CBS’s Tell Me a Story
2×01: “The Curse”
Directed by Jeff T. Thomas
Written by Kevin Williamson & Mary Leah Sutton
* For recaps & reviews of Season 1, click here.
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Writer’s Block” – click here
Maddie Pruitt (Odette Annable) and Tucker Reed (Paul Wesley) are having a cute day in the park when she gets a call. She’s got to go bail her brother Jackson (Matt Lauria) out of jail. Seems like it’s a regular thing, her having to dole him out favours. Elsewhere, Ashley Rose [Pruitt] (Natalie Alyn Lind)— a rising country star— is ready to play a show. Her family’s a mess. Jackson shows up, getting no love from his mother Rebecca (Carrie-Anne Moss) and getting fired. This doesn’t thrill Ashley. She vents to Maddie, not wanting to be treated like a child. Right now, her “debut album” is dropping. She jokes about potentially getting cursed from all the praise.
Let’s hope it doesn’t come true.
The show goes off well and fans wait outside, snapping pictures, yelling for Ashley Rose. She gets into her car and starts it, setting the thing on fire. She’s pulled out of the car before burning up, and only moments before the whole thing explodes.
Three months later, Ashley’s being released from the hospital. Nobody’s been arrested for the attack yet. Police officer Beau Morris (Eka Darville) is on “administrative leave” for a while, working security with his father Ken (Evan Parke) while things are straightened out at work. Right now, his work situation is about to put him in the world of Ms. Ashley. At least he has a job. Jackson’s been cut loose from working for the family. The rest of his life doesn’t appear too great, either. He’s having an affair with a woman and simultaneously chastising her for cheating. Quality dude.
Poor Ashley has to wear a mask and compression sleeves, to make sure her skin grafts are protected. It isn’t easy for a woman whose looks are integral to her work, given she’s a part of the patriarchal music industry which wants women to look a certain way. There’s also the fact whoever did it is out there, somewhere. Beau and Ken are in charge of Ashley’s protection, hired by the music label, and this puts her a tiny bit at ease. Beau proves himself to be someone she can trust.
Ashley’s got to deal with the ruthlessness of the internet— people online voting about how bad her face looks. Rebecca’s concerned about what happens if Ashley is unable to sing, so Maddie runs down the potential legal problems that might arise, though she’d rather they focus on something else. Jackson turns up with flowers, in spite of the recent awkwardness with mom. The two of them talk about his supposed sobriety. Clearly he’s long been the Pruitt black sheep.
What’s Tucker up to?
He’s a writer, and currently he’s following a woman named Olivia Moon (Danielle Campbell) closely. After that he’s back home writing, or trying to, anyway. He keeps looking at pictures of Olivia. Later, he goes to her place, slipping inside the house by knocking open a window. He meets the woman’s cat and looks around to see what he can find. He lies in her bed, cuddling up to the pillow. And then he hears her arriving home, managing to hide before she walks in with groceries. He gets out of there without being detected. Obviously something’s not right with this man.
At the bar, Jackson plays with his band. He meets a woman, Simone Garland (Ashley Madekwe), who shares an enjoyment of B.B. King with him, somewhat reluctantly, over a drink. They flirt a little until she has to rush off before midnight. He goes after her and ends up getting attacked by Dane, the guy whose wife he’s fucking. Simone saves his ass, then gets him out of there.
At the Pruitt home, Beau does a security check on a door in Ashley’s room. They chat while he’s in there. “Beau means beautiful,” she mentions after he spells his name for her. He tells her about being on leave, but won’t elaborate. They share a short, charged moment, too. Although it freaks her out because she’s insecure about her face. She wants to be locked away in there. An interesting start to a reversal of the male-female dynamic in the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast.
Maddie can tell Tucker’s distant from her. She thinks he may have cold feet about their impending wedding. She obviously has no clue about his part-time obsession, following Olivia and breaking into the woman’s house. He claims he’s thrilled to get married, trying to assure Maddie he’s deeply in love with her. Sex is a good diversion when you’re sketchy like Tucker. Or, it would be, if he could get it up for his fiancee.
That night, he’s in Olivia’s house again, watching her as she sleeps.
An ugly adaptation of Sleeping Beauty? Hmm. Creepy goodness.
Jackson gets help back to his place from Simone. She cleans him up a little. He continues to flirt, noting he made her smile “11 times” during their time together at the bar. He wants to make someone smile, in lieu of all the disappointment in his life on the regular. Simone knows a guy like him is not what she needs in her life, leaving him to pass out on the bed. He’s left with a slipper charm, like the errant slipper in Cinderella, as the only memento of their time together.
When Beau goes to check on Ashley’s room again he winds up catching a glimpse of her while she’s strumming the guitar for the first time, trying to sing. Her throat hurts. She finds him watching and loses it. She throws him out of the room. She smashes her mirror, shattering her reflection with a guitar. She can’t bring herself to look at the damage to her face. Meanwhile, out there somewhere, Ashley still has a dangerous stalker, who listens to her songs and burns himself with candles. Yikes!
“I hide inside the music and the words”
What a wild opener for Season 2! It’s going to get intense.
Love the way Williamson & Co. are crafting these fairy tales into contemporary stories with such intense, disturbing twists to the originals. Going to be another compelling season this year by the look of things.
“Writer’s Block” is next time.