Apple TV+ brings the newest thriller miniseries, “The Last Thing He Told Me,” based on Laura Dave’s novel of the same name and directed by Olivia Newman. The series stars Jennifer Garner and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in the leading roles and deals with a fraud that happens at The Shop, a software company, and the subsequent disappearance of Owen Michaels (Waldau). This week, Apple dropped the first two episodes of the miniseries, and so far, the pace feels rather slow. We hope Newman’s series picks up the pace soon if it hopes to keep the viewers interested. Here’s what happens in the premiere episode.
Smashing The Phone
A woman named Hannah (Jennifer Garner) frantically washes her hand in the washroom as her phone keeps ringing, and she proceeds to stomp on her phone, especially on the wallpaper with the face of her partner. She then suddenly remembers a teenage girl named Bailey and searches for her everywhere before thinking of calling her number. Hannah tries using her phone, but it’s smashed beyond usability, and she turns it back on after hearing a noise. She rushes out, hoping it’s Bailey, but is met with someone she’s shocked to see.
How It Began
Four days earlier, Hannah, a wood sculptor, was busy at her workbench when her husband, Owen Michaels (Nikolaj Coster Waldau), was fretting about an article coming out the next day that might include something incriminating. While heading back to Owen’s home at the docks, where rows of houses are lined across a dock with a lake on the other side, he mentions their 14-month anniversary and says he wants to celebrate it. He even makes plans for them to go away for the weekend on a road trip and gingerly promises to bring his daughter, Bailey, even though she’s not a fan of her stepmother Hannah.
The next morning, Owen and Hannah are still relaxing on the bed when his boss Avett keeps calling Owen, and he keeps ignoring it. Bailey arrives and asks to be taken to school, and a little later, Owen joins her after taking out the trash. Hannah watches as the father and daughter walk away, and just then, she receives a call where a man says he wants to speak to Owen and immediately hangs up the moment Hannah tells him that Owen just left. Hannah heads to work in her red truck and drops off a wooden sculpture she’d created while speaking to her journalist friend Jules on the phone. Hannah also finds her picture released in a magazine as a notable woodworker. However, Jules has to hang up because her partner, Max, has seen something and is freaking out.
Hannah drives home, leaves a voicemail for Owen on the way, and begins preparing dinner when she arrives. She doesn’t check her phone, which she left on silent, and hence remains unaware of the three missed calls from Jules. As the doorbell rings, Hannah opens the door to find a young girl who had come to drop off a note that Owen had asked her to give to Hannah. The note with Hannah’s name on it says “Protect Her,” and before she can process anything, Bailey walks in and ridicules Hannah’s cooking and asks about her father, while her stepmother notices the missed calls and leaves another voicemail for Owen, asking him to call back. Bailey leaves for her rehearsal and doesn’t even stop for Hannah’s offer to drop her off. Getting increasingly tensed, Hannah calls Owen’s office, The Shop, and tries speaking to Greg about her husband’s whereabouts, but Greg says nobody is available at the moment before quickly hanging up.
The FBI Raid
With her husband unreachable, Hannah drives to The Shop, only to find the FBI taking away documents from the office. She tries approaching the building but is stopped by a female officer, and Hannah says she’s trying to reach her husband but, on second thought, leaves without answering the officer’s questions. Hannah’s getting in her truck when she notices something and walks around the parking lot but doesn’t find Owen’s car. Hannah decides that she needs to check on Bailey and heads to her rehearsal, where she watches from the viewing gallery as her stepdaughter sings. Bailey’s practice is complete, and she heads inside towards her locker, where she meets her boyfriend, Bobby. He wants to drop her off when Bailey gets a text that Hannah is going to take her home. Bailey asks her to wait at the car, and on her way to the truck, Hannah receives a news article in her phone about the raid on the software setup called The Shop and the CEO, Avett Thompson, being arrested. She once again tries texting and calling Owen, but there’s no answer.
The Note To Daughter
After seeing off her boyfriend, Bailey heads to her locker, and there, she finds a huge bag with a note pinned to it from Owen. Bailey enters the truck and shows Hannah the note that says, “You know what matters about me” and “You are my whole life,” and asks about her father. She tries calling Owen as Hannah briefs her about the situation at the shop, and Bailey shows her the bag that contains several wads of cash. Hannah has to immediately run out of the truck and throw up, before driving them home. Outside Owen’s place, Bailey reads another news article that says The Shop has committed a billion-dollar fraud and that every employee is involved in it, and when Hannah refutes that, Bailey demands to know where Owen is. The women get out of the car as Jules pulls up in the driveway, and they head to the house, but someone keeps watch on them from a car in the distance.
The Fraud At The Shop
While hiding the money under her bed, Hannah notices Owen didn’t pack his stuff, which means he didn’t plan on taking off. She joins Jules on the back deck and informs her of this latest finding while Jules says there’s news about The Shop. The newest software by the company is useless, but according to Hannah, Avett claimed the software was a huge hit because he bragged about it when he and his wife came to dinner at the Michaels’ place the previous month. Jules informs her that there were actually no sales, and whenever anyone showed interest in the demo, Avett marked that as revenue to inflate the valuation and boost the stock prices. This fraud is going to have stockholders lose a half billion dollars, and that’s why Jules called Owen because she couldn’t believe he’d be involved in something like this, which led Owen to flee, and Hannah can’t believe it either, but Jules says if he truly didn’t know anything, why didn’t he seek more information instead of choosing to run? Meanwhile, Bailey’s boyfriend Bobby is comforting her inside the house when he says that it’s highly unlikely that Hannah didn’t know anything about Owen’s involvement in this fiasco. Before leaving, Jules tells Hannah that the FBI will be freezing Owen’s assets to cut off any source of money, and Hannah doesn’t mention the big bag of cash under her bed.
The Last Thing He Said
That night, Bailey switches off the lights in her room upon noticing Hannah about to walk in, and the teenager stares at the photograph of her and her dad. The stepmother can’t sleep either, and she walks to the deck, where she remembers an early date she had with her husband when Owen came to her workplace to learn woodworking. While talking, he mentioned that his special characteristic was that he would do anything for his daughter. Her reverie is broken when she notices a man staring at her from the other side of the deck. Panicking, Hannah runs into her room and falls asleep. In the morning, Hannah and Bailey try to make sense of what Owen’s note could mean, but Bailey’s snide remarks and rude behavior irritate Hannah.
What Does The US Marshal Tell Hannah?
While preparing breakfast, Hannah remembers that she needs to take the trash out, and while outside, she’s addressed by a man who introduces himself as a US Marshal. He asks her if she can provide any information about Owen, claiming he’ll use it to protect him. The Marshal advises Hannah to get a lawyer and hands her a napkin with his contact details on it. He’s leaving when Hannah asks how he can help her husband. The Marshal informs her that Owen hasn’t used his credit cards or made any withdrawals in the last 24 hours, and he’s probably thrown away his phone. Even if he does call Hannah, he’ll use a burner phone. Finally, he adds that Owen Michaels is not the man his wife believes him to be. As the Marshal leaves, Hannah stands there, unsure about her next move and confused.