The speculation surrounding “The Watcher” began as soon as Netflix released the trailer. After watching the show, we are certain that all that hype didn’t go to waste. The series has such incredible storytelling, accompanied by a somber mood. It revolves around Dean and Nora Brannock, an American couple who purchase their ideal house, 657 Boulevard, in Westfield, New Jersey. But they soon lose their tranquility a few days after moving into the house because of the threatening letters from an entity named The Watcher. The series is based on the 2019 real-life “Watcher Incident,” but much of the storyline is fictionalized for dramatic purposes. In reality, the mystery surrounding the Watcher is still unsolved, but what Murphy and Brennan intend to depict through this series is up for debate. Let’s see if we can find the Watcher in this fictional tale.
Dean’s Character Explained: Why Did Dean’s Mental State Deteriorate? Did He Attack Karen?
Dean (played by Bobby Cannavale) and Nora (played by Naomi Watts) are an ordinary married couple who dream of living in their perfect home. They decided to live in a suburban locality away from the hustle and bustle of New York City. Dean was a highly devout family guy who prioritized the happiness of his family above everything else. However, his character flaws were apparent when he became so overprotective of his daughter that he forbade her from donning eyeliner and lipstick. For a man who is this protective, it’s natural that the Watcher’s threatening letter would cause him a nightmare. So, he was compelled to become angry.
It was revealed that the previous owner of 657 Boulevard also received these letters. Dean’s viewpoint was altered by the statements made by a previous owner named Andrew Pierce, a deluded addict who said that the house and its neighbors were members of a cult, even if this might not be the case. After meeting Andrew, Dean began to take him seriously, which led to a change in his attitude toward his neighbors, Mitch and Maureen. Dean and his wife suspected them and started connecting the dots, despite the fact that the private detective, Theodora, didn’t find anything substantial against them. The letters could only be avoided as a prank, but things worsened.
Whenever Dean discovered a little bit of information, he became furious and determined to find the Watcher, but whoever the Watcher was, he/she was not a simpleton. Dean suffered as a result of his actions and reactions to every suspect without having sufficient proof. Everyone in the neighborhood, including detective Chamberland, became annoyed by his suspicion. However, the behavior may be excused, given what he and his family have been through. Even the threats extended beyond letters when a girl with pigtails appeared in his bedroom. The hidden subterranean entrance in the house, too, was frightening enough for the couple.
Meanwhile, Mitch and Maureen’s fake murder case, John Graff’s (played by Joe Mantello) appearance, and everything else tormented Dean so severely that it is only reasonable to assume that he may have had post-traumatic stress. He learned about John Graff from Theodora (played by Noma Dumezweni), who told him about how John murdered his family and fled. Dean said he had encountered John when he appeared at his residence and revealed his identity. Dean had to deal with a killer, or at least that’s who he assumed it was, which was clearly too much for him to stomach.
Dean struggled with the decision of whether to sell the house or stay in it during all of this. Dean did not want to let the dream mansion go easily, but when he was unable to make a partner in the law firm, he sent his wife Nora one last letter as a watcher, threatening her to leave the house. His internal struggles led him to do this and hide his failure in front of his family. Over the course of the series, it is assumed that Dean wrote these letters, but in our opinion, it is highly unlikely that someone who spent almost that much money on buying a house and doing various renovations would send letters to himself in his own house.
Throughout the series, the Watcher’s letters and the bizarre occurrences affect Dean’s mental health, so it would be a bit absurd to label him as the Watcher. Even the DNA sample taken from the letter indicated that the Watcher was a woman. However, the DNA in this instance did not match that of Nora’s either. Despite being a strong lady, Nora was prone to be perplexed by other people’s viewpoints. Nora’s confusion is understandable, given that her husband, Dean, kept secrets from her and wrote the last letter as a Watcher.
Karen’s suggestions about separating from Dean affected her easily. She was nearly certain that her husband was attempting to sell the home by sending her these letters, but she subsequently learned that everything was well-planned and had nothing to do with Dean. Nora tried her best to sell the house, but it was extremely difficult because of its bad reputation. Even if the house was sold, the worries lingered in her thoughts. She still suspected her husband, as if he could do something horrible in this broken stage of life. Nora was seen following her husband to 657 Boulevard.
