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The Ending Of Deep Water Explained

Based on the book of the same name by author Patricia Highsmith, the Hulu thriller "Deep Water" is an anxiety-inducing ride that presents viewers with a glimpse inside the very troubled marriage of an Oregon couple.  Ben Affleck plays Vic Van Allen, a well-off man who made his money from engineering a controversial chip used in military weaponry. Ana de Armas plays Melinda Van Allen, Vic's beautiful and lively wife. The two have what appears to be a wonderful life with a large home and a family, but not too far under the surface, chaos lurks.

The couple maintains an active social life with plenty of close friendships. But, every now and again, Melinda brings home a new friend with whom she is having an affair. These affairs aren't hidden, and Vic, along with his friends, all see what's happening in plain sight. Eventually, Vic can't handle it anymore and spirals out of control, leading Melinda's not-so-secret lovers to disappear one by one.

Even amid all that tumult, it seems the couple can't leave each other, and even after Melinda learns that Vic has been killing her partners, she doesn't leave him. The toxic relationship between the two takes the story on some sharp twists and turns, all leading up to an ending that makes you wonder how these two could ever possibly maintain a normal life.

Melinda might stay married to a killer by choice

The love between Vic and Melinda is a toxic spiral that somehow keeps them together and very far apart at the same time. This tension is at the heart of the film's uneasy resolution. Melinda parades each new partner in front of Vic and watches him sulk deeper and deeper into a dark mental state before he inevitably snaps. When he does snap, it frightens Melinda at first because — well — her husband is a murderer. How does Melinda, then, ultimately rationalize staying with Vic-the-admitted-killer? Apparently, she isn't afraid of him because he killed for her. It's so ... romantic?

In the end, Melinda finds the wallet of her missing lover, Tony (Finn Wittrock), hiding in a takeout container where Vic keeps his impressive collection of pet garden snails. After her initial attempt to flee is foiled, Melinda makes the confusing choice to burn the wallet and any evidence she finds. Here we have the most definitive evidence yet of where this relationship is headed after the credits roll. Melinda has made a decision. 

Vic and Melinda have a relationship unlike any other. Even with the love affairs and the occasional murder, the two know the darkest corners of each other's souls. They continue to live their lives as if everything is normal. It's difficult to say whether or not Melinda would find that sort of commitment elsewhere, considering her own nontraditional tendencies.

Does the pattern of affair and murder continue?

When Vic returns from his bike ride to hide Tony's body and — unintentionally — kill Lionel, he finds Melinda waiting for him on the porch in a sundress. She says to him, "I saw Tony" before she smiles and walks away. This seems to create an understanding between the two that, yes, Melinda does know that Vic killed Tony, and she might even be somewhat all right with it. It's a subtle exchange, but complicity implied by the conversation speaks volumes.

So if everything is copacetic with the central couple in the end , does this mean the affairs and the murders will continue? It's hard to imagine Melinda settling for any kind of life without her freedom to stray — at least not at the place where we leave her. Vic's jealousy will, in turn, always get the best of him, leading him to murder any unfortunate partner that crosses Melinda's path.

We're left with little hope that anything will change between these two lovers. Not exactly a happy ending, but at least they've got each other ... ?