Twins have been a captivating subject in the Hollywood industry. As difficult as it is to shoot one actor playing two roles simultaneously, it is probably that much more exciting. In 1988, Cronenberg was able to create a masterpiece with Jeremy Irons playing the Mantle twins, based on the 1977 novel “Twins” by Bari Wood. While the film is eerie in the way it presents its twins to us and their overly close relationship as the most conflicting part of their journey, in the series, we see a different turn of events play out because of the hunger for success and happiness… or so we think. Let’s figure it out through a recap of the Amazon Prime series “Dead Ringers.”
The Mantle Twins
“Dead Ringers” follows female gynecologist twins Beverly and Elliot, who are on a mission to make birthing easier, more comfortable, and more bespoke. The Mantle twins are considered geniuses in their field and pretty much share everything with each other. The show hilariously begins with a scene at a diner where the sisters are seated for a meal, and a man across from them asks them for incestual sex, to which Beverly is quick to make sarcastic remarks. In truth, it is Elliot who is able to carry out such conversations, being eccentric and social. They work at a hospital, and they’ve just had to see some terrible things, including delivering a stillborn child. Beverly dreams of the day when she can make childbirth actually comfortable for her patients, whereas Elliot wants to research everything there is to know about making babies and infertility. As Beverly always says, “Childbirth is not a disease.” While Beverly is the obedient one of the two, Elliot happens to leave ethics behind and do drugs in the hospital while checking on her patients. Strangely, Bev is okay with her sister’s ways. At the same time, Bev is trying to get pregnant herself, but she has had multiple miscarriages and is on the verge of giving up.
In order to open their dream birthing center, Bev and Ellie have to speak to Rebecca and her wife, the Parkers, who they need to fund their big venture. Rebecca is a cutthroat, money-hungry woman who is interested in science but not in the lives it can save. She has had four babies from surrogate mothers with the help of the Mantle twins. While Beverly absolutely does not like Rebecca, Elliot reminds her that she’s the only way they can get their special center. The feeling may be mutual there, though. Beverly is after radicalism for maternal health care, but to achieve that, she has to work with the opulent. Later in the day, they are visited by popular actress Genevieve, and Beverly is a huge fan of hers. Genevieve, who wants children, has a bicornuate uterus, meaning she may find it very difficult to have babies. While Bev is the doctor Genevieve gets at first, she’s too flustered to examine her and ends up swapping with her sister Elliot. Elliot immediately understands that Beverly likes the actress very much and offers to deliver her to Bev. They have a system where sometimes it is Elliot who does the getting, and Bev does the rest.
Conflict No. 1: Beverly And Genevieve
Unlike the usual Bev, she finds a deeper liking for Genevieve, possibly even falling in love with her. Bev likes Genevieve so much that she “forgets” to mention her twin sister to her. In truth, Bev would’ve preferred if Genevieve didn’t know of Elliot at all. When they do meet, and Genevieve is shocked, Elliot proclaims she could’ve just done a Google search to find out about the famous Mantle twins. Genevieve’s presence in Bev’s life begins to form an envious grudge inside of Elliot. Over the course of time, Elliot constantly tries to find a way to join them or keep Bev away from Genevieve, but for the first time, Bev thinks she’s actually close to true happiness. Bev visits a therapy group and talks about her sister’ death. She wants to separate herself from her sister to enjoy being with Genevieve, but the only way she can do so is by pretending she’s left her forever. Bev and Genevieve both want children, and this is the perfect excuse for Bev to try again, this time without Ellie’s knowledge. While their relationship is wonderful at the beginning, later on, things start to get a bit strange when Elliot appears in rooms announced or doesn’t let Bev leave her and head out for a trip with Genevieve. After a while, Genevieve’s had too much, and she doesn’t want to be with Bev anymore. At this point, Bev is already at a point in the pregnancy that she can’t come back from, and this has been difficult for her too.
Conflict No. 2: The Birthing Center
While it is Bev’s dream more than anything, as we oftentimes hear in the show, Ellie just does everything for Bev. When the twins are invited over to the Parkers’ household to pitch their idea to the entire family rather than just Rebecca, The entire family seems to have a penchant for being money-minded and stone-hearted. While being surrounded by the artwork of the female reproductive organ because of Rebecca’s love for the female form and eating the meat of Rebecca’s own horse are a few of the many things the Mantles have to endure at dinner with the Parkers, still, Elliot is able to have a great laugh, whereas Bev, on the other hand, gets laughed at. Their family has been the cause of an opioid crisis, but Bev has to sit through this and act nice in order to get her bespoke birthing center. Obnoxious is too nice a word to describe the Parkers and their associates. Finally, after dinner, in what looks like an initiation ritual or game, Elliot kidnaps Bev from their room while a few other members are taken away too and dropped into an unknown place with their hands tied and their eyes covered. When Bev manages to free herself, she lashes out at all of them, making her dislike for them very clear. Rebecca wonders if this means Bev doesn’t want the birthing center. She clearly has a liking for the bolder and more fun Elliot, but if Bev isn’t able to show her that she’ll be able to make loads of money from this bespoke facility, Rebecca is not going to give it to her. Elliot is also willing to push the boundaries of what is right and wrong in the name of science, which excites Rebecca. Finally, Beverly accepts Rebecca’s offer because she wants to get Elliot off her back, and maybe the research lab is just the thing to do it.
