Jordan Peele Just Explained the Real Meaning of the Us Twist Ending
Although the movie's third act included a lengthy exposition dump where Adelaide's Tethered doppelgänger Red explained most of her companions intentions, there were still a few mysteries left unexplained at the end of Jordan Peele's Us. This was half the fun of Peele's excellent second feature film—unraveling the tapestry of references and symbols and Easter Eggs. In the weeks since the movie's release, we've discussed at length the meaning of the rabbits, Jeremiah 11:11, and "I Got Five On It."
But fans have continued to debate what exactly happened in the closing moments of the film, where Adelaide suddenly remembers what really went down in the fun house as a little kid. In a flash back we see the young Tethered girl knock out the real Adelaide and bring her down to the underground and swap places with her. So the Tethered woman we've called Red this whole film is actually the real Adelaide. As the family drives away from Santa Cruz—with Red dead—Adelaide shares a look with her son Jason, who seems to know her dark secret.
Now, in a new interview with the Empire podcast, Peele has explained his take on this twist ending:
"This movie’s about maybe the monster is you. It’s about us, looking at ourselves as individuals and as a group. The protagonist in the movie is the surrogate for the audience, so it felt like at the end of the day, I wasn’t doing my core theme any justice if I wasn’t revealing that we have been the bad guy in this movie. We’ve been following the villain. I say 'villain' lightly because I think there are many experiences of the film, and I think a lot of people go through a question of what is good and evil? Does that even exist? Both characters are lovable and terrifying, based on the lives they’ve led they’ve just sort of inverted the paths."
"That description really is a clear way of fitting this ending with the overall theme of the film. But what about that look between her and Jason?"
"Adelaide and Jason sharing that moment at the end, I’m purposefully leaving it a bit vague as to what exactly he knows or how far he’s come in figuring out what, if anything, he’s figured out. I think the little smile she gives him is a lot of things. I think it’s a connection to the evil smile she once had as a little girl, but also a sort of understanding that her family unit was stronger from this experience."
Leaving that vague makes sense, and still allows for fans to theorize that maybe Jason and Pluto switched places somehow, or all of this is in some way connected to Michael Myers.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.