In the second installment of Falling Water’s second season, titled “Watchers,” we finally learn the Woman in Red’s true identity, Tess is put back on the run with James, and someone in Taka’s close inner circle meets a tragic demise. All that and more in the recap below!
Burton found the Woman in Red...just to let her go
The season two premiere ended with quite the cliffhanger: the Woman in Red is alive and well; she is spying on Burton; and as we left it, she was holding a gun to his head. We open on the two of them still squared off when he simply asks her, “Why?” Why was she spying on him? Why did she betray him? She says that it was for the money and for the challenge. She also reveals her true name as Olivia Watson. Burton presses on, demanding she tell him whom she’s working for, but she doesn’t know herself. She just knows that they employed her to dream with him and they paid well; she can’t say for certain if it was Hull/Bedford.
Even as she’s threatening to shoot him and pleading for him to go back the way he came, he presses on, eventually stepping close enough to throw her off guard and knock her unconscious. She later wakes to find herself still with Burton, but unharmed. She maintains that she doesn’t know who hired her and she doesn’t know why she was being paid to distract Burton in his dreams; that’s when Burton reveals that Hull/Bedford was “a conduit for the trafficking of human beings.” Children too. Dreamers. Based on her distraught reaction, Olivia had no idea that her actions were contributing to such monstrosities.
The next morning, as Burton promised, they have a big day ahead of them. First, he takes her to see Dmitri, who had further cracked his way into the firm’s hard drive and finds explicit evidence that they were bidding on the trade of dreamer children. Burton suspects it will be enough for the FBI to take them down for good. Also within the hard drive is a security image of Dr. Leon Ralston and of Olivia following him close behind.
Apparently, Olivia was on assignment here once again for the firm and simply told to keep tabs on him and to dream with him. She doesn’t know why. In hopes of learning more about this mysterious doctor, Burton and Olivia go to his office, but find him dead in the medical examination room with a needle in his arm: a drug overdose. Based on her experiences with him, though, Olivia believes it was a homicide. He’d often speak with her in his dreams about how he was upset about the work he was doing and that he wanted to break his contract; Burton suspects that he was somehow connected to the trafficking of dreamers, felt guilty about it, but was silenced before any change could be done.
Getting a taste of just how grave the situation is, Olivia agrees to speak with the FBI herself about what she knows of her employer. She never gets the chance to offer her insights though, because later that night, Burton drops her at the train station and insists that she leave the city for good. There’s no safe place for her here; who knows how deep their common enemy goes? They could even be within the FBI for all they know.
Olivia is hesitant; she’s finally admitted aloud that just like Burton, she really did have feelings for him too. It wasn’t just a dream; it wasn’t just a job. “You don’t know how many times I wanted to knock on your door and hold you in my arms,” she says. But she knew her employer would never allow that. Now faced with Burton’s insistence that she leave the city and get to safety, she begs for him to run away with her, but Burton knows he can’t just walk away from the situation his work at one time contributed to. They part ways with the exchange of a handgun and a kiss, and she gets out of the car and walks away.
Tess assaults not one, but TWO men, and is now on the run with James
Ever since learning that there was an intruder in her garage last week, Tess has been a little on edge -- and understandably so! She has a creeping feeling that the intruder was Mark, with his muddy boots and leering affections. But first, she calls in Jeremy to investigate the mud footprints on the garage floor and asks him to stay the night; it’d make her feel safer. It’s clear that she’s attracted to him and he attracted to her, but she refuses to act on it. She’s hiding out in middle-of-nowhere New England with a fake name (hello, Violet), and the last thing she needs is an affair with her son’s tutor.
Still, Jeremy stays the night on the sofa and brings James to school the next morning after cooking Tess breakfast in bed. Not bad for a tutor! Later that day, she’s working at the diner and Mark inevitably comes in. Spying his boots, she decides to get to know him a little better, asking everything from what he does for a living (he’s a novice horror novelist living off the settlement of an accident he had a year prior) to the name of the lawyer who got him the settlement. “I’m just trying to figure you out,” she says, but he’s clearly uncomfortable with the line of questioning and darts out the door the first chance he gets.
Tess, with the help of coworker Eileen, lies to her boss and says James is sick at school and needs to be brought home. She leaves work and follows Mark’s silver pickup truck to his home. That night, she’s back at Mark’s house. Eileen stops in to babysit James for the evening while Tess drives over to infiltrate Mark’s dream. (Eileen thinks their late night rendezvous is romantically intentioned, but...not so much.) Inside his dream, Tess is horrified by what she sees: a dream version of herself is duct taped and tied to a chair in Mark’s living room while he says that he just wanted to be friends, but that it’s too late. While the dream Tess is begging for a second chance, he grabs an electric drill and takes it to her face. The real Tess wakes up out of the dream just as her own blood splatters across her face.
