Moving the Keys
Alone in This
Prayers & Visions
That Halloween Night
Some of the best stories are the ones that make you think long after the final credits roll. Undone is the latest animated offering from Amazon Prime that achieves this goal and despite its open ending, there’s a lot to digest and process from this profoundly beautiful series. With big themes revolving around finding beauty in the mundane and exploring the concept of time, Undone is a psychedelic trip from start to finish, one well worth experiencing and one you’ll likely find yourself returning to again in the near future.
The story revolves around Alma. Through her narration we learn about her average life and her average family, all living in an average neighbourhood. After being involved in a car accident and awakening in hospital following a coma, Alma learns she has new powers that allow her to manipulate time. It’s here her dead Father appears, acting as her spirit guide while she learns the ropes of utilizing her newfound skills. As she drifts backwards and forwards through timelines and ideas, her Father tasks her with a mission – go back in time and find out what really happened to him during the Halloween he died. This forms the core concept of the show as Alma builds and breaks character relationships along the way until the real truth is revealed at the end.
Despite ending on an open note ready for a possible second season, Undone works perfectly as a thought provoking series that discusses big ideas around time being non-linear and blurring the line between reality and fantasy. With a unique animation style, the clever visual design paves way for the use of surreal imagery and fantastical scenes to find their way into the series. You can tell the art team have really had a lot of fun with this and pulled out all the stops as you experience bursts of visual splendor that make Undone so much more profound and beautiful than it first appears.
While it’s the mystery that keeps things moving at a steady pace, beyond that the series works much better when you view it as Alma trying to find purpose in life. Whether it be rekindling her relationship with her Father through the 8 episodes or allowing herself to open up and be vulnerable with boyfriend Sam, all these different character relationships take centre stage here. When it comes to its characters Undone really excels and throughout the episodes there’s a clear progression for almost everyone who takes centre stage.
The musical score works perfectly here too, making use of classical music throughout the series which builds up to dramatic spikes and big plot reveals that are placed strategically through the episodes to keep things engaging. With each episode clocking in at around 20 minutes or so, Undone never outstays its welcome and there’s some lovely dark comedy placed throughout to keep things feeling light, despite the heavy themes. While not initially clear on the surface, Undone sticks closely to the Hero’s Journey concept and because of that, the structure remains strong through some of the more wild and wacky visual trips.
Undone is a profoundly clever animated series and one of the best shows this year. There’s some big ideas and themes discussed and all of that is wrapped up with solid characterisation and a consistently progressive plot that builds up through the episodes to the finale where the truth is revealed. While the ending may disappoint some people, personally I actually quite like the ambiguous way this finishes and I really hope they don’t make another season and leave this open to interpretation. It’s quite rare for me to feel satisfied following an ending like this but because of the thought provoking ideas, Undone is so much stronger for sticking to its guns and going out on a high. What a wonderful animated series and if there’s one show you watch this weekend – make sure it’s Undone.