Alias Grace is the recently released miniseries adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s historical fiction novel of the same name. The series is set around Grace Marks, a woman serving time for what Netflix describes as her “controversial” conviction in a double murder.
Throughout the series, Grace (Sarah Gadon) is interviewed by Dr. Jordan (Edward Holcroft), who Bustle confirms is a fictionalized character. So that is one question that can definitively be put to rest. As Dr. Jordan and the audience attempt to find answers as to Grace’s role in the murders and her mental state at the time, the series takes both of them down a winding road, full of surprising twists and turns.
Please be warned that the ending of Alias Grace is discussed in-depth beyond this point.
In the final episode, Dr. Jordan abruptly leaves town following Grace’s “hypnotism,” and based on what he hears, he declines to write a report supporting her release. As a result, Grace remains in prison for 11 more years, until her pardon comes through.
Grace ends up marrying Jamie Walsh, who provided the testimony that helped convict her at her trial. When they reunite, he is a grown man with his own farm, and he admits he was led to say the condemnatory things he did at Grace’s trial by the authorities. He asks for her forgiveness, which Grace promptly grants.
In a letter to Dr. Jordan, who has been left relatively incapacitated due to injuries he sustained fighting in the Civil War, Grace tells him about her rather peaceful post-prison life. While it seems that every part of the story has drawn to a close, there are still some things to consider.
Like Grace herself, Alias Grace leaves viewers with a lot of questions that are never answered. In part one of this two-part list, four out of eight questions are addressed.
1. Did Grace Fake Her Split Personality, And If So, Why?
Whether Grace was actually hypnotized has a lot to do with answering this question, because if she was, then what she said was true. If she was not, then she faked having an alternate personality.
The question is why she would choose this lie to claim under “hypnosis,” instead of using the opportunity to claim her innocence. Dr. Jordan suggests she did it to hurt him, but her claim hurts her significantly as well.
By claiming to have committed the murders under the influence of an alternate personality, Grace confirms what Dr. Jordan did not want to believe, that Nancy died with help from Grace’s own hands. This causes Dr. Jordan to completely abandon the idea of helping Grace be pardoned.
If Grace faked it, all she did was tarnish the memory of her beloved best friend and ruin her shot at freedom. Why would she do that if her goal was to be set free?
2: Was Grace Mentally Ill?
There is evidence that Grace was mentally ill. She was committed to an asylum because, according to her, she was doing things when she thought she was dreaming.
When she recounts a dream she had before the murders to Dr. Jordan, she is shown getting back into bed with dirty feet, which seems to indicate she actually went outside, just as she did in her dream. The laundry ending up in the trees could also account for her envisioning the men who come to her in her dream.
Grace’s nervous breakdown following the death of Mary also indicates that she was susceptible to bouts of great emotional distress.
There is also a scene where Grace is on the run with McDermott, and he indicates she has led him on and said things she clearly has no recollection of. Does this lend credence to Grace having a split personality? It seems to lay the groundwork.
3. Did Grace Actually Develop Feelings For Dr. Jordan?
The dynamic between Grace and Dr. Jordan takes on several forms throughout the series. For his part, Dr. Jordan seems absolutely enraptured with Grace.
There are several scenes of him fantasizing about her, and you could argue he falls in love with her. In what viewers later learn is the reading of Grace’s letter to Dr. Jordan, she admits to being a bit interested in him as well.
In that letter, she also acknowledges her disappointment and hurt that he left without saying goodbye to her. When she is told Dr. Jordan is gone, Grace is shown needing to take a seat.
Perhaps it was the realization that Dr. Jordan had decided against helping her that had caused such a distressed reaction, or she was actually going to miss having his company. It could have been a mixture of both.
In the finale, Grace admits to thinking that Dr. Jordan is the gentleman who had sent for her. It is hard to know how she felt about that prospect. Whether Grace was purposely trying to seduce Dr. Jordan is also unclear. If she was, she didn’t really use it to achieve anything.
4. What Became Of Grace’s Siblings?
Grace’s father demanded that she leave home and begin working to bring in an income to provide for him and her siblings. Once Grace gets a job, she wants to send some of the money home, which Mary (Rebecca Liddiard) argues against, saying it will only supply money for her father to spend unwisely.
So what happened to Grace’s siblings? Did they survive their childhoods? How did they make it without her income? Did they hear about her conviction? Did she ever try to find them? We never find out.
Like some of the other facets of Grace’s story, there are no updates. Are these dangling threads meant to inspire our curiosity? More than likely, the answer is yes.
Grace is both forthright and cagey on certain subjects. Why she chooses to be transparent with some and secretive with others is another part of the mystery. The second half of this feature will delve deeper into the questions stirred by the ending of Alias Grace, and they are intriguing.
Alias Grace is currently streaming on Netflix. Stay tuned to the Inquisitr for the second half of this feature. You can read it by clicking here.