screenrant.com Deep Water Ending Explained (In Detail)
Hulu's 2022 psychological thriller, Deep Water, ends with another major twist, which reveals the meaning of Vic and Melinda's turbulent marriage.By Jordan WilliamsPublishedShareTweetEmail
WARNING: Spoilers ahead for Deep Water (2022).
The Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas-starring psychological thriller, Deep Water, ends with another twist for Vic and Melinda’s dangerous mind-games. Directed by Adrian Lyne, who is known for his past erotic thrillers and dramas like 1987's Fatal Attraction and 1993's Indecent Proposal, Deep Water is a twisted tale of the seemingly loveless marriage between Vic (Ben Affleck) and Melinda Van Allen (Ana de Armas). Adapted from the 1957 novel of the same name by Patricia Highsmith, Hulu’s Deep Water crafts a new ending to the story that adds more complex nuances to the characters’ high-stakes romance.SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY
Deep Water, which is primarily told from the perspective of Vic, follows the manipulative couple as they raise their 6-year-old daughter in a tight-knit community where gossip spreads like wildfire. Since Vic lacks a certain passion that Melinda seeks, the couple has entered an agreement in which Ana de Armas’ character is allowed to take lovers as long as she doesn’t break up their family. Deep Water sees the couple’s publicly-broadcasted arrangement take a twisted turn when Vic begins to crack, which leads to dire consequences for those who get caught in the middle of their growing mind-games.
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By the end of Disney's 2022 movie Deep Water, which was acquired in its 20th Century Fox deal, several people connected to Vic and Melinda’s romantic entanglements have died, with the final act cementing the twisted dynamic between the main couple. Amidst all of the death, anger, and immoral conflicts, Melinda and Vic’s marriage comes out of Deep Water stronger than ever – providing a clear contrast between the seemingly quintessential suburban romances of their friends. The outward appearances of Vic and Melinda seem to show a pleasant, even-tempered, even slightly pathetic guy and a center-of-attention, sexually empowered woman, but below the surface tells a completely different story, as exemplified by Deep Water’s twist-filled ending.
What Happens In Deep Water’s Ending
Deep Water ends with Vic and Melinda finally feeling more passionate in their marriage, albeit after he has killed two of her lovers in cold blood. Although Melinda was sure that Vic had killed her lover Charlie (Euphoria actor Jacob Elordi), she becomes more attracted to Vic and doesn’t immediately accuse him of involvement when she hasn’t heard from her latest paramour, Tony (Finn Wittrock). After a pleasant picnic with Melinda and Trixie, Vic returns to the river to better hide the body of Tony, only for Melinda to simultaneously find Tony’s wallet inside a box of Vic’s snails. Melinda calls Don, a new neighbor who suspects Ben Affleck’s character of killing Charlie, whereafter Don confronts Vic at the gorge. After seeing Vic moving Tony’s body, Don drives on his car to tell the police, with Vic hopping on his bike to stop Don. When Vic rides his bike in the direct path of Don’s car, Tracy Letts’ character swerves off the road, falling to his death as he drives off a cliff.
At home, the Van Allen’s daughter Trixie sees that Melinda has packed a suitcase, so she throws it into the pool and tells Blonde actress Ana de Armas’ character that they’re not leaving. When Vic returns home, he finds Melinda sitting on the stairs with a slight smile on her face, only for Deep Water to cut to her character burning all of Tony’s licenses that she found with Vic’s snails. By the end of Deep Water, all is well for the Van Allens’ marriage, if not even better than before.
Why Vic Lied To Joel About Killing Martin McCrae
Deep Water’s drama begins when Vic confronts Melinda’s lover, Joel, at a party. Vic tells him that he killed Martin McCrae, Melinda’s last lover who went missing, as a way to scare Joel off. Deep Water’s characters typically take Vic’s statement as a joke, though it successfully scares off Joel and leaves screenwriter Don increasingly suspicious. Vic tells Melinda that it was an innocent joke after she becomes angry, but Deep Water hints that malintent lies beneath the seemingly indifferent demeanor of actor Ben Affleck's character. Later in Deep Water, it’s revealed that Vic truly didn’t kill McCrae, as he told Joel he killed him with a hammer when he was actually murdered with a gun, and the real person responsible was apprehended.
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While Vic and his friends maintained that his lie about killing Martin McCrae was just a joke, it was really the beginning of Vic’s anger and jealousy boiling over the surface. Since Vic would truly go on to kill two of Melinda’s lovers, telling this lie seemed to be a mistake, as he would become the first suspect when Deep Water’s Charlie and Tony turned up dead or missing. In reality, it appears Vic was bored with his indifference to Melinda’s affairs, but the rush from finally standing up to one of Melinda’s lovers fired a passion in their marriage that he hadn’t felt in a long time. Ben Affleck's 2022 movie character also knew that he could get away with this unscathed, since nobody in Deep Water felt he was capable of such a thing when considering how surprised they were when they found out he could dance.