The Privileged Idealist
Once the twins have their birthing center, Beverly is attacked by a young woman who pelts her with the organs and blood of animals. In response to Beverly’s discomfort, Rebecca reminds Beverly that the girl who is able to call her a murderer and shade her capitalistic ways is only able to do so because she can go back home to her parents, sleep in a warm bed, and eat good food. Curiously, this situation can be compared to Beverly’s ideology as well. Although her hope was to create a world of bespoke birthing for all women, in the end, she ended up doing it for the rich and privileged, being those two things herself. Altruism is idealistic for a reason, and Beverly’s dreams may not be altruistic in the end but for her own happiness.
Linda And Allen
Bev is very much like her mother, who is more particular, and Elliot is more like their father, who is more selfless. In flashbacks, we see that Linda was unable to deal with her postpartum and felt unwanted and overwhelmed by her two children. Her depression made her leave the house until Allen was able to bring her back and stabilize her mentally. In the present-day, Linda misses her children, who are very distant from her. Beverly specifically is very snappy with Linda, who worries for her daughters. In their one short visit, at a dinner to celebrate their birthday, Elliot’s awful comments and Beverly’s disrespect to her mother are enough to make Allen, the kinder one, burst a vein. He calls his daughters awful and can’t believe what they’ve become. Linda and Allen had a middle-class family; she couldn’t even watch the Mantles’ maid Greta serve them, even if it was her job. Finally, when Linda finds out about Bev’s pregnancy, she is sure Bev is going to be a terrible parent. It is possibly because Linda is always ready to abandon her children that Elliot and Bev are so afraid of being abandoned, making them cling to each other for support.
Agnes And The God Complex
When Genevieve takes Bev away from Elliot, the latter begins to act up. She decides to invite strangers over to party and then throws a bottle down from her window, almost hitting a homeless person. Agnes, said homeless person, who comes over, begins to break things in the house. Instead of being appalled, Elliot feels elated and suggests she should do more. A breath of fresh air in comparison to her dear sister. Elliot has also been doing a lot more drugs since her sister has been gone and creating illegal embryos that are much too old to be grown outside of the mother’s body. When Agnes is done throwing a tantrum, Elliot decides to help her with a deep gash caused by the bottle dropping. Agnes is drugged, too, and probably doesn’t feel the pain, but the two of them begin talking, and Agnes wonders if it’s possible to live as half a person and be a twin. Agnes believes the experiences would be half as fun, but Elliot argues a little too aggressively that they are, in fact, double the experiences, and as Agnes’ arguments cut deeper, Elliot’s rage gets higher, and in a fit, she pushes Agnes off the balcony ledge. She rushes down to look for her, but her body is nowhere to be found. Elliot can’t take it anymore and calls Bev back home. Bev and Greta bring Elliot back to health, and she tells Bev about Agnes. Bev can’t believe her sister would kill somebody, and since there was no body, they think it’s a hallucination. Elliot, who had created babies pretty much out of thin air, had now killed a person with no remorse or fear in the world.
Conflict No. 3: Silas And Elliott’s Downfall
When Genevieve leaves Bev because she is unable to deal with a third person in their relationship, Elliot is ready to save the day. Bev and Elliot decide they’re going to raise the two babies in Bev’s womb as co-parents. As strange as that may seem, Bev looks to be content because her babies seem to be okay. Silas, on the other hand, wants to poke at every little cell of Elliot and Bev’s relationship. Although he has to write a puff piece on the two, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author who had been “canceled” for sleeping around with his students has to write a masterpiece. Seeing the deep, almost incestual connection between the two sisters, their privileged lifestyles, and the Parkers’ world opens his eyes to new and frankly horrendous ideas. Over the two days that Silas spends with the twins, who travel on private planes and live in a lavish house, he learns that their motivations are mostly idealistic. Bev is keen on proving to Silas that they’re doing good work, but he retorts with how they’re helping people who can afford bespoke birthing facilities rather than the ones who are incapable of paying for decent health care at all. Instead of writing a puff piece for his own resurgence, he decides to expose the Mantle twins as murderous, entitled genius twins with God complexes. Through his research, he is able to find all that is needed to shut down the birthing center and ruin it forever. To save the day, there is only one choice: publicly separate the twins as good and bad. Tell the world that everything was Elliot’s fault and that she’s getting all the help she needs without any association with the Mantle Parker Center.
