Based on JP Pomare’s 2019 novel ‘In the Clearing,’ the Hulu and Disney+ series ‘The Clearing’ essentially revolves around two women — Freya Heywood (Teresa Palmer) and Adrienne Beaufort / Maitreya (Miranda Otto). When Freya was young, she was part of a cult called the Kindred, headed by Adrienne. As an adult, Freya deals with the trauma of her past while reluctantly becoming a collaborator of her abusers to protect her son. When a local girl goes missing in rural Victoria, Australia, Freya starts to suspect that Kindred is somehow involved. If the events of ‘The Clearing’ finale have made you wonder what the future holds for the Kindred, here is what we think. SPOILERS AHEAD.
What Will Happen to the Kindred?
One of the first scenes of the series revolves around the kidnapping of a young girl named Sara. Although Kindred members are involved in it, the higher-ups of the organization — Adrienne and Dr. Latham (Guy Pearce) — didn’t give their approval. When they discover what happened, they realize it can bring the authorities to their doorstep. The Kindred raises a group of children at their headquarters in a property called Blackmarsh, but they are either the children of Kindred members or people who are not likely to enquire after them. This kidnapping ultimately causes the Kindred’s undoing over the next couple of decades.
Freya, who used to be known as Amy when she was in the cult, is a reluctant participant in the kidnapping. Sara is renamed Asha by the cult, but she refuses to be assimilated into their ranks. Eventually, Freya is told that Henrik, one of the members of the cult, took Sara back to her parents, but Freya later discovers that this is a lie. She escapes from the cult and ends up in the hands of the police. Adrienne flees to France but is extradited to Australia. Ultimately, however, the case against her is declared a mistrial, and Henrik goes to jail for Sara’s death.
As the series progresses, it is revealed that Freya is the biological child of Henrik and his wife, Hannah. Freya has forgotten much about her past because of her trauma. But in the series finale, she recalls that after they failed to convert Sara, Adrienne forced her (Freya) to punish the other girl by repeatedly dunking her head in the water. Sara died during this, and Adrienne coaxed a confession out of Freya in front of a camera, which the Kindred used to blackmail Henrik.
In the present day, released after 22 years, Henrik tells the truth to Joe and Colin, two police officers investigating the cult for over two decades, after Freya’s son Billy goes missing. Meanwhile, Adrienne and the Kindred have sold all their properties to build new headquarters on a small island and properly restart the Kindred. When the authorities come for her, Adrienne realizes that she can’t escape justice this time. Despite spending decades preaching about mysticism and faith, it has always been about money for Adrienne. She tries to escape when the authorities arrive, eventually realizing the futility of the gesture. Her wig flies off as a helicopter makes a landing, effectively stripping her of the last bit of glamor she has used so potently all these years.
With Adrienne’s arrest for Sara’s death, we can presume that it’s the end for the Kindred as well. None of her followers have the capacity and the charm to lead the group, even if they are willing. Her biggest supporter has been Dr. Latham, who co-founded the Kindred with Adrienne, with his philosophies and ideas serving as the foundational beliefs of the organization. But his last exchange with Adrienne helps him see her for who she truly is, leaving him disillusioned. So, it’s likely he will probably spend the rest of his life in seclusion, failing to accept that he wasted his life believing a fraud.
Anton, who is revealed to be Freya’s biological brother, might try to keep the Kindred going. He has been the most fanatic adherent follower of Adrienne. Even the knowledge that Adrienne isn’t his biological mother is unlikely to wane that loyalty. But it’s a different question whether he will be successful as the head of the cult.
In a perfect world, the cult will fall apart in the coming months, and that will be the end of it. The Kindred is based on the real-life Australian new-age cult The Family, and that one reportedly continues to exist even after the death of its leader, Anne Hamilton-Byrne. So, if the world of ‘The Clearing’ is as imperfect as ours, the Kindred will remain active even after Adrienne’s arrest, and her $80 million fortune will likely be at the center of the battle for succession.