Meanwhile, Dean, who went too far to investigate the truth and spent those horrendous nights alone in that house, found it difficult to give up. Nora, on the other hand, who cared about her family’s safety and happiness above all, just wanted to forget all these incidents. They shifted to the New York house, and Dean even joined therapy, but he could not forget the mystical beauty of the house. It was hard to ignore that, as terrible as their suffering was, the luxury of the house was wonderful and alluring. In the end, it turned out Karen (played by Jennifer Coolidge) bought the house to live in by herself, albeit she was unable to remain there for more than 48 hours. This time, the Watcher not only wrote to her in letters but also physically approached her and scared her away. The question is: If he were the Watcher, who only declared and demanded the young blood for the home, then why did he assault only Karen and not any prior owner of the house? So, it stands to reason that Dean or Nora might have visited Karen as the Watcher and exacted revenge on her.
Karen’s Character Explained: Did She Hire The “Pigtail” Girl?
From the beginning, Karen appeared to be a lovely friend but ultimately revealed herself to be a villain. No, I’m not saying that Karen was the Watcher, but her motivation placed her on the list of suspects, and thus we would love to entertain that possibility. Karen wanted Nora to sell the house at a cheap rate so that she could buy it. Unfortunately, Nora was a formidable player, which made Karen work harder. She never gave a thought to Nora or those letters; instead, she intended to frighten her away by pushing her to sell the house. Eventually, Nora found that Karen had bought the house when it was finally sold. Like all the others, this mansion caught Karen’s ravenous attention, and she desperately wanted to seize it. There was a likelihood that Karen was the Watcher because she didn’t appear to be scared to buy the house despite the frightening messages. It’s possible that Karen is the one who hired a young woman to frighten Dean in his bedroom. Karen might have made her dress like John Graff’s dead daughter because she might have gotten the information from her lover, Chamberland, and thought it would be great to scare them this way. However, if she really did something like that, she finally got her karma. Her greed for the house ended up being a nightmare for her.
The Neighbours Explained: Was There Really A Cult?
Every person in the neighborhood was a Watcher. Maybe the letter was sent by one of them or none at all but keeping an eye on the house turned everyone into a watcher. It might be Pearl Winslow and her brother Jasper or Maureen and her son Christopher. They had an oddly hideous style of speaking and tampering with other people’s property. Although Christopher had schizophrenia and Jasper had a mental disability, they both managed to get out of the suspicion. The human mind is so convoluted that it cannot be trusted. The neighbors either knew Watcher’s real identity (who may be one of them) or knew of something more sinister that they would have wished to keep hidden. They even formed a club to talk about the houses and their furnishings. Whether they acknowledged it or not, the neighborhood had all the possibility of being in a cult. They might not have been drinking blood, but apparently had something sinister going on between them. The hidden tunnel discovered in Dean’s house might have a connection with a neighbor’s house, where similar cult or demonic activities might have been conducted. Or it could have been the total opposite. The entire neighborhood might have some decent people, but the ominous happenings drove Dean and Nora to see them in a negative way.
Roger’s Character Explained: Was Watcher From Roger’s “Ode to a House”?
A major suspect, in this case, might well be Roger (played by Michael Nouri), who founded the creative writing group “Ode to a House.” He got the strange idea of writing a letter of adoration to the owners of magnificent houses since he admired them deeply. Later, he shared this idea with a group of students, who eventually started sending letters to houses in the same way. Roger wrote an admiration letter to a home, but when he received no answer, he sent a weirdly threatening letter to the owner of the house. Perhaps he was not just writing letters to these houses for a writer’s pleasure, but rather he demanded something in return. So, not getting a reply infuriated him. Since he was a little boy, Roger’s hope of having a dream house had been constantly crushed. Every time a house he had liked was lost due to a lack of money, he might have carried resentment for a very long time and had written these letters as a watcher. His intention was just to purchase this home for a low price or to terrorize a jovial couple as pointless revenge for his own incompetence. Besides Roger, it might well be any member of his group who is beyond the reach of detection.
John Graff’s Character Explained: Why Did Dean Introduce Himself as John To The New Neighbours?
