The Watcher season 1, episode 4 recap – “Someone to Watch Over Me”

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: October 13, 2022 (Last updated: February 17, 2024)
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The Watcher season 1, episode 4 recap - "Someone to Watch Over Me"


Some very wonky character decisions and plot turns conspire to bring The Watcher down a notch, but a last-minute development opens the story back up again.

This recap of The Watcher season 1, episode 4, “Someone to Watch Over Me”, contains spoilers.

There’s really no wonder that Dean Brannock is frustrated. He’s deep in a financial hole, he’s been passed up for a promotion at work, he’s being threatened, he may or may not have had a conversation with a man who murdered his entire family, his daughter resents him and is having a potentially illegal relationship with a legal adult, his wife thinks he’s being cagey because he’s on the brink of bankruptcy and keeps badgering him for sex when he’s trying to research a 25-year-old cover-up involving the entire town and its police department, and his tan suit is absolutely awful. What’s a guy to do?

The Watcher season 1, episode 4 recap

Threatening Karen’s boss with legal action — for not disclosing any of the crazy stuff that happened in 657 Boulevard at the time of sale — doesn’t work. Staying up all night drinking coffee and poring over the evidence Chamberland mysteriously supplied doesn’t yield any new connections. Theodora is beginning to double up as a marriage counselor as well as a PI since Nora is back at home and keeps calling out Dean’s shifty behavior when they discuss new ideas. It’s a nightmare.

But Theodora does have a theory. She thinks that Dakota has a motive to harass the Brannocks since his business is security, and nobody wants security unless they feel threatened. Dean has a bee in his bonnet about Dakota anyway since he knows something is going on between him and Ellie — she was earlier sending him pictures of her in just a bra — and he keeps contriving reasons to return to the property and flirt with her. Since Dakota is an avid gamer, Theodora hit on the idea of hacking into his in-game communications by having someone — presumably an associate of hers — camp outside his house and brute force their way into his chat. This is obviously illegal and Theodora seems to have done it entirely off her own back, which if I was Dean I’d be furious about given she’s on his payroll, but nevertheless it yields an interesting clue: Dakota’s gaming pseudonym is “The Watcher.”

If Dakota is the Watcher, that makes it an even bigger problem that he’s carrying on a relationship with Ellie, so Dean and Nora conspire to snatch her phone during dinner and see what she’s up to. Dean heads straight to her photo album — and not her messages, weirdly — and spots the sexy pictures being exchanged back and forth, so he heads downstairs and goes ballistic, grounding Ellie for the foreseeable future. She says she hates him, obviously, but show me a teenage girl who doesn’t hate their dad.

Anyway, Dean confronts Dakota about all this the next day. Ellie calls the police when she sees Dean shouting at him, and they arrive in literally seconds, as do the neighbors, including Pearl, but nobody cares — the age of consent in New Jersey is 16, and there’s no evidence that Dakota has been sending the Brannocks anything. Dakota is allowed to go, and immediately goes home and tells his mother that the family he’s working for is accusing him of something he didn’t do (though he neglects to mention sending their 16-year-old daughter a picture of his abs.) They go to the police. Dakota gives a DNA sample to be matched against the envelopes of the Watcher letters. The screen name is apparently just a coincidence, a nickname his mother gave him when he was a security guard. And since that information seems to have been obtained illegally, which it was, well… things aren’t looking too good for the Brannocks.

And they only get worse. Ellie, obviously annoyed about this whole situation, steals Carter’s iPad and records a video on social media saying that she’s locked up in her room because Dean is annoyed that she’s in love with an African-American. She knows he’s not racist, which she admits when he confronts her about it, but in her words, “This is what you get.” Dean faces losing his job, and both he and Nora are immediately considered racists in the community. Karen takes the opportunity to push Nora to divorce Dean and sell the house in order to — get this — save Ellie from him. Nora doesn’t consider this leap to be insane; it’s almost like she hasn’t been present for anything that has gone on thus far.

Luckily — well, not luckily, but you know what I mean — there’s another letter in the mailbox. This one is a fat envelope with the words “Watch Me” formed on the outside in magazine cutouts, like a ransom note. Nora pulls one out of the mailbox at 657 Boulevard, but we get to see the contents when we discover another has been sent to Dean’s place of work. The video depicts a sleeping Dean, and a young woman in a nightgown getting undressed and walking around the room before finally climbing in next to him. This is weird since a) there isn’t a camera in the bedroom, at least not one Dean knows about, b) he doesn’t recall the incident at all, having presumably slept through it and c) the girl looks exactly like Pat Graff, John’s allegedly slutty daughter, who you’ll recall is dead.

We get an answer to the first problem straight away, at least: Dean runs into Dakota outside, and he straight-up confesses to both installing the camera without Dean’s knowledge and disseminating the footage as revenge. I’m pretty sure installing that camera and monitoring it would constitute illegality of some kind, but since Dakota is adamant that he doesn’t know who the girl is and didn’t put her up to anything, Dean has bigger fish to fry. When he gets home, he discovers Nora has seen the video too — this scene was used as the cold open — and despite him providing evidence that proves pretty obviously that the girl was clearly made up to look like Pat Graff and thus the entire scenario must involve someone who knows about the murders, which we’ve already established almost nobody does, she throws him out and intends to file for divorce.

Dean checks into the same motel where he housed Nora and the kids in earlier episodes, and while watching TV, spots Andrew Pierce in a commercial. He’s an actor.

That night, as Nora cries herself to sleep, Dean parks outside the house to watch the place — and sees Mitch and Mo get out of a car, looking like they’ve been on holiday. Mo spots him and smiles as she closes the curtains.

You can stream The Watcher season 1, episode 4, “Someone to Watch Over Me”, exclusively on Netflix.

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