Undone (Season 2): Review, Recap & Ending Explained
Undone Season 1 is one of the most jaw-dropping and soul-stirring pieces of television. It handles topics like mental illness, grief, death, and life in general on such a dizzyingly massive canvas that you cannot help but applaud Hisko Hulsing, Raphael Bob-Waksberg, and Kate Purdy’s genius. But the show left things on a pretty tantalizing note as it stopped right when it was about to be revealed if Alma’s (Rosa Salazar) time-bending journey with her father Jacob (Bob Odenkirk) actually happened. Or was it all in Alma’s mind? And it was bordering on problematic as well as confirming that Alma can alter time would take the show into the “mental illness is a superpower” territory. Thankfully, Undone Season 2 is filled with satisfying pay-offs to all the elements set up in Season 1 and more.
Undone (Season 2) Spoiler-Free Review:
The spoiler-free version of the plot of Undone Season 2 is this: Alma goes on a journey through which she learns the lesson of self-forgiveness and the importance of accepting help when you can feel you are losing yourself. That’s all that can be said, honestly. The spoiler-filled dissection of the plot is down below. Feel free to check it out there. Stick here for the vague analysis of the show. So, the most important thing that Hulsing, Raphael, and Kate had on their hands after that Season 1 ending was the truth about the emerging timelines and Alma’s mental illness. And, as far as my knowledge about alternate timelines and mental illness goes, they’ve aced it. They deal with it in such a sensitive, caring, and emotional way that if you’re invested in Alma’s journey in any way, you can’t help but heave a cathartic sigh of satisfaction.
Time-traveling movies and shows (with the best one being the three seasons of Dark), if done right, always comes to the conclusion that self-acceptance and self-healing is the only way forward. Looking into the past or the future isn’t going to make one’s present better. Which in realistic terms means that you should stay grounded in the present, learn from the past you can, and hope for a better future. The more you try to change your past, you’re going to waste your time in the present, and most definitely ruin your future. That’s the ethos of Undone Season 2 as well, thereby automatically making it one of the best shows of all time. And then, as an added bonus, it deals with topics such as generational trauma, the lasting impacts of survivor’s guilt, and the pressures of parenting as well it tackles the show’s version of time travel.
Everything that can be said about Undone’s animation has probably been said and it’s all true. This takes rotoscoping animation to another level. It looks stunning, mesmerizing, and hypnotizing all at the same time. This might be a very odd observation but it needs to be said. Rotoscope animation is undoubtedly the answer for de-aging someone. Live-action movies and shows are doing it more and more for flashback sequences or prequels featuring an older actor’s younger version. And the results are, let’s say, mixed. But with rotoscoping, it’s completely seamless. It works the opposite way too. When you need to age a character more than the actor’s actual age, you can do it with ease. All this is a roundabout way of saying that the animation in the show is perfect.
The actors really bring it home yet again. This is Rosa Salazar’s world and we are living in it. She owns the sci-fi genre. She has done Alita: Battle Angel (2019), Brand New Cherry Flavor (2021), and now these two seasons of Undone and she’s undeniably fantastic in all of them. Everything from her comedic chops to her flourishes of existential crisis is precise and hence brilliant. Angelique Cabral gets to peel a lot of Becca’s layers and it’s marvelous. Her ability to illustrate vulnerability is truly worthy of applause. It’s really difficult to talk about Constance Marie’s work as Camila and Bob Odenkirk’s work as Jacob without spoiling things. But please know that they deliver stellar performances as well. The same can be said about Holley Fain, Alma Martinez, Veda Cienfuegos, and Carlos Santos.
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Spoiler warning: From this point onwards, this article contains major spoilers for Undone Season 2.
Undone (Season 2) Recap:
The New Timeline:
Undone Season 2 opens right where Season 1 left off with Alma sitting in front of the cave waiting for Jacob to appear and she notices something off-camera and hears some crackling sounds. While Becca goes off to talk to Camila and tell her that she has found Alma, Alma walks into the cave from which a white light is emanating. She calls out for her dad and when the white light goes out, she walks out of the cave and starts crying as she assumes that nothing has changed. An elderly woman approaches her and asks if she’s okay. After Alma is done rambling about her predicament, she says that her sister Becca is waiting for her in her car. The elderly woman says that there’s no car. And she’s right, there’s no car. Alma slowly starts to realize that the timelines have merged, Becca is not in the car but on her honeymoon with Reed (Kevin Bigley), and Jacob is alive.
