Netflix’s “Behind Her Eyes” is a psychological thriller that will blow your mind

Reminiscent of “You” and “Stranger Things,” this new series has an abundance of plot twists

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Kaci Madden, Contributor

Although it might take you a few days to process the ending, Netflix’s six-episode series “Behind Her Eyes” is worth the watch. Starring Eve Hewson (Adele Ferguson), Tom Bateman (Dr. David Ferguson) and Simona Brown (Louise Barnsley), the extremely well-crafted series is based on Sarah Pinborough’s best-selling novel with the same name. This psychological thriller takes the audience by storm without failing to add multiple jaw-dropping turns of events that’ll leave you sitting on the edge of your seat.

The show focuses on Louise, a single mother in the UK with a seven-year-old son named Adam. Louise deals with night terrors which often revolve around something bad happening to her son. Her life and these night terrors take a twisted turn, however, when she begins an affair with her new boss, David Ferguson while secretly befriending his wife, Adele.

When Louise heads out for a night at the bar, a spilled drink leads her to a very awkward situation, to say the least. David, a Scottish psychiatrist, follows this spilled drink with a classic, “Do you come here often?” The two laugh and make fun of his cheesy line and the night somehow ends with an abrupt kiss.

The next day at work, however, Louise comes into the office to a new boss. Her new boss? David Ferguson, the same man from the bar. And if that’s not shocking enough, surprise! He’s also married. Louise spots him and hides in the bathroom, as one would. When the two meet again, Louise insists that they put the past behind them but David insists otherwise.

Yet another coincidence occurs when Louise bumps into Adele, David’s wife, outside of a local coffee shop. Adele comes from a family so wealthy that she’s never had to work and continues to spend most of her days alone at home. When she was younger, her parents died tragically in a fire where she was supposedly saved by David. To deal with this trauma, Adele was sent to a mental institution where she met Rob, a junkie who struggled with night terrors. Because of Rob, Adele becomes increasingly intrigued by these night terrors, lucid dreaming and even astral projection. We even begin to see some sci-fi and supernatural aspects in the show surrounding her astral projection abilities. 

Adele is suspiciously eager to make friends with Louise. However, Louise can’t deny this friendship because Adele is clearly lonely. This friendship comes with a catch as Adele begs Louise to keep their relationship a secret to David. Fishy… It’s at this point where Louise begins to see how controlling David is over Adele. Despite cheating on her, he expects Adele to be at home whenever he calls and he even checks if she swallows all of her pills. 

There’s definitely something “off” about David and Adele’s relationship (besides all the secrecy) in which we find ourselves trying to figure out throughout the course of the series. I’m not going to give any spoilers here, but it gets weird. I experienced a lot of going back and forth trying to decipher the bad guy between Adele and David, but the amount of time I spent thinking couldn’t have prepared me for the twists that were about to befall. 

One thing leads to another, and Louise finds herself too close for comfort as she continues to have an affair with David, while also maintaining an even closer friendship with Adele. Adele even helps Louise with her night terrors, teaching her how to control her dreams similar to how she once taught her old friend Rob, who at this point we have only seen brief flashbacks of. Lucid dreaming is a common motif throughout the show, and we can’t help but wonder how it all ties together with the rest of the plot. 

The whole series is a big mind game, and it’s tough to know who to root for as well as tough to know who’s telling the truth. Does Adele know more than we think? Is David really who he seems to be? We somehow seem to sympathize the most with Louise despite maintaining an affair with her boss while also maintaining a growing friendship with her boss’s wife.

A few other series that come to mind when thinking about the genre and underlying themes in “Behind Her Eyes” are Netflix’s “Stranger Things” and “You.” The supernatural aspects in “Behind Her Eyes” remind me a little of “Stranger Things,” but without the 80s setting and all of the predatory humanoid creatures. “You” however has a few parallels with “Behind Her Eyes” in the dark thriller aspect with all the plot twists and twisted manipulation. Contrary to “You,” Joe Goldberg is the clear “bad guy” who believes all he does is in the name of love, even when it comes to murder. In “Behind Her Eyes,” the “bad guy” if you will, is much less in your face, and viewers are left to ponder for themselves. Basically, in “You,” Joe plays mind games with the other characters. We see this in “Behind Her Eyes,” as well, but be warned, this show will play mind games with the audience, too.

A unique and ironic aspect of the show comes from the fact that one of the main characters, David, is a psychiatrist but at the same time, his world becomes consumed by instances of trickery and manipulation, many that are beyond his control. I won’t give any spoilers here, but when it comes to his wife Adele, the one who he obsessively hovers over to make sure she takes her meds, the irony is unmatched. But that’s enough explaining, I’ll let you watch for yourself.

“You can never know everything about a person. You’d go mad trying to,” Louise’s friend advises her once her drama with David begins. She’s not wrong, as it’s impossible to know everything about someone even if you happen to be a psychiatrist yourself. And maybe, just maybe, you’re better off that way.

Whether or not you’re a fan of the ending, you’d better prepare yourself for a jaw-dropping finale. If you’re into anything supernatural, psychologically thrilling, cunning or even just looking for something to blow your mind, you’ll be hooked by “Behind Her Eyes.” And if you dare, after watching the show you might even take a peek behind your own eyes and look into astral projection or lucid dreaming yourself.

“Behind Her Eyes” is available to watch on Netflix.

 

Email Kaci at kamadden.umass.edu

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