More connections and theories make for a more sensible episode with another big reveal.
This recap of The Watcher season 1, episode 5, “Occam’s Razor”, contains spoilers.
So, we have a new theory put forward by Nora at the beginning of “Occam’s Razor”: That Dean himself is the Watcher.
Here’s how she arrived at the conclusion. Paranoid about Dean’s supposed affair with a young girl in pigtails, Nora pulled up his mobile phone records and found nothing. Not one to be defeated so easily, she pulled up the records of the landline at 657 Boulevard and found something weird — though not what she was expecting. Do you remember how in The Watcher episode 2, Nora received a call at the motel which was just heavy breathing? Well, it turns out that came from inside the house — from Dean. She thinks he realized they couldn’t afford the house and, rather than come clean, he decided to terrify her into moving.
The Watcher season 1, episode 5 recap
Nora takes this theory to Theodora, who not only believes it instantly but also manages to more or less prove it in a scene or two. Since she’s absurdly well connected she’s able to get an FBI handwriting analyst to say with 70-80% certainty that Dean wrote the Watcher letters based on how he wrote a capitalized letter K on an old Valentine’s Day card, and then uncovers the particulars of his financials, which reveal that not only did he put every penny they had into the sale of the house but also borrowed $150,000 to renovate it from some shady people charging high interest rates and breaking thumbs for nonpayment. So, we have motive and then some. Case closed.
Meanwhile, Karen goes to see Mitch and Mo, and while she doesn’t ask for any details of their sudden disappearance and then reappearance, she does imply that their house is now what’s known as a “stigmatized property” thanks to all the murder rumors swirling around. She offers to sell it for them on behalf of Darren Dunn Real Estate, in their usual arrangement, which is to set up an LLC and flip a property at profit — much like what was done with 657 Boulevard, which she can’t help but smile at across the street as she leaves, unsuccessful for now but having promised that she always gets what she wants.
Anyway, with Mo back in town, and Dean out of town, Nora is invited to a luncheon organized by Pearl. There, Mo confesses that the bodies being wheeled out of their house were really two elderly people their son, Christopher, had found, taken back to the house, and murdered in order to try and claim the insurance money while Mitch and Mo were away in Florida. This is a plan with Swiss cheese levels of holes in it, but apparently, Christopher got into drugs when he was younger, which triggered a mental illness. When Mo heard about the letters Nora was receiving, she suspected him, though Pearl confesses that she suspected Jasper — and she says this now? — given he had such an attachment to the house and that Pearl herself had also received one, though hers wasn’t threatening, just a short ode to how distinct and, crucially, unchanged her own home was.
That idea of change does keep coming up, doesn’t it? It seems nobody in Westview likes the idea of it. Pearl figured the letter was Jasper’s way of changing her mind about decorating the house. But it’s far too much of a coincidence that the permanence of Pearl’s house is what the letter so admired. Either way, Nora hears obvious footsteps in the house despite Pearl claiming that Jasper isn’t home, so she gets out of there with some haste.
Back at the house, Nora mulls all this over in the midst of a halfhearted apology from Ellie, who really hasn’t been held to account for her absolutely deranged response to being grounded. When pressed, Nora says she doesn’t think Dean was sending the letters. But is that what she really believes?
Speaking of Dean, he confronted Andrew earlier in the episode about being an actor, but Andrew swears everything he said was true. He also finds an unlikely ally in Dakota. Having found what Dean said about the girl in his room to be a bit suspicious, he went through all the footage to try and figure out how she got in the house — and it turns out she didn’t, at least not via any of the exterior exits that are monitored. This means that she was either added to the footage, teleported there, or — and I think this is likeliest — used the hidden tunnel that has been mentioned before by Andrew.
Dean and Dakota share this news with Nora. It leads them to a frank conversation in which Dean confesses to having written one of the letters, but not the third. The DNA results, which the Brannocks are finally able to see after Nora strong-armed Chamberland into stopping sitting on them, confirm this; the writer of the first two was a woman. That doesn’t narrow the suspect pool considerably, but it does match up with a new theory that occurs to Nora when she ventures to the country club and spots Karen there in close conversation with Chamberland. It turns out they’re an item, which means between them they would have had access to all the information they required, from the financials to the police evidence. Since Karen’s company buys properties through an LLC to profit on the flip side, it makes complete sense that she would have allowed the Brannocks to renovate and then pushed Nora to sell — and Chamberland could have helped to concoct a perfect story in order to force Nora to do that. It can’t be a coincidence that Karen accused Dean of having an affair with “a girl with pigtails” right before a girl with pigtails just so happened to be filmed sneaking into his bedroom.
The big development — and best jump scare of the season — comes at the very end of “Occam’s Razor” when the contractors at the house discover something odd in the basement. It’s worth mentioning that the contractors have been in the house this entire time, obviously privy to all the drama, and have just minded their business and kept working. However much they’re getting paid, it isn’t enough. But anyway, what they’ve discovered is a hidden, Prohibition-era booze-running tunnel, confirming Andrew’s claims of such a thing existing, and our theory of the pigtailed girl using it to secretly gain access to the house. Dean and Nora head inside, and when they do, their torches just catch a glimpse of someone running away.
You can stream The Watcher season 1, episode 5, “Occam’s Razor”, exclusively on Netflix.