The Watcher ending explained – who is the Watcher?

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: October 13, 2022
View all
The Watcher ending explained - who is the Watcher?

This recap of The Watcher season 1, episode 7, “Haunting”, contains spoilers. It openly discusses The Watcher’s ending.

What does “the end” even mean, in a situation like the one Nora and Dean Brannock are going through? Initially, it was about security, or perhaps status; it was the big house in the suburbs, safe from the hustle and bustle of the city. That was the end. But really, it was only the beginning.

“The end” became about proving something; knowing who was at fault, who was harassing the family out of their home for seemingly no reason. At some point, as the costs of the investigation and the ordeal mounted, “the end” became a financial concept, either freedom or going under. If the Brannocks couldn’t find out who the culprit was, they could at least bow out having gained something tangible, and lick their wounds elsewhere.

But the Brannocks left 657 Boulevard having proved nothing, and being unable to sell the house. “The end”, then, might be forgetting they were ever there. Nora’s art is taking off, so they don’t have to worry about money. But Dean can’t accept that. He can’t accept that they had everything they wanted and have ended up right back where they started, as though they stepped on the head of the snake that winds all the way to the bottom of the board. He’s obsessed with finding out the truth, or, failing that, getting revenge for what happened to them, which is why he’s mailing letters from “The Watcher” to his former neighbors, to give them a taste of their own medicine.

Dean knows there’s still more to the story. And he’s right.

The Watcher season 1, episode 7 recap – the ending explained

Theodora is dying. So, she calls Dean to her deathbed to tell him one last story. The previous owner of 657 Boulevard was her.

What Theodora had mentioned previously about her husband was true until it wasn’t. She did find the woman he was cheating with and warn her away, and they did live happily ever after. But then they got divorced. Because Theodora was the primary earner, she had to pay alimony. Then he had a stroke and died and she was financially free — well-off, even. So she bought the house. And soon after she was diagnosed with potentially terminal cancer. The only clinic that seemed willing to treat it was in Mexico, but being saved required that she sold the house. Like Dean, she felt as if she had been given a taste of paradise just for it all to be ripped away.

Only subsequently did she discover that her late husband had squirreled away over a million dollars in royalties. She didn’t have to sell the house after all. And now the only way to get it back was to convince Dean and Nora to sell. Having received an Ode to a House letter soon after she moved in, and having looked it up and seen the accusation Carol Flanagan made against Roger Kaplan, Theodora devised a plan. She wrote the letters. She made up John Graff and hired the man who pretended to be him. She hired a performance artist to play the role of “Pigtails”, and she snuck her in a window since she didn’t know about the tunnels. She planted the idea of the letters in Andrew Pierce, who had never received any, but soon believed he did.

Why tell Dean? Because she covered her tracks so well that he’d never find out the truth, and he’d never be able to live with himself if he didn’t.

With this news, Dean goes to visit Mo to apologize for sending her the letter, and to give his condolences over Mitch, who has apparently died of an embolism. But when he tells Mo what happened, she has a counterpoint. She knew the private old couple who sold Dean and Nora the house. She knows all of the women of color who are members of the country club and — nobody should be proud of this, she says — there aren’t very many. She’d remember Theodora, and she doesn’t, which means Theodora is lying. When Nora and Dean attend her funeral, Theodora’s daughter explains that she wrote herself into the story to give it an ending — to give the Brannocks some peace. But this is only halfway through The Watcher episode 7, so there’s more to come.

Meanwhile, the Westfield Preservation Society has expanded to include Mo and Roger Kaplan. We also finally get to put a name to “John Graff” — William Webster, though Roger recognizes him and rather suspiciously asks him how his family is.  If Theodora’s story was all made up, which we now know it was, then there’s still every chance that this guy is John Graff, and the evidence supports it — he even knows what the kitchen countertops in 657 Boulevard were made of in 1995. Roger is a little puzzled about how the Preservation Society can determine how people design the interiors of their homes, but as Pearl says, they only make strong suggestions.

Anyway, the Brannocks sell the house — to Karen. And of course, all manner of weirdnesses occur when she moves in, including a letter from the Watcher, the bath taps being left running, her dog being killed, and a strange, hooded figure roaming around. Sound familiar?

A new family moves in, and while we don’t see what happens to them, given how many people — Mo, Jasper and Pearl, John Graff — are watching the place, one assumes it won’t be anything good. Dean is there, too, though he introduces himself to the new owner as John. Despite his efforts at therapy and moving on, Dean can’t leave the house behind. He lies to Nora on the phone, pretending to be stuck in traffic. And when he finally pulls away, Nora herself pulls up right outside the house, though it’s difficult to tell if she’s following Dean or if she, too, can’t quite bring herself to move on.

The Watcher season 1, episode 7 ends by informing us that the case has never been solved.

Who is the Watcher?

While The Watcher ends without ever properly explaining who the mysterious letter-writer actually is, it’s strongly implied to be the so-called Westfield Preservation Society, or at least the original incarnation of it, which is Pearl, Jasper, and John Graff.

Realistically, at least in terms of how events have been presented throughout the season, these are really the only people who could be responsible. We know they knew about the tunnels. We saw John Graff in there. They could have snuck Pigtails in that way, and if “William Webster” was really John Graff, he would have known to dress her up as the daughter he killed in the house, as sadistic as that idea is. When Pearl suggested that Jasper may have written the Ode to a House letter on the typewriters at the public library, which is where “Bill” apparently works, she could have been telling the truth, since that connection makes total sense.

Pearl, at least, also seems to pre-date John’s arrival in Westfield in ’95. We know Mo and Mitch arrived in ’96, the year after, so they weren’t the original Watcher who drove John to kill his family in the first place, which means that Andrew’s theories about them being blood cultists doesn’t ring true. However, he was an addict, and clearly unstable, so receiving the letters alone could have driven him to those kinds of crazy imaginings. It stands to reason that Pearl was the original Watcher, used the letters to send John mad, and then somehow recruited him into the fold to assist with tormenting future occupants into keeping the house untouched.

Additional reading:

You can stream The Watcher season 1, episode 7, “Haunting”, exclusively on Netflix. Do you have any thoughts on The Watcher’s ending? Do you have any idea who the Watcher is? Let us know in the comments.

Endings Explained, Netflix, Streaming Service, TV, TV - Ending Explained, TV Recaps
View all