With everybody still reeling from watching “Dead Ringers,” we thought it was time to talk about the one character whose arc may have come across as unnecessary or random to some. While the Mantle twins, of course, have a profoundly engrossing and engaging storyline, Greta’s plot adds an element of mystery throughout the series. The overarching themes of “Dead Ringers” include birth care, motherhood, postpartum healthcare, and women’s healthcare in general, apart from the twins’ psychosexual interests and their ubiquitous existence in each other’s lives. The Amazon series revolves around Beverly and Elliot Mantle, identical twin gynecologists with big dreams of their own bespoke birthing center. Beverly and Elliot live privileged lives while they work in a fancy hospital that is willing to open a special center for their special twins if they’re able to get the sponsorship for it. Bev and Elliot ultimately failed in their mission because their goal was to help “all women” give birth in a manner that would be right for each of them. Instead, they got a research and birthing center that is affordable only to the ultra-rich for its special facilities and special treatment by the twins, of course. While Elliot is truthfully uninterested in this notion, it was always Bev’s dream to “do good,” but if we know it right, Elliot always does “everything she does” for Bev. Now, where does Greta fit into all of this?
Firstly, Who Is Greta?
Greta is essentially the Mantles’ housemaid. She cooks their meals, cleans up after them, and maintains their house while they’re busy delivering babies. Throughout the show, Greta is very mysterious. She is seen observing the twins from a distance, almost analyzing them from afar. Later, she begins to collect their used tampons, discarded personal items, and other garbage, almost like a stalker or someone collecting evidence for murder? When Linda and Allen visit, Greta’s appearance is such that Linda presumes she’s Genevieve, Bev’s girlfriend. This is because, in appearance, Greta is extremely well dressed; she’s a Chinese immigrant and wears fancy clothes and jewelry, making her look swanky and artsy rather than like a housekeeper. Initially, when the series began, we thought she might be Elliot’s resident girlfriend, only to realize that was not the case.
So, What Is Greta’s Big Role In The Series?
Well, we think, as it has become a common trope in the Hollywood industry in recent times, Greta represents the class divide between the Mantles and the people they hope to benefit from their great work. Greta’s existence in the Mantle household is rather jarring after a few episodes. Physically, she clearly fits in with her fancy clothes and her sweet talk; truthfully, Greta represents the petit-bourgeois of the big American cities, who work tirelessly on a daily basis to have no insurance or proper healthcare. When the Mantles are away, and Greta has the house to herself with their dog, she begins to try on their clothes and prance around like a “free bird,” showcasing how claustrophobic she must be feeling in her current situation. Strangely, when Greta finds out that the homeless woman Agnes, whom Elliot had spoken about while heavily drugged, was found dead on one of the panels of another building, instead of reporting her to the police, she possibly lets the writer Silas speculate that it was Elliot’s doing in his article. This may be because Greta sees the privilege the twins have and might believe informing the police will not be of any use. Greta knows a lot of the nitty-gritty of the Mantle twins, but at the end of the day, she takes what she needs and leaves them. Greta, who seems like the most abnormal of the many characters of the show in the beginning, soon begins to look the most normal out of all.
Greta and her old father have an estranged relationship because we find out that her mother had died while giving birth to Greta. Ironically, this is what the Mantle twins are trying to change, but they don’t even know Greta’s story. The person who spends day and night in their own home. To understand a little further, Greta is an artist. She has been collecting the Mantles’ belongings to create her greatest work yet. As a person who lost her mother in childbirth, she hopes to spread awareness through her art about the lack of healthcare and attention to this difficult process. It is almost as if childbirth is negligible because of how universal it is, like a common cold.
Greta’s mother hadn’t even visited the hospital to give birth, probably because of the lack of insurance, and she had attempted the home birth in a bathtub with Greta’s father on standby, ready with buckets of ice. Greta’s mother had given birth to two boys already, but the loss of blood from Greta’s birth had put her into shock, ultimately killing her. Greta’s artwork, an ode to her beloved mother, whom she never met, is a compilation of images from everything that Greta had seen in the Mantle household over the time she spent there. Using their story, she created a timeline of paintings that would represent her mother’s ultimate demise. Greta had even saved Linda’s voice notes about missing her children Bev and Elliot, an interesting parallel because Greta could never hear her own mother say those words, but Bev and Elliot were unbothered by them because of their entitled lifestyles. A painting of her mother holding her as a baby was at the end of the timeline, followed by a culmination of all of the work with Greta herself lying in bed in a bloodied gown and a tearful face, a spitting image of her mother.
Greta is guilty of killing her mother, as we understand from her voiceover at the gallery; she refers to herself as “bones and flesh” but her mother as “young and dead” in her father’s eyes. As we know, art is a medium to express feelings. Greta’s eventual goal, subconsciously or consciously, is to be released from the burden of “killing her mother” and reconciling with her father, who might’ve never seen Greta in the light she paints herself.
In an interesting scene before we hear Greta’s entire story, Beverly and Genevieve walk past the gallery with Greta’s name hugely plastered on the wall. They’re so stuck in their own lives that they don’t even notice the name of the person who essentially “mothers” them. Greta’s arc clearly showcases how lax the healthcare system is. Even with Greta’s work, which might bring some awareness to the healthcare system, in the grand scheme of things, her little art project can make no big difference if the right people don’t see it and if the people who are capable of helping do not help like the obnoxious Rebecca, who takes pride in her anti-altruistic ways and continues to milk the cow that is in the healthcare system even after her family is the cause of an opioid crisis. Some might say Greta’s subplot is unnecessary or distracting in the series, but we think it is hugely important in the Mantles’ story, even if it doesn’t actually affect their own arcs at all. It showcases their disregard for actual change and only their fantastical dreams.