Clock Ending, Explained: Is Ella Dead or Alive?

Hulu’s ‘Clock’ is a psychological thriller film written and directed by Alexis Jacknow. It stars Dianna Agron, Melora Hardin, Saul Rubinek, and Jay Ali in the lead roles. The movie revolves around Ella Patel, a woman in her late 30s with a successful career and a happy married life. However, Ella is constantly pressured to have children by her friends, family, and society. As a result, she enrolls in a clinical trial to fix her seemingly broken biological clock. However, the treatment unlocks a host of horrors that torment Ella. The film explores the psychological effects of female biology’s reproductive ability with a horror twist. The movie’s ending will leave viewers wondering if Ella overcomes her plights and resolves her inhibitions about pregnancy. SPOILERS AHEAD!

Clock Plot Synopsis

‘Clock’ follows Ella Patel (Dianna Agron of ‘Shiva Baby‘), a successful interior designer, as she attends a reunion with her college friends. At the party, Ella’s friend, Shaun, is pregnant and wants Ella to design her baby’s nursery. Ella accepts the task and reveals she has landed a big job. However, when Ella’s friends discuss pregnancy and encourage her to have a child, she becomes uncomfortable as Ella has never wanted kids of her own. Apart from a successful career, Ella has a stable home life and is supported by her husband, Aidan Patel (Jay Ali of ‘Daredevil‘), and their romance is still alive despite over ten years of marriage.

Ella visits a doctor at her husband’s behest to get tested for breast cancer since her mother died because of it. However, the doctor reveals that Ella’s biological clock – the biological process of her body supporting a pregnancy – is unlike most women. Ella reveals that she has never wanted kids and wants her biological clock to run out. As a result, the doctor suggests an experimental clinical treatment that could help fix Ella’s biological clock. However, Ella refuses the offer since she is starting her new design assignment. Ella and Aidan host a dinner for Ella’s father, Joseph (Saul Rubinek of ‘Hunters‘).

During dinner, Joseph lectures Ella about the importance of being a mother and carrying forward their lineage, especially because of their Jewish background. Later, Ella tries to conceive a baby with Aidan, but he refuses since he does not want to pressure Ella into becoming a mother. As a result, Ella contacts the doctor and sets up an appointment with Dr. Elizabeth Simmons (Melora Hardin of ‘A Million Little Things‘), who is doing clinical research to help women like Ella whose biological clocks are out of tune with the rest of their physiology. However, Ella hides her visit to Dr. Simmons from Aidan and her father.

Dr. Simmons reveals she uses a combination of therapy and hormone induction to cure women facing issues with pregnancy. During their first session, Dr. Simmons learns that Ella has Tokophobia, a pathological fear of pregnancy, especially since she comes from a family of Holocaust survivors. Soon, Dr. Simmons sets up a treatment plan for Ella and gives her medicine to fix her hormonal imbalance. However, Ella soon starts hallucinating and sees bugs and a Tall Woman tormenting her. A Grandfather Clock constantly ticks in her head when she thinks about pregnancy.

On the last day of her stay at the research facility, Ella is implanted with a chip that administers adequate hormones. She is shown a disturbing childbirth video that startles Ella, but she completes the treatment program. However, after Ella returns home, her hallucinations become more frequent, and she starts losing touch with reality. Ella creates a macabre nursery for Shuana’s baby and becomes aroused when Shauna’s water breaks. Ella visits her father after he injures his hand, but the Grandfather Clock’s ticking in his house and her drug-induced hallucinations lead her to destroy it. She becomes convinced that she wants children and tries to have aggressive sex with Aidan but injures him in the process.

Clock Ending: Does Ella Want to Have Children?

In the film’s final act, Aidan reveals that he is the one who arranged for Ella to see Dr. Simmons. Ella is shattered at Aidan’s confession since he is the only one who seems to support Ella’s decision not to have children. Ella also realizes that Dr. Simmons’ treatment has worked since she does want to become pregnant. However, Ella’s desire to become a mother directly contradicts her nature and represents the projection of pressure from her friends, family, and society. In the end, an enraged Ella goes to confront Dr. Simmons and demands the hormone dispensing implant be removed from her body.

Ella storms into Dr. Simmons’ facility only to learn that the implant is not designed to be removed. Moreover, if the implant is forcibly removed, Ella will lose her ability to become a mother forever. However, Ella breaks down and argues that she should not have been forced to feel compelled to have a child artificially. Hence, Ella’s desire to fix her biological clock ends in a disaster. She rips out the implant herself but will never be able to become a mother, even if she wants to in the future. However, Ella sees Dr. Simmons in the Tall Woman form and fights her. Ella overpowers Dr. Simmons and knocks her out, implying she has finally overcome her Tokophobia. However, Ella is helpless in the circumstances she faces as the external pressure to become a mother ultimately leads to Ella losing the ability to become pregnant.

Is Ella Dead or Alive?

Ella tries to flee Dr. Simmons’ facility and gets into her car. However, she receives a call from Aidan, who alerts her about the crime she has unknowingly committed as police sirens can be heard in the distance. Soon, traumatic flashbacks follow as Ella’s dire mental state finally allows her to break from her drug-induced delusions and confront the truth. Earlier in the film, when Ella visits her father, Joseph, she breaks down the Grandfather Clock in her house. The clock is seemingly a representation of Ella’s own biological clock, and its ticking torments her. As a result, Ella breaks down the clock with a hammer. However, in the film’s final moments, Ella realizes she did not break the lock but killed her father with a hammer.

As Ella comes to terms with her horrific actions and confronts the reality of her situation, she is arrested by the police. Ella tries to make the run for it and escape when the law enforcement officers are distracted. She jumps off a cliff, seemingly dying in the process. However, in the final scene, Ella survives the fall as she washes onto a rocky shore. Ultimately, Ella is still alive but must deal with her father’s demise. Ella’s plights throughout the movie serve as a stark reminder about the nature of societal pressure a woman faces when contemplating pregnancy. Moreover, Ella’s fate also comments about free will and one’s right to make decisions for themselves. Hence, the film perfectly encapsulates the horrors of forcing a decision like pregnancy on women and the drastic consequences it can have.

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