What Happened to Jeff’s Wife, Emma? Is She Dead in Spiderhead?

Like every other volunteer at Spiderhead Penitentiary and Research Center, Jeff (Miles Teller) has a past. We are told about it in stages throughout the film. He has been at Spiderhead for a while and is initially one of its most mellow residents, agreeing to almost everything they test on him. He grows close to Lizzy (Jurnee Smollett), his fellow volunteer. As the series progresses, they begin to unearth the sinister aspects of the facility. Jeff, Lizzy, and the rest are all convicted criminals. They agreed to be part of a human trial for certain drugs in exchange for commuted sentence and certain privileges.

We learn that before Jeff’s incarceration and transfer to Spiderhead, he had a wife named Emma (BeBe Bettencourt). In case you are wondering what happened to her, we got you covered. SPOILERS AHEAD.

What Happened to Jeff’s Wife, Emma?

At first, we are led to believe that Emma has severed all her ties with Jeff after his incarceration. In one flashback scene, we are taken to perhaps the last happy day in Jeff’s life. He and Emma are at a party together. They are drinking, dancing, and generally having a great time together. They plan to go to Fiji when they have enough money. One of Jeff’s friends, Adam, asks him to come along as he visits their friend Mark for his birthday, and Jeff accepts. Emma tells them to have fun, but she will stay at the party. Just as Jeff starts the car, Adam asks whether he is cool to drive. “Ice cold,” Jeff declares.

However, as the car races through the country landscape, Jeff loses control, and the car smashes against a tree. He flies right out of the car through the windshield. It is later revealed that after regaining consciousness, Jeff pulled Adam out of the car, but the other man was already dead.

For a considerable part of the film, we believe that Jeff was incarcerated for Adam’s death. As a model resident of the facility, Jeff gets the chance to spend time outside. He apparently tries to call Emma during these excursions. But she never picks up. In what appears to be his last voicemail to her, Jeff tells her about Lizzy.

Like Jeff, Lizzy is also traumatized by her past. In the climactic scene, it is revealed that she inadvertently caused the death of her nine-month-old daughter after leaving her in the car at a Walmart parking lot for three hours in July. Lizzy thinks that she is irredeemable and doesn’t deserve happiness and love. After a particularly troubling session with one of the drugs, Lizzy is comforted by Jeff. It is then that Jeff tells her how he ended up in prison.

Is Emma Dead in Spiderhead?

Although Emma is not at Spiderhead with Jeff and Lizzy, she has an invisible presence in the relationship between the latter two. Only after Jeff tells Lizzy about what happened to Emma, they are able to work past that. It is revealed that Emma later decided to join Jeff and his friend. After pulling Adam’s lifeless body out, Jeff tried to get Emma out as well. But the car exploded, and Emma was killed. Jeff was subsequently charged with two counts of voluntary manslaughter. He spent the early days of his sentence at a state prison before volunteering for trial at Spiderhead.

By the end of the film, both Jeff and Lizzy have reconciled with their past and learned to move on. Steve Abnesti (Chris Hemsworth) is dead, and they are no longer inmates. The rest of their lives await them beyond the horizon.

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