Alma returns home to find Camila wiping her tears, which concerns Alma but since Camila shrugs it off, Alma doesn’t think too much about it. Because Camila tells her that her dad is in his office. Initially it seems like Jacob doesn’t know the knowledge that this Alma possesses but he slowly comes around to the concept. Alma also realizes that her body has existed in this reality for some time now. It’s only her consciousness that is re-entering her body and hence she is starting to remember everything that this body of her’s has experienced. While Alma gets reacquainted with herself, she realizes that Jacob is still obsessed with knowing more about his mother. Alma asks why doesn’t Jacob just travel through time and get the answers. Jacob says that since he’s in his physical form, his abilities are limited. So, he is just doing some old-fashioned research.
The first thing Jacob says is that he doesn’t understand why Ruchel (Veda Cienfuegos) changed her name to Geraldine (Holley Fain) after escaping to the USA instead of that name’s more common translation, Rachel. Alma again proposes the idea of going through time and solving things. Jacob refuses that idea because he says it’s too dangerous. Alma doesn’t understand why. So Jacob explains that altering time may lead to them unintentionally hurting people and ruining this new and seemingly perfect life they’ve attained. Nevertheless, Alma gives it a try and only manages to conjure a fog through which she falls and lands in the same room she’s in. Alma goes to her home (which is a new home but not technically because this version has lived a life in that home). And surprise, but not surprise, she begins to experience the same kind of boredom in this new life that she experienced in Episode 1 of Season 1.
One day, just like in Season 1, an accident happens on the streets. But this time Alma doesn’t get hit. Another woman in the street. Alma tries to go back in time to reverse it but, just like before, a fog engulfs her, she falls through space and lands back in her car. She tries to help but is told to back off. Later that night, while having dinner with her family, Alma blurts out that she saw a woman die on the street and she could do nothing to help her. When Camila gets up to take a phone call, Alma falls through the fog again and this time she sees her mother arguing with a man in her car. When Camila gets out, she locks eyes with Alma and Alma lands back at the dinner table. Alma goes to the washroom to check out her time traveling powers again. After several tries, she realizes she can’t easily go beyond the fog.
Alma goes back to Jacob to try and convince him into figuring out the fog because she thinks Camila needs their help. Jacob educates Alma by saying that maybe there are things in life that are meant to reach its natural conclusion, devoid of any metaphysical manipulation. While seeing Becca off, it’s revealed that Becca has powers too and can access periods of time via her memories of it. In Episode 2 (Undone Season 2), we see Alma falling through a fog again. This time she comes across a door that she isn’t able to open. Then she’s transported to the street in front of Becca and Reed’s home. She peers through their window to see Becca and Reed talking about having a baby. After Reed’s gone, Alma forces Becca to talk about their powers and she shows her the fog and the door. Becca rejects Alma’s visions and goes about her day.
Alma goes to her parents’ home and hears Jacob and Camila arguing over the excessive phone charges. Alma questions Jacob about it and this mysterious Alejandro character but Jacob asks Alma to focus on her dissertation for her PhD but she simply goes on and on about time travel. Jacob explains to her that if she tries to unpack everything she and Jacob did in the alternate timeline to anyone else, it might’ve repercussions that they can’t fathom. So, it’s better to leave the past in the past and focus on the future. When Alma says that Jacob isn’t exactly following his own suggestion and obsessing over the past (his mother’s life), Jacob justifies it by saying that what he’s doing is safe and “normal”. That doesn’t stop Alma from digging into her mother’s past which leads to her finding a painting of Camila by a painter called Alejandro. While having drinks with Becca, Alma adds two and two together and assumes that Alejandro is Camila’s lover and is now somehow manipulating Camila.
When Alma upsets Becca for not experimenting with her powers to know more about what’s happening Camila, she bails on her and goes home. A visibly upset Reed is seen waiting for Becca because he has found out that Becca has been using birth-control pills all this time while verbally saying that she wants to have kids. Realizing that Becca is still lying about taking the birth-control and going to live with his parents for some time. Alma meets Sam, who doesn’t recognize her. Alma gets back home to see Becca waiting outside, in the rain. They get talking about telling Reed the truth and whatnot and then Alma starts playing a tune from their childhood. That causes Becca to take the two of them through every point in their life they sang that song in order to weather a crisis, most of which involved a falling out between their parents. This prompts the two of them to confront Camila about Alejandro, which upsets Camila so much that she leaves without telling anyone anything about where she’s going.
