After two episodes of dangling red herrings in front of audiences, The Watcher’s second episode, Blood Sacrifice, ended with a literal bang. Now two suspects are off the table though it’s worth pointing out that we didn’t really see their bodies. Given that there’s only seven episodes slated for this limited series, Ryan Murphy’s going to need to pick things up. And based on its title – Götterdämmerung – Episode 3 promises to answer a few questions. Literally translated, the episode title means ‘Twilight of the Gods’ and refers to a catastrophic and violent collapse.
Götterdämmerung Introduces a New – And Very Creepy – New Suspect
If you’re not sure where things left off after Blood Sacrifice, you’re in luck. Götterdämmerung opens with Dean and private detective Theodora reviewing what they know so far. It’s Theodora who dismisses the possibility that Mitch and Mo were writing the letters. Since it’s only the third episode, she’s likely right about that one. And she assures Dean that former homeowner Andrew’s claims of a neighborhood cult are just one of several delusional fantasies to which he’s apparently prone. This leaves Jasper Winslow as the most viable suspect. Once upon a time Jasper finished high school and worked in local grocery store. Somewhere along the lines Jasper experienced something that left him mute and traumatized.
…Dean bumps into an odd man helping himself to a sandwich from the fridge who introduces himself as John the building inspector.
Later at home, Dean bumps into an odd man helping himself to a sandwich from the fridge who introduces himself as John the building inspector. But this is a Ryan Murphy production so, of course, John’s a bit eccentric. John doesn’t have much to say about the renovations. Instead he rambles on to Dean about the ‘Fourth Turning’ some off-the-wall theory about massive economic, political, and social shifts that cycle every 25 years or so. Things then get really awkward when John points out that Dean’s daughter, Ellie may be having intimate relations with their young security guy. Before he walks off, John says he had a similar problem with his daughter and he ‘took care of it’. Not surprisingly, the contractors have never heard of a building inspector named John.
Naomi Watts Continues to Have Little to Do in The Watcher
Poor Naomi Watts. Once again The Watcher doesn’t have much for her to do in Götterdämmerung. After a round of tennis, Nora has lunch with realtor Karen who continues to pressure the Brannocks to just sell the house. Of course, Karen has plenty else to say over lunch. In addition to suggesting that Dean sexualizes Ellie, Karen opines that he may even be cheating on Nora since they haven’t had sex for weeks. Despite putting a lot of focus on the neighbours, The Watcher keeps teasing Karen as a dark horse candidate for the titular ‘watcher’.
Clearly, Karen’s words have some impact on Nora. When she gets home, Nora immediately tries to seduce Dean into some afternoon sex. Unfortunately, Dean’s still rattled by John’s visit so he’s preoccupied with turning on the house alarm. Needless to say, all of this puts the kibosh on Nora’s romantic plans. Instead, she gathers up the kids to head back to the motel. However, Dean gets one last chance to look awkward when he unsuccessfully confront Ellie about Dakota. And yes, Ellie denies making out with the ‘just a bit too old’ security guy.
Götterdämmerung Finally Wrings Some Tension Out of Its ‘Based on a True’ Story Premise
Before Götterdämmerung ends, Theodora earns her pay with some information about the mysterious John. Apparently, the local police officer, Detective Chamberlain didn’t mind offering up an old evidence box on the Brannock’s house. As it turns out, the house – and the whole town – has a dark secret. Turns out that one of the prior homeowners – a man named John Graff – murdered his family and disappeared. Before he bought the house, John was a timid bookkeeper in the big city. After a horrific mugging, John bought the massive manor and moved his family at the behest of his domineering mother. The move didn’t help since the Graffs are pretty terrible people. The wife is an alcoholic and the kids don’t pay much attention to the devout John.
As it turns out, the house – and the whole town – has a dark secret.
Eventually John loses his job but rather than telling anyone he just pretends to keep going into work. And he starts skimming money out of his mother’s account. No one knows except one person … yes, ‘The Watcher’. The letters prove to be John’s breaking point. One afternoon, after methodically cutting his face out of every family photo, John shoots and kills his entire family. He even gets a naughty teacher who was fooling around with his teen daughter. John disappears leaving his family’s rotting corpses arranged in the house with music, ‘Twilight of the Gods’ or Götterdämmerung, playing over the intercom. That music gets Jasper Winslow’s attention who discovers the family. Now we know what traumatized the poor neighbour.
Götterdämmerung Builds Some Momentum for the Limited Series
Following two middling episodes, The Watcher finally picks up steam in Götterdämmerung. For the first time, there’s some genuine tension as Joe Mantello’s ‘John Graff’ feels genuinely creepy Though the backstory definitely feels like something you’d find in American Horror Story, it’s no less unnerving. If the Watcher still has a problem it’s the straddling between the ‘true story’ origins and Murphy’s penchant for melodrama. And Götterdämmerung continues to underserve Naomi Watt’s ‘Nora Brannock’. Nevertheless, the limited series now has some moment on its side ahead of the fourth episode.