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Fridge / Knives Out

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Fridge Brilliance

  • Several times during the interviews, Blanc hits a key on the piano he's sitting next to for seemingly no reason. Each time he does so, the detective asks the person what time he or she arrives at the party. As confirmed by Word of God, this is Blanc's pre-arranged prompt for the detective to ask the question.
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  • The tag line "A whodunnit like no one has ever dunnit," actually tells you the reveal. Nobody had dunnit. The poster shows the entire family, including Harlan Thrombey, the victim himself, with the tagline “Hell, any of them could have done it”. In a way, Harlan is responsible for his own death, so technically he’s the one who had "done it!"
  • Intravenous morphine acts fast. While the estimated time of death at ten minutes is approximately correct, such a massive overdose would have left Harlan completely incoherent in a matter of seconds. The fact that he was lucid for most of those ten minutes is the first clue that he wasn't really OD'd.
    • An even earlier clue is the basic premise of Act 1: the police, even a whole week after Harlan's death, are still working under the presumption of suicide and are initially only humoring Blanc with their redundant suspect interviews. The toxicology and autopsy reports are some of the first ordered and completed after a suspicious death, and there's no way they'd backlog the examination of someone that rich with such a demanding and influencial family. If Harlan had really OD'd, their investigation would already have found the lethal dosage of morphine and Marta, as Harlan's nurse, would already be the prime suspect in a presumed murder case. The fact that she wasn't automatically gives away that something shadier is going on and brings Marta's perception of events into question.
      • Further clue (and potentially completely unintentional): it's only visible for a few seconds, but the ketorlac and morphine bottles contain different amounts of liquid in them. The one labelled 'ketorlac' had more liquid in it than the 'morphine' bottle, and given that Marta just started him on both medications a week ago, neither bottle would have been refilled. Because morphine was previously used at a significantly higher rate than ketorlac (100 mg compared to 3 mg), that means Marta gave Harlan the right bottle the whole time. Blanc claimed she could tell the difference because of 'viscosity', but it's probably more likely that she could tell because one was heavier than the other.
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    • And at first, it would seem strange that Fran survived so long (Ransom must have injected her at least a half hour before she is found by Marta) given it was indicated before that death could happen as rapidly as ten minutes. Except that that was for an intravenous injection. Ransom, not a nurse, would likely have just stabbed the needle into Fran, meaning the drug is more slowly diffusing through muscle and other tissue, providing the dose over a longer amount of time.
  • Harlan's insistence on creating an entire plot so that Marta would not fall under any blame or suspicion for his death makes a lot more sense when we see how the family reacts to Marta being the recipient to all of Harlan's estate. He had just recently changed his will and had yet to reveal it to his family (except with Ransom). It's likely that he intended to carefully break it to them later on — regardless of whether or not they like the news, at least he'd have the final word on it, and he probably counted on having enough time for the family to get over the news and to support Marta against their potential ire. However, come the night of his death: he and Marta thinks he just overdosed on morphine at Marta's hands, and his mind has already jumped two, five, ten steps ahead on what could happen to Marta if it got out: we know that he wants to protect Marta because of her mother's undocumented immigrant status, but he also knows his will change is going to cause even more trouble for Marta. While still tragic, and while it really could have been avoided if Harlan paused to take stock of his symptoms, his insistence on the misdirection plot is a lot more understandable afterwards — even moreso when the family actually dares to entertain the idea of Marta giving up her inheritance under a suspected manslaughter charge.
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  • An early indicator that Ransom hired Benoit Blanc: the two men have never met, and yet on their first meeting Benoit is hardly able to get two words out before Ransom is making cutting remarks about his accent. Almost as though he'd done his research beforehand?
  • Why did Harlan's family turn out so vicious, entitled, and materialistic despite Harlan emphasize being a Self-Made Person? At first glance, it might seem like Marta is a better person because she's actually working class and unspoiled by money like his rich heirs. But there is another component: Her kindness. She was the only one who could beat Harlan at Go because she was just trying to make a pretty pattern while he played to win, Detective Blanc explicitly states at the end that her kind heart is her greatest strength. Harlan was a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, sure, but he still drilled into his family the value of money and material success (however self-made), rather than personal virtues like kindness, compassion, generosity, and altruism.
    • That Ransom is the only other character to beat Harlan, however less often, is a big clue that he's the real killer.
  • Walt Thrombey gives the impression of a kindly older man with a cane who has Creative Sterility; doesn't write his own stories but wants to make film adaptations of his father's books because "that's where the real money is," but when his wealth is threatened he proves to be just as greedy and vicious as his family. Walt Disney famously cultivated a kindly persona, used a cane later in life, and built his career on making film adaptions to pre-existing stories, which the Disney Company is famous for still doing today. While Walt is unlikely to be a direct stab against Walt Disney himself, the condemnation he faces in-universe for just wanting to make film adaptations of existing stories and being vicious and money-driven under his kindly persona can be seen as a stealth Take That! against the Disney Company in general.
  • Harlan mentions that Ranson can not tell a real knife from a fake one, which becomes important much later on. But Marta is metaphorically shown to be able to. When she administers the correct medication, even when the bottles are mislabeled. She knows the deadly medication from the safer one by instinct.
  • When the audience first properly meets Ransom, it's when he's being delightfully smug, cocky and kind of charming (in a nasty way) about the misfortunes of his family at the will reading. However, at the climax Blanc claims that this was actually a case of OOC Is Serious Business, and that Ransom would never have acted this way about being disinherited unless he had known in advance what was coming and had made his own arrangements. Thing is, this is actually clearly signposted throughout the movie; while Ransom's behavior was our first introduction to him in the film (and was what we mainly saw of Chris Evans in the marketing for the film), pretty much every other time we see the character he is a lot more subdued, serious and/or openly hostile. In other words, this is a subtle subversion of the Establishing Character Moment; the audience is misdirected by their initial introduction to a character into thinking he's always like that when, in fact, he isn't. You can't always trust first impressions, kids.
