We discuss the Ending of the 2023 Hulu film Clock, which will contain spoilers.
Clock follows Ella, a flourishing designer who enjoys her life without children. Ella has plenty of hobbies to lead a fulfilling life, like cooking. She is married to an adoring and handsome husband, Aiden, a physician who says all he needs is Ella to be happy himself.
However, after an evening with her father gaslighting her about not having grandchildren, Ella is overcome with guilt about keeping the family lineage from going extinct.
Unfortunately for Ella, she is in her upper thirties and is considered “elderly” by fertility standards. Her OBGYN pulls some strings and enters Ella into a cutting-edge clinical trial with Dr. Elizabeth Simmons. The doctor wants to help Ella regain her dormant biological clock.
Clock Ending Explained
What is the significance of the spiders that Ella hallucinates?
Ella hallucinates about spiders after being shown an inkblot test by Dr. Simmons. When she first sees the arachnids, they are dead, lying on their backs and on top of each other. Dr. Simmons is also an expert in psychodynamic theory (a creation of Sigmund Freud and considered the “birth” of psychology).
A common psychological practice tool is exploring unresolved events that lead to current destructive behaviors. In this case, Simmons is trying to understand Ella’s mindset of not wanting children.
Ella explains that her grandparents were survivors of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the notorious German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp. She explains that the spiders symbolize her family and her community of people being exterminated and treated as poorly as insects.
Who is tall, thin, and a woman Ella hallucinates?
The tall, thin, and dark woman that Ella sees is her grandmother. Ella sees her as she looks in the concentration camp photo, very thin due to malnourishment brought on by the Nazis’ primary weapon of starvation. The grandmother appears several times during the movie: once in the clinic window, another time emerging from a sensory deprivation tank, and when driving away from the facility.
The final time is when Ella hallucinates that her grandmother strikes her with a lunch tray. That scene could be an example and symbolization of Ella breaking away from her inherited trauma, an unresolved issue from her childhood.
Why does Aiden betray Ella?
We find out that Aiden betrays Ella by manipulating her into the clinical trial. When Ella grabs Aiden’s medical bag, she sees the infinity symbol, which is all placed in numerous spots in Dr. Simmons’ facility. As Ella pressures her husband about the bag, he comes clean.
He met Dr. Simmons before and had Ella’s doctor manipulate her into a meeting for the clinical trial. Aiden does this because he wants Ella to empower herself to choose to have children of her own volition and not just out of relationship obligation.
Ella also destroys her family’s beloved grandfather clock. In that scene, she pushes the clock over, beats it with what appears to be a hammer, and then pulls the metal’s insides out. In reality, after confronting Dr. Simmons, pulling her fertility device out, and engaging in a high-speed chase with the police, Aiden calls her.
He tells her that she killed her father. What actually happened was Ella pushed her father over, beat him to death, and pulled his organs out of his body.
Why does Ella kill her father?
Ella killed her father because he said he would stop pressuring her to have kids so she could be happy. Ella becomes angry, screaming that it’s too late. This is another example of the exaggerated inherited trauma Ella feels from her family’s past. It could be hypothesized that by killing her father, she can now free herself from her haunting family history that is holding back her future.
After Aiden tells Ella that she killed her father, she is handcuffed behind her back. However, she runs away from the police to a cliff overlooking a large body of water called Kings Cove. When she wakes up, she is lying on top of a rock. It appears that she never made it to the water. She is now out of her handcuffs, appears uninjured, and sees what appears to be a salamander slithering on a rock in front of her.
What is the significance of the salamander?
The salamander is significant to Ella because it symbolizes resiliency and regeneration. The amphibian has been championed by scientists for having the remarkable ability to regrow tissues, organs, and body parts. Also, in European folklore, the salamander is believed to be born from fire and is inflammable.
We can easily conclude Ella’s inherited trauma from her family’s time in Birkenau and her physical wounds after her clinical treatment after ripping out the fertility device. The amphibian represents her family’s survival and her ability to heal herself.
What did you think of the Ending of the 2023 Hulu Clock? Comment below.
3 thoughts on “Clock Ending Explained – why does Ella kill her father?”
The ending was just crazy! I didn’t know what to think is she dead? Was the whole thing real? I got no satisfaction at the end.
The ending left a lot to be desired. I hate when movies end with the whole thing being a dream or they leave you hanging. This was going pretty good until that last four minutes. It’s like the movie was racing 90mph and the director couldn’t figure out how to end it or they ran too long, so they cut it whenever.
Her father mentions their lineage traces back all the way to the “fish that came out of the water”, “the first fish to walk the Earth” and stuff like that.
My interpretation of the end was that she died when she jumped the cliff, and seeing that animal walking out of the water was her last vision on her last breath, or her afterlife.