Why is Carmel at Tranquillum?
Episode 8 of Nine Perfect Strangers begins this finale with Masha shocked over Carmel’s transformation. Sporting a glossy eye, Carmel admits that she’s responsible for the text messages and threats.
Carmel came to the facility to try and help her but Masha has failed to do so – at least so far anyway. Masha forgives her for what she’s done, while the girl struggles to forgive herself. As a promise, Masha asks her to allow 9-14 hours, in which time she promises to try and cure her.
Well, this comes in the form of locking her away in a sensory depravity tank. There’s warm water half-full and with the tank both light and soundproof, anyone with claustrophobia is sure to absolutely love this. And Carmel is one of those people.
Anyway, she begins to panic and struggles to stay calm. This whole experiment seems to be a way of allowing her to connect to the past, which Carmel actually begins to do, seeing flashes of the past.
Do the Marconi’s manage to move past their grief?
Masha continues to flirt the line of insanity though, and when she reaches the Marconi family outside she unravels. Lars has told them all about Masha’s daughter and what she plans to do, including how she’s using them as “test pilots” for her own journey. As Napoleon and Heather question Masha, she admits that she’s consumed by grief and loss.
With Masha stuck just as much as the Marconi family, she decides they should all meditate and go on this journey together. Lars films the whole affair while the gang hold hands.
Blood oozes out of Napoleon’s nose as the family gather together and begin chuckling incredulously. Zach shows up before them, seeing all three question him over why he commit suicide. Zach admits there’s no rational reason why this happened. According to him, it’s just “something that happened” and there’s no explanation.
Napoleon continues to hear his alarm clock ringing, which he interprets as a “game over” of sorts. Despite being named an exemplary teacher, he’s consumed by guilt and grief, believing he’s failed Zach as a parent. Zach though interprets that sound as Napoleon needing to stop mourning his suicide.
As Zoe and Heather approach too, the gang hug it out and believe they’ve come to an understanding together. Zach tells them they need to separate the day from him, and try to move past the grief threatening to swallow them whole.
Do Frances and Tony get together?
Meanwhile, Frances approaches Tony while he’s in the pool and apologizes for her actions. She admits that she tends to babble when she’s nervous and that is most certainly the case regarding their time in the sauna.
Tony forgives her and decides they should leave the facility together, head off to a Four Seasons and go for dinner. As they pack up and get ready to leave, they quiz one of the workers about Carmel and her treatment.
Believing her to be okay, the duo head down to the garage. Only, all the cars have gone. Jessica and Ben are there too (remember them? Yeah they’ve just disappeared these past few weeks) and they too are shocked to find the place stripped bare.
How do the gang escape the locked room?
Heading back inside, they run into Lars. He reveals what Masha and the Marconi family are up to, divulging their whole plan. With most of the big players out in the woods, the rest of the patients confront Masha about locking up Carmel. Unfortunately, all the other characters are guided toward Carmel’s room and locked in themselves. If that wasn’t enough, the room begins to heat up and some of them can smell fire. It seems like the facility is about to go up in flames.
Inside this stuffy room, Lars opens up and admits he was in love once. He gave up that opportunity though and since then, has been ruing his opportunity. This helps to open up the floodgates for the others to reveal their own problems and insecurities too, including how they’re going to try and change it.
It’s Yao who eventually opens the doors and lets them out though, admitting that they simulate the smell of fire to provide a visceral near-death experience. This close to death it allows people to open up and break down barriers. None of them are particularly happy about this though and after cursing him out, they walk away.
Does Masha learn to let go?
Masha’s flashes soon manifest into snowflakes falling in the bright sunshine. There’s no clouds though so this is definitely a vision. Zoe can see it too and she guides Masha to try and let go of the pain. As the snow subsides, she sees her daughter Lapochka standing, silently waiting for her. The two embrace, just like they did that fateful night of her death.
Having called the police, Delilah shows up with several police cars ready to arrest her. As the other patients gather together, they watch as Masha is taken away for questioning. However, she’s managed to find peace with herself in the process and smiles at each of them warmly.
What happens to all our characters after Tranquillum?
With the Tranquillum situation behind them, the gang all head back to their daily lives. But things have changed. Yao is off doing charity work with Delilah after apologizing to her back at the facility. Lars finally embraces family life with Tom and their baby.
As the camera pans across though, his article is the front-cover of The New Yorker, labelled “Psychedelics to the rescue.” This seems to confirm that Masha is not being put away for an extended period of time.
Elsewhere, Frances and Tony go for dinner together. While Frances feels inspired to write, Tony decides to facetime his daughter.
Carmel finally forgives herself too and decides to project that knowledge back across to other victims of abuse too. So what of Ben and Jessica? Well, they’ve decided to take over Tranquillium in Masha’s stead.
The Marconi family have now managed to patch up their differences too, driving back home but now able to finally move past the situation with Zach and what it’s done to their family. And Masha? Well, she’s free and still seeing visions of her daughter in her life. Everyone is now ready to move on with their lives, safe in the knowledge that they’ve managed to exorcise their demons.
The Episode Review
Nine Perfect Strangers bows out with a solid finale, one that closes out all the loose threads and shows that this unconventional treatment at Tranquillum worked perfectly. Everyone has changed now for the better, with every single character having grown and evolved from the start.
Ben and Jessica remain the weak links though and they’ve had barely any screen-time despite being focal points early in the show’s runtime.
However, other characters have been really well written and remain a focal point of this entire show. Frances and Tony are easily the stand-outs, while the solid acting helps to give layers of depth to characters like Masha and the Marconi family.
In the end though, this whole series has centered on themes of grief and forgiveness. While there’s been some contrivances and a few suspect twists along the way, the final episode does round things out in a satisfying manner.
It seems unlikely that this one will return for a second season though, given the conclusive ending, but these later episodes have done well to really tighten things up and dive into the real meaning of what’s happening here.
Either way, Nine Perfect Strangers has been a solid show and this ending only reinforces that.