The Last Thing He Told Me – Season 1 Episode 1 Recap & Review

Protect Her

Hannah Hall (Jennifer Garner) frenetically searches for her teenage daughter, Bailey (Angourie Rice), in a hotel as episode 1 of The Last Thing He Told Me. She destroys her phone which has a picture of Hannah and her husband on but he is nowhere to be seen.

Four days back, Owen Michaels (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) was still with Hannah and planning an anniversary party. Hannah was slightly anxious about a feature article being written about her in the papers the next day, and as we soon find out, they have been together for 14 months. Owen wants to drive to Sonoma and have the party but Hannah wants Bailey, her stepdaughter, to come with her also.

Hannah makes great efforts to please Bailey, even going out of her way to do so. This seems important to her but Bailey is not reciprocating the efforts to bond with Hannah. Avett, from Owen’s work, has been calling him incessantly. Something does not seem right. Hannah goes into town to pick up bread, especially for the dish Bailey likes. Hannah also drops off the pieces she sculpted in her workshop. She is some sort of artisan making wooden artefacts. She is friends with Jules (Aisha Tyler, who played “Charlie” on Friends), who is a high-level journalist.

Hannah meets Ash, her buyer, and also sees her feature article for the first time. Ash wants Hannah’s grandfather’s pieces as well but they are not for sale. Owen sends a message through a girl to Hannah. The paper mysteriously reads “Protect her.” Bailey is back in the meanwhile. Hannah drops off a message to Owen. Jules has been calling her since they last talked, so she calls The Shop, where Owen works, but things seem really bad down there as we hear in the background.

There has been an FBI raid at the place when Hannah reaches it and she is unsure of whom to trust. Hannah finds Owen’s car missing from the parking lot so she heads over to the school where Bailey has gone for her concert practice. While waiting for Bailey, Hannah receives crucial news. Software Startup The Shop was raided by the FBI after a fourteen-month investigation by the SEC. CEO Avett Thompson has been arrested in relation to it.

Bobby, Bailey’s boyfriend, asks her for a weekend in a secluded cabin in the woods. Bailey proudly says she and her father do not have any secrets and she cannot lie to him about spending the weekend with him. Bailey finds a similar note as Hannah’s in her locker but Bailey is starting to get anxious. Bailey found a bag full of money with the note that she gives to Hannah. Bailey is now being targeted by public figures about the fraud, alleging that Owen was in on it.

She also calls Bobby to the house for added comfort. Jules drives to their house and sees someone sitting outside their house, keeping watch. Max, Jules’ girlfriend, works in the SEC and tried to tip off Jules. The Shop’s new software does not work and the sales of it on the books were fabricated by Avett. Every time someone expressed an interest in its demo, Avett put it down as a sale. It is the same situation as Enron. Jules called Owen about it but she didn’t expect he would run off, abandoning them.

Hannah feels they are missing something about his involvement, while Jules feels that is not the case. Owen only wanted to know about how long he had to get out and not about the fraud. Things are still very cold and untrustworthy between Bailey and Hannah, as she recalls faint memories of her time with Owen. While outside, she watches a bald man canvasing the place and she quickly goes inside and covers the windows.

The next morning, Hannah discusses with Bailey their next step and what could have happened to Owen. A US Marshall shows up at the dock and asks Bailey questions about Owen. He asks her to get a lawyer to make things easier for her, but the Marshall thinks Owen is too smart to get caught and if he makes contact, Hannah will be in touch. He warns Hannah that Owen is not who she has known for the last two years, as the episode comes to a close.

The Episode Review

The story seems to have enough bite but it depends on the makers how they present the rest of the story to us. More often than not, the latter makes more of an impression than the former. The Last Thing He Told Me has a stellar cast and episode 1 indicates that Garner and Rice will be spending a lot of time on the screen. Both are talented artists and seem tailor-made for their characters.

Laura Dave’s novel, which the show is based on, is more about the underlying emotions and betrayal in the relationship than the mystery that was proposed to us in episode 1. Apple TV+ tried to balance the two in Liaison, another mystery show released a while back starring Eva Green and Vincent Cassel, but it did not work. From the looks of it, The Last Thing seems different in substance but similar tonally.

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You can read our full season review for The Last Thing He Told Me here!


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