‘Obsession’ Ending, Explained: Is Jay Dead? What Happens To Anna And William?


“Obsession” is a new mystery drama miniseries on Netflix with tags of steamy and thrilling associated with it, and to be honest even such marketing gimmicks fell short in selling the underdeveloped show. Adapted from Josephine Hart’s 1991 novel “Damaged,” the four-episode-long series follows William as he gets embroiled in a scandalous affair with his soon-to-be daughter-in-law, Anna. While most performances and all of the plot never really seem to fit into place, the ending also comes as a rather anticlimactic turn that does not bring in any surprise value either. Overall, “Obsession” can be given a short watch, but no expectations are to be held from it.

Spoilers Ahead

‘Obsession’ Plot Summary: What Is The Series About?

William Farrow is a renowned surgeon in the UK, handling the most complicated of cases with great success too. “Obsession” begins with William operating on conjoined twins, and his success in saving the lives of the two babies is instantly celebrated among his peers and in the media as well. In his personal life, William is happily married to Ingrid, and the couple has two grown children, Jay and Sally. In order to spend a relaxing weekend away from their busy professional lives, William and Ingrid visit the latter’s family home in the countryside. Ingrid’s father, Edward, who seems to have high reach among politicians and diplomats, wants his son-in-law to step into politics as a sort of health advisor, and William does agree. Soon we are introduced to Jay as he visits his family and tells them about his new lover, whom he has been seeing for some time now. While Jay does not intend to tell them everything about her right away, Sally fishes out the lover’s name from her brother—a certain Anna Barton.

Back in London, Edward throws a party to celebrate William’s professional success and also his decision to join politics. At this party, a younger woman catches William’s attention, and soon the two are introduced to each other in a manner where you know that something might happen between them in the future. This woman is indeed Anna Barton, Jay’s girlfriend, and she leaves a definite impression on William’s mind after their short encounter. As Ingrid and the surgeon return home that night, he hides the fact that he has just met with Anna. The two meet once again that weekend when Jay invites Anna to his house to meet his parents, and William now has to consciously hide his growing interest in her. Gradually, as it becomes clear that Jay is going to propose to Anna, his mother, Ingrid, becomes concerned about the age difference between the two, for Anna is quite a few years older than Jay. But William, though, finds himself in a very different sort of concern as he keeps getting attracted to Anna.

Who Was Texting Threats To William?

William and Anna keep getting more attracted to each other, and within a few days, they arrange a date between themselves. Anna invites William to meet her at a flat, where they get intimate, and this becomes a regular occurrence for them. She tells the surgeon that she wants to engage with him only inside this flat and that they will need to make all efforts to hide their affair outside. Anna promises to give herself all into the affair and agree to whatever William says if he agrees to let her fix the timing of their meetings. The man agrees, and so they continue with this setup for some time until he follows Anna and Jay to Paris, where the couple goes to spend a weekend. Jay also proposes to Anna soon after this, but a new danger arises for William when he starts getting threatening texts from an unknown number. This unknown individual orders William to reveal his affair to his wife, or else they will take the matter into their own hands and inform Ingrid of the same.

Initially, it is made to seem like the person sending these texts is Peggy, who is Anna’s best friend. Peggy actually owns the flat where Anna and William conduct their affair, and she keeps the keys with Anna whenever she has to go out of town for work. One night, when Peggy suddenly visits the flat, she gets to meet William, who had ignored Anna’s last-minute text to not come. Gradually, as Anna and Peggy’s close friendship is revealed, the woman tells her friend about the affair that she is having. Anna also tells her that William is her soon-to-be father-in-law, and Peggy is not too amused by this. “Obsession” initially makes it seem like it is Peggy who threatens William since her attempt at convincing Anna does not work out.

However, later it is revealed that the actual sender of those threatening messages was William and Ingrid’s daughter, Sally. Anna had a particular habit of maintaining a diary about her deepest feelings, and in it, she started keeping a detailed record of every time she slept with William. When she first showed this to the man, he was amazed by it, and out of his obsession to spend more time with her, he tore off a couple of pages and kept them in his pocket. Later that day, Sally happened to be wearing her father’s jacket, and in its pocket, she found the pages that described the private moments in a detailed manner. Since the record did not actually mention either of the two participants’ names, Sally was convinced that her father was having an affair with someone. In order to stop this extramarital affair and ensure that William would come clean to his loving and trusting wife, Ingrid, she started to threaten her father over texts.

Sally confides in Anna about all of this, and the latter is relieved to finally find out who had been sending the texts to her lover. Anna smartly averts the situation by admitting that it was actually she who had written the account but lies that it was a record of her intimate moments with Jay. She says that William had found it at their country home after she had dropped it and had promised to return it to her when they met next. With Sally fully convinced of this story, the threatening texts on William’s phone also stop.

What Had Happened In Anna’s Past?

