7 Hidden Clues/Humor You Might Have Missed in Knives Out.[Spoilers!]

So far, the RunPee Family watched Knives Out 7 times combined to do the Peetimes. Yes, it’s that hard! The movie is filled with clue Easter eggs. Like one of the characters says, “This guy pretty much lives in a clue board.”

Watching it the second time the next day, I noticed so many things I overlooked the first time. Some of them are just impossible to spot the first time because a significant plot distracts you. I can’t wait to share my findings, so let’s dive right into it!

#1 The Baseball
This is the finding that makes me most proud. The arc of the baseball contributes not to the main murder case plotline, but the “Linda-Richard” relationship. Here’s the trip the baseball took:


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  • Richard first threw the baseball out of Harlan’s office window after finding out the letter he threatened to send to Linda is a blank paper — he felt played.
  • In the next scene, Detective Blanc notices the baseball and picks it up.
  • The next day, the dogs come to Blanc, drops the piece of wood from the wall frame, and bites on the baseball he was holding at the time. Blanc throws the ball for the dog to retrieve. But before the dog comes back, he notices the piece of wood and gets distracted.
  • The dog still has the baseball in its mouth a day later, at the family gathering requested by Marta. They thought she’s going to renounce the inheritance. The dog sits next to Linda. Linda recognizes baseball and takes it from the dog. She goes to put the baseball back to her father’s office. Notices the letter opened by Richard. Thus, finding out Richard’s affair.

See the full circle here? The director brilliantly made Richard bringing it all to himself.

Read more about the Baseball story here.

#2 The “Extra Bowl”
Remember the scene where Ransom (Chris Evans) and Marta sit down in a restaurant after the will is read? Ransom asked for an “extra bowl” from the waitress — for Marta to puke in later. I didn’t notice it even the second time, but Dan did.

#3 Where Is Marta from?
You probably get the symbolic immigrates subtext the first watch. But do you remember where Marta is from? Different characters describe her as from Ecuador, Brazil, and Uruguay — and perhaps a few others I forgot. The intention is clear: nobody of the Thrombeys’ family really cared.

Read more about the political subplot in Knives Out here.

#4 Secret Messages
Yes, it was revealed at the end of the movie, that it’s a father-daughter game to use invisible ink as Harlan and Linda’s secret form of communication. But the director had actually given us a clue before that. When Linda was in her room reading the letters from her father over the years, if you look closely, you will notice the burn traces.

#5 “Dogs are the best judge of characters.”
Yes, it’s so blunt that you won’t believe it the first time watching it. But it’s that simple. The movie starts with a scene of dogs running on the lawn. The dogs interacted with three main characters. Marta, Ransom, and Linda. They are very friendly towards Marta and Linda and aggressive with Ransom. If you look back at each of the characters, Marta is the kindest. Linda is the only one in the family that actually cares. (She looks down on her brother, but still protects him in front of the police) And Ransom? I don’t need to tell you about Ransom.

#6 What’s With The Donut?
The whole “Donut speech” delivered by Daniel Craig at the end of the movie is just so brilliantly funny. But why the donut? I have a wild guess. The director takes the genre — “whodunnit” — and turns it into a wordplay. “Dunnit”, “Donut”. Yes?

Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but since we’re having fun… The throne of knives forms a donut. When the detectives interview the characters they sit in the chair in front of the knives, ostensibly “filling the donut hole.”

#7 Stage prop
Last but not least. On the faithful night of Harlan’s death, as Marta gives him his medications he talks about his children and their problems. While talking about Ransom he picks up a knife and removes it from its sheath, and says, “There is so much of me in that kid: confident, stupid, protected. Playing life like a game without consequences. Until you can’t tell the difference between a stage prop and a real knife.” Then he stabs the knife into the tabletop. Of course in the climax of the movie Ransom tries to stab Marta with a stage prop.

Did you spot any other hidden clues? Let us know in the comments below.

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42 thoughts on “7 Hidden Clues/Humor You Might Have Missed in Knives Out.[Spoilers!]”

  1. Another Easter Egg involving the ball that is thrown by actor’s first name Don, who plays character with last name Drysdale: Hall of Fame pitcher Don Drysdale!

      1. I was Thiiiiiiis close — I was watching the dogs, not the ball. They did NOT like Ransom. I jotted down who they didn’t like. These things are never random and a good reason to see this twice!

        Did you hear the dog bark sounds at that end?

    1. I was wondering about that myself. Detective Blanc said he noticed it right away but she didn’t come anywhere near the body. And even if she does have blood on her shoe: she’s a nurse. That shouldn’t be a surprise. I think that was just sort of a writing blunder that shouldn’t have been in the script.

        1. Yes, she was. When she snuck back into the house and went into his study he was still alive, but only seconds later he slit his own throat, and a stray drop of spray landed on her shoe. There’s a single flashback scene showing exactly this.

  2. Ransom and Marta sit down in the restaurant with Gordon Lightfoot’s Sundown lyrics playing “Sundown you better take care, If I find you been creepin’ ’round my back stairs”

  3. The 2nd time Blanc talks to Marta, he mentions “foot” or “feet” several times, e.g. “The game is afoot”, etc. I’m thinking that’s a hint that he already noticed the blood on her shoe.

