The Clearing Episode 5 Recap and Ending, Explained

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Based on JP Pomare’s 2019 novel ‘In the Clearing,’ the Disney+ (Hulu in the US) series ‘The Clearing’ is ultimately about trauma and how it tends to become hereditary. The fifth episode of the series, titled ‘Maitreya,’ takes a break from the main narrative, shifting focus to the early life of Adrienne Beaufort or Maitreya (Miranda Otto), when she was still known as Ada Atkins. The episode follows her as she transforms from a dissatisfied homemaker to a terrifying cult leader, depicting the foundation of the Kindred and how she convinced people to give away their properties to her. Here is everything you might want to know about the ending of ‘The Clearing’ episode 5. SPOILERS AHEAD.

The Clearing Episode 5 Recap

The episode begins somewhere between the 1920s and 1950s. As young Ada comes out of the church with her military veteran father (the man wears service medals to the church), and discovers that her mother is standing there, lost in the euphoria of her faith. There was a time when this type of behavior was celebrated across the world as we didn’t have a better understanding of the human psyche. But when this scene is set, people realize the woman is unwell. So, when she sets herself on fire and continues to laugh, the reaction is not of awe but of horror and trepidation.

Ada’s mother survives, spending most of her life institutionalized. Despite this, Ada grows up deeply influenced by her. She marries a kind and loving man named Tom Atkins, but the life they have isn’t enough for Ada. Refusing to bind herself to Tom, she secretly takes contraceptive pills. Ada works as the laundry woman for Miriam and Ari Herzog. The latter is a therapist whose patients are mostly dissatisfied wealthy married women. Ada develops an interest in yoga and Eastern philosophies, or rather, their cheap and derivative versions. She envisions her husband’s death, and when that happens in reality, something begins to change within her. She takes the Eastern idea of searching for the divine within oneself and distorts it to the point that she starts to believe that she is the divine.

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Ada is an attractive woman. These changes also make her aware of the power she can potentially have over people. The first time she realizes she can make people listen to her and pay her for it is during an interaction with Ari. Later, she visits her mother, who can’t be happier after realizing that Ada has effectively taken her path. It’s a scene dripping with irony. Ada’s mother praises her for not having children and openly admits she wishes she did the same. Before Ada leaves, her mother advises her to stay in the shadows for protection while ensuring she never becomes invisible.

That night, after returning home, Ada burns various things that mattered in her earlier life, including her wedding ring and a photo of Jesus. She subsequently travels to India and spends a considerable time there. When she returns, Ada Atkins becomes Adrienne Beaufort. She introduces herself to Dr. Bryce Latham, who quickly becomes enamored with her. Adrienne seems initially disappointed after she realizes that the good physicist is married. However, she figures out that the marriage isn’t a happy one. After learning that Dr. Latham and his wife, Tamsin, are set to visit India, she warns them against it. So when Tamsin catches malaria, it only strengthens Dr. Latham’s belief in her. Adrienne effectively orchestrates Dr. Latham and Tamsin’s divorce. They move out of their home, leaving the place to Adrienne.

The Clearing Episode 5 Ending: How was the Kindred Formed?

Arguably the most fascinating thing about cults like this is how easily they manipulate well-educated people. Dr. Latham and Ari Herzog have all the capabilities to see through Adrienne’s lies. They don’t because they have made themselves susceptible to manipulation — Dr. Latham through his cerebral pursuit of enlightenment and Ari through his sexual desire. Her cult begins at a yoga studio, where she encounters Hannah (Anna Lise Phillips ), a young pregnant woman whose family has turned away from her because she has fallen in love with a foreigner, who turns out to be Henrik (Erroll Shand). Adrienne accepts Hannah into her growing community seemingly without any reservation, exploiting her vulnerability.

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Ari’s work allows Adrienne access to LSD, which she uses to catalyze apparent spiritual experiences in her followers and calls these experiences the Clearing. Dr. Latham is the first to call her Maitreya or the Compassionate one. The name originated in Buddhism, according to which the word refers to the future and final Buddha of the current Kalpa. Even though Adrienne’s cult, the Kindred begins to grow exponentially, not everyone is her supporters. Miriam knows Adrienne from before and knows exactly what she is. She tries to confront Adrienne during a Kindred meeting, accusing her of leading a cult. Even though Ari is present in the room, she is thrown out. Later, Adrienne convinces Ari to institutionalize his wife.

Who Are Amy/Freya’s Biological Parents?

Episode 5 reveals that Henrik and Hannah are Amy/Freya’s biological parents, which explains the relationship they had with her. Although Hannah is initially happy to be part of the Kindred as they have accepted her and her husband with open arms, she soon starts to notice the unsettling aspects of the community.

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By then, it’s too late for her to leave. Henrik has become one of the most devoted followers of Adrienne, and Hannah can’t go back to her family. She speaks to Miriam when the latter comes to confront Adrienne. Hoping that Miriam will find her an escape route, Hannah tries to contact her, only to discover that she has been institutionalized. It turns out that Blackmarsh originally belonged to Henrik and Hannah, but Henrik gives it to Adrienne so that she can use it to raise the children of the Kindred. As the episode ends, Hannah deals with her pain silently as her daughter refers to Adrienne as “mom.”

Read More: The Clearing Episode 4 Recap and Ending, Explained