Cora believed her mother had abandoned her and ran away to freedom. The Underground Railroad finale explained what happened to Mabel.
Much of The Underground Railroad was focused on Cora’s journey to freedom. Every now and then, she’d have thoughts of her mother, a woman she believed had abandoned her on a Georgia plantation.
Would a mother leave her child behind? That was something the viewers are left wondering all throughout the series. It’s something Cora is left wondering for her whole life, feeling the anger of being abandoned by the woman who should have loved her unconditionally and done everything she could to protect her.
In The Underground Railroad finale, we get to find out what happened to Mabel. Cora will never know, but as viewers, we get that closure. We also get to feel that heartbreak.
Mabel tried to go back on The Underground Railroad
During the finale, we see Mabel struggles with her best friend’s death by suicide. Polly also killed two newborns, leading to Polly’s husband being punished for her actions. Mentally, Mabel breaks, and that leads her to the swamp. It’s the same swamp we watch Cora and Caesar walk through during the first episode.
In fact, the premiere gives us some foreshadowing of things to come. Cora is almost bitten by a snake in the swamp, and that connects us to Mabel’s story.
While Cora avoided the snake, her mother wasn’t so lucky. Just as Mabel realizes that she’s in the swamp and is about to go back for her daughter, she is bitten by the venomous snake. Mabel dies in the swamp, never to be found by anyone. Even Ridgeway doesn’t find her, which leads to everyone believing Mabel got away.
It’s a bittersweet reveal. We spend this whole time wondering how a woman could leave her child behind only to find out that she didn’t. Mabel never really made a choice to go to the swamp as she suffered a break after everything she experienced. And she certainly never intended not to bring her daughter with her, or die in that swamp without her daughter knowing the truth.
What did you think of Mabel’s story on The Underground Railroad? Did you already know the story from the novel? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
The Underground Railroad is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.