Alias Grace: Season 1/ Episode 6 “Part 6” [Series Finale] – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

Alias Grace Season 1 Episode 6 Part 6 [Series Finale] - Grace Sarah Gadon
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And so the truth seemingly is revealed but without much shock, fanfare and awe. Yet, despite saying such, there is a satisfying conclusion.


Previous Recap: Episode 5 “Part 5”

Director(s) Mary Harron
Writer(s) Sarah Polley
Characters Introduced
Grace’s Lawyer Albert Schultz

Was It Seduction or Ego?: Dr. Jordan

One thing is made perfectly clear as Dr. Jordan consults Grace’s lawyer: if she was tried for Nancy Montgomery’s murder, she’d have been hanged. However, she lucked out in the murder of Mr. Kinnear being tried and there being no desire for a second trial. For even Grace’s lawyer says she is guilty as sin about that.

But what is quite interesting is the lawyer, who also represented McDermott, making it seem McDermott didn’t accuse Grace of anything until towards the end. That and this idea that Grace tried to seduce him. A comical idea to Dr. Jordan, to a point, for the lawyer pushes the thought that she is doing the same to him. Telling him a tale to amuse him, seduce him, and become what he wants.

One which sounds eye-roll inducing until Jeremiah steps in.

The Hypnosis: Jeremiah, Dr. Jordan, Grace

Alias Grace Season 1 Episode 6 Part 6 [Series Finale] - Jeremiah

With pressure from his sponsors, Dr. Jordan allows Jeremiah to do his hypnosis. Something which leads to very curious results. Of which the main thing is Grace speaking in some demonic tone of voice saying she is Mary. A personality which confesses to choking Nancy, with the help of McDermott, and puts on such a perplexing performance Dr. Jordan is at a loss for words. To the point, he can’t even commit to his report anymore for how does one follow that up?

Imagine that for a moment. Grace, under the possible guide of Mary, spoke her truth and you, later on, speak to her as if nothing happened. Then, if you bring it up, deal with her roundabout way of talking when she begins to get uncomfortable with a subject. The idea of partaking in such an act could drive a person mad.

Which, so it seems, that is what happens to Dr. Jordan. For reasons which barely make any sense, unless he is the deviant demon Grace said he was, he has sex with his landlady and when done, speaks in quite a cruel fashion to her. Alongside that, he leaves with barely a word uttered to anyone and even years after separation from Grace’s physical presence, he speaks of her as if she haunts him. Almost as if Grace, or the ghost of Mary, placed a curse on him.

All The Premonitions Came True: Jamie, Grace

With Dr. Jordan refusing to recommend a pardon, and promptly disappearing, Grace found herself remaining in prison an additional 11 years. Then, likely thanks to Jamie, of all people, who claims being coerced by lawyers, she is pardoned. Meaning for 30 years she was in prison and finally gets out somewhere around her 46th year on earth.

And when she gets out, Jamie sends for her. Not just to apologize, or offer her work, but for her hand in marriage. Something met with an unenthusiastic “Alright Then.” After all, an ex-con, even before the internet, doesn’t have much in the way of options. Plus, with no recommendation from a past employer, finding a new job in her 40s would not be an easy task.

So she settles for Jamie and it isn’t horrible. Yes, like Dr. Jordan in a way, she feels her pain and trauma is fetishized. Yet, with a nice house, horses, a cat, a dog, and chickens, what is the caveat of her husband getting off to her being raped and molested while in a mental asylum? It is better than the vast alternatives and what has gone on for most of her life.

Collected Quote(s)

[…] guilt comes to you not from the things you have done, but from the things others have done to you.

We are what we remember […] but we are also preponderantly what we forget.

Highlights

A Feeling of Unease

Alias Grace Season 1 Episode 6 Part 6 [Series Finale] - Grace Sarah Gadon

It truly was something to see Grace’s Mary persona. In that, as Dr. Jordan notes, it is like hypnotism allowed Grace to speak the truth under the guise of mesmerism.  That, perhaps like the many men she encountered, she was able to speak the raw truth without worrying about being ladylike, her reputation or what was thought of her. As if, despite being a fraud, Jeremiah found a true way for women to have the type of therapy they needed.

But with her truth still came the question of whether we were being deceived. For Grace has, throughout the series, either implied or outright said that she often plans out what she is going to say. So with Jeremiah likely on her side during this, often playing along, you have to wonder how much he prepped his old friend for this.

Something that you really get pushed to ask as the time jump happens and Grace ends up with Jamie. Though, more than likely, age and prison has stripped her of not just her youth but desire to play men as she once did. Hence why she doesn’t go overboard when Jamie proposes. She accepts it damn near with a hunch.

