If Dr. Jordan (Edward Holcroft) walked away from the ending of Netflix’s Alias Grace, without a lot of the answers he was searching for, then it stands to reason that the audience would finish watching the Netflix series, without of few of theirs. As the series so effectively points out, certain questions in life will remain frustratingly unanswered.
The ending of Alias Grace ties up a lot of loose ends regarding Grace (Sarah Gadon) and Dr. Jordan’s fates, but that does not mean it answered all of the questions the series prompted throughout its run.
One question that is not discussed below is how well the miniseries translates the book it is based on. For those wondering, Vulture has a comprehensive comparative piece that should resolve any questions regarding the differences.
Now that we have that question addressed, let’s move forward to focus on other ones. The second half of this feature explores the burning questions that capped the series, including whether Grace was actually guilty. You can catch up on Part 1 of this feature on the Inquisitr by clicking here.
Caution: Spoilers regarding the ending of Alias Grace are discussed beyond this point.
5. Did Grace collude with Jeremiah?
While it appears that Grace’s contact with Jeremiah (Zachary Levi) is limited, they are shown whispering together before the hypnotism. Is it Jeremiah who concocted the split personality claim and if so, why?
Throughout Alias Grace, Jeremiah is an unreadable character. He clearly has a soft spot for Grace, but it appears to not be romantic, as he refuses a chance to marry her, even though she’s willing.
Why Jeremiah arrives to help her is another question. Does he believe she’s innocent? Or does he want to help her, even if she’s guilty? It’s hard to tell.
6. Is Grace guilty?
Grace says she has changed details in her story to entertain Dr. Jordan, though she indicates they are “white” lies. She does not explain how that reconfigures the truths she did tell. Jamie admitting that his testimony was coerced puts a huge dent in the case against her.
However, Grace serves herself a hugely detrimental blow during her hypnotism session. Wherein, she admits to being involved in the killings under the influence of an alternate personality, blaming the persona of her dead friend Mary, for her crimes.
If Grace was faking, she decided to say something that she should have known would jeopardize her chances of being set free. She studied Dr. Jordan as much as he studied her, so for her to miscalculate that he would believe her, is stunning.
It all boils down to two options. If Grace’s hypnotism is legitimate, then she may have Dissociative Identity Disorder, which means she is mentally ill. If she was faking her hypnotism then she purposefully concocted a lie regarding a split personality and admitted her guilt under a false shroud of mental illness. It is ultimately up to the viewer to decide.
7. Why did Nancy hire Grace and then mistreat her so harshly?
When Grace first encounters Nancy Montgomery (Anna Paquin), she is very friendly towards Grace. She hires her on the spot, persuading an initially hesitant Grace to come and work for Mr. Kinnear (Paul Gross).
When Grace arrives, she is greeted by an entirely different Nancy. She is repeatedly rude and cruel to Grace, who does nothing to deserve it. What flipped her switch?
Even before she discovered she was pregnant, she was giving Grace the cold shoulder. It was Nancy’s idea to hire Grace, so if she was concerned about Kinnear having a wandering eye, it clearly wasn’t a threatening enough idea that she decided not to hire Grace.
8. Is Jamie disturbed?
In Grace’s recounting of the past, Jamie does not seem to be a bad guy. When they reunite, he is very remorseful for the role he played in getting her convicted and he seems to believe she is innocent. He also doesn’t seem like the type of guy who would want to marry a woman he genuinely believes is a murderer.
The weird part comes when Grace shares in her letter to Dr. Jordan that Jamie wants to hear all about Grace’s time in prison, especially the asylum. Grace says that he “likes to picture the sufferings I have endured” and that he treats it as a sort of fairytale and that it reminds her of Dr. Jordan.
The thing is that Dr. Jordan never treats Grace’s story as one he finds appetizing. Throughout Alias Grace, he is shown being quite troubled by what he hears, and strongly empathetic to Grace. Jamie’s desire to hear Grace’s account comes across far more ominous than Dr. Jordan’s.
Throughout its runtime, Alias Grace pushes and pulls the audience towards certain conclusions regarding Grace. There are some definitive takeaways from the story. Grace is incredibly intelligent, observant, and armed with agile logic, which she melds with storytelling skills that are beyond impressive. In those stories, she is often the victim of great mistreatment.
Instead of jumping to the point in time that Dr. Jordan has come to discuss, she manages to start years before, so he can “understand” and sympathize with the woman at the heart of the heinous accusation she is in prison for. Is she guilty? Is she innocent?
Grace’s most powerful tool is in making Dr. Jordan not want to believe, what seems so obvious. It is a contradiction that drives Dr. Jordan to his breaking point.
In the final moments of Alias Grace‘s ending, his mother finishes the letter that Grace has been narrating from the entire time, and despite his diagnosis meaning that he should never be able to speak again, he does. The final words of the series are spoken by Dr. Jordan, as he calls out Grace’s name. In that moment, Simon does something impossible because of her. It’s an impact; Grace seems to have on people.