'Us': The Tethered Explained

After the success of Get Out, all eyes were on how Jordan Peele would follow up his career in filmmaking with another horror. The writer and director knocked it out of the park, surprising everyone once again, with his inventive and mind-bending thriller Us.

The new movie raises a lot of questions as a family, played by Lupita Nyong'o and Winston Duke, encounter a group of doppelgängers who look frighteningly similar. Throughout the events of the film, we begin to learn more about their true nature. And it has a disturbing sci-fi twist that reflects on modern society.

Warning: Major spoilers for Us below...

To fully explain the group of "others" referred to as the Tethered, we should go back to the beginning of the film. Us beings with a block of text that addresses a system of underground tunnels; abandoned railroads, mines hafts, service systems all making up an intricate underground environment. It isn't until later that we learn how these tunnels were repurposed for a new society.

In the film, Nyong'o's character Adelaide discovered that the tunnels housed a group of people we can assume to be clones. They don't explain who are responsible for these clones, but that the group known as the Tethered were meant to manipulate their counterparts who lived above ground.

Unfortunately, their experiments did not work as planned — it appears that those who live above have more influence on their underground clones. The creations were left to dwell in this new society, and as Adelaide's own clone Red explains, they were left aimless in their confined locations.

The Tethered Red says she thinks the clones don't have souls of their own, and that they're tied to versions who live above. In this, she reveals their desire to overtake their aboveground counterparts in order to live a life deprived of them, all in the desire to lock arms and join together without the burden of a captive life, free from the oppression of shackles to deprive them of what they deserve.

Like all great science fiction and horror stories, there are a lot of implications as to what all of this means and what Peele is trying to say with this story. It could be in the vain of Get Out, speaking to the difference of class and social constructs being separated into the "Haves" and the "Have Nots," or it could be something else entirely.

Either way, Jordan Peele has another major accomplishment on his hands, telling an inventive horror story that manages to carve its own unique space in the genre.

Us is now playing in theaters.

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