filler? I can't even put my finger on what she has been doing and why it looks like that.  She looks like she has a doll face.

I do enjoy Hugh, he said he and Nicole have known each other since they were in their twenties. Were they in something together? Nicole wasn't in Sirens, was she?

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Was that Nicole singing during opening credits? It sounded like her. 

Yes, it was Nicole singing.

 

I recognized its was certainly not Cass Elliot immediately, but that the singer did a passable job. I had surmised that perhaps they couldn't get the rights to the original track, and could only secure the rights to the score, or something. Knowing it was Nicole doesn't change my view; adequate, but that would be of no import if she already weren't a movie star. "Look, she can actually sing a little," really doesn't impress me when there a legions of far, far better singers who aren't movie stars.

The most intriguing aspect of the episode - apart from the apparently disparate approaches its two very-good-looking stars are taking to aging in Hollywood - was why Grace would conceal the little information she had. She was far freer to convey her observations to her husband, when they were seemingly irrelevant, than to the police, when they could be enormously relevant, and even more so given she's a trained therapist (psychologist?). Thus, her "professional" observations would be even more highly valued by the police.

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17 hours ago, nb360 said:

it's odd that two successful NY doctors wouldn't be able to manage private school tuition for one child.

In wealthy families like this, it isn't that they can't pay it. It is just sometimes that parents say they would like to cover the cost of the education, and you just let them. There are so many scenarios. 

I wonder if Grace's DNA is on Elena from the kiss, and that is why they went straight to her?

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I enjoyed it enough that I'm in for the series, unless something goes really bad. Unfortunately, Nicole Kidman's looks are distracting me. I'm in the minority that I kind of hate her hair - I don't think it's nearly as flattering on her as some of her other styles that frame her face. As well, during the therapy scenes, when the camera was close up on her, her face seemed expressionless and it took me out of the scenes a bit. I don't want to get into a discussion of anti-aging products/procedures and society and all that jazz, but it is disappointing when someone who is so gifted at their craft is limited in her facial expressions. Maybe that's on purpose for the part - she's a therapist and needs to be neutral/non-judgmental??? - but both my husband and I were wondering why she looked so frozen. (And I've long thought she and Keith Urban kind of look alike.)

It's interesting that right out of the gate, I don't think I like any of the characters, however I think they're interesting. I'm curious what has happened to the famous Dr. Frazer and where Donald Sutherland's character fits in this. I'm also wondering if we'll see any of Elena's art and if it is tied into the plot somehow, or whether it's going to focus on white privilege.

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On 10/26/2020 at 6:54 PM, CarpeFelis said:

My theory is that there is no convention and he’s just using it as a cover to cheat on her, so he could be anywhere.

I was thinking there was no convention as well, and wondered if Jonathan and Elena knew one another.  It might explain why she was being so aggressively naked in front of Grace.

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2 hours ago, txhorns79 said:

I was thinking there was no convention as well, and wondered if Jonathan and Elena knew one another.  It might explain why she was being so aggressively naked in front of Grace.

I just rewatched and now I’m wondering if it was really Jonathan she was staring at during the auction.

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On 10/26/2020 at 10:31 PM, nb360 said:

Oh! Thanks for clarifying that!

What if the father, in addition to paying the tuition for Grace and Jonathan's child, also pays the tuition for the "scholarship child"? As someone up above stated, it's odd that two successful NY doctors wouldn't be able to manage private school tuition for one child.

This was my exact thought regarding the so-called scholarship for the young boy. I wondered about it when her father briefly appeared at the auction and left prior to it starting. That struck me as odd. It seemed like a lot of effort to dress in a tuxedo and drive to the destination not to spend much time there. 

The day of the committee meeting it seemed Mom attended only to meet Grace. She then tracked her down at the gym and it looked like she maybe had knowledge of Grace on a personal level. To approach her while nude was quite an intimate way to converse.

Grandparents paying tuition for their grandchildren is not uncommon in wealthier families. Especially if they attend the same schools generation after generation.

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On 10/26/2020 at 12:56 AM, CarpeFelis said:

The one thing that kept bugging me: shouldn’t Grace know how to correctly pronounce her own last name? It’s Fraser and her husband correctly pronounced it as Fray-zer while she repeatedly pronounced it as Fray-zher which woukd be Frasier.

I noticed this too. I think maybe Grace is Americanizing it? It took me a little while to get used to the correct pronunciation on Outlander. 

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