[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers through the Season 1 finale of The Curse, “Green Queen.”]
For a show that constantly threatened supernatural carnage, The Curse often opted to let the audience’s imagination fill in the blanks. Was the “tiny curse” that Nala (Hikmah Warsame) placed on Asher (Nathan Fielder) in the first episode real? Does she have powers, and is she actually summoning chickens (or making them disappear) to toy with Asher’s psyche? When Dougie (Benny Safdie) curses Asher at the conclusion of Episode 8, does that somehow manifest in his reality?
These are just a few questions that reflect the kind of mystical grey area that creators Nathan Fielder and Benny Safdie seemed intent on exploring. Similar to the way superstition and fate worked in Safdie’s Uncut Gems, The Curse builds its narrative like a balloon filled with suffocating carbon dioxide, and watching each episode felt like that balloon could burst at any minute.
It nearly happened in the show’s penultimate episode when Whitney (Emma Stone) decided to show Asher the more merciless cut of Green Queen — the most overt acknowledgment of Asher’s shortcomings as a partner and as a man thus far. But Asher’s unexpected epiphany backfires on Whitney, who can only sit in horror and fear as Asher steamrolls her (it’s also Fielder’s single greatest performance in the show).
However, after such caustic tension throughout the whole season, The Curse‘s finale does not end with explosiveness — instead of popping, the balloon continues to expand. Also, that balloon metaphor becomes a lot more direct.
On the day that Whitney goes into labor, Asher wakes up on the ceiling, unable to reverse his gravitational center. He literally cannot stand on the ground. The episode continues with Asher eventually landing in a tree and holding on for dear life, all while Whitney goes to the hospital for the delivery and Dougie attempts to “console” Asher about his fears of becoming a dad. No one believes Asher when he tries to explain his gravitational predicament, and he ends up floating away to his death.
Several preceding elements perhaps shed light on Asher’s fatal ascent, such as the gifting of the Questa Lane property to a mostly indifferent Abshir (Barkhad Abdi), who doesn’t give Whitney and Asher the satisfaction they crave for doing a good deed, and the compromising of the couple’s “Passive House” certification to make sure their baby doesn’t get too hot in the summers.
Yet these events still fail to explain why this insane twist happens to Asher. What does it mean that Asher is pulled by an unknown force into oblivion? And what is that unknown force? For one, it’s easy to read the sequence as a metaphor about being fundamentally ungrounded. Asher has compromised his integrity so many times for the sake of affirming his wife’s righteous identity that it becomes his demise.