‘The Watcher’ viewers exasperated by ‘horrible’ ending miss the point

This weekend, The Observer outmoded Dahmer as the most-watched Netflix show in the United States. You’d think that would mean people love Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan’s latest show. And you would be wrong. Several viewers took to Twitter to complain about the ending of this particular thriller. Spoilers ahead.

If you are unfamiliar with The Observerfirst of all, why are you reading this? The Observer is loosely based on The Cut article of the same name. The Netflix series follows the Brannock family shortly after buying their dream home. But it’s not long before this house turns into a waking nightmare once they receive a series of threatening notes from an unnamed creep calling himself The Watcher. This is basically where fact and fiction separate. While the true story featured an unknown person writing terrifying letters to a family whose last name began with “B”, there were no dying neighbors, shocking suicides, disturbing break-ins, animal or HOA cult murders in real history. All of these were narrative flourishes taken to make this scary story even scarier.

That’s probably at least part of why people are so crazy about The Observer‘s final. After seven episodes spent straying wildly from real life, “Haunting” takes a sharp turn in its final moments. The series never reveals who the Watcher is and ends with the text “The Watcher case remains unsolved”. And people don’t have it.

Yes, the hate is real. It is also somewhat understandable. The Observer the series has strayed so far from the real-life case, it feels a little weird that it decided to go back to its roots at the last second. Plus, as one user pointed out, the identity of the Watcher wasn’t the only mystery the finale didn’t solve. It also didn’t reveal whether or not John Graff was real, what his deal was, what was going on with those tunnels, and whether or not there was a neighborhood cult. These are important questions.

There’s also the nature of the cliffhangers themselves to consider. Most viewers really hate ambiguous endings. Of course, sometimes it works like with The Sopranos. But more often than not, it seems to lead to responses like this: over-the-top rants condemning an element of pop culture as the worst thing there is because of a single choice made in its final moments. Such is the nature of the Internet.

But if I can offer a contrary opinion, The ObserverThe ending isn’t bad. In fact, it fits perfectly with the themes of this whole story. Most of this series has to do with the role houses have in our lives. Logically, they should just be seen as a building that happens to be another possession, but logic is often not attached to this purchase. It shows in the way Nora (Naomi Watts) and Dean (Bobby Cannavale) desperately try to hold on to 657 Boulevard even when it costs them money they don’t have. This can be seen in the obsessive way Pearl (Mia Farrow) tracks the comings and goings of her neighborhood, claiming it’s in the interest of historic sourcing. We have deep and emotional ties to our homes. It is not uncommon for these attachments to drift into irrationality.

The observer’The final moments are not about the identity of this central writer. Instead, they tell how Nora and Dean’s irrational obsession turned this couple into new versions of the demons they just fled. The truth of this series is that 657 Boulevard doesn’t have a Watcher. He has a neighborhood full of them. Really, what could be more creepy than that?

In addition, all these free endings leave room for a possible season 2 of The Observer. Murphy or Brennan can’t say much more about the original case, but there are plenty of other real estate horror angles available to them. Wouldn’t it be great if Ryan Murphy could release a new “haunted” house season every year? This is the reality we could live in if The Observer becomes either an anthology miniseries or a drama. Yes, it sucks that we don’t know who the Observer is. But it also leaves room for even scarier television, potentially starring Jennifer Coolidge. This is the dream.



New York Post

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