Dead Ringers (2023) ending explained & the true story

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Dead Ringers is probably one of the most shocking TV series released in 2023. Landed on Amazon Prime in April, it follows the story of two twin sisters, both brilliant gynecologists, who open a birth center under particular circumstances while the events take a controversial direction. The ending may need to be explained to most viewers, and the hidden curiosity is that a true story is behind the TV show. Let’s discover everything.

You can watch the official trailer for Dead Ringers here on Youtube.

Dead Ringers (2023) ending explained

Beverly and Elliot are two twins physically identical but with entirely different characters. Beverly is shy, she’s driven by altruism, and has high moral standards; Elliot is cocky and drug-addicted, she cannot accept any separation from her sister, and she secretly carries out illegal experiments. They are inseparable, but their different attitudes will create distance between them, especially after Beverly falls in love with Genevieve.

Elliot is incredibly jealous of Genevieve because she knows her relationship with Beverly will trigger a separation. During the first part of Dead Ringers plot, Elliot tries to harm Genevieve and Beverly’s relationship, and at some point, she succeeds: during the dinner with her parents, Elliot reveals to Genevieve that she was the one approaching her the first night, as a “gift” to Beverly. This triggers the breakup: Genevieve leaves Beverly although she’s pregnant with her babies.

From that moment on, the harmony between Beverly and Elliot seems re-established. But it doesn’t last long, this time for different reasons: Silas, the writer hired by Rebecca to build a positive story about the twins, discovers all of Elliot’s immoral behaviors and will publish a piece that will destroy her. Rebecca pulls strings in advance and ends up agreeing with everyone around Elliot to collaborate on her destruction. Everyone will reveal meaningful information so that Elliot’s career is over, and she’ll no longer have anything to do with them. With some effort, they manage to have Beverly on their side: the night she receives an award for her work, she publicly states that from that moment, the birth center has nothing to do with Elliot any longer. This is the event that triggers the ending of Dead Ringers, which needs to be explained.

Elliot has a breakdown and disappears. Beverly and Genevieve restore their relationship, but Beverly struggles to deal with her sense of guilt. She keeps hearing Elliot’s voice in her head (“Baby sister”). One day, Tom, the lab guy, confronts Beverly and expresses a brutal truth: what Beverly did will kill Elliot. When Genevieve leaves for work, Beverly can’t help looking for Elliot again. She finds her in her secret lab, observing the fetuses she secretly raised, genetically coming from Beverly.

The ending of Dead Ringers develops so fast that it needs to be explained: Beverly understands that Elliot has to die, also for a question of public image, but she cannot accept it. So she decides to sacrifice herself and let Elliot live as Beverly: she tells her that she has to “climb inside her now,” she hands her hair tie over to Elliot, and the pact is sealed. Elliot sedates Beverly, simulates a C-section on herself, then performs the C-section on Beverly, delivers Beverly’s babies, and leaves her open. The doctors at the birth center will help her, and they will all assume she’s Beverly. 

The ending of Dead Ringers is, therefore, a terrible story of sacrifice, and the way Beverly dies has explained much about the twins’ psychology. Although Beverly knows she did nothing wrong, she can’t live without Elliot and doesn’t want her to die, so she sacrifices herself and let her live. On her side, Elliot lived her life unable to separate from her sister, but in front of the necessity that one of them has to die, she accepts to live and kill Beverly, driven by her immoral character.

The true story of Stewart and Cyril Marcus

Dead Ringers, the series on Amazon Prime, is based on the 1977 book Twins by Bari Wood and Jack Geasland, which is actually based on a true story: the controversial case of Stewart and Cyril Marcus, two male twins who lived between 1930 and 1975. They were both gynecologists working together at the New York Hospital and Cornell University Medical College. They died in 1975 in strange circumstances: their bodies were found dead in their respective apartment, and the cause of death was apparently a suicide, but there was a two-day difference between their deaths. This means that after the first one died, his brother kept visiting his body in his apartment for a couple of days, living his life, and then deciding to take his own life too.

Stewart and Cyril Marcus were both addicted to barbiturates and were known in the hospital for their weird behavior. Their colleagues confirmed that the two gynecologists often operated in an altered state of mind, and their behavior was out of control in the months before their death.

The book Twins by Bari Wood and Jack Geasland was published a few years after their death, presenting a fictional story inspired by the concept of two twins with a controversial relationship. In the book, the protagonists are two female gynecologists who cannot live without each other. They are so inseparable that, in the end, they will decide to undergo an operation that will make them conjoined, living the rest of their lives with two connected bodies.

Besides the series on Amazon Prime, there was also a movie, Dead Ringers, directed by David Cronenberg in 1988. In that movie, the protagonists are again male, and they both die, as in the true story of Stewart and Cyril Marcus. 

In conclusion, the true story of the Marcus twins inspired three fictional “Dead Ringers” works (one book in 1975, one movie in 1977, and a TV series in 2023), each providing a different take on the concept of the ill relationship between two twins sharing everything in life.

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