hell year in review

The Undoing’s Helicopter Scene Was a Perfect Cap to 2020

Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photos: Getty Images, HBO

In the end, HBO’s The Undoing was an expensive vehicle to deliver some amazing Nicole Kidman coats and not much else. The overall pacing was slow and sleepy; the final reveal was obvious and boring. One scene from the finale, however, will stay with me as a perfect representation of 2020: the Nicole Kidman Helicopter Chase sequence.

It plays out like a choose-your-own-adventure novel. You’re Nicole Kidman. It has just dawned on you that your charming — albeit obviously nefarious husband (played by Hugh Grant) — has not only fled his murder trial but has also kidnapped your precocious son. Your options are: (a) Trust that the authorities will handle this, (b) Trust that your husband will return the child, or (c) Take matters into your own hands. Assuming she used the same method of decision-making that led her to buy those coats, it makes sense that Nicole chooses the extravagant, over-the-top option.

Being a M.O.M. (mother of means) Nicole’s character, Grace, has a private helicopter. She just owns one. Why? Because she’s Nicole Kidman in a show with an HBO budget. Grace commandeers the Fraser family helicopter and takes to the skies, with Donald Sutherland (her father in the series) to her right, joining the NYPD in hot pursuit of Grant. I am not an air traffic controller nor am I absurdly rich so I cannot speak to the logistics, but I can speak to this being the crescendo of the show. I’ll concede that rich people can take their rich people toys out as they please, but that they can directly add themselves to ongoing SWAT team proceedings? That M.O.Ms can break through police barricades to take matters into their own hands? That the authorities would just let her?

And yet with the year we’ve had, if I, from my Brooklyn apartment, looked up into the sky and observed this first hand — knowing all of the parties involved — I’d be inclined to accept it. It wouldn’t be the most bizarre thing to happen this year. I don’t think it’d crack the top ten. If I logged onto the real internet and saw a real news article and a real trending hashtag about this, the fact that no one is wearing a mask would probably be the detail that jumps out to me.

This year has been dismal, but at least we are leaving it able to say we witnessed Nicole Kidman hunt Hugh Grant down in a helicopter. As is the theme of this year, to The Undoing helicopter scene I say: Sure. Why not? I’ll take it.

The Undoing’s Helicopter Scene Was a Perfect Cap to 2020