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Nine Perfect Strangers Ending Explained: What Happened To Each Retreat-Goer

Nine Perfect Strangers Heather, Napoleon and Zoe Marconi lie in graves.

Spoiler alert! This story discusses details of the ending of Hulu’s miniseries Nine Perfect Strangers. Proceed with caution if you haven’t watched all of the episodes!

Nine Perfect Strangers, the recently wrapped Hulu series based on the book by Liane Moriarty, introduced us to nine retreat-goers who arrived at Tranquillum House, burdened with grief, addiction, relationship trouble and secrets. Nicole Kidman and Melissa McCarthy led an A-list cast on the journey, where the drug-infused smoothies flowed freely as the strangers and retreat staff alike searched for healing. So what did the Nine Perfect Strangers ending hold for the motley crew of troubled guests?

Things quickly got out of hand for Masha Dmitrichenko and her loyal Tranquillum House staff, because when you have damaged people with hidden agendas, and you add seemingly endless amounts of LSD and psilocybin, well, you can’t expect that train to stay on the track. So did the nine guests at Tranquillum House have a transformative experience? Who was sending Masha the threatening texts? Did everyone make it out alive, and did anyone leave Tranquillum House in a better state than they arrived? Let’s take a look at what happened to each retreat-goer at the end of Hulu's Nine Perfect Strangers.

Nine Perfect Strangers Masha looks at her daughter as she drives

Masha Learns Who's Threatening Her And Reconnects With Her Dead Daughter

The texts were coming from inside the house! It turned out the threats against Masha had nothing to do with the guest who had died during a previous retreat (that plot line turned out to be a red herring), and it was actually Carmel, who was seeking revenge for an affair Masha had with her husband years earlier. Not only was Carmel sending the texts, she was the one who had shot Masha, inspiring the ethereal retreat leader to change her life and open Tranquillum House in the first place.

Meanwhile, Masha’s motivations for the new drug-heavy protocol were revealed to be an attempt to reconnect with the spirit of her young daughter, who tragically had been hit by a truck and died as a child. This was successful, with the help of Zoe, and Masha was shown in the end, driving away in Ben’s yellow Lamborghini, a smile on her face with her daughter in the passenger’s seat. Director Jonathan Levine did an interview with EW, questioning Masha's apparent happy ending:

I don't think it's a happy ending for Masha, though. It looks it, because she avoids prison like in the book, but she ends up in a prison of her own making. That's the irony of the whole show: Do you really want to live in a fake reality that's easier?

On the surface Masha appeared happy to just be reconnected with her daughter, but, as the director pointed out, is deluded happiness real happiness?

Nine Perfect Strangers Frances smiles at Tony while they're about to kiss.

Frances Revives Her Writing Career And Gets Together With Tony

After a hilariously tumultuous start between struggling author Frances Welty and former football player Tony Hogburn — where they screamed at each other on the side of the road before Tony almost killed Frances by tossing a grape into her mouth as she napped — the two formed an unlikely friendship. Frances was coming off an embarrassing catfishing scheme, as well as being dropped by her publisher. Tony was addicted to painkillers after a brutal football injury.

Over the course of the series, the adorable couple found their strength in each other. Tony got clean, and he and Frances were shown in the end visiting with his formerly estranged daughters. Frances also revived her writing career with a novel based on their Tranquillum House experience. The book was titled Nine Perfect Strangers.

Nine Perfect Strangers Ben looks at Jessica while they touch each other's hands

Ben And Jessica Take Over Tranquillum House

Ben and Jessica Chandler arrived at Tranquillum House trying to save their marriage. When they got locked in a room and made to think they were going to die in a fire, they both realized that after winning the lottery, they’d lost their sense of purpose. Ben wanted to go back to work, and Jessica similarly wanted to be a boss. With their motivation restored, Ben and Jessica decided to renew their vows, and they were shown in a flash forward welcoming guests as the new leaders of Tranquillum House.

Nine Perfect Strangers Zoe looks into the woods while on drugs

The Marconis Find Closure

Napoleon and Heather Marconi, along with their daughter Zoe, went to the retreat in search of healing following the death by suicide of Zoe’s twin brother Zach. Masha saw that through the drugs, Zoe was able to connect with people on the other side, and in some truly hard-to-watch scenes, Zach appeared, forcing the Marconis to face the guilt they all felt. Grace Van Patten, who played Zoe, spoke to Newsweek about her character's ending:

I think Zoe’s journey is so beautiful and hopeful at the end. I think she learns that this grief that she has inside her will always be inside her and it will not go away. But she’s learned to accept it and begin this process of living beyond the loss.

The Marconis were shown in the end driving away, looking more at peace than they did at any other point in the series.

Nine Perfect Strangers Lars rests his chin in his hand while he talks.

Lars Publishes His Story And Has A Baby

Lars Lee arrived at the retreat with an assignment to expose the secret goings-on of Masha and Tranquillum House. But even with a hidden agenda, Lars was suffering as much as any of them. He and his partner Roy had broken up because Lars didn’t want to have children. Masha gave him full access to document her new protocol, but when Lars witnessed the hallucinated reunion between the Marconis and Zach, he realized the sanctity of family and stopped filming their private moment. Lars did still write his feature — a cover story for The New Yorker titled “Psychedelics to the Rescue.” He reunited with Roy and was shown at the end feeding their new baby.

Nine Perfect Strangers Carmel smiles slightly

Carmel Pays It Forward After Masha Forgives Her For Shooting Her

When Carmel Schneider arrived to the retreat, it seemed she was simply struggling with the fact that her husband had left her for a younger woman. Her fits of rage were comedic, so it took viewers awhile to realize there was more to the former makeup artist than it first appeared. Carmel was revealed to be the one who shot Masha, and she was the one threatening Masha's life through texts. But just as the guests all refused to rat Masha out to the police for her protocol-gone-wrong, Masha didn’t implicate Carmel for her crimes, and the flash forward showed Carmel speaking to a group of women about the power of forgiveness and self-worth.

It certainly wasn’t the retreat any of the nine “strangers” planned for, but it would be hard to argue they all didn't have a transformative experience. Bobby Cannavale, who played Tony on the Hulu limited series, spoke to Collider about the message on healing that he took away from the characters’ experiences:

The characters heal, in some way or another. They’re not completely healed, but they’re not completely broken. I think at the beginning of the story, they’re all pretty close to completely broken, whether they’re showing it or not. … And so, by the end of that experience, I think that they’re in a better place, certainly than they were when they got there. If there’s any message to be taken away, there might be something to taking the time for yourself, to shake it up a bit and to shake the tree, as it were.

All episodes of Nine Perfect Strangers are now streaming on Hulu. Check out our 2021 Fall TV Schedule to keep up with all of your favorite shows.

Heidi Venable

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.