No good deed goes unpunished. Good psychological thrillers are a dime a dozen, but those that deliver a truly unexpected finishing touch are a rare breed. Legacy, the twisty thriller starring Lily Collins and an almost unrecognizable Simon Pegg, is a wild ride. A wealthy and politically powerful family is shaken when the patriarch Archer dies. Familial resentment runs deep in this family, and when the legacy is revealed, Lauren (Collins) gets a much smaller slice of the pie.
She assumed it was because she had the audacity to become a civil servant. We later learn that Archer got him the district attorney job. She wants to distance herself from her family’s heritage by being morally disciplined. However, all of this is threatened when she receives a key that unlocks decades of deception and worse.
The key unlocks a bunker with a man claiming to be Morgan, a friend of the Archers. He claimed he was placed there because after a night of drinking and gambling, he witnessed the accidental murder of a man. Instead of going to the police, Archer chained him up in the bunker and kept him there. Morgan claims this is how he knows so much about all the Monroes. He tells Lauren about the crime, his father’s feelings about him, and Archer’s mistress and son.
Throughout Inheritance, Lauren is haunted by what her father did to Morgan and constantly speaks with him to the detriment of her job and her family. He uses his sense of justice against her. Morgan also uses enough truth with his lies to make himself seem honest. He knew where the dead student was buried and the name of Archer’s mistress because that part of the story was true. Very little else was, however. Here’s everything you need to know about the Legacy ending, the man in the bunker, and that weird key lime pie recipe.
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The End of Inheritance Explained
At the end of Legacy, Lauren lets Morgan go with 100,000,000,000 in cash and another million in an untraceable bank account. She enlists the help of the family’s attorney to provide him with papers so he can leave and stay gone for good. Unfortunately, Morgan isn’t an innocent man who Archer kept chained up in the backyard bunker for thirty years to cover up the death of a college student. Morgan is actually Carson, a sadistic rapist who drugged and raped Lauren’s mother thirty years ago. When Archer grabbed it, he intended to destroy it, but he hit the student before he could continue. The man did not die, however, and Carson broke his neck and buried him. This dead student is the real Morgan.
Knowing he had influence, Carson threatened to blackmail him indefinitely. Archer chained Carson in the bunker and held him there, beating him ever since. The problem is, Archer never told anyone what was in the bunker, so when he died and left Lauren the keys to the bunker, she had no idea what she was getting into. . At first, she thinks he gave her this burden because she was the most pragmatic of the group. It was the same reason she thought he didn’t love her as much as his brother. In reality, Archer didn’t treat her the same because of something completely different. She is manipulated by Carson who goes through Morgan into thinking he was an innocent man in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Lauren had no trouble believing that her father had chained a man in the bunker to protect his family’s money and power as she had just learned of all of his family’s misdeeds. His brother was currently securing his political position through payments his father had started, so lying and cheating seemed to be part of the family business. In reality, his family wasn’t great and a man died when Archer punched him, but Carson was worse.
He was a master manipulator who ripped information from everyone, one piece at a time, to use later. He knew exactly when to push and pull Lauren and, probably, Archer too. Archer used Carson as a journal. He confessed all his sins. This is how Carson knew so much about the whole family. Why Archer was stupid enough to tell Carson about his family, I can’t imagine. Probably, Carson cheated on Archer like he did on Lauren. He was biding his time, waiting for the right opportunity to strike.
Instead of leaving on the plane, Lauren arranged for him; he returned to the Monroe house and chained Lauren and her mother to the bunker. At this point, Lauren knew that Morgan was Carson and that he had raped her mother because she saw the police file and freaked out. Unfortunately, she realized it too late.
As Carson pontificated about how awful his family was and how tough and brilliant he was, Lauren’s mother grabbed a gun and managed to tear herself away. As Lauren and Carson exchanged blows and blows, Catherine prepared to kill the monster that raped her all those years ago. In a final twist, Carson reveals that he wasn’t just the sadistic twist who raped Lauren’s mother; he was also Lauren’s biological father. Carson and Lauren fought and while he was distracted, Catherine shot him dead. The two women then made a pact to cover everything up and keep the family secrets. They burned everything in the bunker and presumably went on with their lives.
How did Archer die?
We know he didn’t die of natural causes, as stated. We see him stumble out of the woods, and after seeing what’s in there, it becomes clear he was visiting the bunker. Morgan/Carson admits he had held small amounts of poison that Archer would inadvertently leave behind. Archer kept trying to kill him but was never able to. Over time, Carson was able to steal enough poison to kill Archer. According to Carson, while they were playing chess one day, he injected Archer with the poison and managed to stumble out of the bunker and into the car before dying. He is possible it was a lie, however, and Archer died of a heart attack after learning something terrible from Carson.
Why did Archer leave the bunker to Lauren?
Archer didn’t kill Carson all those years ago because he thought it would hurt more to keep him alive and chained in the dark. He believed that torture was a fate worse than death. He was probably right. However, this left him vulnerable to Carson’s machinations and created a mess for Lauren to deal with. Archer left the bunker to Lauren because he believed it was now his burden. Not only is it cruel, but it’s unfair. It wasn’t her fault that Carson had raped her mother, and she shouldn’t have to deal with her father’s mistakes.
What is the recipe for lime pie?
No one relied on Carson’s mental resilience. He was not broken by his time in captivity. His resolve was strengthened. The constant recitation of the key lime pie recipe was a defense mechanism to keep him calm and focused. It was a meditative song that kept him going through his darkest moments and helped him make plans and remember details. This is why he is seen reciting it while preparing things, making plans, or trying to stay calm in his cell. He tells Lauren that the thought of eating a “freedom pie” once he escapes is what kept him going. He didn’t eat it when Lauren got a slice for him in the bunker because he wasn’t free yet.
Legacy is about the many forms that evil takes. It is the rapist who delights in the pain of others and the legitimate man who thinks he can and must cover up the death of an innocent young man. It is also found among the wealthy who display their wealth and protect themselves by the power it gives them. Lauren was the best of them, but she wasn’t clean either. She didn’t imprison Morgan/Carson, but she tried to force him to flee forever. Lauren threatened him with cold cases and told him she would pin them all on him if he ever came back. Lauren also covered up her family’s involvement in the Ponzi scheme she was pursuing. She used her position just as her family used theirs. I guess Archer would have been proud of her after all.
Legacy is streaming on Netflix right now.
Tracy Palm Tree
As the editor of Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre entertainment. I grew up with old school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. My work can be found here and Travel Weird, where I am the editor.
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