‘Clock’ Ending, Explained: What Happened To Ella’s Father? Is Ella Dead Or Alive?

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People generally struggle to wrap their heads around the simple fact that some women prefer not having children. If an individual is disinterested in raising a family then they are looked down by society and questions are raised about their character. It is ridiculous how our biological clock becomes a concern for everyone around us, and the pressure to procreate is all too real. Ella Patel was surrounded by people who regularly reminded her that her decision to not conceive was a flawed one. Society often made her feel broken, and as she got older, she doubted herself. Her friends looked at her differently, her father shamed her for disregarding the family lineage, and she felt guilty for denying her husband the opportunity to have his own children. “Clock” is a maternal horror film that explores how far society can go to force women to play their traditional roles.

Spoilers Alert


‘Clock’ Plot Summary: What Is The Film About? 

Ella would often hide her disgust when her friends discussed the side effects of pregnancy. She could not imagine going through the changes that pregnancy brought to one’s body, and she was quite clear about her stance. While her friends could not envision their lives without their children, Ella cherished the life she was living. Even though her husband, Aidan, wanted to raise a family, he was supportive of Ella’s decision, and their marriage remained unaffected by it. Ella was also a renowned architect. She was content with her life, but that soon changed when she visited a gynecologist recommended by Aidan. It was just a regular checkup, but the doctor seemed a little too concerned about Ella’s decision to not conceive. She remarked that Ella’s biological clock was out of order, and with the right medication and treatment, her opinion about childbirth could change. Ella did not pay heed to the conversation then, but after her father mentioned how she was the shame of her Jewish ancestry, she wondered if she was making the right choice. Ella called Dr. Webber and expressed her interest in taking part in a clinical trial that aimed to prove that not choosing childbirth was a result of hormonal imbalance and could be fixed. Women who were not interested in becoming mothers were essentially physically damaged and could be helped with the right medication. Ella left her house and enrolled herself in the week-long trial, which was a combination of medication and therapy. She met Dr. Elizabeth Simmons, the brain behind the theory, at the facility and thus began her journey to fix her damaged biological clock.


Why Was Ella Terrified Of Giving Birth?

During the therapy session, Ella realized that her trauma was rooted in her family history. She was bothered by the grandfather’s clock at her father’s house. The ticking sound of the family heirloom constantly reminded her of her failure. After all the horror that her ancestors lived through, she was the one responsible for bringing an end to the family name. She interpreted the mass murder of her ancestors during the war as the extermination of bugs. After the therapy session, Ella often imagined seeing spiders around her. The lack of time and the feeling of being a disappointment often clouded Ella. In the session, she also saw a tall woman in black, but she could not understand the meaning behind it. The shadow of the tall woman often followed her, and her ghostly face left Ella terrified. She later realized that the woman was her grandmother, who had survived the Holocaust and traveled to the United States to start her life over. She raised a family after living through a nightmare, and her ghost taunted Ella for destroying what she had built. Ella tried to constantly remind herself that whatever she was seeing was a fragment of her imagination, but she eventually lost control. She became so delusional that her reality was a blur. She was haunted by the motifs and the voice of Dr. Simmons, and all she wanted to consume were the frozen eggs in the fridge. Her reality was gradually altering, but she was just glad that she now wanted a baby more than anything else.


How Was Aidan Responsible For Ella’s Situation?

After getting the implant, Ella followed Dr. Simmons’ instructions and avoided physical intimacy. When Aidan approached her during the last lap of her journey, she gave in. But unexpectedly, he suffered an injury as a result of the implant inserted in her. Ella grabbed hold of his bag to get the first aid kit, and while doing so, she noticed the infinite symbol on the bag, similar to the one she had seen at the facility. Even though he initially denied having any connection to it, Ella was not convinced. He calmly explained that he had heard about the groundbreaking research of Dr. Simmons, and he believed that maybe she could change Ella’s notion and fix her problem. Ella was disgusted by all the lies and pretense. The thought that Aidan, too, considered her broken and devised the entire plan to trick her into doing something that he wanted for himself destroyed her. She left the house to confront Dr. Simmons and to remove the implant that had lately been dictating her life for the worse.


What Did Ella Realize After Revisiting The Facility?

Ella stormed into the facility and demanded that Dr. Simmons take the implant out of her body. What Ella did not know when she signed up for the trial was that the implant would forever remain in her body. Elizabeth explained that the implant would permanently destroy the patient if removed, and they would never be able to conceive. Even though Ella wanted to fight Dr. Simmons, she sobbed and accepted that she was desperate for a baby. Elizabeth’s procedure was a success, and Ella could not deny it. While Elizabeth tried to bring the situation under control by taking Ella to her office, Ella noticed the other helpless patients lost in their delusional world. She realized that just like the clock, spiders, and the tall woman, her desperate need to conceive was a delusion as well. It was the medication and therapy that turned her into a different person, and her desire to become pregnant was not something that she, as an individual, wanted; it was something that was medically induced in her. She had lost touch with her own wants and needs and had become the woman that society wanted her to be. Ella refused to live in the pale, dull world and decided it was time to bring color back into her life. Once she accepted that she was not broken, there was no stopping her. She pulled out the implant with pliers and watched her world come back to normal.


‘Clock’ Ending Explained: What Happened To Ella’s Father? Did Ella Survive?

The night before Ella got to know about Aidan and his plan, she visited her father sometime around midnight after receiving an emergency call from him. He was on the floor when she reached his house, and she helped him get back up. He was suffering from guilt after he shamed her for the choice she made. In his dream, he saw the entire family line refusing to take him in because he had wronged his daughter. He was convinced that Ella had all the rights to defy traditions and become the woman she wanted to be. By doing so, she was not disregarding her inheritance; instead, she was writing her own story that was filled with love and happiness. All he cared for was his daughter’s well-being, but Ella had already traded her joy and identity to become more acceptable to her father. She had gone too far to please everyone around her, and even though her father’s realization was heartwarming, it was too late to save her. The ticking sound of the grandfather’s clock overwhelmed Ella, and she pushed it to the ground and broke it into pieces.

After the incident at the facility, Ella noticed the police cars outside and drove away in her car. She received a call from Aiden stating that he had called the police to arrest her after he had seen what Ella had done to her father. What she believed was the clock was actually her father, and she had mercilessly butchered him. She dismembered his body to stop the clock from ticking. Ella was not in her right mind when she killed her father. She was a different person who was driven by her desire to become a mother. Maybe when her father finally expressed his support, she could not accept it. She agreed to the trial to please him, only to realize that it was all for nothing. The police handcuffed Ella, and just when they were about to take her away, she ran and jumped into a lake.

“Clock” ends with Ella lying next to the lake and a fish crawling out of the water and squirming in front of her. We can assume that Ella died after jumping into the water. In her afterlife, she noticed the fish her father had mentioned when he had dreamed of his death. In his dream, the fish did not accept him, just like his entire family line. Perhaps Ella was reminded of her father, and after what she had done to him, she was afraid that she would be rejected as well. The fish is also considered a symbol of fertility and abundance in Judaism, though the ones without scales and fins are considered abominations. In the end, when Ella wanted to become a mother, it was the result of a chemically induced treatment. The desire to become a mother did not come in the form of a blessing in her life but rather a curse that destroyed her.


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Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni has worked as a film researcher on a government-sponsored project and is currently employed as a film studies teacher at a private institute. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies. Film History and feminist reading of cinema are her areas of interest.

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