John Graff, the former owner of this house, was a fugitive murderer of his own family. He has never been recognized since he destroyed his photos from all the family albums. He had also received letters from the Watcher, who had robbed him of his mental peace. Finally, when he started thinking of himself as a failure in all aspects, he killed his entire family and ran away while trying to hide his identity forever. When Theodora gathered all this information, Dean realized that he had met John. Several days ago, a man introduced himself as John and entered Dean’s house to warn him about Ellie and Dakota. He even told Dean about the local church where Theodora claimed the real John Graff used to go. When Dean actually met John Graff and spoke with him, it became clear that they essentially had the same ideas. Although Dean may not be religious, he is overprotective of his daughter, much like John. After everything he had been through, he chose to use ‘John’s identity’ since he felt like a failure too. He did this out of a sense of loss and irreparable grief.
It is still doubtful whether the man who introduced himself as William in the house discussion group was actually John. It is still a blur why a killer like John Graff did not kill anyone so far if he really was in town or why he might lack any motivation to do so. However, Roger in the group seemed to know the man’s identity. Roger had his eyes on the craftsmanship and beauty of the old houses for decades, so perhaps he saw John Graff when he used to live at 657 Boulevard in 1995. Being in the nearby area, Roger was aware of the Graff family murders. So maybe Roger recognized him as John Graff, who was identified as William in the group. Again, this could just be his misunderstanding, and William might just be William (another unknown resident of the house) and not John Graff.
Was Theodora And Other Neighbours Greedy For The House?
Theodora, among all of them, was only a beautiful human being who should be adored. She was a beautifully written character who was a cancer fighter as well as a true crime investigator. Despite her uncertainty in life, she was devoted to finding out the Watcher, as she never wanted any of her cases to be unresolved. So, she kept working on it till her last breath to get herself peace. Theodora was never interested in making a profit out of this family’s fear like everyone else did. She just did her job with dignity. In the end, when she knew the last moment had come, she decided to soothe Dean’s chaotic mind. As Dean became more and more traumatized and attached to the case, Theodora decided to do one last favor for him. She falsely confessed the crime of being a Watcher and represented herself as the culprit. She fictionalized the entire narrative and described the whole scenario from a new point of view. Dean was definitely struggling with the thoughts but eventually believed Theodora because it sounded like the truth. However, that moment of satisfaction was short-lived as Theodora passed away soon, and it came to light that she was not the Watcher and just intended to give Dean a sense of relief. It was the poetry of the series where she self-sacrificed herself and her dignity just to put an end to the trauma of the suffering family. Her sacrifice might not have amounted to much in the larger scheme of things, but her single act of kindness made her the hero of the story. She was the only selfless in the crowd of greedy eyes whose reputation as a Watcher was not deserving at all.
Why Did The Creators Not Reveal The Watcher’s True Identity?
In the puzzles of the Watcher, there were no real answers, so the series goes on with fictional concepts. The Watcher’s letters always mentioned ‘greed’, ‘young blood’, and other violent words. The Watcher mentioned that they have been watching 657 Boulevard for generations. It may sound insane, but this gentleman or lady made life difficult for every family that moved into the house because he or she had a fantasy of living there but knew they might not be able to afford it. However, apart from the letters, we have seen everyone become the Watcher. When the Brannock family first moved into the house, their neighbors were always keeping an eye on them, but when the family left the house, they started watching over the new owners. Even Dean was there watching over the house too. As if they were unknowingly perpetuating a loop in which the ‘watched’ eventually become the “watchers.” In light of this, it may be inferred that the prior owners of this home may have written to Dean, and Dean may have done the same for the subsequent owners, maintaining the cycle. There will always be conspiracy theories surrounding the Watcher mystery because, in reality, the Watcher still remains a blur. But in my opinion, it was greed. It was greed that kept an eye on the house and eventually became sinister. However, in reality, the Watcher’s letters stopped arriving after the Broaddus family’s departure, but the fictional representation “The Watcher” took creative liberty with the facts and suggests that the Watcher remains constant. The constant surveillance that existed around the house will remain as long as they harbor greed for the house. So as long as 657 Boulevard remains, there will be watchers around it.