By: Isatou Ndure
Netflix’s adaptation of Behind Her Eyes reveals a disturbingly twisted finale surrounding the lives of David, Louise, and Adele’s love triangle, which delivers several troubling repercussions.
Whilst on a rare night out, we meet single mother Louise (Simona Brown). When she gets stood up, she meets and flirts with handsome Scotsman David (Tom Bateman), who insists on wearing a hanging dog expression for most of the night. Their connection is undeniable, which comes down to Louise’s ingrained friendliness and awkwardness. The night abruptly ends after David kisses Louise and practically runs off with his tail between his legs. What’s worse is Louise finds out that David is her new boss the very next day. Oh, and he’s married.
With Louise and David failing miserably to fight their attraction, it soon became apparent that there was something off about David’s wife Adele (Eve Hewson). But after bumping into Adele, Louise manages to find herself pulled into a weird friendship as she continued her affair with David.
Through the episodes, we see many flashbacks and learn more about Adele, her history, her friendship with troubled friend Rob (Robert Aramayo), and her astral project abilities. A gift she used to spy on her husband David and Louise in their affair, playing a twisted game as she attempted to keep her money protected.
Louise seems to soften David’s rough edges, making Adele’s icy oddness feel entrancing and addicting. Adele uses her friendship with Louise to sow seeds of distrust with David by admitting that she believes David killed her friend Rob. David uncovers the troubled past of Adele and her time at an institution. Louise, still raw from her divorce and feeling incomplete, finds what she’s been lacking from both wife and husband. By the third, episode the three are so perplexed in each other’s lives that it’s had to know who to root for.
When Louise discovers that Adele had been watching her and David all along, the two women argue about who deserves him more. But when Adele learns that David’s shame is acting, she decides to take her life. She writes a suicide note and leaves messages to Louise, admitting that David is innocent so the police would not blame him. Adele would rather burn to death than face prison time.
Louise drops everything and runs to the house on fire but can’t get through. Before, she was able to do so when Adele projected, but now Adele had guaranteed that she would burn without interruption. Luckily, Louise projects her soul, to wake Adele up or try to break into her body. The big twist we’d all been waiting for was that Adele‘s soul was already in the air and as Louise fell into Adele’s body, Adele goes into hers. A sick and twisted move, with Louise, now stuck inside Adele.
Bear with me here.
Adele injects herself with heroin, to stop her spirit from getting away – a trick she and Rob discovered as they played around with their powers. Now, Adele (in Louise’s body) is injecting more heroin into her victim. Shocked? A little confused as to what just happened? Yeah, me too. But the punches don’t stop there.
It was never Adele, to begin with, it was Rob! When Rob and Adele had traded souls for fun years before, at the estate, Rob (in Adele’s body) murdered Adele (in Rob’s body). Rob wanted Adele’s life and he was madly in love with David, so he killed his best friend to play the part of Adele and create the perfect lie. This explains why “Adele” dropped the watch to tie David to her and why she had no issue with the constant doses of drugs. David thought she was suffering from PTSD, when in fact she was a different person, manipulating him.
- It’s not just a simple mystery thriller, it is much more of a cross-genre story.
- Well shot by director Erik Richter Strand.
- Outstanding performances from Tom Bateman, Simona Brown, Eve Hewson, and Robert Aramayo.
- The storyline went on for too long. One too many episodes.
- A bleak ending.
- Has a lot of styles but not enough substance.
- Although it may have not been intentional the storyline is consistent with societal stereotypes of gay men being predatory.
That said, a lot of the criticism with Behind Her Eyes is aimed at the writers. After the supernatural stuff was brought up, I’m sure that much like me, you wanted less talking and more action. Since this doesn’t happen until the last episode, it felt like it was dragging. The characters probably felt it necessary as they’re unaware of what’s happening. But we already knew and to reiterate what we know is never a wise decision.
Maybe if producer Steve Lightfoot had left the series a bit more concise, it would have done well, but with six episodes it seemed overloaded. Though Adele’s flashbacks offered some well-needed insight, some of them came off as obvious fillers.
There’s a good story here. It’s just the delivery was lacking. I would have loved to see a scene featuring Louise’s point of view. We only got to see backstories from Adele and David and although it helped the story make more sense, seeing flashbacks of Louise would have allowed us to explore the mystery with her, to question with her, and to interact more with her.
The plot of Behind Her Eyes is enough to give you whiplash. As if that wasn’t enough the soundtrack options, color arrangements, and even the camera angles—everything had an intention, even though the intent is not unveiled until the unanticipated end, but it is enough to make the show exciting and disorientating. I believe the show was intended to be a dizzying roller coaster and it achieves this by presenting us with a not-so-fun yet memorable labyrinth to explore through six-episodes.
Behind Her Eyes, is a mixed bag. Although I think the acting is strong, the show doesn’t do anything about it. Pair that with a twist that tries to be imaginative, but still falling a little too short, and what’s meant to be the series’ greatest essence lands almost as inconsistently as the rest of the series.
One thing I’ll say is that Behind Her Eyes is worth watching because of its drama, complexity, supernatural theme, and performance of the cast. By the fourth and fifth episodes, you’ll think you know where it’s headed, but I promise you, you’ll be wrong.