I’d much prefer to visit any other place than Easttown.
In most any sort of mystery thriller, you’re going to run into one very important rule: Someone is not quite who he or she pretends to be.
This show takes that rule to the next level.
Behind Her Eyes begins typically, if not innocently, enough: Louise, a divorced single mom who works as a secretary for a London psychiatric office. One night, she (literally) bumps into a tall, handsome stranger at a local pub. They hit it off, briefly kiss and almost go further before the man excuses himself in a hurry. Next morning, Louise realizes that the stranger she almost slept with is also David, her new boss. Her married new boss.
Naturally, the two eventually launch into an affair, because that’s pretty much a requirement for an erotic thriller. But she also becomes best buds with David’s wife, Adele, who seems to be harboring some deep secrets of her own.
Awkward? You don’t know the half of it.
Behind Her Eyes has earned some attention for its weird, triple-take twist that starts to reveal itself in the last couple of episodes. Because of what this show is, and what Plugged In is, we’re gonna have to dive into some spoilers here.
David and Adele are rather unhappily married. David believes their marriage is strained because she’s a little crazy. Truth is, Adele’s not crazy; she’s not even Adele. She’s a guy named Rob, who knows how to astral project his soul. He fell in love with David years before, and he killed off Adele’s non-physical self to take control of her body and, thus, be with David in what would appear to be a strained-but-heterosexual, marriage.
The show gets crazier, but that’s enough context to say that this love triangle may set a new mark for sexual line-blurring, given that it’s simultaneously straight and gay. (Also, pronouns get pretty tricky, too.)
But if the esoteric gender-swapping gimmick isn’t enough to cool your metaphysical heels on this show, its more straightforward content concerns just might.
Again, a reminder: This is an erotic thriller, complete with lots of nudity (we see rear ends and glimpses of breasts) and scads of pretty graphic (and often adulterous) sex scenes.
People die here, too—sometimes horrifically. David may be an abusive husband. Dialogue is peppered with f- and s-words. Oh, and yeah, drug use is a thing here, too, with heroin popping up plenty.
It’s true that, in terms of its plot, Behind Her Eyes isn’t quite what it seems at first. But when you take in the show’s TV-MA rating and its erotic thriller label, the show itself isn’t hiding anything. (And the characters don’t hide a lot of their physical selves, either.)
Single mom Louise leaves for a rare evening out, leaving her 7-year-old son with a babysitter. But when her friend bales on her and she gets ready to leave, she bumps into a handsome stranger—spilling Scotch all over his shirt. The two spend more time at the bar and are obviously attracted to each other. But when they kiss at the end of their unexpected “date,” the fellow runs off, stammering his apologies and saying he “can’t do this.” The next morning, she discovers the man is actually her new boss, David, and sees that he has an attractive wife, Adele, in tow. The two make their apologies and do their best to start over, keeping the relationship professional. Meanwhile, Louise decides to let her son, Andy, spend a part of the summer in France with the boy’s father—freeing up her time.
David and Adele have graphic (if awkward) sex. We see both of them completely nude (his backside and the sides of her breasts are visible) as they engage in intimate actions and switch positions now and then. As mentioned, David and Louise share a passionate kiss, too. But Louise is determined that it’ll go no further than that—at least that evening—and David seems to regret the kiss very much, both that night and later.
Louise spends some time in her underwear—a bit of it without a bra. (Her bare back is turned to the camera.) Adele seems to leer at Louise’s figure. We hear some talk about Louise’s ex-husband and that man’s new girlfriend.
In a flashback, Adele—who’s at what appears to be a psychiatric retreat—talks with a boy named Rob who’s there for sleepwalking and drug use. (He shows the tracks on his arm.) He quizzes her on her own brutal past, and we hear about a fire that tore through her family’s estate and killed both of her parents. (Rob asks if he saw their burnt corpses afterward.) Louise has some very disturbing dreams, during which she sleepwalks.
Louise smokes what appear to be hand-rolled cigarettes (but could be something else). David watches as Adele takes a prescribed pill. All three of the main characters drink: At bars (where Louise asks David if he’s trying to get her drunk), at dinner parties (Adele says that two drinks are her limit at the party) and at home. We hear references to drug-infested streets and learn David’s a specialist in addictions.
Paul Asay has been part of the Plugged In staff since 2007, watching and reviewing roughly 15 quintillion movies and television shows. He’s written for a number of other publications, too, including Time, The Washington Post and Christianity Today. The author of several books, Paul loves to find spirituality in unexpected places, including popular entertainment, and he loves all things superhero. His vices include James Bond films, Mountain Dew and terrible B-grade movies. He’s married, has two children and a neurotic dog, runs marathons on occasion and hopes to someday own his own tuxedo. Feel free to follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.
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