Fool Me Once – Episode 1 Recap & Review

The Not So Dead Husband 

Fool Me Once episode 1 starts with a flashback to 1996, where a group of high school students are doing a ritual of some kind. One boy is seated, tied to the chair, while the others chant and dance around a campfire. 

Presently, we are introduced to Maya Stern, who is at her husband’s funeral. As the priest leads the service, Maya reminisces about meeting her husband, Joe Burkett, at a charity gala a few years back. They clicked immediately, and a few months later, they walked down the aisle and started a new life.  

After the funeral, Maya learns that her mother-in-law, Judith Berkett, invited the detective in charge of her husband’s case to the funeral. Detective Kierce’s presence seems to irk Maya, probably because the police are no closer to finding Joe’s killer.

Maya confronts Judith, and the mother-in-law insists she wants the detective to understand who Joe was and his importance. She subtly notes that Maya might be going through more than grief. This is when we learn that Maya’s sister, Claire, died a few months ago. Judith argues that Maya should talk to someone about the loss of her sister, being a witness to her husband’s murder and issues with her job in the army. 

Later, Maya returns to her house with a friend, Eva. Eva gifts Maya a digital picture frame that contains a secret nanny camera. She suggests that Maya uses the nanny cam to casually keep an eye on her daughter, Lily, when she is away. Maya doubts she will need it as her nanny, Izabella, is great, but Eva nonetheless puts the frame in Lily’s playroom.

After a few days, Maya returns to work, and one of her friends, Shane worries if she is grieving well. He suggests they have a little drinking session with a few people at her house on the upcoming weekend. At the end of the day, Maya returns home and finds Lily safe and happy. She and Izabella made angels. As Maya casually goes on with her day, she keeps having flashbacks of her days in the military and has a hard time sleeping.

The following morning, Maya prepares Lily’s breakfast and gets a call from Judith inviting them over to her place on the weekend. Maya declines the offer. She then checks the nanny camera and is shocked to see her dead husband hugging their child. She rushes to Lily and tries to ask the little girl, but the cutie is of no help. Maya runs to her bedroom and realises the clothes Joe was wearing in the footage are missing. 

At the same time, Izabella arrives, and Maya quickly shows her the footage. Izabella denies seeing Joe in the footage and claims Maya has gone crazy. Maya grabs her arm and tries to shove her towards the computer. Lily is surprised by the commotion and calls out to her mom. This helps Maya calm down, and Izabella asks for some water. Maya turns to grab a glass and is surprised when Izabella seizes the opportunity and pepper sprays her face. By the time Maya recovers, Izabella is long gone. 

Later,  Detective Kierce drops by and worries about Maya’s condition. She tells him about the footage on the nanny cam and is shocked to discover that Izabelle took the SD card. Detective Kierce is more inclined to think Maya is hallucinating from grief. He asks her a few questions about the night of the attack.

Maya explains how she and her husband were cornered by two men riding motorcycles in a park. The men attempted to rob the couple, but they fought back. One thing led to another, and before she knew it, Joe took three bullets to the chest. Detective Kierce then asks about Maya’s gun and takes her Glock to test it since Joe was shot with a Glock. Before leaving, Kierce advises Maya to take it easy. 

On his way back to the office, Detective Kierce loses control of his car and rams into a fence. It seems like he passed out. He texts someone that it happened again, implying this is not the first time he passed out. He lies to his boss that he got into an accident trying to avoid hitting a cat. His boss is wary of his explanation and wonders if he is drinking again. Detective Kierce insists he is sober and asks for a new car.  

His boss suspiciously agrees, but only on the condition that Kierce partners up with a young detective, Marty McGregor. Kierce is unpleased, but it is what it is. Marty is soon caught up with the case and happily joins Kierce in the investigation. They return to the park and try to go over Maya’s statement. Kierce shares that Maya might be going through too much after losing her sister only four months ago. He also has suspicions about whether Maya killed her husband. He and Marty try to find possible motives while the lab tests Maya’s gun and works on a ballistic report. 

Meanwhile, Judith gets a call from Maya asking about Joe’s body. Maya never saw Joe’s dead body and wants to know what Joe looked like when he died. Judith finds this question odd but still answers it. She advises Maya to seek help as she seems to be losing it. However, Maya is not giving up and tries to reach Izabella. 

After the nanny refuses to pick up her calls, Maya drives to her sister’s place and catches up with her nephew and niece. She is not surprised to see that Claire’s husband, Eddie, is still grieving and relying a bit too much on alcohol to get through the day. She tries to talk to him, but he is not open to suggestions, especially on what to do with Claire’s things. He still has his late wife’s things piled in boxes scattered all over the house. 