The next day, she comes home with James to find Mark’s silver pickup parked in her driveway and Mark standing on the front porch. While he seems friendly and harmless enough, she’s still thrown by the gory nightmare she witnessed the night before and runs up to him with a can of mace, spraying him in the eyes. Turns out, though, that he was just at Tess’ to drop off a bouquet of flowers and ask her out; the dream that she witnessed the night before was a subconscious fusion of their relationship and the first chapter of his horror novel. “I just wanted to ask you out to a movie, that’s all! But you’re crazy,” he says, running off to his car.
Jeremy’s also at the scene and taken aback by Tess’ violent streak. He follows her inside with James as she begins to frantically pack. She assumes that the police are on their way to the house, and she can’t have them rummaging through her personal life and revealing her true identity, so she’s going to run. Jeremy tries to stop her, finally caving and calling her by her real name. “Yes, I know who you are and why you’re really in hiding,” he tells her; she’s shocked and sickened. He explains that he’s with an organization that wants to harness Tess’ dreamer abilities and help her help people and make the world a better place. He apparently had nothing to do with the buying and selling of dreamers and just wants what’s best for Tess and James; they can help keep her and her son safe, he says. He’s a dreamer, too. It was him in the shed that night, and he was dreaming with Tess (even when she was having a sex dream about him).
Tess, threatened by the oncoming police and the man who she thought she knew and trusted standing in her living room, pretends to cooperate and agrees to wait for Jeremy’s contact from his organization to arrive and bring them to safety. But as soon as he turns his back to call his contacts, she takes a glass vase and breaks it over his head. “You follow me, I’ll kill you!” she yells before bolting out the door with James and driving off and out of her small town.
The Shadowman is not done with Taka and his loved ones
“Watchers” ends in tragedy for Taka, as he continues to be haunted by the Shadowman and his real-world repercussions. First, we learn that his hunch about the Morrison’s attic was accurate and paid off: DNA was, indeed, found near the peephole overlooking the couple’s bed. His partner, Alex, remains skeptical about where all this is headed. The way she sees it, Mr. Morrison confessed. Case closed.
It’s not so simple with Taka. Things get more complicated when he visits his mother, Kumiko, in her assisted living home later that night and enters her dream to find her at a potter’s wheel with her mouth and eyes sewn shut. It’s a horrible sight and she’s clearly being tormented. She breaks free from the stitching on her face just before Taka wakes from the nightmare and yells, “Find him before he kills us all!”
Based on that dream alone, Taka knows that something else is at play here and, against the better judgment of Sabine, moves his mother in with them so that he can dream with her more frequently and find out what’s truly going on. The move leads to trouble in paradise for Taka and Sabine, but Sabine eventually succumbs and assures him that it’s OK. They’re in this together.
Things go awry that night, though. In her sleep, Sabine is having an awful dream where her kitchen sink is clogged and filling up with blood. Despite plunging it and pouring Drano down the sink, and still, the blood keeps coming. Cicadas start buzzing (indicating the Shadowman is entering the dream), and behind Sabine in the kitchen, the figure appears. Taka wakes up in the real world to hear a choking noise coming from the other room. Sabine is out of bed. To his horror, he goes downstairs to find Sabine pouring Drano down his comatose mother’s throat. She’s coughing up blood and bile and, after Taka throws Sabine to the floor, Kumiko dies in his arms. Taka looks to Sabine, who’s now awake and horrified at what she’s done. “What did you do?”
- Woody tries to gain some political leverage. We’re still not really sure what Woody is up to at this point in the season, but we know that he’s now working on behalf of billionaire investor Taylor Bennett when he poses himself at a political rally for New York Mayor Elizabeth Harding as a wealthy donor and later in the hotel infiltrates her dreams. She’s having a beautiful, tranquil sleep and dreaming about her lake house at age 16, getting stoned by the water and kissing boys on the dock. He’s there with her as a comforting presence and as someone she can talk to. (Of course, she doesn’t know that she’s being manipulated.) The next morning, Mayor Harding finds Woody in the hotel and tells him that she’d like to get lunch with him to discuss how he and his wealthy, generous friends can help with the campaign. He then calls Bennett to tell her that “the ball is in motion.”