Episode 1 of Behind Her Eyes begins with Louise getting dressed ready for her big night out. Or, as Louise calls it, “drinks with a mate.” Well, that mate happens to be Sophie who unfortunately bails on her, leaving Louise all alone in a raucous bar with a glass of wine.
On the way out though, she accidentally spills a drink on a suave man’s shirt. She buys him another drink, charged an eye-watering £12 (wow, welcome to London!) and eventually sits with him.
The two immediately hit it off, sharing more than one drink as they both set boundaries. Louise won’t go home with him, but he does kiss her goodbye. Only, he suddenly gets cold feet and leaves, telling Louise he can’t do this. Well, we soon find out why.
Louise shows up at work where David happens to be in an office. It turns out he’s the man from the bar and he’s there with his wife, Adele. After heading home and mulling it over, Louise takes a turn for the worst when she suddenly experiences a strange night terror.
Her son Adam is there, inside a dilapidated house with an eerie green hue clinging to the walls. Louise awakens with a start though, as this strange presence remains a mystery for now.
Meanwhile, David prepares for his first day at work, saying goodbye to Adele. It’s clear the pair have problems though, which are exemplified when Adele opens up her cupboards to reveal a whole stack of pills. Is he keeping her indoctrinated? Well, David promises to call at 11.30am as Adele calls after him cheerily, “I’ll be here!”
While David attends a meeting, Louise drops off Adam at school and heads in to work. She immediately ruins her white top by spilling ketchup all down herself. She tries wiping it off but it’s no good, eventually finding herself face to face with a very shocked David. She promises to keep things discrete and not mention it to anyone, especially given she’s now working as his secretary. He eventually apologizes as Louise jokes that he could do with a psychiatrist.
Well, the two eventually start working together as Louise points out a number of different hotspots in the community. Apparently his specialty is dealing with addicts and as the two casually flirt and dance around what happened between them, we see a vastly contrasting conversation ensue.
Around a table full of psychologists, Adele and David discuss their marriage and in particular, David’s big opportunity in this town. Adele puts him on the spot and back home, begins kissing him intimately. She promises that this will be the last time as David exasperates, telling her he’s not able to do this again. Quite what that something is remains a mystery, but for now the two make love. Only, it’s clearly mired in tension.
During a flashback, we see glimmers of Adele’s past. Rob and Adele are patients at a rehab centre as Adele is called the “girl who paints fires.” Rob is dubbed the “boy who sleepwalks.” It’s a hiccup in what’s otherwise an episode rooted in the present, with David eventually deciding to hand over Adele’s phone.
He’s going to be doing outreach work for addicts and that means he’ll be away from her longer than he normally is. She calls him a good man and reassures her lover, telling David it won’t be a problem.
Louise struggles to shake the images of David, as the two are nervous around one another at work. We continue to see glimmers of Louise’s past too, with a bottle of pills spilling on the floor and that familiar eerie house. A piercing scream from Adam and piercing screams from Adam sees Louise awaken suddenly, out on the balcony after sleepwalking. She collapses over and begins sobbing, sporting a cut wrist for her troubles.
In the morning, Ian drops off Adam to Louise with a big proposal. His new partner, Lisa, is expecting their child and they have an offer on a house in the South of France. Ian wants to take Adam with him, for the month anyway, to allow him time to bond with Lisa.
Louise is completely against the idea though, believing herself to be the “practice wife” for Ian’s new family. Even worse, Ian has already got Adam excited about this. Thanks to Sophie’s kind words, Louise eventually comes round to the idea, allowing her to take this time to recharge and find herself, which may just be what she needs to change her life.
Lost in her thoughts after dropping Adam off at school, Louise bumps into Adele in the street. They properly introduce themselves as Adele invites her out for a coffee; the perfect remedy for knocking her down. “You lead, I’ll follow.” She says, as they walk together.
The Episode Review
Dark, creepy and incredibly mysterious, Behind Her Eyes starts off with a really compelling and smartly written episode. Exposition is delivered naturally, with some well-crafted dialogue that drip feeds information right the way through.
There’s a lot to like in this character-driven ensemble and there’s definitely a few key moments that help this stand out. Moments like Louise getting flustered, spilling ketchup down herself and even getting jealous at Ian help to make her a relatable and realistically depicted main character.
The mystery is smartly written too, so far at least, with the screenplay constantly bringing up questions and evolving the different relationships naturally over time. It seems like Adele may well be David’s patient and things became intimate while now he could be stuck in this toxic relationship after she’s caused fires in the past, especially with that “girl who paints fire” line from the brief flashback.
In the meantime though, this episode completely flies by with a tight script and a gripping atmosphere. The thin slivers of horror come from Louise’s visions and her sleepwalking seems to mirror Rob’s condition from the past, especially with that line about sleepwalking.
We’ll have to wait and see how this transpires of course, but Behind Her Eyes gets off to a very promising start.