As “Obsession” does not really provide any reason, backstory, or context behind Anna’s uncontrollable attraction towards William, she appears to be swept away by all the thrill and also the tinge of scandalous immorality associated with it. But her apparent love for her husband-to-be, Jay, has a clearer reason behind it, which both her mother, Elizabeth, and Peggy realize immediately. Jay’s physical appearance bears a very close resemblance to that of her elder brother, Aston, who committed suicide sometime in the past. The relationship between Anna and Aston had been extremely unusual, owing to the fact that the brother was quite literally in love with Anna. While she also did have the same love and care for Aston as siblings usually have, the brother was actually physically attracted to Anna as well. Aston would often go to Anna’s room at night and hurt the modesty of the girl. Then one night when Anna had refused Aston, the brother had supposedly killed himself out of grief. Anna was hurt and deeply affected by this past of hers, and the show almost chooses the word “damaged” for her in this context. The woman’s decisions to repeatedly get involved in scandalous as well as dangerous scenarios stemmed from this experience, and her obsession with being submissive to a set of rules during intimacy also seems to have the same origin. Jay is actually not the first man whose life Anna tears apart, as her mother later suggests, considering that Anna had actually done similar things in the past, that too multiple times.

In the end, Anna is also troubled by the fact that her mother, Elizabeth, had actually always known about Aston’s immoral feelings for her. The mother had even noticed her son entering her daughter’s room at night, but she never stopped him or confronted him about any of this. Elizabeth says that she felt her daughter was happy with the whole relationship and had, therefore, never stepped in to stop Aston, which itself suggests that the mother, too, is damaged in her ability to think rationally.

What Happens When Jay Finds Out About His Father And Anna? How Does Jay Die?

After Jay and Anna’s engagement is celebrated with a party hosted by the Farrows, a bachelor party is hosted for the man by his friends, and William is also invited to this event. However, William receives a text from Anna during this event, and he starts to look for an excuse to leave. When the father and son have a word about their changing lives and the future, William tells his son that the best thing one can do is just “learn to love the questions.” This immediately strikes Jay, for the same expression had been repeatedly said to him by his fiancée Anna. By this time, most of the family had been having doubts that William was either having an affair or was up to something strange. Jay decides to do the math and follows his father out of the pub and throughout the metro ride, reaching the building where William has his affair with Anna. Jay now calls up Ingrid and asks her if she knows where his father is at the moment, but he also does not say anything definite to his mother. Instead, Jay enters the building and follows his father to the top-floor flat, from where he hears noises of someone panting profusely. Shocked and in utter disbelief, Jay forces the door open to see his fiancée and father engaged in an extremely compromising situation. Almost stunned by this sudden realization, Jay walks out of the flat backward and does not notice that he is nearing the staircase. Jay ultimately falls over backward, plummeting from the height, and immediately dies amidst a pool of his own blood. 

‘Obsession’ Ending Explained: What Happens to Anna and William?

Following the accident that kills Jay, Anna goes away from England, deeply saddened by the death of her lover and also wanting to stay away from William. This is because, despite his son’s death due to reasons linked to him, William still wants to be involved with Anna and continue their affair. Ingrid either guesses everything following Jay’s demise or is told everything by William, and she wants to end their marriage. The woman tells William on the day of Jay’s funeral that it is the last day he will ever see her, and William does not really seem too affected by it either. Instead, he seeks out Anna and forces Peggy to tell him about her location. William finally ends up at the resort where Anna has been staying, somewhere in Europe, hoping to reconcile with her. However, Anna remains resolute in her stance; she had always told William that their affair would work only if she had Jay in her life as a husband and that the affair would always go on as long as she was married to his son. The supremely toxic characteristic of such a proposition aside, Anna remains determined in her decision till the very end.

After both the characters return to London, Anna visits the flat for one last time and finds one of the ribbons that she and William would use during their intimate sessions. She then meets with Peggy, who tries to comfort her friend and assures her that she will always be there for Anna. On the other side, William buys the flat where he and Anna would meet after the property is put up for sale, and he also finds Anna’s diary hidden in the fireplace. The reason why William buys the place is to remember his time with Anna and cherish those memories, and reading the diary, he does the same. The ending makes it clear that the two characters are no longer together now.

“Obsession” ends with a scene of Anna consulting a psychotherapist after having gone through all these experiences. In the end, the male therapist asks Anna whether it would help her to have some rules in their conversation, and the woman’s eyes light up at this proposition. It is suggested that Anna suddenly finds one more man who bears a resemblance to her brother and dead fiancé, and she is extremely interested in trying out a similar game of obsession with him.

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Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya keeps an avid interest in all sorts of films, history, sports, videogames and everything related to New Media. Holding a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies, he is currently working as a teacher of Film Studies at a private school and also remotely as a Research Assistant and Translator on a postdoctoral project at UdK Berlin.

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