Tell Me Lies: Season 1/ Episode 1 “Lightning Strikes” [Premiere] – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

An intense, toxic young adult romance, people dying, and relationships with secrets? “Tell Me Lies” gives you all of that and more.


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Lucy (Grace Van Patten) looking over at Macy, who seems to understand her like they've known each other their whole lives

An intense, toxic young adult romance, people dying, and relationships with secrets? “Tell Me Lies” gives you all of that and more.

Aired (Hulu) 9/7/2022
Created or Developed By Meaghan Oppenheimer
Based on The Novel By Carola Lovering
Director(s) Jonathan Levine
Writer(s) Meaghan Oppenheimer
Genre Drama, Romance, Young Adult
Introduced This Episode
Lucy Albright Grace Van Patten
Bree Catherine Missal
Pippa Sonia Mena
Wrigley Spencer House
Evan Branden Cook
Stephen Demarco Jackson White
Macy Peterson Lily McInerny
Drew Benjamin Wadsworth
Diana Alicia Crowder
CJ Jessica Capshaw

This content contains pertinent spoilers.

Summary

Mainly taking place in 2007, when Lucy was a freshman at Baird College, we learn the origins of her friendship with Bree and Pippa and how Wrigley, Evan, and the illustrious Stephen came into her life. When it comes to Bree and Pippa, they lived in the same dorm, across the hall from Lucy and her then-roommate Macy, who both were from Long Island. Wrigley was Pippa’s freshman year boyfriend, and for some time, Bree dated Wrigley’s little brother Drew. As for Stephen? He is Wrigley’s friend and spotted Lucy while Wrigley was introducing himself.

Now, the first day is wonderful for Lucy as she makes new friends and seems to enjoy what Baird has to offer. However. after the first day, things become chaotic as Macy’s accidental death throws off the whole campus. Drew, potentially involved with her death, became distant from Bree after. Lucy, wracked with guilt for not joining Macy the night she died, finds herself vulnerable enough to get close to Stephen, who has a certain big bad wolf kind of charm to him. Though in actuality, he is a liar, a cheater, and his ex-Diana could probably give you a string of other adjectives.

But, being that Lucy had to deal with her mother, CJ, after her father’s death, trying to manipulate her at every turn, she numbed herself up a bit. So Stephen being there when she found herself crying and vulnerable and not taking advantage of her? That allowed him to get under her skin so bad that, eight years later, when Bree is marrying Evan, even with not seeing each other in 4 years, a part of her longs for him.

Now, as for what led to them ending? What happened to Drew, which seemingly led to his death, how did Evan end up with Bree, and what is at the root of Lucy and CJ’s issues? Only time will tell.

Things To Note

Content Notes/ Advisory

  • Dialog: There is cursing
  • Violence: No one fights or anything like that
  • Sexual Content: Moaning and implied sex between Stephen and Lucy more than once, and Stephen tries to hook up with Diana
  • Miscellaneous: Underage drinking throughout

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. Who did Stephen cheat on Diana with?
  2. How did Drew die?
  3. What’s up with Evan, in 2007, and his girlfriend?
  4. How did Lucy’s dad die?
  5. Why did Lucy choose to be an English major?

What Could Happen Next

  1. Diana learning about Lucy, and that causing issues
  2. Us learning why Pippa and Wrigley didn’t last past college
  3. Learning what happened the night Macy died
  4. Potentially learning, beyond her parents, why Lucy is a bit numb to life and people

Review


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Highlights

Grace Van Patten As Lead

What has long been a draw about Van Patten’s work is that there is this wonderful mix between wanting a certain distance yet you can see her character longing for intimacy. Not always a form of sexual intimacy, but in the case of Lucy, you can tell that her negative relationship with her mom and father being gone, is part of what allowed her ex to be with her for two years. Her being distant is a form of protection, and honestly, maybe just not being all that invested in most things, for it doesn’t make her feel alive.

That is the sort of complication there. You don’t fully know where the issue lies and whether there is an issue. Is Lucy numb, and the b****h her mom has planted the idea she is? Is she simply someone who doesn’t get excited over minuscule things, or is she someone who is in a place where disappointment is too frequent, so she wants to hold off on positive feelings until she knows they are stable?

Not being able to pinpoint how to perceive Lucy keeps her interested.

You Can Get Invested In The Others

While a heaping of praise needs to be given to Van Patten, this isn’t to say her co-stars don’t bring something to the table. Yes, there isn’t as much complication regarding Pippa, Bree, Evan, Wrigley, or even Stephen – they seem very much built into an archetype. However, first impressions can be deceiving. Bree might not be the sweet and innocent one, and Pippa some kind of wild child.

Stephen may come off as your usual toxic bad boy with a troubled past who raises all kinds of red flags, but maybe the writing or performance and push beyond expectations? Heck, Wrigley could be someone beyond the dude who peaked at college and now is in a constant downward spiral – partly because of his little brother.

You never know, and I think there is enough here that it can be enjoyable even if these characters remain who they appear to be.

On The Fence

Not Sure How To Feel About Existing In Two Different Time Periods Yet

“Tell Me Lies” doesn’t jump back and forth in time every ten minutes, but you get the vibe that far more interesting things are happening in the past than in the present. With that in mind, there is the worry that things could become lopsided. Mind you, it isn’t like there is a notable amount of characters who solely exist in either time span. Lucy has a new boyfriend in 2015, and Drew is the only one who may solely exist in 2007.

However, Macy’s death and how Drew could be involved, alongside Evan’s relationship, the beginning of Lucy and Stephen, and so much more, make 2007 interesting. The only thing of interest there is in 2015 is maybe how Evan and Bree got together, in which the answer is more likely in the past than the present. So, we can only hope the present catches up within the next two episodes.

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Lucy (Grace Van Patten) looking over at Macy, who seems to understand her like they've known each other their whole lives
Tell Me Lies: Season 1/ Episode 1 “Lightning Strikes” [Premiere] – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)
Overall
"Tell Me Lies," in many ways, seems like another show about a toxic romance and all the people who knew about it. But, there is an inkling of hope that, with Lucy not coming off as the usual girl sucked in by the devil's charm, she can bring something different to what feels like the inevitable.
Highlights
Grace Van Patten As Lead
You Can Get Invested In The Others
Disputable
Not Sure How To Feel About Existing In Two Different Time Periods Yet
78

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