- Nine Perfect Strangers -All The Changes 'Nine Perfect Strangers' Made To The Book's Ending
If you had "Happy Ending" on your Nine Perfect Strangers bingo card then congratulations! Because I, for one, did not see that coming. And yet Nine Perfect Strangers subverted expectations by largely ignoring the ending of Liane Moriarty's book in favor of conventional happy endings for everyone... including Masha. It was a weird move for a show that appeared to be a searing indictment of ultra exclusive health retreats when it began, but hey, this is David E. Kelley's world and we're all just living in it.
First a quick recap of what went down in "Ever After." After joining the Marconis in taking a potent cocktail of hallucinogens, Masha appeared to be cornered by Carmel, who revealed she used her makeup artist skills to disguise herself as a man and shoot the guru in the car park. Additionally, she was also responsible for all of those threatening messages, but somehow Masha diffused the situation by offering her assailant forgiveness and then having Glory take her away to a sensory deprivation chamber for a little time out.
With Carmel safely tucked away, Masha returned to the Marconis, where Lars forced her into admitting she too had lost a child. Still, the grieving family was willing to go on the mind trip with her in order to find a sense of closure by talking to a vision of Zach. Once the family let Zach go, Zoe helped Masha finally connect with her daughter and reach her own peace, as well.
Meanwhile, the rest of the guests were locked into the chamber room with Carmel where they were tricked into believing Masha had set the whole place on fire. In actuality, she was simulating a near-death experience for them, so they could all reach their final stage of enlightenment (which they were all cool with for some reason). In the end, Delilah brought the cops to Tranquillum House, where they took Masha away, even though none of the guests were willing to offer up any damning information about her penchant for drugging people without their consent under the guise of therapy.
It was a weird ending, and as you'll see below, it was also a pretty big departure from the books.
Masha Wasn't Supposed To Ride Off Into The Sunset
In The Book: Masha is far more unhinged in the final chapters of the book. In fact, she tries to attack Heather, and ends being knocked out by Francis. When the cops do show up, she's arrested and imprisoned. Roughly five years later, she's released, and ends up writing a book about using psychedelics in a therapy retreat setting.
On The Show: Since Francis is seen writing after inspiration strikes her post-Tranquillum House, the ending is a bit ambiguous. It's unclear whether or not Masha spends any significant time behind bars, but the implication is the guests are too grateful to turn on her. As a result, the last shot of the entire series features her riding off in Ben's stolen Lamborghini with a hallucination of her daughter by her side. It's unclear whether this is what actually happens to the Russian guru or if it's what Francis hopes will happen, but either way the show seems to endorse Masha's unconventional and dangerous methods in the end.
Francis & Tony Live Happily Ever After
In The Book: Tony and Francis' connection leads to them dating, and ultimately getting married after leaving Tranquillum House.
On The Show: Tony and Francis appear to be making things work in the final moments of the show. Just like in the book, Francis tries her hand at a genre outside of romance for her next novel, and she and Tony appear to be living together with an adorable pup. As an added touch, the former football player is seen reconnecting with his daughters, giving Francis the blended family she yearned for with her catfish ex.
Lars Has A Change Of Heart About... Well Everything
In The Book: Lars has a major makeover on the show. In the book, he's a divorce lawyer whose fear of commitment stems from his father's treatment of his mother. He then projects those feelings onto Ray, but he does eventually reunite with his boyfriend and agree to think about having kids with him.
On The Show: The cynical Lars turns into a major softie in the end. Not only does he write a seemingly glowing article about Masha for The New Yorker, he also has a baby with Ray.
Ben & Jessica Take On A Surprising New Job
In The Book: After a pregnancy scare, Jessica and Ben decide to go their separate ways. Eventually, Ben reaches out to Zoe, and the two of them begin a relationship (yes, Zoe as in Zoe Marconi).
On The Show: Jessica and Ben's story takes the biggest departure of them all on the show. For reasons unknown, the couple decide to stay at Tranquillum House, where they appear to be the new Delilah and Yao? (Or maybe they bought the place?) Either way, they're fully embracing the Zen life, and they're doing it together.
Carmel Becomes A Counselor???
In The Book: There's no stalking plot or shooting in the book, so Carmel is basically an average woman with body image issues that were exacerbated by her terrible ex. Over the course of the story, she comes to accept her body, and returns home to find out her kids didn't have the best time with their dad and his girlfriend on their trip. The end.
On The Show: Carmel, who shot Masha while disguised as a man, and who has numerous violent outbursts over the course of the series, goes on to counsel other women. Which is nice... but also, maybe the show should have shown her addressing some of her very real issues before cutting to a scene of her talking about the power of forgiveness? I'm just saying, she took a pretty big leap from total mental breakdown to dispensing advice to others.
The Marconis Are Ready To Face The Future
In The Book: The Marconis are locked in the room with the rest of guests in the book, so they don't go on a cathartic drug trip to visit Zach. Instead, their story wraps up with Napoleon revealing he's dealing with depression, as the family seeks counseling in hopes of moving on from the revelations that Heather knew their son's asthma medication included a suicidal ideation side effect, and Zoe suspected something wasn't right with her brother, but didn't say anything at the time.
On The Show: The series refrains from flashing forward to show viewers what happens to the Marconis in the future. But they are seen seemingly driving away from the resort much happier and more connected than they were when they arrived.
Yao & Delilah Find A New Purpose
In The Book: Delilah flees the resort in Ben's Lamborghini when she realizes Masha is losing control, and catches the attention of the police. They head to Tranquillum just in time to arrest Masha before she does any real damage. As for Yao, he's arrested alongside his boss, but when Masha takes the blame, he's released on the condition that he no longer practices any sort of medicine.
On The Show: Delilah and Yao join the Peace Corps, because why not, right?
A few things remained the same, but for the most part Nine Perfect Strangers the show tossed out the complex and sometimes dark ending of the book in favor of serving up happy endings to everyone, even when it didn't entirely make sense.
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Images: Vince Valitutti/Hulu