Once you get past the insanely long title, there's an underlying earnestness to Netflix's new dark-comedy thriller “The Woman in the House Across the Street From the Girl in the Window.”
The dark-comedy series, based on A.J. Finn's 2018 novel “The Woman in the Window,” stars Kristen Bell as Anna Fox, a heartbroken mother and wife whose unhealthy coping mechanisms — specifically, guzzling bottles of red wine and handfuls of prescription pills — eventually land her at the center of a bizarre murder mystery.
Anna rushes out of the house in her robe and slippers minutes into the first episode to drive her daughter, Elizabeth, to elementary school. The camera then cuts to Anna, who is rumpled and confused, staring at the school in bewilderment as fellow parents look on with sympathy and despair.
Are all the critical looks the result of her hurried wardrobe choices and her hair standing on end? Not exactly.
Who Is Elizabeth in “The Woman in the House”?
Anna comes past Elizabeth's room later in the first episode and notices her playing on the floor. At this moment, Anna's fictitious daughter tells her that Elizabeth is deceased and has been for quite some time. “How in the f*ck do I keep forgetting that?” Anna muses to herself.
Devastated by the death of her 9-year-old daughter and subsequent divorce, Anna avoids discussing the circumstances of Elizabeth's death but visits her cemetery on occasion to speak to her. “If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever,” it says on Elizabeth's headstone. On her birthday, Anna reflects on her life, sharing her concerns with Elizabeth and even giving her one of her famous chicken casseroles.
How Did Elizabeth Die?
Although Elizabeth is dead by the time the show begins, Anna's grief has a direct impact on the rest of the drama's events. Anna spends her first two episodes totally inside, depressed, and going through the same motions. When Neil (Tom Riley) and his daughter Emma (Samsara Yett) move into the house across the street from her, her mood only improves.
Rather than confronting the disappointments of her daily life or dealing with the mysterious noises coming from her attic, Anna fantasizes about the joyful family life she wishes she had while mourning Elizabeth's death.
When Anna's ex-husband Douglas (Michael Ealy) invites her to “Take Your Child to Work Day,” audiences learn her kid was murdered (and devoured!). Douglas worked with the FBI as a forensic psychologist specializing in serial murders.
Later, Anna discovers Neil has a girlfriend named Lisa (Shelley Hennig) and immediately dislikes her. Anna suspects Lisa is a drug dealer and discovers a hidden Instagram account associated with the young woman.
While drunk, Anna believes she witnessed Lisa's murder but is unable to approach the perpetrator due to the rain. She has a fear of rain because it rained extensively the day her daughter was murdered.
What Happened Between Anna and Douglas?
Most viewers would assume that Anna and Douglas' marriage will fall apart once their daughter dies, but viewers will learn more in the show's penultimate episode.
Anna acknowledges that she shut Douglas out in her sadness, but Douglas counters, “You can't shut out someone whose door is already closed.” Douglas claims that when his daughter died, he didn't know “how to love anymore.”
Douglas rushes to Anna's help when she faces the killer in the conclusion, and the two reunite. Later, Douglas is seen buying her picture, and the two kiss in the rain, demonstrating that Anna has overcome her rain-induced PTSD.
Also, Check: How Did Beth Die in the Walking Dead?
Finally, the show flashes forward a year to reveal that Anna and Douglas remarried and have another child. It is unknown whether Douglas is still her therapist.
Netflix has a streaming version of The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window.