Marion And His Disturbing Family
On this trip, the Mantle twins are actually meant to open a new flagship center while also delivering quadruplets for Susan’s (Rebecca’s current wife) sister. It is very clear that Marion, the father, has done some terrible things to his children, including two sets of twins. The poor young girl continues to smile at the twins even when facing discomfort as the father, who is a doctor himself, pushes the twins to do a physical check on the mother. He considers every patient practice for the next and reminds the twins of the story of the father of gynecology the white man who operated over 30 times on a 17-year-old slave girl who was sick with rickets and birthed a stillborn child. It is always a wonder why Susan was so hopeful and positive when she was with a person like Rebecca. In a rare moment, she tells Bev that her mother, who had been forced to keep having children when she didn’t want to, ended up leaving her father, who had essentially tortured her into having more and more kids. But Susan saw her dad as an angel and her mother as a drunk who didn’t have hope and didn’t want her kids.
At the birthing center, the twins are accompanied by Marion in the operating room to deliver the kids. Everything is fine until the third baby, but Elliot is reminded of how Silas accused the twins of lying to each other. She is so lost in her world that she ends up stabbing the mother in the bladder. Fortunately, that’s the only damage done, and Susan returns to her old self, suggesting that it is only a bladder and nobody should worry about such a small thing.
Conflict no. 4: The Separation
After the incidents at the new flagship center, Bev decides to stay back with Susan’s family, and Elliot has to be sent away from them. She distances herself from her sister but keeps hearing the alarming sound of a phone buzzing, making her and us absolutely panicked. How long can Bev go without answering Elliott’s calls? Are the calls real, or are they in her imagination? Bev gets back with Genevieve, and for a little while, they’re really happy until Bev asks Genevieve not to go to work. Genevieve complains that she has done so much for them and doesn’t need to go back to the time when everything in their relationship was about Elliot. It is Genevieve’s probing that makes Beverly separate herself from Elliot in the public eye when receiving an award. Tom reminds Beverly that it was always Elliot who did everything for her. Bev tells him that this isn’t a permanent thing; it is only for a little while until things settle. Bev begins to hear the words “baby sister” all the time. She sees her sister in every woman passing her on the street. Finally, she leaves Genevieve and returns home to find a big mess. She lies in her sister’s bed, sniffs her clothes, and finally picks up the phone. She has returned home.
Who Is Greta, And What Is She Doing In The Middle Of All This?
Greta is the Mantle twins’ maid. She takes care of their home and their belongings, but she has an ulterior motive. Greta, who has been raised by a single parent and two older brothers who looked to be collecting strange DNA evidence of the Mantle twins, was actually creating her greatest work of art. Ironically, Greta had lost her mother in childbirth and believed her father resented her for that. The Mantles are so distant from the person who makes them their meals every day that they don’t even know what she’s working on. Later during Greta’s show, Silas is able to visit her and call her a brilliant artist, but the Mantles just walk past the studio without a blink of an eye, not realizing what is so clearly in front of their eyes. Greta showcases the many mothers who are lost because they do not have the proper facilities to give birth. She gets her closure when her father ultimately visits the gallery and tells her she looks very much like her mother as she sits on a bed in a gown covered in blood to represent her dead mother. Greta might’ve been the one who told Silas about Agnes’ death; hence he was able to visit her show.
‘Dead Ringers’ Ending Explained – Which Of The Twins Survives?
In the end, a heavily pregnant Bev rejoins Ellie and apologizes for distancing herself from her sister. Ellie calls her sister beautiful and perfect, but Bev is reminded of the dream she always had about losing Ellie in the water all those years ago. Elliot doesn’t remember such a thing ever happening, making it clear that it was always Bev who was afraid of losing her sister, and that’s why she fabricated those lies about her being gone. Bev concludes that she is incapable of happiness, but her ultimate joy will be if she is with her sister forever. Bev says she needs to “climb inside” Elliot because there was only ever supposed to be one of them. Elliot understands her sister’s words, and Bev lies down on the operating table, ready to give birth. Elliot picks up a scalpel, but instead of slicing open her sister after giving her anesthesia, she cuts her own belly first and stitches it back up. She then proceeds to do a c-section on her sister, removing the healthy babies and leaving her to die on the bed in the lab that no one goes to.
She screams for help as she walks out in her bloody hospital gown with two babies in her hands. She’s saved, and when she wakes up, Rebecca sits in front of her with an all-knowing expression. Rebecca might have understood that the sisters had perhaps swapped places or that Beverly had decided she didn’t want this anymore, leaving the more imaginative Elliot behind. When Susan asks Bev how she managed to do the procedure on her own, she says it was her sister, who is now gone. Elliot watches over the twin babies as if she sees a similar fate for them as her own. Tom drives to the center as if wondering if it’s his babies that Beverly might’ve birthed because the ones Elliot had created for Bev in the lab were with his sperm.
Finally, Bev (or, rather, Elliot) is sitting in a park with the babies when a woman approaches her. She asks how she’s doing now and hopes that she’s over her sister’s death now. Elliot, of course, is confused by this. The woman talks about how Bev had visited the bereavement group two years ago and talked about her sister dying in the water. Elliot, who finally has the chance to say the words her sister “had died,” is thrilled to do so. Maybe Beverly had known all too well that only one of them could survive this world, absolving the other of all their problems.