It is one good news after the other for Nora as episode 7 of The Watcher begins. While her first show was a complete success, half of her next has already been sold. She has received invitations from Geneva and Miami Basel to present a show there too. Dean isn’t doing well, though, having stayed at the house with the kids. Although Nora says it is because they didn’t want to leave the kids alone, the actual reason is more devastating.
He still isn’t over obsession with the house and the mystery that missed them. He has become delusional, talking about “John Johnson” and hiring a composite sketch artist. He even talks about the “growing sickness” in the house that he tried and failed to bring his family out of.
Nora tries to thwart him back toward reality and explains that the violence was random, not targeted. Theodora calls with bad news. She has been taken off the trial and that the cancer has spread all over her body. While Dean is off to fetch some things for Theodora, Nora mentions her problem with Dean’s obsession with her.
The next morning, Nora reads a new headline from the papers, claiming that the previous owners of 657 Boulevard are now targeting their former neighbors and writing them threatening letters. Dean reluctantly accepts it is him doing the deed and Nora is disappointed. So many so, saying that Dean is ruining this family by “not letting it go”. She will break off the marriage if he doesn’t go with her to apologize to the neighbors.
He receives a call from Theodora, who calls him to the hospital. Nora is out with her friends so it’s just these two. She concedes that she is in fact the watcher. She is the previous owner of the house.
After her husband died, she saved up a lot of money and bought it. She fell in love at first sight and was then diagnosed. Treatment was expensive but an oncologist in Mexico drained all her money. Theodora wanted to change the situation but couldn’t. She was forced into selling the house, only to later discover that her husband had half a million in royalties hidden away somewhere, which she now inherited.
Theodora confides to Dean that she felt like a prank was played on her. And then she concocted the plan to get the house back by convincing them to sell because of the letters.
When Dean asks why she is telling it to him now, Theodora says because “they” covered her tracks well, the question would always haunt him. She made Graff up to make the story more compelling. She hired an artist to play the girl in that video with Dean sleeping.
Andrew, she reveals, did indeed live in the house but was a drug addict and “very suggestible”. Using some of the photos, Theodora convinced Andrew of those details about Mo and Mitch. That had never happened in reality. H then tells Nora about the same and she is angry too. The couple has a moment of reckoning. The next morning, Dean drives up to Mo’s house and apologizes. Mitch has unfortunately passed away due to an embolism.
H mentions Theodora when Mo asks who the culprit was and then Mo says something shocking. She never had a black neighbor. No one of that description ever lived on 657 Boulevard. At her wake, the Brannocks learn the truth. It was only because of Nora’s heartfelt confession that Theodora planned to relieve Dean of the obsession by lying to him. She was not the watcher.
A brief flashback shows that an LLC bought it. So Karen and Darren’s plan was indeed successful. In the present day, the Preservation Society meets again. This time, the group has swelled. It is a real meeting or just something that Murphy imagines the meeting would have looked like in Dean’s head?
Roger and Mo are part of it too. Maybe that is what Mo tried to convince Roger about that morning we saw in episode 6. John’s full name is said to be “William Webster”. How cool that it sounds like John Johnson! It is another suggestion the meeting never really happened. But who knows? Roger even asks Bill about his family, with a coy smile on his face and ominous music playing in the background. Was the legend of John Graff true? We will never know.
They talk about the kitchen countertop in the Brannock house. Roger is apprehensive of intruding like this but Pearl and John back their claims. Karen has bought the house and started to live in it. Nora pays her a visit.
When her tone is again accusatory, Karen lashes back saying the Brannocks were stupid to be scared by the dumb letters. Karen just took up a smart business opportunity to make money. It seems like she is telling the truth as she was the one who asked Nora to stay back in episode 2 when she first tells the agent about it.
But seeing her wobbly, Karen sniffed out the chance and went for the kill. That is why she is the best in the business. While leaving, Nora says she “will be watching her”. Mo and Pearl greet Karen with sweets but she sends them away. And now, Karen starts experiencing the same things the Brannocks did. Someone calls and hangs up.
Somehow, the taps in the bathtub are opened and the water overflows into the living room down the stairs. Chamberland refuses to help her after she calls for help. She runs out of the house that night after her dog is murdered and someone stands on the staircase with a knife in front of her.
Dean is taking therapy sometime in the future. He talks to the therapist about his kids and Nora, who are all doing really well. Although he indicates he has been able to move on now, he can’t stop compulsively talking about it. He concedes to the therapist in the next moment he is still out for revenge and answers.
Maybe this story doesn’t have a happy ending. The house has a new family. They look happy enough from the outside as the neighbors see them settling in. The usual antics with Jasper, Peral, William, and Mo begin, just as they did with the Brannocks. In hindsight, it is as terrible and nightmarish as before.
Dean stands outside the house and looks on. Ben, the owner, greets him and Dean introduces himself as John Graff. He lies about living in Westfield and posts a letter in the mailbox as the watcher. Nora calls him into the car and he lies that he is stuck in traffic. She is proud of his changing behavior and he just cannot stop thinking about the house.
As he circles around the neighborhood toward his own house, another car pulls up, indicating it was following him. It is Nora, who knows what is up but has a blank look on her face.
The Episode Review
Well, that was a bit anti-climactic. Whenever occasions like these present themselves, Commissioner Gordon’s words ring loud and clear. “You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain”. Dean Brannock completely went off the rails after his family was forced to move out. And to his family, he would be a villain.
His madness and paranoia cost them their happiness and you could feel how close Nora was to losing it herself in this finale. Overall, we still are left with negligible answers. Like the other episodes, we have small cues as to who the watcher could possibly be.
What was interesting was how Ryan Murphy and the writers made the decision to keep the conspiracy theories just that. The deception was subtle enough to make us think one thing when that particular thing meant something else.
Jennifer Lynch helmed this episode and brought her characteristic details-crazed stamp to it. The quality was certainly elevated owing to her work in it. You might not have all the answers from this show but it was one hell of a ride.