Why the original ending to Behind Her Eyes is so controversial

Warning: this article contains spoilers for Netflix’s Behind Her Eyes. Proceed at your own peril… 

Netflix’s Behind Her Eyes – aka the much-anticipated TV adaptation of Sarah Pinborough’s bestselling psychological thriller – is due to hit our screens on 17 February. 

And, based on the YouTube reaction to the trailer, people are very excited about this one.

“This trailer is captivating, I just can’t stop watching,” wrote one fan.

“I read this book and was speechless,” added another. “Looking forward to seeing this.”

And still one more commented: “One of the best books I’ve ever read and that ending is just sounpredictable… I desperately want to see if the series does it justice!” 

Peppered throughout the comments section, of course, were repeated references to “that crazy ending.” And no wonder; the original book boasts the sort of plot twist that makes you feel as if you’ve been electrocuted.

In fact, shortly after Behind Her Eyes was first published, a #WTFthatending hashtag began trending on Twitter.  

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What people are saying about the Behind Her Eyes ending

People were incredibly divided over it; some loved it for pushing boundaries and pulling the rug out from beneath their feet.

Others, though, absolutely hated it, dubbing it “outlandish” and lamenting its reliance on a “gimmick.” 

In short, Behind Her Eyes was the ultimate ‘Marmite’ book. And you better believe that Netflix is leaning heavily on this in the marketing for its much-anticipated TV adaptation.

Behind Her Eyes is a new thriller based on the best-selling book… yes, the book with THAT ending,” reads a tweet from the streaming platform’s official Twitter account. 

Now, there are two kinds of people in the world. There are those who love to go into a TV series or film with no idea what to expect – and who get irate when people start dropping spoilers left, right and centre.

Then there are those who actively goes on Google to find out a show’s ending before she’s even decided if she’s going to sit down and watch it.

If you fall into the latter camp, then, you’re in luck; I’ve read Behind Her Eyes from cover to cover already and I’m here to talk you through that same ending which has been discussed, debated and scrutinised endlessly since the novel’s publication.

If not, though, click away to another article now. You’ve been warned. 

What happens at the end of Behind Her Eyes?

The remainder of this article contains spoilers for Behind Her Eyes. Obviously. 

The plot of Behind Her Eyes centres on Louise (portrayed by Simona Brown in the Netflix series), a single mother who works as a medical secretary.

During a night out at a bar, she finds herself striking up a conversation with a tall, dark and handsome stranger, David (Tom Bateman), and sparks fly. Indeed, one drink soon turns into the sort of perfect first date that has you daydreaming about which china you’ll be picking out for your wedding.

Come the end of the night, they share a kiss. The next day, though, Louise walks into work to find out that a) David is her new boss, and b) he’s married to an elegant young woman named Adele (Eve Hewson). 

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David may claim he made a mistake that night, and he may say he just wants to be friends with Louise, but it’s clear that’s not quite true.

And, as they dance around one another like two Birds of Paradise caught in a courtship ritual, Louise makes things even weirder by becoming friends with David’s aforementioned wife, Adele. 

Adele seems sweet – naïve, almost. She tells Louise that she has to be home to answer David whenever he rings her, prompting Louise to assume that her new boss is emotionally abusive (not that it stops her falling in love with him).

Quickly, we realise that something sinister is going on behind the scenes. And, as the chapters whir by, it becomes increasingly apparent that Adele’s friend, Rob (Robert Aramayo) – Adele’s friend, Rob, that she met at a psychiatric facility – is involved somehow.

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As it turns out, Adele, Louise, and Rob all have one key thing in common; they all suffer from night terrors. All, too, turn to lucid dreaming as a means of dealing with dealing with this. And, over time, they realise that these so-called lucid dreams allow them to trigger an intentional out-of-body experience (OBE) via astral projection.

It gets weirder, though. 

Rob moves in with Adele and David, and finds himself falling steadily in love with the latter. So, one night, he convinces Adele to swap bodies with him – temporarily, he says.

Naturally, he’s lying. In full control of Adele’s body, he murders ‘Rob’, dumps his old body down a well, and blackmails David into staying with him.

This means that when Louise meets Adele all those years later, she’s actually meeting Rob. And Rob… well, he’ll do anything to keep David to himself. Including, say, forcibly switching bodies with Louise and killing her (as Adele), too. 

The book ends on an extremely dark note; David, blissfully unaware of what’s happened, marries Louise. Rob, living within Louise’s body, darkly plots to kill his predecessor’s young son, Adam, in order to maintain the ruse. Because “children have accidents all the time,” apparently.

It’s this dark conclusion that tipped many readers over the edge, according to one book club’s spoiler discussion.

“Isn’t it bad enough that David is fucked yet again?” asked one reader angrily. “I have never been so mad at a book for wasting my time.”

“This actually made me a little sick to my stomach,” said another.

“My final feelings about this book were coloured by the last things that Rob/Adele/Louise thought about Adam and how ‘accidents happen’ to little boys,” added one more.

“For me, that was unacceptable. And majorly annoying.” 

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It remains unclear whether or not the Netflix adaptation will follow the exact same path as the book, or whether it will allow for a happier ending for David and Louise.

One thing’s for sure, though, is this: the streaming platform is promising us another #WTFthatending moment. And this show is going to be talked about for a very, very, very long time after it airs as a result.

Netflix’s Behind Her Eyes will become available for streaming on 17 February. 

Images: Netflix

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