  4. Both him and Marta thought she overdosed him with Morphine injection by accident. To save Marta from serious charges of his imminent death, he had to make it look like a suicide, by actually commit a suicide.

  5. At the end of the movie you see the scene where Linda finally reads the letter. The next time you see here husband he has a black eye.

  6. When Ransom and Marta are Chatting at the restaurant and this is a stretch, in a way he is calling for a “Ransom” payment by telling her he wants a cut and he’ll keep quiet. I know it’s more of a black mail thing but hey I tried.

  7. I noticed something but couldn’t be sure.

    There’s a scene where Marta was eavesdropping the three detectives and there was a glass decoration showing a man handing a skull to another man (possibly a king). I’m not sure what this painting is and the significance/hidden details. But immediately after that, Blanc look into the holes in the painting.

    Is it possible that it foreshadows the time when Marta handed herself over and that’s where Blanc look into the ‘holes’ in the donut?

    Another possible Easter egg is the name Marta itself. The other famous Marta is Mary and Marta in the Gospel of John where Marta was wrongly accused by Mary but Jesus said “she has chosen what couldn’t be taken away from her”. Just random thoughts just after watching this marvellous movie.

  8. oh I think that in the start of the movie when marta looks up at the portrait of Harlan he’s got a straight face and at the end when she looks at his portrait again he’s smiling

  9. Came from Harlan’s knife wound when it spurted out at the time Marta returned momentarily to confront Harlan prior to his suicide.

  10. Was martas sister watching columbo in kitchen scene? Blanc columboish with overcoat and cigar. Then Marta mother watching murder she wrote. Harlan a mystery writer.

  11. In regards to #6 above and the throne of knives… When the initial interrogations are taking place, Linda, Richard, and Walt are all sitting to the side of “donut”. Although later in the movie, when Marta is brought into the room, she is placed directly in the center, thereby filling in the proverbial hole.

  12. What was Marta dropping in the woods when detectives and Blanc were out looking for clues? The camera specifically zoomed in on a round multi-compartmented thing she stuck back in her pocket?

  13. Good eye! That would be the magnet from the gatekeepers fridge. There was a shot of that magnet when they first arrived the gatekeepers room. We didn’t see Marta taking the magnet but apparently she did. And put it in her pocket to wipe the tape(that was in the same pocket) from the surveillance.

  14. There were definitively a lot of “circle” images in Knives Out, all to place the circular knife display in mind.

    Good catch on only Marta sitting “inside” the knives.

  15. Not sure if this is an easter egg, but… The guy who read the will was Frank Oz. And Great Nana kinda looks like Yoda. If only she talked like Yoda… “Messed up this family is”

  16. I think it is neat that Harlan gives away the ending of the movie long before the end of the movie. When Marta tells him about the mix up, he decides that a good mystery plot would be to have someone deliberately switch the drugs and for the antidote goes missing, making it too late for the ambulance to keep him from dying. Harlan writes all this down in his notebook. So immediately after, we see that Marta doesn’t have the antidote and that the ambulance cannot arrive in time. So half of his story written down just came through and the rest is revealed to have happened at the end of the movie.

  17. I should also add that Harlan has a knife when he is talking about Ransom. Then, whenever we see his portrait, both the notebook and that exact knife are in his hands. The knife representing Ransom as the killer and the notebook on the method of the attempted murder.

  18. There is a hole in Ransom’s shirt when he gets the toxicology report. Possibly another play on the “hole in a donut”?

  19. Not sure if this has been mentioned yet. When Harlan comes up with a plan for Marta, he asks her to ‘do this one last thing for me’. Harlan already knows that if Marta is convicted of his murder, the will will be changed back so that his family get the inheritance. Since he doesn’t want this to happen, he wants to make sure Marta is not convicted.

    I think he cares about her situation as an immigrant as well but thought that it was strange that he asked her to do it for him.

  20. at first I thought the wooden sea captain statue was a prop from Columbo, but now from the reading I have done it may very well be from Sleuth. let me know what anyone thinks

  21. LOL, missed up this family is indeed!

    That was Frank Oz? I need to watch Knives Out again to catch everything people mentioned!

    @Stephanie, eyeballs? I’m going to have to look for that. Not sure I remember eyeballs all over the place. But if they are, I’d say that eyeballs are the windows of the soul, or maybe it indicates just how little privacy there is among the people in this house. Someone is always watching.

  22. Can you tell me who the woman was that Don Johnson was have the affair with that was never answered I thought it might have been Marta and then Possibly Fran the House Keeper

  23. A very quick and barely noticed piece of evidence concerning the secret letter from Harlan to Linda was the bowl of lemons on Harlan’s desk. Lemon juice is what is used to make “invisible ink”.

  24. Good catch, Teknocritter. NOTHING is random in a good mystery movie.

    When I watch this movie again on my next international flight, I’m going to re-read all these comments to catch everything. I think this thread is turning into a great reference.

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