  • It's established early that Walt's central character flaw is his inability to come up with his own, original ideas - and his dissatisfaction that his father's books aren't entirely in his control. In his confrontation scene with Marta, even his idea to use the family resources to help her mother is immediately taken away from him when Marta realises she could just help her mother herself. Nothing in Walt's life is his own, not even his veiled threats!
  • The fact Meg's college tuition expenses are $400,000 and there's no sign she's anywhere close to graduating indicates that she's just as spoiled and selfish as the rest of the family (or that, at the very least, despite appearances she's perfectly willing to enjoy a cushy ride on someone else's dime). While Joni is using Meg's college fees as a method of embezzling from Harlan, the fact that there are two payments being made heavily suggests that Meg's college tuition is still being fully funded. It can also be inferred that Harlan knows or at least suspects / wants to avoid this — otherwise, why cut Meg off for her mother's misdeed?
  • Blanc never reveals who told him about Marta's condition, but it can be inferred that Ransom wrote it in his anonymous letter. Ransom is one of the few people who knows about it, and tipping the detective off about this would make it easier to get a confession from her, which is exactly what he wants. When Marta asks who told him, Blanc dodges the question, just like when Linda asked who hired him.
  • When calling Marta on behalf of her family to ask her to renounce the inheritance, Meg uses the claim that it rightfully belongs to the Thrombeys because "we're family". Throughout the film, Meg has been called a "Marxist". Marxism is in fact largely opposed to the concept of hereditary wealth (and certainly to the concept of hereditary wealth in sums of the tens of millions being passed on). It’s precisely because the idea that family members are entitled to a deceased family’s fortune is a tool for enabling the ultra-rich to retain their wealth and maintain existing power structures at the expense of the poor and lower classes. Assuming it is fair to describe Meg as either Marxist or Marxist-leaning (which, given her overall character, seems fair), either Meg doesn't actually know that in which case her understanding of Marxism is superficial, or she does and yet for one reason or another is willing to abandon her ideals when her own interests are at stake. Neither reflects that well on her.
  • The Thrombeys say that they think of Marta as 'part of the family' as a shallow attempt to seem kind and generous. After Marta inherits Harlan's entire fortune, they immediately begin attacking her and being openly hostile towards her. This is ironically how members of the Thrombey family treat each other normally.
  • When Marta intended to confess to the Thrombeys that she accidentally poisoned Harlan, she prefaced her statement by saying, "You have all been very kind to me," before Blanc interrupted her confession by angrily declaring, "Excuse me, you have not been kind to her, you have treated her like shit!" Given that Marta compulsively vomits whenever she lies, she clearly believed in her heart that, before the will reading, the Thrombeys genuinely were kind to her, and only during the Summation that she realized that, like Ransom, the Thrombeys were all assholes.
  • Many commenters noted that Marta sounded too happy about Fran having died from her overdose and getting Ransom to confess. When you rewatch the scene, however, Marta only sounds happy when she says, "Fran's going to be okay." The rest of the time? She's angry. Ransom tried to kill Harlan, did murder Fran in cold blood, and would have let Marta think she was responsible for her friends' deaths. What's more, Marta spent several hours thinking that Fran hated her in her last moments, only to realize that Fran was snarling about Ransom, the real killer. The happiness was an act she put on to deceive him, and what she wishes would have happened. Talk about Beware the Nice Ones.
    • She does say "that's excellent news" on the phone with the doctor, though...
  • Benoit annoys the cops by insisting on drawing out the investigation rather than letting them close the case. It actually makes sense in hindsight because he's a man who trusts his instincts; someone who hires him anonymously to investigate a suicide has an ulterior motive and would expect him to make an arrest quickly. He extends the case on purpose because instinct tells him, although Marta is involved, that she isn't a murderer even though the evidence points to her. It's also why he isn't upset when Marta confesses about what happened; before he reads the report, he assumes that Harlan was trying to protect his best friend as Marta told him. Ransom underestimated that Benoit would see the big picture and take his time trying to find that center within the donut hole, as he puts it.
    • Even better, Blanc figures out that Marta was involved as soon as he meets her. Watching the scene, it's clear that Blanc greets her and looks down, where he cannot help but see her shoe has a blood spot on it. His driving desire for the entire movie is to find out who hired him and why, because he knows Marta was involved immediately, and is confused about why she insists that she didn't when he knows she can't lie.
  • The film ends with one ambiguous question: after everything they've put her through, will Marta forgive the Thrombeys and help them out financially? Though there is no clear answer to this in the final shot, it's notable - especially in a film which hinges so much on paying attention to minute detail - that the closing soundtrack is the Rolling Stones' "Sweet Virginia", the final lyric of which warns: "You've got to scrape that shit right off you shoes."
  • In Blanc's first interview with Marta he ruthlessly exploits her "regurgitave reaction to mistruthin'". After that he knows he can ask her outright if she did it or if she knows who does. He never does. After their second interview, in which she gives a highly redacted and evasive account, he declares with a smile "Sounds about right. Thank you Ms Cabrera." He's just figured out how she fits in.
    • He also takes a rather long look at her shoes, but says nothing. Here's the first hint that he knows Marta is involved in Harlan's death.
  • If you think about it, you realize that Walt in particular screwed himself over by turning against Marta after the will reading. As noted on the Headscratchers page, Marta knows nothing about running a large publishing company and so would have to hire someone to manage Blood Like Wine for her. And given her kindly disposition and the fact that Walt seems to have done a perfectly good job running the company, it's almost guaranteed that she would have hired Walt back if he had treated her with any level of decency after the will reading instead of screaming at her and threatening her.
  • Check out the poster on the main page. Everyone's wearing vivid colors, like they're characters from Cluedo.
  • A small one: Ransom's name. He has a normal (if a little stuffy) first name, but goes by his colorful and very unusual middle name, so there must have been a significant reason for his parents to prefer to call him Ransom. Most likely Linda chose the name Ransom as a nod to her dad's mystery-writing credentials, and either a) a way to associate Ransom with the Thrombey family, since he has a different last name than Harlan, or b) a way to try to impress or please her father.

