How Are The Tethered Freed In 'Us' & 4 More 'Us' Questions We're All Asking
At the end of Jordan Peele's first horror flick Get Out, it was incredibly clear exactly what was going on the whole time, but Us is an entirely different story. The new movie has audiences leaving theaters with a bunch of lingering questions revolving around its creepy class of murderous doppelgängers, called the Tethered. Like, how were the Tethered freed in Us in the first place? Let's go over some of the most pressing questions that we really need a follow-up film to clarify.
Spoiler alert: This post contains spoilers for Us, so don't read on until you have seen it. Although Jordan Peele has yet to officially confirm or deny a potential sequel to Us, he did tease that there is a whole mythology of the Tethered that he purposely did not delineate in Us. That makes sense, considering Us leaves viewers wondering a ton of things about how the Tethered came to be, how they work, and what their master plan could be. Here are some of the major questions that Us fans really need answer to:
1. How were the Tethered freed?
Adelaide's doppelgänger, Red (who is later revealed to be the actual Adelaide) ,explains in the movie that the Tethered were created by the government in a failed experiment to control the public, but instead, the Tethered could only duplicate the exact actions of their human counterparts. A flashback shows that the Tethered lived in that underground lab, forced to exactly copy the actions of their counterparts since the '80s.
But somehow, the Tethered were able to stop mirroring their counterparts and act independently in the present-day timeline, allowing them to escape the lab and exact their revenge above ground. The movie does not explain how all the Tethered were able to break free from their forcible mirroring.
2. To what degree can the Tethered resist mirroring their counterparts?
Although the Tethered are able to move independently once freed from the lab, Jason discovers that his doppelgänger, Pluto, still has an urge to mirror his actions every so often.
This discovery leads to the pivotal moment of Jason killing Pluto by forcing him to walk into a fire, but it is unclear why Pluto still mimics Jason when the rest of the Tethered are free to move on their own. Perhaps all the Tethered still have the urge to mirror their counterparts, but are able to fight it, and Pluto gives into it more because of his youth? It is hard to guess without an answer to the first question.
3. Why didn't Adelaide escape the underground lab?
The big twist at the end of the movie is that Red handcuffed Adelaide in the lab when they met as children and took her place above ground. That begs the question of why Adelaide waited in that lab for so long.
At first, it appears that Adelaide is now stuck mirroring Red — having totally swapped places with her and becoming a Tethered herself — but that seems to change after her dance performance. The movie seems to suggest that Adelaide and Red became untethered after they both danced at the same time as children... although even that is not super clear. Still, if Adelaide was able to stop mirroring Red, then she could have escaped the lab long ago. Perhaps she was so obsessed with revenge that she chose to stay in the lab and plan her attack on Red, but she really did not have to stay in the lab just to make plans. Getting a better understanding of how closely connected Adelaide and Red really were after the switch would be key to figuring this question out.
4. What is the goal of the Hands Across America stunt?
Speaking of Adelaide/Red's revenge plan... its goal is not really made clear in Us. Red became obsessively inspired by a Hand Across America shirt that was left in the lab from the '80s, and she said that she wanted the emergence of the Tethered to make a statement. The result was a plan for all of the Tethered to stand in a line, hand-in-hand, stretching across America.
The resulting line is revealed to be massive, but the only goal seems to be spreading awareness that the Tethered exist. That may be the whole point, but the line also raises the question of how many Tethered there are. The line of people is shown to be way, way too big to have just been confined to the underground lab in Santa Cruz. Are these labs all over the country? And if so, that leads to another question:
5. Who exactly created the Tethered, and are they related to Get Out?
Red reveals that the Tethered were a failed government experiment from the '80s, and were created as an attempt to control the public with cloned human puppets. This description strikes some fans as an eerie similarity to the goal of the Armitage family in Jordan Peele's first horror movie, Get Out. Both groups attempted to gain complete control of human beings through creepy scientific procedures. It is spurring some fan theories that the Armitages were part of the government group that created the Tethered. Here's hoping Peele makes a Get Out & Us crossover movie next that really explores this possible connection.