From the moment Masha (Nicole Kidman, strange accent and all) first appeared in Nine Perfect Strangers, we’ve known there’s more to her story than just a desire to help people, or even her former life as a workaholic. At first, we assumed she enjoyed bilking wealthy people like author Frances Welty (Melissa McCarthy) out of their money as she put them through a round of spa treatments. But when she called Zoe (Grace Van Patten) “the key” in the fifth episode, “Sweet Surrender,” Masha began entering her endgame.
It was still hard to tell just what that was; even if you’ve read the Liane Moriarty novel the show is based on, you’d be hard-pressed to understand Masha’s motivations. When she gave journalist Lars (Luke Evans) permission to conduct his investigation, it seemed pretty clear she still had some tricks up her sleeve. Well, now we have a sense of what all those smoothies were for—at least, the smoothies that were made for the Marconi family. Masha wants to cross “the divide,” i.e., commune with the dead through psychotropic drugs. She offers to guide the Marconis through the process. The grieving parents, still reeling from the loss of their son, are more keen to try, even after Heather’s (Asher Keddie) bad trip a couple of episodes back. Zoe remains skeptical, but as we see in this exclusive clip from the finale, her parents Heather and Napoleon (Michael Shannon) are starting to catch on.
Masha’s methods have led, directly or not, to one person’s death at Tranquillum. This development was teased through flashbacks earlier in the season, but now it’s out in the open, thanks to Lars. Is this also a part of Masha’s plan? She doesn’t try to defend herself when the Marconis question her, insisting that she’s “a person who had somebody who was at the center, and when I lost her I lost myself. I am a person who is living her life defined by grief and pain and loss.” She tells each member of the family: “I am you.”
We’ll find out if the Marconis fall for it again when the finale, “Ever After,” hits Hulu on Wednesday, September 22.