3 Things I’m Still Confused About After Finishing ‘Devil in Ohio’

I took some time last week to blow through all eight episodes of the new Netflix thriller Devil in Ohio. The series, based on a novel by Daria Polatin, follows the story of a teenage girl who escapes from a satanic cult and the psychiatrist who takes her into her home. Part thriller, part drama, and with a few supernatural aspects tied in, Devil in Ohio has a hard time deciding exactly which genre it wants to be. Hence the reason I have three things I’m still confused about after finishing the show.

[WARNING: This article contains detailed spoilers regarding the Netflix series Devil in Ohio.]

Madeleine Arthur wearing a black dress and holding white roses in a production still from 'Devil in Ohio'
Mae’s plan had some holes in it. | Cr. Ricardo Hubbs/Netflix © 2022

Why is Helen so mean to Jules throughout all of ‘Devil in Ohio’?

Devil in Ohio paints Helen (Alisha Newton), the oldest Mathis daughter, as a very ambitious teenager who decides to attend Ohio State University in the fall with her boyfriend, Teddy. Jules (Xaria Dotson), the middle daughter, is a loner with only one friend at school. Helen continually blows Jules off, doesn’t allow her to sit with her at lunch, and constantly creates reasons why she can’t give Jules a ride or, basically, be in her presence for longer than thirty seconds.

Devil in Ohio builds up their rocky relationship throughout the entire series, but I never figured out why Helen acts like she’s allergic to her younger sister. We later learn that Helen previously had feelings for her teammate on the volleyball team but started dating Teddy instead. After Helen breaks up with Teddy, Jules implies that she and Helen are back on good terms, but we never learn why. Were the girls just acting like dramatic teenagers? Did Jules do something horrific that caused Helen to hate her? Why didn’t Suzanne (Emily Deschanel) or Peter (Sam Jaeger) step in and tell Helen to stop being a jerk to her sister? It doesn’t matter because we’ll never know.

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Did Mae gain control of the cult in the ‘Devil in Ohio’ finale?

Devil in Ohio features a last-minute twist in the finale. Just when we think Suzanne saved Mae (Madeleine Arthur) from the hands of the cult, we learn some new information. No one kidnapped Mae from the Harvest Dance to return her to her father. Detective Lopez (Gerardo Celasco) calls Suzanne on Thanksgiving to tell her what he learned. The cult packed up and headed to a different, unknown location. Plus, the video footage shows Mae dumping the red carnations for the Harvest Queen and replacing them with white roses. Mae also stole Teddy’s car and drove herself back to Amontown.

An uneasy Suzanne looks at Mae as she asks her to return to the table. The camera pans out, and we see a giant shrine Mae built in the nearby woods dedicated to Suzanne. Devil in Ohio makes it seem like Mae’s creating a shrine for Jules at first, but in the end, we learn that her ultimate wish was to stay with Suzanne and, apparently, isolate her from her family. Does this mean that Sliocht an Diabhall granted Mae’s wish? Did Mae have these powers all along? Does Mae now control the cult? It’s not that I desperately want these answers so much as it’s going to bug me for eternity.

Did Mae not think through what would happen if Suzanne didn’t make it in time?

Ok, I realize we have to suspend our disbelief when watching most fictional shows, but I can’t help but wonder if Mae really thought through her plan. When Mae pretended that someone kidnapped her and returned her to the hands of the cult, she planned on Suzanne showing up in time to save her, which Suzanne did.

However, those cult members seemed pretty intent on sacrificing Mae. What if there was a traffic jam? What if Suzanne’s phone died and she didn’t learn about Mae’s “abduction?” There are just too many pieces at play for my liking, and I feel like Mae didn’t really think this through. Of course, this means I’ll be thinking about all the potential ways it could’ve gone wrong for the next few weeks. Thanks, Netflix.

Check out Devil in Ohio, streaming exclusively on Netflix.

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