When Jacob starts getting upset about Camila leaving, the environment around them shifts and then all three of them, Jacob, Alma and Becca, see glimpses of Jacob’s original life. After seeing Jacob and Camila bickering about experimenting with Alma, the scene shifts to Jacob’s death by suicide on the highway. But before Becca sees anything else, they return to reality and Becca asks if those were Jacob’s memories. Since Jacob and Alma don’t want anyone else to know about the original timeline, they say that those were visions of Jacob’s fears about Camila leaving and Becca tapped into it. Jacob finds out that Camila is heading towards Mexico, probably to meet her family. And he wants Alma and Becca to stop prying into this subject and go home. Becca visits Alma the next day to tell her that Camila isn’t picking up her phone. Alma calls up Camila’s mother to check if she ever got there. Even Abuelita (Renee Victor) says “no”.
Camila’s Abandonment Issues:
Under the pretext of only meeting their grandmother, Alma and Becca travel to Mexico where their Abuelita lives with Tia Monse (Ana Ortiz). After catching up about their lives, Alma and Becca start asking questions about where Camila could’ve potentially gone and if she has an ex-boyfriend named Alejandro. Tia starts saying something about Camila’s ex-boyfriend but Abuelita shuts her down. When they get nothing concrete, Becca accidentally accesses Abuelita’s memories and sees fragments of her younger version seeing a young Camila at the market. Since Abuelita is out of bounds for further investigation, they corner Tia to make her finish what she was saying earlier about Camila’s ex-boyfriend. As she starts speaking, Alma and Becca are transported to Tia’s memories of Camila with her then secret boyfriend (who used to work for a church). When Camila was caught, the guy was sent away to another church, thereby breaking Camila’s heart.
At the end of their night out, Tia reveals that although it seemed back then that Camila was going to the university, she apparently lived with the aforementioned boyfriend. Becca and Alma assume that Camila has gone back to him again. So, they pay him a visit at the local church where he’s a priest and ask about Camila. Padre Reyes (Santiago Cabrera) says that he has no idea. Hence, Alma forces Becca to check into his memories to see if there are any clues as to Camila’s whereabouts. They see a glimpse of Camila’s breakup with Reyes and Becca gets overwhelmed by it and they leave that memory. Next, they target Abuelita again and see the time she tracked Camila down to the yellow house in the painting and assumed that she’s living with Reyes and essentially shamed her. Alma and Becca go to the yellow house and something happens to Becca causing her to faint and collapse. In Episode 4, the door to the house opens and it’s revealed that its owner is the woman who met Alma in front of the cave and her name is Rosario (Alma Martinez).
Alma and Rosario take Becca into her house where Alma spots a bunch of paintings by Alejandro and Rosario reveals that her last name is Alejandro. But she doesn’t say that the paintings are by her. Alma just assumes that. Rosario seems to be a spiritual healer of sorts and she deduces that Becca’s powers are growing faster than she can handle. So, she needs to stay grounded. When Becca regains a little consciousness, she starts imagining (or is it her imagination or just her from another timeline) that she’s pregnant. Alma calls up Jacob to tell him that he’s in Mexico. Jacob is understandably shocked that they’ve gone this far and decides to come to Mexico as well. Alma asks Rosario how she knows Camila and Rosario says that she’s the one who healed her broken heart back in the day. That’s when the unopenable door reappears and Rosario tells Alma that maybe the door isn’t opening because she’s too scared to find out what’s behind it.
Becca wakes up and sees a baby that she starts carrying around the house. Jacob arrives and when Becca goes to open the door for him, she realizes she doesn’t have a baby in her arms. Jacob reprimands Becca and Alma for taking things too far and nearly killing Becca. Alma keeps insisting that they should dig deeper while Jacob keeps saying that they shouldn’t and let life take its course and appreciate what they have. While deciding to go back home, Jacob sees flashes of the original timeline. Becca sees the baby again and while holding it, she sees flashes of her younger version watching Camila talking to someone on the phone. Jacob flashes back to the first time she met Camila and fell in love and the time they met Jacob’s mother and the time they fought over the bills. This prompts Jacob to look into Camila’s situation because he thinks that Camila has an unresolved issue from her past that he never pried into.
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Becca sees the baby again and sees it lying on the ground in the hallway. When she tries to reach it, the hallway becomes filled with infinite reflections of herself. In her efforts to get to the bawling baby, she tries to break the reflection. Through it, she sees a young Rosario giving a baby to Camila, which is the baby she has with Reyes, and she names him Alejandro. That’s when the illusion ends and she sees that she has broken a mirror and hurt herself in the process. Jacob realizes that that’s been Camila’s best kept secret. In Episode 5, Jacob, Alma and Becca visit the apartment in which Alejandro (Carlos Santos) lives. They find Camila in there too and while Jacob assures her that it’s all fine and they’re here to help, Becca starts going into Alejandro’s memories. Then we essentially Alejandro’s backstory, how he grew up thinking he’s an orphan, how his daily job impacted his health, how he got in touch with Camila, how their bond faded as Becca and Alma came into Camila’s life, down to the moment Becca saw Alejandro outside Camila’s house.
