The lead-up to the finale revealed the series’ most shocking twist: Carmel was the person who shot Masha, which she did out of rage after finding out that Masha was sleeping with her husband. In a different type of series, this revelation may have led to a tense or violent confrontation, but in the wellness focused “Nine Perfect Strangers,” the two women sit and hash things out.
Masha not only forgives Carmel, she thanks her. “This whole place is because of you, Carmel,” Masha tells her. “Because of my near death experience … This is because of you.”
This type of radical forgiveness was not what Carmel was expecting and, in fact, at one point in the conversation, she even begs Masha to turn her over to the police. More than most of the other characters on the series, Carmel has led a double life. There is the side of her that is chipper and goofy, and the side of her that is erratic and violent. After her violent outbursts, she not only shows extreme remorse, but also fear that her inability to control herself makes her dangerous. After 10 days in Tranquillum House with no major transformation, Carmel believes she is beyond help. But Masha isn’t willing to give up on her.
She subjects Carmel to two additional therapies: one involving a sensory deprivation tank and the other a locked, padded room (we’ll come back to that). While Carmel’s claustrophobia makes these experiences unpleasant, they do force her to dig deeper than she has before and confront the fear and pain that has controlled her life. As we see in a flashforward at the episode’s end, Masha’s forgiveness has had a profound effect on Carmel, and she’s even shown leading a group therapy class.