The Watcher Ending Was Criticized By Viewers On Twitter

Like the real mystery it’s based on, The Watcher finale didn’t provide closure.

Noma Dumezweni as Theodora Birch, Bobby Cannavale as Dean Brannock in episode 102 of The Watcher.
Eric Liebowitz/Netflix

If you’ve already breezed through The Watcher on Netflix, you’re not alone. Within a week of its Oct. 13 premiere, the Ryan Murphy series quickly became the No. 1 TV show on the streamer. It dramatizes the true story of the Broaddus family (named the Brannocks in the show) who, in 2014, bought a $1.3 million New Jersey dream home, only to start receiving anonymous letters claiming they were being watched and were not welcome there. The series follows the family’s many attempts to find out who was sending the Watcher letters, but ultimately, The Watcher ending doesn’t arrive at an answer.

In Episode 7, Dean Brannock (Bobby Cannavale) thought he found it, as the family’s private investigator, Theodora (Noma Dumezweni), admitted her role to the entire Watcher scheme — a truly shocking reveal! However, the Brannocks soon learn that Theodora lied about her role in the scheme on her deathbed as a strangely kind gesture to help the family get some closure.

But Theodora’s last-ditch effort didn’t work. In the last moments of The Watcher series, we see both Dean and Nora (Naomi Watts) separately observing 657 Boulevard — this time as outsiders, having sold the home and watched new residents move in. A card appears on the screen, confirming that “the Watcher case remains unsolved.”

Though that last bit reflects real life, and The Watcher’s identity indeed hasn’t been revealed to this day, many viewers took to Twitter to express their confusion (and dissatisfaction) with the finale.

As several users pointed out, The Watcher was based on true events — so its lack of a satisfying ending very much mirrors the real frustration the Brannocks (er, the Broadduses) likely feel in real life. As the real-life Derek Broaddus joked to The Cut, “I had just turned 40 when we bought the house. I am now 93 years old.”

However, several viewers argued that The Watcher’s true story origins don’t absolve the show of its wide-open ending, especially since the preceding episodes did take several creative liberties. For example, Derek told The Cut that the family requested Netflix make several small changes in the streamer’s adaptation — including giving the Broadduses new names and changing the size of their on-screen family. One bigger change? The family wasn’t actually being stalked while dwelling in the home. In fact, they never even moved in.

Fans who wanted something more final from The Watcher finale may have something in common with Derek Broaddus himself, who reportedly told The Cut that he “wouldn’t mind it if the fictional house burned to the ground.”