It’s revealed that when Camila drove out of the house, it’s because Alejandro’s situation was dire after his lung transplant and he needed help with his daily life. So, Camila felt compelled to finally go to him, given how Becca, Alma and Jacob were giving her a hard time. Alma and Alejandro bond almost instantly. But that doesn’t last long as the question about why Camila kept Alejandro a secret brings the fact to light that despite having the opportunity to adopt Alejandro at a very young age, Camila didn’t. This upsets Alejandro and he tells everyone to leave. Camila starts to reveal that Jacob’s mom, Geraldine, has something to do with her not prioritizing Alejandro, which starts opening up her memory of it. However, Becca refuses to go into it because she thinks that the past is ruining the present. Alma is Alma about it and she goes into the past, all the way back to the time Geraldine was put in a mental institution and she gets stuck there.
Alma is treated like a patient in the institution. She tries to warp out of there but she only gets the fog. She tries the ancient Meso-American dance ritual and gets close to the point she walked into this timeline. But even that closes up before she can do anything. Later, she thinks she sees Becca in the hallways but she ends up following Geraldine, who tells her to get away. And as far as I can tell, Alma plants the idea of telling Camila to not adopt Alejandro in Geraldine’s head while thinking that she is preventing Geraldine from doing the same in her future. Alma tries to get Geraldine to talk about her abilities but she walks away from that conversation because she thinks her stay at the institution is going to be extended if she behaves “abnormally” again. Alma sees Geraldine’s children, including a young Jacob. When Alma gets her to play the Rainbow song with her, the portal to the future re-opens and Alma bolts out of the institution with the conclusion that if they can stop Geraldine from telling Camila to not adopt Alejandro, then things can be fixed.
Jacob talks to Camila about keeping such a big secret and how they could’ve adopted Alejandro if Camila would’ve just told him about the fact that she has a son. They’ve a falling out over it and Camila claims that their marriage is over, which Jacob relays to Alma and Becca. And while Jacob, like before, plans to let things happen as they should, Alma keeps planning to go to the past, the exact point in time when Geraldine forbade Camila from adopting Alejandro. Both Becca and Jacob advise against it and then Alma blurts how if they wouldn’t have changed Jacob’s past, he wouldn’t even be here in the first place. So, she thinks Camila deserves a similar chance at a better life. Becca, who doesn’t know anything about the original timeline, is finally filled in about all that happened in Season 1. Finally, Jacob and Becca decide to go on Alma’s ambitious quest to fix Camila’s timeline.
A Futile But Necessary Mission:
Jacob, with the help of Becca and Alma, revisits all the times he and Camila met Geraldine, how she was abandoned by Jacob’s father because of her mental illness, and the moment Geraldine told Camila to leave Alejandro. During these moments it’s apparent that Geraldine can see the time-traveling versions of Jacob, Becca and Alma while interacting with their non-time-traveling counterparts (it makes sense in the show). Geraldine is open to listening to Jacob, Becca, and Alma’s suggestions or taking their helping hand. When Alma points out the brown piece of paper in Geraldine’s collage, the trio transports into the fog and gets to the unopenable door. That’s when they realize that it’s not Alejandro who’s behind the door. It’s actually a young Geraldine, who goes by the name Ruchel.
The penultimate episode of Undone takes place entirely in her Nazi-occupied hometown where Geraldine’s mother used her powers of foresight (via the reflective surface created by water in a bowl) to help people. When a Nazi officer asks her to predict something for him, she refuses to do so because the outcome isn’t going to be good for him. This angers the Nazi officer and makes them his #1 target. Ruchel foresees something but her parents rubbish it. When Becca asks Ruchel what she saw in there, she says that she can’t remember it because it’s lost in a floating, twisted, fortress made of Geraldine’s memories.
When they try to access it, they’re pushed out by Geraldine. And they eventually understand that Ruchel carried the guilt of not saving her family from the Nazis. So, in order to fix it, Jacob and Ruchel rewind the moment when Ruchel informs her parents about their impending doom and keep failing. Alma rushes to get the version of Geraldine she met at the institution and urges her to stop Jacob. Geraldine does that and she forgives Ruchel (herself) for thinking she’s responsible for her parents’ arrest. This act ripples through the timeline and makes Alejandro a part of the family and saves Camila and Jacob’s marriage.