After her fight with Ediie, Maya visits Judith and is surprised to see Detective Kierce there. The detective claims he is there to update Judith on the case. Maya brings up the nanny cam and Izabella stealing the SD card. She says it is strange how the nanny has been ignoring her, and Detective Kierce offers to tag along while Maya confronts Izabella. However, Maya refuses and goes alone. Unfortunately, Izabella refuses to let Maya in.

Elsewhere, Detective Kierce joins his pregnant fiancée at their dancing lesson classes. They are four weeks away from their wedding and have yet to learn their dance. They later get dinner, and Kierce whines about his new young partner, who gets on his nerves. 

After failing to talk to Izabella, Maya goes to her niece’s football practice game and keeps seeing Joe at every turn. She gets into an altercation with the coach for being rude and draws his pants down, exposing him in front of everyone. Her actions lead to Eddie asking her to keep her distance from the kids. He blames her for the deaths around her, and Maya tries to reason with him, but it is useless; the guy has made up his mind.

Soon, the weekend draws by, and Maya has a few friends over. She confides in Shane and tells him he thinks she is being followed. She asks him to look into the car she has noticed tailing her. As they talk, Maya gets a call from Judith about Izabelle stopping by to say she is quitting. Maya asks Judith to keep Izabella there until she arrives. Sadly, Judith refuses to do so, and Maya is forced to tail the nanny as she tries to leave the family estate. 

After a short, wild chase, Maya corners Izabella, but the nanny’s boyfriend distracts the former while Izabella runs into the woods. In anger, Maya confronts Judith for trusting the nanny over her. She mentions the footage on the nanny cam and demands answers. Judith claims Maya is hallucinating and insists Joe is dead. She says Maya needs to deal with everything on her plate and questions if Maya is stable enough to raise Lily. Maya warns her not to cross the line. 

Their fight continues as Judith suggests that Maya never loved Joe. Maya responds that she did, but Judith never accepted that she was good enough for her son. Maya drives back home and finds Detective Kierce and Marty waiting for her. They’ve got the ballistics report back and learnt that Joe and Claire were killed using the same gun. However, Maya was away on military duty when Claire died. 

Meanwhile, a strange man leaves a sunflower bouquet and a note on Claire’s tombstone. Shane watches over Lily and the football coach, suspiciously covering bloodspots in his van. Izabella checks the footage and sees Joe while  Judith visits her sons’ graves.

The episode ends with a flashback to the strange ritual in 1996. Something went awfully wrong that day… but what?

The Episode Review

The first episode was gripping as we’re introduced to most of the characters and interwoven into the mystery of Joe’s death. Maya is unsure, and the more she asks questions, the more people assume she is crazy. However, the nanny was gaslighting her, which made us suspicious of her. What does she know, and why won’t she tell Maya? She seems too chatty with Judith, too. Are these two working together? We are also curious about the army situation that Judith mentioned. What led to Maya leaving the army?

On the other hand, we have Claire’s death. How is it related to Joe’s murder? Detective Kierce seems determined to find out, but maybe he should also pay attention to his health. You know, a dead man can’t solve mysteries. He is about to be a dad and marry his beautiful fiancée. I hope it is nothing serious. 

Lastly, the show has perfectly balanced the mysteries in this episode. There is so much going on with each character that viewers can’t help but be pulled into it. Each scene leaves us with burning questions and makes us desperate to know what happens next. Who is lying and why? It looks like we are in for a great show, and hopefully, we won’t be disappointed when this limited series comes to an end.


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3 thoughts on “Fool Me Once – Episode 1 Recap & Review”

  1. It seemed like this series would be a good potboiler, and worth a binge, but after episode 1, I’m not so sure. Plot leaps like a gazelle in full flight already, implausible interactions with Ms. Nanny, plus how many people would have to conspire to make a “dead” husband disappear and be buried is a bit of a stretch.
    And ffs- the actor playing the junior detective- is this his first job out of high school? What a cartoon of a character. Not even believable as a comic-relief mall cop. It’s like there are 2-3 different shows going on here. Hello? Is there a director present?
    May give it another episode to see if things get real, but not interested in watching slap-dash content. There’s too much good stuff around to bother.

  2. A couple of things are just odd to me. Detective Kierce expected to find Maya at home for questioning. In the normal course of events she would have been at work and only the nanny would be there.

    Also, he didn’t follow up at all, to get a statement about the assault by pepper spray and a possible theft. Shouldn’t he have taken at least the name of the nanny? Did he doubt the whole incident, even with Maya’s injured eyes as evidence?

  3. I’m just catching up with this…

    Points of note: Joe’s birthdate on his headstone in the last scene is a year earlier than his brother’s, and the death date of the brother (Andrew) is the same (1996) as the date of the campfire ritual that bookended the episode. Also, ‘Young Joe’ is first in the credits, and Andrew is second.

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