The 'Nine Perfect Strangers' Ending Deviates from the Book, But Not By Much

·3-min read
Photo credit: Hulu
Photo credit: Hulu

If by the end of Nine Perfect Strangers you’re not yearning to dive into psychedelics, I don’t know what you’ve been watching, man.

The series’ final episode, which released Wednesday, culminates in a much happier resolution than you may have been expecting. In the lead up, all signs point to This Is Gonna Be Bad for Nicole Kidman’s Masha, as the formerly faithful Delilah is on her way back to Tranquillum with the police and most of the retreat’s guests locked in a padded room rapidly filling with the smell of fire.

But peace suddenly falls over the Nine Perfect Strangers Universe, and though Masha is taken away in a police car, viewers are shown that ultimately, all is well for the group. In the final flash-forward sequence, we see Ben and Zoe have taken over Tranquillum while Tony and Frances are living happily ever after. (Frances even wrote a new book.) Carmel is leading a new therapy group, herself, and Lars publishes the Masha story for The New Yorker’s latest cover story. The Marconis have finally found some peace.

As for Masha, we see her cruising in Ben’s yellow Lamborghini, with her daughter in the passenger’s seat. It appears Masha’s methods, in the end, have successfully been accepted outside of the walls of Tranquillum, and she’s even been able to harness them for, seemingly, consistent contact with her late daughter.

The end of Hulu’s series, which was adapted from Liane Moriarty’s book of the same name, remains mostly consistent with the end of the novel, with a few small tweaks.

In the book, Ben and Zoe split up, which given their journey at Tranquillum in the show would feel pretty off base had the script writers stuck with it (they agree to renew their vows in one of the final episodes, of course). Lars is also not originally a journalist, but rather a lawyer looking for some space from his partner, Ray, who's eager to have children but he is not. Frances and Tony get married at the end of the book, which is sort of implied in the series’ final flash-forward, though it’s hard to spot a ring with Tony’s new stache to fixate on. As for Delilah and Yao, they’ve found a new way to Do Good, joining the Peace Corps.

Perhaps the biggest change from the book to the series is with the character of Carmel. In the series, Regina Hall’s character isn’t just your average 1/9th of Tranquillum residents. Carmel is there for vengeance. The show reveals that Masha once slept with Carmel’s philandering ex-husband—but that’s not all. Carmel is also the person in the parking garage that shot Masha, which led Masha to her near death experience. In the books, Carmel is simply a wealthy divorcée struggling with a bad split, no ulterior motives. And, in the books, Masha's near death experience is by way of a seizure, not a fatal gunshot wound.

Ultimately, the end of Hulu’s series, though it deviates from the novel, provides a very satisfying ending for all involved. It's almost as if the message is, "Psychedelics really can help people with their problems," which, of course, we know they can.

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