'Behind Her Eyes': Viewers Call Out Netflix Show for 'Homophobic' Ending

Behind Her Eyes is the latest hit thriller on Netflix, with the show currently the most-watched show in the world on the platform (per FlixPatrol) after being released earlier this month. This means that viewers are making their way to the show's totally unhinged ending, in which a main character is revealed to not be who we have been led to believe they are.

This ending (which will be discussed in full here, so spoilers ahead), however, has not been without its controversy. As more and more people have made it to the end of the series, an accusation has started to be made against the show on social media—that its ending is homophobic.

One Twitter user summed up much of the online feeling when they wrote: "Behind Her Eyes was an excellent show if you don't watch the end. Not that the twist was bad or anything, just that it was uncomfortably homophobic/transphobic." Another person, meanwhile, went for the more strongly worded: "I need more people to watch Behind Her Eyes so we can discuss how homophobic the ending is. But I also need fewer people to watch it because it is absolutely f****** dreadful."

At the end of the show, it is revealed that Adele's (played by Eve Hewson) friend Rob (Robert Aramayo) is so jealous of the relationship that she was with David (Tom Bateman) that he switches bodies with her (because this show also has a major astral projection subplot), killing her while she is in his body so that he can stay in her body and date David himself as Adele, and then as Louise (Simona Brown) after he pulls the same trick again.

behind her eyes ending explained
Rob was revealed to be the true villain 'Behind Her Eyes' in the finale of the Netflix show – a twist that has proven controversial among viewers. Netflix

The sheer absurdity of this ending masks what some queer viewers have seen as its homophobia. These viewers have pointed out that it turns Rob into a problematic character type that TVTropes.org calls the Depraved Homosexual, a character that is so desperate to seduce a straight man that they are willing to kill to do it.

Films that have fallen into this trope have been the subject of protests in the past. For example, the 1980 thriller Cruising was picketed by some gay groups for depicting a world where gay men who engaged in S&M were depraved serial killers, and where Al Pacino's character, it is implied, starts to develop murderous impulses by being around these men (though it should be noted that the film has since been embraced by some LGBTQ+ viewers as a camp classic.)

If this film was controversial 40 years ago, then it is perhaps no surprise that a show in 2021 whose only gay character is a murderous, body-switching psychopath would cause problems for some viewers.

Digital Spy writer Laura Jane Turner summed up some of the issues people have with the character of Rob in her review of the Netflix show. She wrote: "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 realize 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 realize his desire to live out a fairytale with David."

Others, meanwhile, have seen transphobia in this twist as well. Some tweets that expressed this view:

"That 'behind her eyes' show seems a bit transphobic."

"Fair warning/spoilers: netflix series behind her eyes spends 5/6 episodes building sympathy for a deceased queer character and then the fun last-minute twist ending rewrites the entire plotline into a festering heap of homo/transphobic tropes (with a side order of race issues)."

"That's it. Cis people aren't allowed to write body-swap stories anymore. Y'all have messed up one too many times."

Behind Her Eyes also falls into another problematic trope—that of the trans person or man in clothes coded female who is a serial killer, in how it literally places at its heart a serial killer who is literally man trapped in a women's body.

The show can then be placed in a long line of similar killer movies (the history of which was explored in the recent Netflix documentary Disclosure) like Norman Bates in Psycho and Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs.

Though none of these characters, including Rob, can be said to be truly transgender, these portrayals still affect how people often perceive real trans people.

Though some have argued that the sheer ridiculousness of this ending dampens its homophobia and/or transphobia, the reliance on tropes such as these has real-world implications.

The recent argument about anti-trans bathroom laws, for example, had at its heart this false image of the trans person as a predatory risk in a bathroom, a completely false argument taken straight from transphobic portrayals in the media. In reality, trans people are far more likely to be victims of crime than perpetrators of it, with a recent Glaad report noting, "transgender people, and particularly transgender women of color, are disproportionately affected by hate violence."