CBS’s Tell Me a Story
Chapter 8: “Truth”
Directed by John Stuart Scott
Written by Steve Stringer
* For a recap & review of Chapter 8, “Betrayal” – click here
* For a recap & review of Chapter 9, “Deception” – click here
Kayla (Danielle Campbell) has just stumbled upon a painting in Nick’s (Billy Magnussen) apartment, covered up in the closet— one painted by her own mother, Abby (Marguerite Moreau). She’s barely able to escape the place before Mr. Sullivan gets back home, bursting in believing he’ll find her there. Back home, she reminisces fondly about mom working in her art studio, creating beautiful pieces while they both look on. Inside the house, she also noticed the slightly reluctant romance between her parents, as Abby draws away from Tim’s (Sam Jaeger) kiss.
We see Sam (Dorian Missick) trying to fence diamonds through Esther (Debra Monk), the same woman who aided the men in tracking down our Hansel & Gretel, Hannah (Dania Ramirez) and Gabe (Davi Santos). Speaking of Gabe, he’s tied to a pillar in a sketchy-looking basement. Esther cheerily gives him a “Good morning” when she checks on him with a glass of water. She wants info, but he doesn’t have any to give. Meanwhile, Hannah is back at her apartment where she finds Terry (Kurt Yaeger) waiting to help in any way possible, and she has the cash Esther’s looking for buried in Virginia.
At the cop shop, Jordan (James Wolk) speaks with Dt. Renee Garcia (Zabryna Guevara) about what happened at Eddie’s trailer. She says prints were found on the pig’s head and in the trailer. He admits the prints were his, because he already told her about breaking in and stalking the guy. He keeps telling her he wants the cops to find the man who killed his wife. Then Sam walks in and introduces himself as “Dt. Reynolds.” WHOOOA! Never saw that one coming. Game changer. Jordan’s been introduced to a whole new level of danger, as Sam can manipulate the case from the inside to his advantage.
Kayla gets a call from Nick, wanting to talk. She asks him straightaway about her mom’s painting, and he’s very nervous. “I didn‘t want you to find out this way,” he says before professing his love for Abby. Is it possible dad was really never having an affair like she thought earlier and it was actually mom? Jump back to one of her memories of home. Abby saw Nick outside their window. The two of them secretly slipped out back to have a talk. He was clearly obsessed with her, and it’s more obvious than ever he has an overall obsessive personality. She tried to end things between them, bruising his fragile male ego, though agreed to meet him once more later that night.
Kayla now goes to her father to seek the truth. We witness more of that night, after the family supper. Tim was trying to reconnect with his wife while Abby was so obviously avoiding contact with him. He felt she was “always disappearing” to do work late at night. He knew she was having an affair. Although she denied it when he confronted her, she couldn’t hide it. He simply let it go, particularly after she passed away. When Kayla finds out this truth, she feels bad for having blamed her dad, but he wants her to preserve the best memories of her mother she’s able to keep.
Either way, things in their family are supremely fucked up.
Our Hansel’s stripped of his shirt and taped face down on a table. Esther turns on some music and prepares the hot iron. We haven’t seen any oven yet, so this is as close we’ve come to getting a full-on witch homage from this fairy tale. And it is brutal. Who knows what this old lady has prepared for Gabe. Right now he’s being scarred, similar to his sister. The war’s come home, following Hannah and her family like a spectre. A hideous and tragic parallel between the siblings.
So, what happened that night with Abby and Nick a.k.a Josh? She went to her office, where he was waiting. They talk about another brutal romance – Wuthering Heights (in a lot of ways he’s an even worse mirror of Heathcliff) – and Nick goes on about the origins of their affair. She feels it was all a bad mistake on her part. He wouldn’t allow Abby to walk away. Same as today when he won’t let Kayla walk away from their brief, ill-advised romance. Back then, Abby had to punch him in the nose to make a run for it, fleeing across campus to her car where he continued chasing her relentlessly. This prompted a further chase as he pursued her on the road in his car, forcing her to drive too fast, too reckless, and this is what tragically resulted in the car crash that killed her. She hit a light pole. She survived, though. Afterwards, Nick kissed her, then put his hand over her nose/mouth, suffocating her to death. Again, WHOOOA— two big ones for this episode.
“Scars are good for us—
they remind us, teach us, let us know we’ve lived.”
Jordan wakes to discover Dt. Reynolds in his living room. Sam recounts a sob story about the police force being disrespected. He throws himself in with “the bulk” of the “good guys” in his department, ironically sitting across from the man whose wife he killed and talking to him about a heist of diamonds. Quite the self righteous cop talk. “I‘ve earned everything that I have,” he somehow says with a straight face. He wants to make peace with Jordan. But how can they do that? The grieving man still wants revenge, it’ll just be harder to do it vigilante-style going up against a dirty cop.
At home, Kayla’s watched over as she sleeps by Nick. He’s about to sneak out when he nearly gets caught between dad getting home and daughter getting out of bed. Tim and his daughter talk a little, on much better terms than they’ve been recently. Nick slips out while they talk. No telling what his plans were before he got interrupted.
In the basement, Gabe gets the ties off his hands, though his wrists are bloody and his back is burned badly. He walks upstairs through the door at the top, slowly looking for a way out of the building. He sees they’re in a restaurant, after coming upon the kitchen— it’s Jordan’s place. He finds Katrina (Becki Newton) surprised to see him. Only she’s a part of it. She orders a couple men to “tie him down good” and he’s dragged away screaming. There’s SO MUCH MORE to all these stories than we’ve been led to believe so far. More tragic irony in that Jordan’s out trying to do good in the world, albeit through illegal means, while simultaneously there’s horrible things occurring right under his nose and made worse by his absence. Yikes. Bitterly humorous that Kayla’s approving of Tim pursuing things with Katrina, too.
One of the best Tell Me a Story episodes to date! Maybe the best. All the twists are fantastic. The writing’s really been solid for most of these episodes. Can’t wait to see more madness as the season winds down.