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Baby Reindeer’s gripping tale of obsession and redemption leaves viewers spellbound [VIDEO]

Can a cup of tea lead to all of this? The captivating true story of creator Richard Gadd’s harrowing encounter with a stalker, showcased in Baby Reindeer, has become the reigning champion of Netflix’s English TV list for the third consecutive week.

With an astounding 18.6 million views, the production continues to captivate audiences.

Dark but brilliant

Baby Reindeer stands out among the many Netflix Originals I’ve watched, but it took me by surprise with its dark and disturbing content. I anticipated dark comedy, but it turned out to be much deeper than that.

The reality is far from comical. However, the watching experience was undeniably brilliant. I wholeheartedly recommend the show, but it’s important to be aware of its graphic depictions of sexual assault and its exploration of difficult themes such as mental health issues, trauma, and abuse.

Despite its heavy subject matter, Baby Reindeer handles these topics with sensitivity and depth, avoiding a preachy tone that can often accompany such narratives. Nevertheless, it’s not an easy watch.

Martha’s obsession

Richard Gadd portrays Donny Dunn, a struggling comedian working in a pub in Camden. His encounter with Martha (Jessica Gunning), a woman seemingly downtrodden, leads him to extend a simple act of kindness by offering her a cup of tea on the house.

Soon Martha frequently visits the pub, taking up Donny’s time with her incessant chatter and concocted tales of a lavish lifestyle. Gradually, her fixation on Donny becomes evident. Soon, she starts to spam him with emails, hundreds flooding his inbox daily with increasingly suggestive undertones.

Upon researching Martha online, Donny uncovers her past conviction and imprisonment for stalking. Despite this alarming revelation, he struggles to establish boundaries, leading to escalating tensions.

Donny’s inability to confront the situation effectively exacerbates matters. Ultimately, his troubles extend beyond Martha, causing the deterioration of his budding romance with Teri (Nava Mau), a transgender woman. It becomes evident that Donny’s personal struggles run deep, contributing to the unravelling of his relationships.

Baby Reindeer 2
Donny’s troubles cause the deterioration of his budding romance with Teri (Nava Mau), a transgender woman. Picture: Netflix

Rewind to five years back

In the latter part of the series, deeper insights into Donny’s motivations and obstacles emerge. The narrative takes a notably darker and challenging turn in the fourth episode, shifting back about five years to Donny’s early days as a comedian in Edinburgh.

Struggling to find his footing in the comedy scene, he encounters Darrien (Tom Goodman-Hill), a writer who quickly becomes instrumental in reshaping Donny’s comic show. As Donny experiences a glimpse of potential fame, he becomes captivated by its allure, setting the stage for his subsequent obsession.

Upon relocating to London, Donny rekindles his relationship with Darrien, and it takes a troubling turn. Darrien offers to assist Donny with his writing career. However, he introduces Donny to heavy drug use, including GHB, a date rape drug.

Despite the obvious manipulation and exploitation, Donny remains trapped in Darrien’s web. Even in the face of repeated sexual assault, he’s unable to break free from the allure of success.

Years later Donny meets Martha, and their encounter takes a dark turn as Martha develops an unsettling fixation on him. Despite initially being drawn into her world, Donny’s growing obsession with Martha leads to a downward spiral. Only when the situation becomes unbearable does he reach out to the authorities for help.

In the final episodes, Donny reaches breaking point and pours out his soul in a stand-up comedy finals performance. His monologue strikes a chord, spreading like wildfire on YouTube and putting Donny back into the limelight with sold-out gigs. However, the darkness still looms.

Martha’s relentless pursuit takes a disturbing turn as she threatens to expose Donny’s secrets to his parents. Donny decides to confide in them, fearing rejection but finding unexpected solace when his father shares his own harrowing past of childhood abuse by a priest.

Ultimately, Martha faces justice for her stalking and harassment, though the resolution brings little solace. Donny’s descent into obsession with her voicemails adds another layer of complexity to his turmoil, prompting concern from loved ones.

An unexpected act of kindness

In the final scene, Donny, shaken after visiting Darrien, seeks refuge in a bar and listens to Martha’s voicemails. He comes across one he hadn’t listened to before in which she reveals the reason for calling him “Baby Reindeer”.

As a young girl, Martha found solace in a small stuffed reindeer during her parents’ conflicts and provided comfort through years of neglect. Donny, she says, reminds her of that reindeer.

In a moment of revelation, Donny’s realises how heavy the guilt over Martha’s fate weighs on him. When the bartender asks for his drink order, Donny cannot find his wallet. Left stranded in his despair, the bartender pays for his drink. This unexpected act of kindness mirrors Donny’s own earlier gesture towards Martha, offering a glimmer of compassion amidst the darkness of his turmoil.

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