Leading to the final scene which just gives off the hibbie jibbies. In the scene, Grace speaks about making her own quilt and as she mentions a cloth from Mary, one from Nancy’s dress, and one from her being in the penitentiary, you aren’t left with this feeling she is at peace. As if she did her time, crimes, and has learned from her mistakes. As she hangs the quilt, admires it, and stares you in the eye, it is like Grace has peered into your soul the same way she did Dr. Jordan. As if all you have heard she, just like for him and many before, told you what you wanted to hear. Said whatever was needed to amuse you. Perhaps even get you off like Jamie.

Leaving this uneasy feeling that is hard to quickly shake. If only because it leaves you feeling slightly violated not just by Grace’s lies, but the lingering effects of Sarah Gadon’s performance. Especially that stare.

Criticism

Dr. Jordan’s Breakdown

Alias Grace Season 1 Episode 6 Part 6 [Series Finale] - Dr. Jordan

Dr. Jordan having callous sex with his landlady and all that followed barely made any sense to me and seemed so out of character. Granted, we never really did get to know Dr. Jordan to make any judgments of him. However, all that he did following leaving Kingston seemed almost random.

For while the case was noted as taxing on him, to the point of such dramatic actions and saying Grace haunts him? I mean, as talented a liar, or even embellisher, as Grace is, what part of her story or presence is haunting? Was that hypnotizing bit really that affecting? Of course, I could be missing something, it wouldn’t be the first time, but it is almost like there was this desire for Dr. Jordan to not live in Grace’s shadow, to be only known as our medium, so this monkeywrench of a storyline was given in the 11th hour.

How Would You Rate This?

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About Amari Sali 3218 Articles
New Jersey native Amari Sali takes the approach of more so being a media advisor than a critic to sort of fill in the gap left between casual fans of media and those who review productions for a living. Thus being open about bias while still giving enough insight, often with spoilers, to present whether something is worth seeing, buying, renting, streaming, or checking out at all.

9 Comments

  1. I think a lot of Grace’s true personality comes up in the beginning of the story. She feels burdened by her family. Her father is an alcoholic and later we realize he’s also a pedophile when he tries to seduce her. She briefly contemplates throwing two of her other siblings overboard to lessen the burden of caring for them. When her father forces her to go to work as a servant, she worries about leaving her siblings and she is also aware that this will also expose her younger sister to her father’s lecherous advances. She promises to visit, but admits she never does. Grace has few options and as most women in that day who had to contort themselves psychologically to fit norms of the day. She finds brief contentment in the household with her new friend Mary, who’s radical views and outspokenness fascinate her until Mary is seduced by the son of the family. Mary’s death has a profound affect on her and it appears in times of extreme stress Grace absorbs Mary’s personality to cope with situations that become untenable. There are treats every where….from the son trying to seduce her to moving to a new household, with unstable housekeeper, a threatening handyman, an irregular arrangement condemned by the community and the possibility of falling victim to the owner’s lust, especially now that the housekeeper is pregnant. Grace goes into her survival mode. What would Mary do? Grace’s subconsciousness comes into play. Fast forward to Dr. Jordan. In Victorian times, it was almost inconceivable that women can commit or be accomplices to heinous crimes as they were thought to be weak and fragile creatures. By the way, they did not call doctors like Dr. Jordan psychiatrists in those days..they were called alienists. Dr. Jordan’s task is to find some redeeming evidence that would lead to her pardon began to evolve into a kind of fascination with Grace and her experiences. Her low-voiced delivery and unblinking stare as she shared her story with Dr. Jordan seem to mesmerize him and cause a lot of ambivalence within himself. I think he was both attracted and repulsed by his fascination with her and her story, but could not come to a definitive conclusion as to her guilt or innocence and Grace knew this. I don’t think that her friend, Jeremiah colluded with her when she was hypnotized by him and I think he was genuinely surprised by what she said while in a trance but recognized the concept of a “split personality,” a concept unheard of by doctors at that time. Dr. Jordan’s reaction to the situation stressed him to the point where he took his frustration and anger out on his landlady in the cruelest way possible by letting her know that he was imagining someone else, obviously Grace, in her place. In the end we see Dr. Jordan lying there in a catatonic state in his mother’s home, and wonder if it was the result of his experiences in the Civil War and the suffering he himself had experienced to finally realize the horror of Grace’s previous existence when her letter is read to him. By marrying James, Grace ever the pragmatist, finally settles in life of contentment. She does not forget or ignore the past but displays it proudly in her quilts patterns. She did what she had to do to survive.

    • its more cruel because he impregnated her, not because “he was imagining someone else. She obviously would want him to marry her

  2. I just binge watched this, and enjoyed it, at least till the end, when I ended up confused. Now I want to read the book, it might help. I found this page, while googling for answers.

  3. I’m glad you addressed the subject of Dr. Jordan’s breakdown as I haven’t really seen this in other reviews. I puzzled about that as well.

