The following post contains spoilers for The Watcher‘s finale. Proceed with caution!
Since they’ve resided at 657 Boulevard, little else has mattered to the Brannock family — and to viewers of The Watcher, for that matter — than uncovering the identity of the Westfield denizen writing them creepy and threatening letters. They’ve been circling answers, and even thought they solved the mystery a few times, but a concrete conclusion has thus far eluded them.
If you’ve read about the real-life Watcher story, you know the letters’ author has yet to be found — and Netflix’s adaptation ultimately stays true to that ending, with the finale offering zero clear answers about who sent Nora and Dean those initial mailings.
That’s not to say the finale doesn’t bring forth a few more theories. Early on in Episode 7, private eye Theodora confesses to Dean, on her deathbed, that she was The Watcher all along. She claims that she was 657 Boulevard’s previous owner before the Brannocks bought it; she had sold the house in order to afford her cancer treatments, then grew vengeful and resentful when she realized her ex-husband had squirreled away a substantial nest egg, and she hadn’t needed to give up the house, after all.
Theodora has an explanation for everything — the John Graff story (she says she made it up), the pigtailed woman in bed with Dean (a hired performance artist), all of it. But days later, Maureen (Margo Martindale) informs Dean that Theodora was neither a resident at 657 Boulevard nor a member at Westfield’s country club as she had claimed. When Dean and Nora later attend Theodora’s funeral after she succumbs to her cancer, Theodora’s daughter confirms that her mom’s confession was false; she concocted the story in order to give the Brannocks, especially Dean, some closure, having noticed how the case was still eating at them.
So, if not Theodora, then who? Well, maybe realtor Karen, who Nora comes to learn is 657 Boulevard’s new owner after the Brannocks move back to the city. Karen had always urged the Brannocks to sell, and The Watcher wanted the house for themselves, so she’d be a logical pick. But during Karen’s first night alone in her new place, an intruder floods her bathroom, murders her dog (!) and sends a threatening Watcher letter to her via the house’s dumbwaiter. Upon discovering her poor slain pup, Karen turns around to see a hooded figure standing on the staircase, but she takes off running down the street before we ever get a good look at the perpetrator.
There’s still the matter of John Graff, who we know was in those tunnels under 657 Boulevard and has been in cahoots with the Winslows all along. But the Brannocks never figure out who was in the tunnels, and John Graff’s continued residence in Westfield more or less remains a secret. The closest we come to any closure on that front is a final meeting of the preservation society, which has added Maureen and English teacher Roger Kaplan as members. When John Graff introduces himself as William Webster, Roger pointedly remarks that he recognizes John from somewhere. “How’s your family, Bill?” Roger asks, seeming to know that John killed his loved ones — but John doesn’t respond, and the meeting moves along.
But the lack of closure proves maddening for Dean, who remains obsessed with 657 Boulevard and The Watcher’s identity. At the end of the episode, we find that a new family has moved into the house, and they’re slowly picking up on their neighbors’ bad vibes. When one of the new residents, Ben, spots Dean standing in the road, looking up at 657 Boulevard, he introduces himself to Dean — and Dean calls himself John, claiming to live just a few blocks away. “Cool. See you around, then?” Ben asks, to which Dean ominously replies, “Definitely.”
When Dean gets back in his car, he watches through the rearview mirror as Ben checks his mail and clearly receives a mysterious envelope in the stack — but at this point, it’s hard to know if that letter has come from the original Watcher or from Dean, who had gotten into the habit of sending his own strange letters to Westfield residents out of spite. Dean gets a call from Nora, and he lies that he’s stuck in traffic on his way home from a job interview that he clearly didn’t attend at all.
“I’m really happy. I just hope you are, too,” Nora tells him. “I love you so much.” Dean responds that he loves her, too, and will be home soon… but moments after Dean pulls away from 657 Boulevard and rounds the corner, another car drives up to the house. The driver is Nora, and she’s been tailing her husband; she looks back at the house one more time, then drives off.
With that, I turn it over to you. How do you feel about The Watcher‘s ending? Cast your votes in our polls below, then hit the comments to elaborate on your choices.
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