Spoilers below for Netflix’s new thriller The Watcher, so be warned if you haven’t yet watched!
Anybody who’s endeavored to enjoy the full runtime of any Ryan Murphy project is well aware the talented filmmaker and horror aficionado can make some truly unfathomable decisions from time to time, as every season of American Horror Story and its anthologized spinoff have proven. His newest episodic exercise in tension, Netflix’s The Watcher, largely bucked that trend, with a tight seven-episode season full of weird moments and a top-notch cast list. But the psychological home invasion thriller managed to stoke a whole lot of ire amongst its viewership thanks to Murphy’s decision to conclude the “based on true events” series in the same way things wrapped up for the real-life case. In that it wasn’t ever actually wrapped up.
The finale, titled “Haunting,” offered up a bevy of Ryan Murphy-esque twists and turns for Bobby Cannavale and Naomi Watts’ Dean and Nora Brannock as they attempted to rid themselves of the home at 657 Boulevard. Or at least one of them had such intentions, as it’s revealed Dean followed his obsession and inserted himself into the house’s mysterious lore for the newest owner, with a suspicious Nora keenly aware of his trip further down the spiral. And in the end, following Theodora’s falsified death bed confession and the full meeting of the Historical Preservation Society, The Watcher left viewers with the message that the 2014 New Jersey mystery the series was based on remains unsolved.
As it goes, Twitter users put on zero airs when sharing their frank AF opinions about The Watcher’s ending. This viewer wasn’t alone with the notion that was shared to others thinking about checking the show out, saying:
If you’re going to start The Watcher on Netflix, don’t. Officially the worst ending I’ve ever seen.October 16, 2022
Looking for something slightly more hyperbolic and questioning? There are 100% reactions on social media that follow suit, such as this one:
The ending of the watcher might be hands down the worst ending to any piece of cinema I’ve ever had to see. All the directions they could’ve went and THAT is how they end it? Utterly horribleOctober 14, 2022
Opinions like these did spark some opposing arguments from others, in particular that the Netflix series' unresolved conclusion adhered to the real life events. But those ideas often got quickly squashed with the counter-counter-argument that Ryan Murphy and his creative team introduced a lot of unexplained elements that weren't directly taken from real life. In some cases, it's more clear that viewers took far more issue with the abundance of loose threads and red herrings than a lack of justice being brought to the suburban town.
The words "waste" and "wasted" come up quite a few times in people's reactions to the seven-episode season, as it went in the post below:
Are you telling me I just wasted 7 hours of my life to NOT find out who the watcher is??????October 16, 2022
While the viewer below did use the phrase "waste of time," they acknowledged the fact that the show managed to pull off some terrifying moments ahead of its infuriation-causing denouement.
The Watcher on Netflix...dont even watch that shit im pissed TOTAL WASTE OF TIME had me all into the show for 7 episodes and the ending is complete and total bs! You had me terrified for hours...couldnt go to sleep and that ending make me angry! so dumb WASTE OF TIMEOctober 14, 2022
Others shared similar views, decrying the fact that their good-natured expectations throughout most of the season were upended by the total lack of closure.
The Watcher had so many good twists that made you look into every detail in every scene about every character… All for it’s ending to be that mid pic.twitter.com/0NiWJDAZjbOctober 16, 2022
Just to get a totally opposing view recognized in here, let's wrap things up on our own mysterious closer, with a glowing rating that doesn't stand up to the rules of math.
The Watcher on Netflix is a solid 11/10.October 16, 2022
Personally, I'm okay without The Watcher's true identity being revealed, since part of the show's purpose is to endlessly wallow in the unsteadiness of small-town paranoia. For the most part, it stacked up against some of the best true crime shows out there. That said, I do take issue with Dean's Stockholm Syndrome-ish flip in the end, which to me wasn't fully earned, unless he's meant to be seen as a wholly unreliable lead character whose mental troubles were worsening behind the curtain. Either way it goes, I'm still going to close the hell out of my curtains for the foreseeable future.
The Watcher is available to stream in full with a Netflix subscription, where you can also catch a bunch of other excellent streaming TV shows. And head to our 2022 TV premiere schedule to see what other new and returning series will be popping up soon.
Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.
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