How Trixie Knows That Vic Killed Charlie
One of Deep Water’s most mysterious characters is Trixie Van Allen, Vic and Melinda’s 6-year-old daughter. It’s established that she’s much more intelligent and mature than her age would suggest, with Deep Water’s scene with Trixie and Vic discussing Charlie’s death hinting that she knows much more about her parents’ marriage than they’ll let on. After Charlie dies and Vic is the main suspect, Trixie tells her dad that she thinks it was him who killed the lover of Ana de Armas' movie character. Vic says he didn’t, but Trixie maintains that she thinks he killed Charlie, though she’s simply upset that he won’t tell her how he killed him. At the end of Deep Water, Trixie throws Melinda’s packed suitcase into the pool and says they’re not leaving, suggesting Trixie really knows everything that’s going on but still wants her family to stay together. Since Trixie and Vic are much closer than Trixie and Melinda, it seems Deep Water’s young character even supports what Vic does, as she is just as fed up with Melinda’s affairs as Ben Affleck's character.
Why Melinda Helped Cover Up Tony’s Murder
Although Melinda had tipped off Don about Vic having something to do with the disappearance of Tony (upcoming Green Lantern actor Finn Wittrock), Deep Water’s ending sees her burn his licenses just moments later. This occurs after Trixie throws Melinda’s suitcase in the pool and tells her they’re not leaving, suggesting Ana de Armas’ character now sees that keeping her family together is more important. Melinda had spent most of Deep Water maintaining that Vic had no passion nor did he even love her, but it isn’t until he begins to kill her lovers or threaten them that the spark in their marriage returns.
Melinda repeatedly tells Vic she loves him, though his lack of passion and inability to convincingly return the sentiment sends her astray. That is, until she realizes that in his own sick way, killing and threatening these men is his way of showing how much he truly loves her. The Deep Water character of James Bond's Ana de Armas had been utterly bored in their marriage, but Vic’s unhinged behavior proved that, as she had said about herself to him earlier, he was no longer boring to her. At the same time, Melinda had only just asked Vic why he was the only one who stayed with her, suggesting that even though his passion was demonstrated by murder, he’d do anything to stay with her, so she returned the gesture by helping cover up Tony’s death.
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What’s Next For Melinda And Vic After Deep Water
Melinda and Vic’s toxic marriage saw the deaths of at least three people in their town, but ended Deep Water with their relationship stronger than ever. Since Don (Netflix's The Woman in the Window writer Tracy Letts) wasn’t able to send his text to Kelly about being right about Vic before he died, there’s nobody aside from Vic, Melinda, and Trixie who could provide evidence that Ben Affleck’s character murdered anyone. With Melinda choosing to keep their family together rather than move away and expose Vic’s crimes, the couple will be able to return to their mask as a typical suburban couple. It’s unclear whether their marriage after Deep Water will continue to see more lovers or murders, but Melinda and Vic’s passion being returned by these ordeals hints they’ll keep playing twisted mind-games as long as it keeps their family together.
What Deep Water’s Ending Really Means
Deep Water’s roller-coaster ride of a story is about the facades that suburban couples may put on after becoming bored in their marriages, and the lengths they may go to stay together and maintain their “picture-perfect” charade. Of course, Disney's 2022 movie is an extreme example of this phenomenon, but takes from many real-life marital struggles relating to infidelity, the desire to keep a family together, and a lack of passion as time goes on. Deep Water’s story largely portrays the idea that every relationship looks different to those inside them, as the projection of Vic’s mild-mannered, indifferent persona is truly a mask he puts on when, in reality, he’s a ticking time-bomb of anger and violence.
In the end, Deep Water is a twisted tale of a toxic marriage in which they finally demonstrate their love, renew their passion, and reach a climactic, unifying agreement wherein the core couple is complicit in each others’ immorality: Vic by Melinda’s infidelity, and Melinda by Vic’s homicides. While the majority of 1990's Jacob's Ladder director Adrian Lyne’s erotic thrillers end in the madness concluding once the pair are brought closer together or resolve their conflicts, Deep Water’s ending provides a different outlook. The end of Deep Water instead suggests Vic and Melinda's back-and-forth turmoil will continue, and sordidly makes them a stronger couple through the complicity in one another's sin.
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Jordan Williams is a Movie/TV Feature Senior Staff Writer for Screen Rant. She graduated from the University of Oregon in 2020 with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Media Studies.Jordan is based in Seattle, Washington and enjoys exploring the natural beauty the PNW has to offer. She runs on coffee and classic movies, taking pride in having watched every film on AFI's 100 Greatest Films list and every Best Picture Oscar winner.