Undone (Season 2) Ending Explained:
In the newly established timeline where Alma is having a little party with her father, mother, sister, her sister’s son, Alejandro, and Alejandro’s boyfriend. As the music gets louder and everyone starts dancing, Alma sees her mother decay and regenerate just like the vision she had in Season 1 at the hospital. This disturbs Alma and she starts thinking that maybe she isn’t done fixing things and something is still wrong with this reality. Alma revisits the elevator moment where she confronts another version of herself and tells her to press the button and admits that she isn’t happy in this reality. She realizes it’s a dream and wakes up to her phone ringing. Her mother tells her that her father has suffered a stroke and has been hospitalized.
Alma, Becca, and Alejandro reach the hospital and their mother tells them that Jacob has been taken for surgery for a blood clot. He’s apparently paralyzed and his speech functions are gone. When Jacob is brought back to the hospital room, Alma says that his stroke must’ve happened because of the intensive time traveling and because she pushed him too hard. Jacob tells Alma not to blame herself because he thinks that helping change his mother’s life is the greatest gift Alma could’ve given him. Alma shows that she’s still adamant about changing Jacob’s situation but Jacob says that he just wants to rest now. Back at Becca’s place, Rosario asks Alma what happened to the door that she was struggling to open. Alma says that her grandmother was trapped behind and once they helped her forgive herself, it healed their family. Rosario asks Alma if she saw anything else but Alma says that she didn’t.
Jacob arrives and Rosario takes him into a room for his healing process while Alma goes to get some towels. She struggles to open the cupboard with the towels in them. When she finally does yank it open, she sees the fog again and in that fog she sees glimpses of her grandmother, a young Alejandro and herself sitting outside the cave. Shocked and horrified, Alma quickly closes the door and reopens it to see that there’s nothing in there but towels. After leaving Jacob in Rosario’s hands, Alma continues talking about her idea about fixing the timeline with Becca so that Jacob never suffers from a stroke. And she comes up with this bizarre solution to trap their whole family in a time loop so that they never reach the point where Jacob suffers the stroke. Becca says that Alma has to accept the inevitable nature of death. But she thinks Jacob holds the solution to this problem. Alma appears crestfallen when even Jacob says that this is his final chapter and he’s ready to go.
In a vision that takes place inside Jacob’s falling car, Alma talks to another version of herself about helping herself. But that conversation is interrupted by a call again and she wakes up to the news that Jacob is gone. Well, she actually sees the fog appear and Jacob reuniting with his family and bidding Alma goodbye. Alma talks about Jacob and how he taught her a lesson on facing oneself for the sake of the people they love. She expresses gratitude for having the privilege to be tied to every single member of her (extended) family. And she says that she has finally learned something that Becca had told her about accepting that bad things are going to happen and they’ve to move through them. However, that’s not entirely true because she still has trepidations about this reality which she admits to Rosario after struggling with the cupboard door again.
Alma tells Rosario what she saw and Rosario zeroes in on the fact that there’s a version of Alma sitting outside of the cave who is unaware of the fact that Jacob’s death is permanent. Alma walks away from that conversation. But while talking to Becca, her fog reappears, the bowl filled with water at the center of the room floats, and through it they see Alma sitting outside the cave. That version of Alma morphs into her in an asylum with her mother and Becca trying to get to her and let them help her. Despite Camila and Becca’s best efforts, Alma shoos them away. Becca (in the new timeline) realizes that that’s the future of the Becca sitting outside the cave if she never knows about the permanency of Jacob’s death. Hence, she has to go back to her (in the old timeline) with the knowledge of the new timeline.
After one final breakfast and heart-wrenching chat with her mother, Alma goes back and the Almas become one. Alma sees Becca on the phone talking to Camila. So, basically, we revert back to the ending of Undone Season 1 and the opening of Season 2. No real amount of time has actually passed and the events of Season 2 have essentially been an internalized journey of Alma coming to terms with Jacob’s death. Becca gives the phone to Alma and she talks to Camila who is worried sick. So is Sam. Alma realizes that she needs to get therapy and opens herself to Camila, Sam and Becca’s help. While driving away from the cave, it seems like she sees Rosario. Becca asks Alma if she saw something. Alma says that she thinks she did but she isn’t sure. Becca asks Alma if she wants to go back to the cave to recheck. Alma says that there’s no need for that. She just wants to go home.
Undone (Season 2) is now streaming on Prime Video
Undone Season 2 Links: IMDb
Cast: Rosa Salazar, Angelique Cabral, Constance Marie, Bob Odenkirk, Siddharth Dhananjay, Luna-Marie Katich, Sheila Vand, Daveed Diggs