About The Watcher
Dean (Bobby Cannavale) and Nora Brannock (Naomi Watts) just purchased their dream home in the idyllic suburb of Westfield, New Jersey. Still, after putting all of their savings into closing the deal, they soon realize the neighbourhood is less than welcoming. There’s a kooky older woman named Pearl (Mia Farrow) and her brother Jasper (Terry Kinney), who sneaks into the Brannock’s house and hides in their dumbwaiter. There’s Karen (Jennifer Coolidge), the realtor and an old acquaintance of Nora’s, who makes them feel like they don’t really belong, and nosy neighbours Mitch (Richard Kind) and Mo (Margo Martindale), who don’t seem to understand property lines. Their icy welcome quickly turns into a full-blown living hell when ominous letters from someone calling themself “The Watcher” start arriving, terrorizing the Brannocks to their breaking point as the neighbourhood’s sinister secrets come spilling out. Based on the true story of the infamous “Watcher” house in New Jersey.
Created By: Ryan Murphy & Ian Brennan
Executive Producers: Ryan Murphy, Ian Brennan, Alexis Martin Woodall, Eric Kovtun, Bryan Unkeless, Eric Newman, Paris Barclay, Naomi Watts, Ariel Schulman, Henry Joost, Scoop Wasserstein
Cast: Naomi Watts, Bobby Cannavale, Jennifer Coolidge, Mia Farrow, Margo Martindale, Terry Kinney, Joe Mantello, Richard Kind, Noma Dumezweni, Christopher McDonald, Michael Nouri, Isabel Gravitt, Henry Hunter Hall, Luke David Blumm
E1, Welcome, Friends
This episode serves as a well-presented introduction to Dean and Nora Brannock and their two children, Carter and Ellie. The family are viewing what is supposed to be their dream house in Westfield, New Jersey.
We are introduced to Pearl and Jasper through a meeting with Dean and his daughter Ellie. Pearl introduced herself as the President of the local preservation society and introduces Jasper. He said hello and oddly stated that a children’s skeleton has 100 more bones than an adult skeleton. Both appear to be obsessed with the houses dumbwaiter that pearl states have historical significance.
Karen is the next character to be introduced. Karen is the realtor and also a friend of Nora from RIDS. While Karen shows Nora around the property, they are interrupted by a well-dressed elderly gentleman who asks if indentured servants built the property. Indentured servants were individuals looking to emigrate to America. Still, because they could not afford the travel or housing upfront, they would work off the debt and were not paid wages, but they were generally housed, clothed, and fed by whom they were indebted.
After viewing the house, Dean explains that he wants to make an offer. Karen states that they will need to offer above the asking price as there are two other offers on the table.
It is revealed that Dean cannot afford the property with a minimum deposit and has decided to invest all his savings into a down payment. Leaving the family with the house as their only asset.
The family move into their dream house, and we are introduced to Sprinkles Carters Pet Ferret.
As Ellie unpacks in her room, she finds a stick of lipstick in the cabinet and hears music coming from one of the rooms. Upon inspection, the room appears outdated and different from the rest of the house. We also see a mysterious intercom system on the wall that gives off a static sound.
Jasper, the strange gentleman we saw inspecting the dumbwaiter with Pearl, appears in the house with the newspaper one morning, oddly just standing there. He drops the paper and walks off.
Later we see that the Brannocks have received a letter from a strange sender who identifies themselves as the watcher. The watcher explains that he has been observing the family and is tasked with watching the house as it approaches its 100th year and its second coming. The Watcher asks in the letter if they know the property’s history, what lies in the walls of 657 boulevard and the mystery of the basement. The watcher tells them he will be watching and may communicate with the children. They also ask if there are more children on the way. Going on to state that the house needs to be filled with young blood. The watcher mysteriously finishes the letter pressing the family to guess who they are.
They take the letter to the police and meet Detective Rourke Chamberland. He advises that there is not much they can do and that the town is very safe, with no murders and only a few disappearances. He closes their conversation with a strange comment about knowing how financially they had to dig deep to afford the property, so he wants them to feel safe.
Mitch and Maureen are the neighbours of the Brannocks, who appear to be upset with their new neighbours. We later see Maureen, who goes by “Mo”, on the Brannock’s side of the fence harvesting the wild Arugula. Dean approaches to ask what she is doing, and the conversation quickly turns heated about the family and their activities. Mo states that the community watches out for each other, but now they will watch the family for a different reason.
Later Carter discovers Jasper hidden in the dumbwaiter in a rage, Dean throws him out of the house, and Pearl comes by to his assistance. Pearl discusses the significance of the house’s history and its surroundings, specifically the trees, including a 100-year-old oak tree. She explains that the previous owners had cut down a 90-year-old tree and described them as yuppies.
She explains that she will be watching them and retreats to her home.
That night Sprinkles, the ferret, is killed by having its head crushed, and the detective pays a visit to the family only to again explain that there is nothing they can do.
The family then receive another letter, this one of a more threatening tone. Warning them of the attic and the basement and explains in detail that they will be watching them and that the property layout allows them to watch their every move.
The watcher goes onto explain that they have been looking after 657 boulevard for two decades, and when the previous owner’s time had come, they left after being asked to move by the watcher.
So who is the watcher and what do they want? watch it on Netflix to find out