Fridge Horror

  • Linda says that she hopes Harlan will have one last surprise for her, which he does in the form of her finding out that Richard is cheating on her. It’s also pretty tragic that the last note she receives from her father is one bringing her terrible news.
  • Linda loses her husband, son, and father in short order, leaving her with nothing but her own miserable self and her remaining money.
  • While some are quick to point out that there wouldn't have been a suicide to begin with had Harlan allowed Marta to call an ambulance, it doesn't erase the fact that Ransom (or any member the Thormbey family if they thought like Ransom) could have tried again and most likely succeed without as many outs as Marta would have gotten.
  • Wealth utterly destroyed the Thrombey family. Marta runs the risk of it doing the same to her own family unless she heeds the lessons learned from Harlan himself and the rest of the Thrombeys.
  • When it’s revealed that Marta is Harlan’s sole heir, the family looks like they’re about to physically tear her apart. What would have happened if Blanc and the other detectives weren’t there to get her out safely?
  • Ransom burned down a forensic lab to cover his tracks. How many cases will be affected because of his selfish action?
  • Harlan put the misdirection plot together rather quickly—probably mostly a combination of his decades of experience as a mystery writer and the adrenaline surge from the situation he's in. But he relays it all to Marta so calmly and fluently, and the plan is so airtight that only a detective looking very closely—which we see nobody but Blanc bothered to do—could bring it down. He knew where the security camera range cut out, he knew that Walt would just impatiently send him back to bed without talking to him (or even taking a closer look) if "he" wandered downstairs, he knew how to get someone into and out of his house without them being seen by the crowd of other people who were there. It may well be the case that he'd thought about something similar before: once his family turned against Marta (which they would have done eventually whether they knew about the will or not—and as soon as he told Ransom, surely Harlan figured the whole family would find out about the will), it was highly likely that they'd come up with some kind of allegation against her, be it abuse or medical errors or whatever, to get her out of the picture. He may well have had a version of this plan on the back burner for awhile, in case something were to happen and he needed to protect Marta from a false accusation of involvement.
  • Why wasn't Fran at Harlan's funeral? It's possible that the family didn't consider her worthy of an invite either.

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