[Spoilers for Us]
It’s fitting that Us, a movie about doubles, is best seen twice, “once to take it all in, and again to pick up all the clues that you missed the first time,” as I wrote in my review. The Jordan Peele-written and -directed film is a fairly straightforward (and highly entertaining) horror movie for two-thirds of the running time, but in the third act, things get, well, let’s just say there’s a reason countless theories and “what does it all mean” explanations have popped up around the Tethered.
One such fan theory that’s been making the rounds has to do with Jason (played by Evan Alex), the son of Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o) and Gabe (Winston Duke). Turn back now if you haven’t seen Us; things are about to get spoiler-y.
So, at the end of the film, it’s revealed that Adelaide and Red swapped places (one more willingly than the other) when they were kids. Oops! But what if she’s not the only one who pulled the ol’ switcheroo? “The summer before the movie takes place, the boy [Jason] and his ‘tethered’ [Pluto] also switched places,” the theory from Reddit user “hoopsterben” goes before getting to the proof.
1. He forgot the magic trick. He didn’t actually forget the magic trick, he learned it successfully and burnt half of his face off in the process, though his tethered only has a slight memory of him learning the trick.
2. While at the beach instead of building sand castles he was building tunnels, weird right?
3. When both of the boys are in danger, the moms realize this had happened and each of them focus on their child. You can see in her eyes how sad she is when he burns alive.
4. At the end, he has realized that his mother, at one point, has also switched bodies. She gives him a look almost like “I also know what you know” and then he puts on his mask, as a symbol of the masks they will now wear for the rest of their lives. (Via)
This convincing theory would explain the look mother and son give to each other in the final moments of the film (the werewolf mask is his acknowledgment that he, like her, is a “monster”), and why Jason builds sand tunnels, not sand castles, while on the beach, and how Jason makes Pluto walk backward into the fire. Remember: the Tethered are able to partially control their aboveground counterparts; the character we think is Jason is actually Pluto the entire time.
The lower half of Pluto’s face isn’t just covered in burns because he likes to play with matches. The theory supposes that every time newly swapped Jason tried and failed to do his “magic trick,” holding the trick lighter right up to his face, Pluto matched the movement and suffered burns because of it. Which is further proof that Pluto is the original, untethered son, controlled by Jason. (Via)