    My reading of it is that Grace was indeed suffering from Dissociative Identity Disorder due to the past abuse and trauma she’d suffered (and to an extent involving the suppression that women in that era endured). Jeremiah/Jerome even states that it’s as though there are two separate personalities inhabiting Grace (or words to that effect). He vocalises it as a direct statement for the viewer/reader. However Dissociative Identity Disorder hasn’t been studied or defined as a psychiatric condition at that time so Dr. Jordan, as a psychiatrist, has encountered something so shocking compared to the picture he’d built of Grace through his conversations with her that he didn’t know how to reconcile the two. How could he have missed something so powerful/how could he have been so wrong? And what was this condition, was she truly mad or was it a spirit possession as declared by others in the room? Had she deceived him and if so, how could he have been so completely taken in when he’s the educated doctor and she’s a simple maidservant? His whole standing as a doctor, his self-belief and world view are thrown into doubt. He experiences a crisis in my view. He doesn’t have the means to interpret what he’s seen.

    Dr. Jordan also says in his voiceover (again words to this effect) that it’s as though Grace’s second identity expresses the part of women that society refuses to recognise. So his received view of human nature is thrown into chaos.

    Then there’s his sexual attraction to Grace. Nowadays therapists are aware that the apparent intimacy of the therapeutic relationship can sometimes give rise to sexual attraction on the part of the patient or the therapist, or both. Nowadays however, it’s something that’s covered in therapeutic training and there are means to deal with it (taking it to supervision). In the time the series is set, Dr. Jordan is trying to suppress his sexual attraction to Grace. Sex is not permissible between a doctor and patient (as indeed it’s not now) but nor is it between someone of his class and someone of Grace’s class – unless it’s the upper class person exploiting the lower class person. It’s not permissible for someone of his standing to have sex with a prisoner. He’d be ostracised for even revealing such an urge. So no means of expression is allowed him for what is a perfectly normal evolutionary urge (unless you count going to a prostitute, which is probably not acceptable to him personally).

    There’s also the issue that it seems to be Grace’s suffering that’s at the basis of his attraction. Is it because he experiences her as vulnerable and a victim? If so, the revelation of her ‘secondary personality’ in the final episode must have been a huge shock, shattering and throwing his image of her into confusion. Or is the attraction in relation to her suffering something more perverse? Perhaps it was something he was struggling with and thus suppressing.

    If the hypnosis session is taken as just an ‘act’ between Jeremiah and Grace (which is one interpretation), I can’t see why Grace would incriminate herself with her ‘secondary personality’, admitting her guilt. Wouldn’t she instead want to put on an act that demonstrates her innocence if it was all pretence? To me, that makes it more likely that it’s a genuine secondary personality – unless she actually likes her notoriety as a murderess and likes the attention it, and the mystery, draws to her.

    • I can appreciate everything you’ve stated as it was my thought process as well. What I also noticed throughout the other episodes, was Grace recounting the killings as 2 people. Not just during the time as the Dr read James’ statement, but when Grace saw herself as being angry and killing Nancy and then afraid while watching the killing. I believe the light bulb went off for me as her taking on Mary’s personality when she would make sharp, cleaver, passionate statements towards others (deservingly so) and also when she would see images of Mary. This was all seen before the hypnosis. I believe even Jerimiah got more than he was prepared for. Seems like his reaction was shocked and afraid. Even though they had a short conversation of what her role would he had she decided to go on the road with him, he was NOT ready for that 😂😂.

    • I think Grace initially colluded with Jeremiah to pretend to be hypnotized, but she low-key played him as well, which explain his confused expression when Grace’s spooky voice took over. This also explains what Grace meant by “I will keep his secret” him being fraud, “and he will keep mine” that she was not hypnotized whatsoever. She wanted to speak her mind under the protection of the fake hypnosis.

  4. Enjoyed your reviews, sad that this is the last one. Will you be covering cbc.ca/anne or cbc.ca/frankiedrake ?

    At the end, Grace says that she tells true events but changes the details slightly (puts things in leaves things out), and one gets the feeling that she is not just speaking about Dr Jordan or Jamie at the end but also the audience. The original Scheherazade, whom the lawyer compared Grace to, told the stories to save her own life. Grace liked Mary’s stories I think because they brought a bit of excitement to her dull life. Everyone seemed to be interested in her story.

    I think that Jeremiah was a fraud and that Grace faked it to keep his secret because she saw him as a friend. She was told repeatedly that if she can’t remember doing it, hypnosis would bring it out. If hypnosis could not bring it out, then Jeremiah’s secret would be revealed. If the lawyer told her what to say to convict McDermott, she would know the details such as the handkerchief. Like Dr Jordan, I don’t know whether she is innocent or guilty – and probably need to rewatch it.

    The picture tube on the TV is gone and watching it on line makes some of the details unclear – who was Dr Jordan’s wife in the end?

    • I think Grace is at the very least a witness. Now, as for whether she pushed McDermott to kill Nancy with the promise of sex or even helped, or solely killed Nancy, sadly the only witness who can attest to that is dead.

      The person in the end is noted as Dr. Jordan’s (Simon’s) mother. The actress is Susannah Hoffman.

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