Behind Her Eyes' ending is not only ridiculous, but it is also damaging

Photo credit: Netflix
Photo credit: Netflix

From Digital Spy

Behind Her Eyes spoilers follow – including its ending.

Well. Now we can finally talk about that ending.

For something that began as a seemingly run-of-the-mill thriller, we're not quite sure where to begin to explain how we ended up where we did. And yet, there's so much that needs to be unpacked about how Behind Her Eyes concluded.

First, let us recap.

Louise (Simona Brown) and Adele (Eve Hewson) became the most unlikely of friends, largely because Louise was banging Adele's husband David (Tom Bateman) – also Louise's boss – behind her back. But the women bonded over their traumatic night terrors, and Adele slowly started to share her secret to getting them under control.

This was also the key to taking the show in a whole other direction. Yep – Adele was able to leave her body, during the deepest of sleeps, through a type of astral projection. By the final episode, it became pretty clear that Adele had been grooming Louise and coaxing her towards leaving her own body… But, why?

Photo credit: Netflix
Photo credit: Netflix

Adele had successfully managed to drive her husband David and his mistress Louise apart, manipulating Louise by painting David as a controlling and abusive man. This aspect of the story left a bad taste, reducing domestic violence to a mere plot device to further the story. One scene in particular, which saw Adele blame her husband for her black eye, fed into the damaging real-world narrative that women ruin men's lives with spiteful and false accusations (something that we know is very rare, and yet prevents survivors from coming forward).

Eventually, Louise, starting to doubt this version of events, did some digging into Adele's background. It transpired that Adele was the 'bad one', and David had been feeling scared and trapped. He'd also fallen in love with Louise in the process, and wanted to finally leave his wife and her toxicity behind to start fresh with her.

Photo credit: Netflix
Photo credit: Netflix

But there was more to the story. In their younger years, Adele had been responsible for covering up the death of her friend Rob (Robert Aramayo), who she'd met during a stay in a mental health facility. It was the weight of this secret, and Adele's ability to point the finger at her husband, that had kept David from leaving.

To break the cycle, and with Louise by his side again, David decided to come clean to the police and tell the truth about what had happened to Rob all those years ago. When Adele caught wind, she set the wheels in motion to put a stop to it and hold on to her man.

Staging a suicide attempt, she lured Louise to her home. Adele had also set it up so that Louise had no choice but to take a nap on the doorstep in order to escape herself and get inside. But while Louise's body was vacant, Adele's essence entered and took over.

Although – *PLOT TWIST* – it wasn't Adele after all. It had been Rob, in Adele's body, all along.

Photo credit: Netflix
Photo credit: Netflix

In flashback scenes, we learned that Rob and Adele had become inseparable during their time in the mental health facility. The pair bonded over their shared secret of dream walking at night; they were both able to leave their bodies, and float around while their physical selves were tucked away in bed.

After they'd left the hospital, Rob went to visit Adele at her family home. He'd also met David, the love of Adele's life, and he longed for the comfort and security that his best friend was afforded.

Once David had left, Rob convinced Adele to astral project with him – only it was a trick to allow him to claim her body for himself. While she was trapped inside his body, he killed her with a heavy dose of heroin and stuffed his own body (with Adele inside) down the well.

In episode six and back to the present day, Adele's body was now occupied by Louise (whose essence had nowhere else to go). Rob, determined to make his jump to Louise's body permanent, then killed Adele/Louise by the very same lethal injection. The scene was already set for it to look like suicide, and the blame for Rob's death could now be placed firmly on Adele, leaving David and 'Louise' free to be together.

While this all sounds utterly bizarre, it actually holds a much darker and more complicated (yes, really) meaning.

Photo credit: Netflix
Photo credit: Netflix

Rob was – as far as the show told us – the only LGBTQ+ character. So, by revealing him to be the villain of the piece, Behind Her Eyes was wading into murky waters.

His sexuality was not inconsequential to Rob's "bad guy" role in the show's finale twist. Instead, his queerness was depicted as a motivation for his actions. Sure he was a drug addict who was plagued by financial issues too, but it would be remiss not to look a little deeper than that.

The show invited viewers to speculate about whether Rob's feelings for Adele may have run deeper than friendship, but he had also vocalised his interest in men earlier in the series. Although it is worth noting that he didn't explicitly label himself in the show, once Rob met David for the first time it was fairly clear that he was infatuated with him.

Rob admitted to being jealous of the relationship David had with Adele, and then that night left his body to spy on David and Adele having sex.

Speaking to Adele about her "fairytale" life, Rob told her: "I can see why you love him, by the way. He's kind of perfect, isn't he?"

It was immediately following this conversation that he tricked Adele to her death, and took that place by David's side.

Photo credit: Mark Mainz/NETFLIX © 2020
Photo credit: Mark Mainz/NETFLIX © 2020

All of this plays into homophobic rhetoric that gay men are somehow predatory; an offensive idea that is further encouraged when you look back over the show and realise that Adele has actually been Rob the whole time. Everything that we saw her do, every measure she took to keep her husband around, was actually Rob trying to realise his desire to live out a fairytale with David.

This trope has a long on-screen legacy. In Netflix's Orange Is the New Black, gay prison officer Desmond "Desi" Piscatella was particularly sadistic towards the inmates. One episode, called 'The Tightening', mirrored and flipped a lot of horror film tropes, and yet it still placed Piscatella as the predator that stalked and terrorised his victims. British drama Misfits introduced its second gay character in probation worker Greg, but from the off he was depicted as creepy, having anger issues and would come onto the members of the gang.

Behind Her Eyes also raises some icky (at best) consent issues. David was unaware of Adele's astral projection abilities, and had no idea that he was actually going to bed with Rob each night – holding up a disturbing new lens to their sex scene.

The closing moments of the six-part series saw Rob/Louise and David reuniting, after 'Adele's' death, with Rob going in for a kiss. The pair got married, and so the cycle was to start all over again.

Behind Her Eyes is trash TV at its worst, so it's hard to hold it to too high of a standard. But when it mishandles sensitive themes – playing into offensive tropes in the process – it's impossible to ignore.

Behind Her Eyes is available on Netflix.

Digital Spy's digital magazine is back! Check out issue 6 – including an exclusive chat with Ant & Dec – plus all past issues with a 1-month free trial, only on Apple News+.

Interested in Digital Spy's weekly newsletter? Sign up to get it sent straight to your inbox – and don't forget to join our Watch This Facebook Group for daily TV recommendations and discussions with other readers.

You Might Also Like