What I’m Watching: Last Thing He Told Me

Trying to extract further value from TV+, and the closest thing to a crime drama is The Last Thing He Told Me. I need dark and complex to keep my brain even slightly paying attention to most things, and Apple’s not mature enough to run anything like Deadwind. I went into this pretty cold, just knew it was based on a popular novel.

Jennifer Garner looks really good. And she does fine here as a slightly confused artist wife Hannah, with new-ish husband Owen (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and very annoying teenage stepdaughter Bailey (Angourie Rice). And a relatively big cast of friends and lawyers and various FBI & Marshals.

Owen, who seems more like a lumberjack or mechanic, is supposedly CTO of a company just called “The Shop” (is Stephen King not going to sue?), apparently writing SSL code in C++:

And yet this “wasn’t operational” and they ran a scam for $1B IPO. That makes no real sense, it’s easy to extract VC money with a working shitty demo. If you’re gonna make Silicon Valley computer crimes a key plot, talk to someone in the field.

He vanishes after bad things go down at work, and then clues get pieced together to figure out who he used to be.

The daughter’s maybe the most annoying, whiny, horrible creature I’ve ever seen on screen, like Gollum with pink hair dye, probably a very realistic teenager, but still needs to be slapped at least once every 10 minutes. Jen really has to carry this show.

Nobody seems to worry about money; there’s three expensive lawyers, and a bag full of cash, and just never comes up that this would change anyone’s life. Hannah lives on a houseboat and makes crafts out of wood, which I don’t think really shows up in expensive galleries but more creepy bait, tackle, & gas stands in the middle of nowhere before a serial killer cabin in the woods, and flea markets. Even for “TV shows have aspirational wealth to drive the American consumer market”, this show is excessive.

SPOILERS

















There’s a lot of dangling plot threads, sitcom hijinks, and just bad tell-don’t-show:

  1. We never see grandpa Nicholas’ associates, or anything about them, except word of mouth.
  2. As soon as Hannah & Bailey make contact with Owen’s family, suddenly we’re pulled out of that by the Marshall’s Service and the plot is mansplained to Hannah. They could’ve done that episodes before.
  3. The Deputy Marshall pitches a very biased explanation, and we never see anything supporting that story. Nicholas seems contradictory to it.
  4. Bailey drives plot by just running off, or charging in where she shouldn’t, never explains anything, never contributes any useful information.
  5. Owen’s plan here is to just foist off his kid, the only thing he cares about, on his new wife and criminal family, hope nobody tortures them for information. This is not thought out.
  6. How is there a safe in a woodworked vase?
  7. Avett seems to know about Owen’s past, and sends a goon around. How? What does he know? This is entirely dropped with no further explanation.

As with most modern TV, it’s clearly padded to reach 7 episodes. It could’ve been 3 eps and told a much tighter story. A little work and cut down below 2 hours, and it would’ve been a good thriller.

★★★☆☆