Spoiler Warning: SERIOUSLY. Major spoilers for the ending of Us follows. If you haven't seen the movie, I don't know why you clicked this, but get the heck out an come back when you've seen the movie.
Get Out was no fluke. Jordan Peele's follow up, Us, brings the exact same amount of skill and craftsmanship to create an engaging and deeply layered story once you dig into it. Audiences turned out in droves to see the film during its first weekend, which means that millions of people witnessed a twist ending that knocks the entire movie off its axis. If you were watching carefully, there were plenty of clues peppered throughout the story that led to the twist ending.
The film is told from the perspective of Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o), who is confronted by murderous doppelgängers of herself and her family. However, Adelaide first encountered her double, Red, (also Nyong’o) when she was just a little girl in a meeting that would change both of their lives forever.
Still with us? OK. The twist is that the Adelaide we have been following is in actuality her double, who attacked the real Adelaide and switched places with her as a child. It's a bombshell that makes you reexamine the entire movie, but Jordan Peele is a smart writer. He hid several clues that, while they don't necessarily stick out in the moment, become obvious red flags once you learn the truth of the twist. Here are seven clues that help reveal Us' twist ending.
Adelaide Wouldn't Speak As A Child Because She Literally Couldn't
After young Adelaide meets her double -- or "Tethered" -- in the funhouse, we learn that she has not spoken a word since then. A therapist believes that she has PTSD, which the audience believes because meeting an exact clone of yourself is traumatic as hell. But, as we learn through the film, none of the Tethered can speak. They can only grunt like animals. Adelaide wasn't speaking because she had PTSD, it was because she literally never learned how to talk. She assumedly had to start from scratch and learn English. Adelaide even says early in the film that she has an issue with talking, which seemed like an excuse not to talk to her annoying friend, but it was more true than it seemed and was a clue for what came later on.
She Was Afraid To Go To The Beach
As an audience, we assume that a lot of Adelaide's fears are because of what she saw in that funhouse, but that's only partly true. Adelaide has a clear phobia of returning to Santa Cruz beach, which is understandable; Not many people want to return to the sight of a traumatic event. However, the real reason she is afraid is because she knows that she's a fake and that it's tempting fate to return to the scene of her crime. She doesn't want to go anywhere near that place and risk her past coming back to bite her and her family.
She Couldn't Snap To The Beat Of "I Got 5 On It"
The Wilson family shares a cute scene on the drive to the beach where they listen to the song "I Got 5 on it." The son, Jason, has never heard the song before and Adelaide tries to get him into it by snapping along with the rhythm. The problem is that her snapping is all over the place and is off-beat with the song. Later, Red reveals that the Tethered are perfect physical clones, but that they lack a soul. People have been quick to point out the connection between music and soul, which would explain why Adelaide can't stay on beat. However, Adelaide was also a ballerina, which you kind of need rhythm to do well, so maybe it's not quite the same as following the beat of a song?
Jason Could Have Been Lured To Merlin's Forest
Merlin's Forest, the funhouse right on the Santa Cruz beach, is a direct doorway into the home of the Tethered. It was the reason that Adelaide was afraid to go back to the beach and it was the reason she was so freaked when Jason wandered off for a few minutes. The Tethered know everything that their doubles do on the surface, so Adelaide knew that it was risky to return so close to the entrance. What was stopping Jason from getting lured to the funhouse and stolen away just like she did to the original Adelaide so long ago? And he was going directly to Merlin's Forest before he was distracted by that Tethered on the beach (who I guess couldn't wait to get started?).
She Takes To The Violence Very Quickly
Once the home invasion element of Us kicks in and lives are on the line, Adelaide does not seem to hesitate in the least about killing. True, there's no time to waste when your children are in danger, and the rest of her family seems pretty desensitized to the violence they experience. That's commentary for another time, but Adelaide's indulgence in murder seems to go beyond survival. It's ruthless to watch, like when she beats one of the twins to death and is almost nonchalant about it. She's cold in a way that mirrors the Tethered, which makes sense because she is one of them. She also lets out a deep, guttural Tethered-like laugh when she kills Red.
She Was Constantly Worried That Red Would Return
Adelaide never seemed entirely on board with the Wilson family vacation, and one can hardly blame her knowing what was waiting for her in the sewers. Right before shit hits the fan, Adelaide confesses to her husband Gabe (Winston Duke) about the "mirror girl" and how after she ran away, she felt like that girl was waiting for her moment to return. It's an illuminating conversation that takes on an entirely different context after the twist ending. Adelaide knows that Red is coming because she stole her life and that's not something that someone can just forgive. She was also the only person who was picking up on the weird "coincidences" of things synching up. Red's return was always on the horizon and it was clearly on Adelaide's mind.
Red Was The Only Tethered Who Spoke
I previously mentioned that Adelaide couldn't speak because she was a Tethered and didn't know how. The exact opposite was true for Red. Red was the only Tethered who could speak because she was the only one who was actually human. The fact that everyone else in a red jumpsuit is growling should have been a strong indication that there was something different about Red. Even how she talks is a clue to her origins. It's very strained, as if she hasn't actually spoken to someone in years. That's probably true. None of the other Tethered could hold a conversation with her so eventually she likely stopped talking altogether. It's an ultimately tragic life that blurs the line, making it unclear who the real villain is in this movie.
Us is a film that warrants several rewatches. Peele just seems to have a talent for crafting stories that reveal more details the more you watch. Whether it's easter eggs or well hidden clues about the plot, there's always something new to learn. Peele left all the pieces about the twist ending right there in the movie and it's amazing how it all fits together without tipping its hand too much. It's highly likely that there are other clues to Adelaide's true nature, and that's just another great excuse to go see this movie.