CBS All Access’ new series Tell Me a Story puts a contemporary twist on classic fairytales. The series premiered on October 31, 2018, introducing colorful characters whose storylines will intertwine as the first season advances.
The dramatic series’ first two episodes centered around the robbery of a jewelry store gone bad. In a tragic case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, Jordan (James Wolk) and his girlfriend, Beth (Spencer Grammer), were shopping for wedding rings when robbers entered the store. Beth was killed, launching Jordan on a mission to get justice for her murder.
The first two episodes of the season also introduced The Vampire Diaries‘ Paul Wesley as Eddie, a bartender who was one of the three men wearing pig masks that robbed the store. The police have video surveillance footage and have identified Eddie as one of the men, however he’s released from custody because he has an alibi (thanks to his girlfriend).
Another storyline follows Kayla (Danielle Campbell), a high school student who has a random hookup only to discover the following day that the man she slept with, Nick (Billy Magnussen), is her new substitute teacher. He’s freaked out, believing he’ll go to jail. However, Kayla’s not looking to get him in trouble.
The fourth pivotal storyline involves the accidental death of a stranger named Dan who it turns out was a pretty rotten dude. Gabe (Davi Santos), a dancer at the club where Kayla and Nick met, didn’t mean to kill Dan, and he and his big sister Hannah (Dania Ramirez) did their best to clean up the scene of the crime. They remain worried Gabe will be identified as the killer, even though the news reports Dan’s body was found in the river. They didn’t move it and don’t know who would have tossed it in the river.
And now on to Tell Me a Story season one episode three premiering on November 15, 2018. Spoiler Alert: Given that this is a recap, there are definitely episode spoilers ahead.
Season one episode three opens with Beth’s funeral. Scenes of their time together flash through Jordan’s head and then he hallucinates the funeral attendees all wearing pig masks.
Beth’s family and friends gather at Jordan’s place after the funeral, and Jordan tells Tim and another friend that he identified the voice of one of the pigs. Unfortunately, the guy had an alibi and the police told Jordan he was wrong. Jordan did his research and knows only 31% of the murder cases in New York are solved. His frustration and grief get the better of him and he loses his cool. He ends the gathering early, sending everyone home.
As his friends are leaving, Jordan confesses to Tim that he followed the suspect home. He knows where he works and where he lives.
Tim warns Jordan not to keep tracking Eddie. Jordan’s becoming obsessed with doing so, believing Eddie will lead him to the robber who actually pulled the trigger. Jordan asks, “What if it was Abby? What if she hadn’t died in a car accident? What if someone had shot her point blank?”
Tim truly believes Jordan should let the police handle this. Jordan’s obviously not convinced.
Later, Jordan calls Detective Garcia to check in on the status of the case. The more drunk he becomes, the more calls he makes. Garcia doesn’t return any of his messages. Jordan alternates between anger, frustration, and grief.
Meanwhile, Eddie shows up at his brother Mitch’s job site. Mitch (Michael Raymond-James) talked Eddie into being one of the three pigs and was shot while committing the robbery. His injury apparently isn’t significant enough to keep him from work. Eddie’s freaking out because of the cops and because Jordan’s following him. Mitch just thinks he’s being paranoid, but Eddie demands his share of the money. He owes his dealer $20,000.
Mitch also hasn’t been paid for the job and Sam (Dorian Missick), the 3rd pig and the guy that set up the job, isn’t returning Mitch’s calls.
Sam finally agrees to meet with Mitch and Eddie. Sam tells Eddie to calm down and assures him the cops don’t have anything on him. Eddie demands money, but Sam’s still waiting on the buyer. Eddie reminds Sam that he’s the one who killed the people during the robbery. Sam attacks both Eddie and Mitch, finally whipping out a gun and warning them they’ll get their money when he gets his. If they reach out to him again, he’ll kill them.
In the dead of night, Jordan returns to Eddie’s place. He finds the hidden key and steps inside. The place is small and Jordan begins searching everywhere for clues. Headlights from a motorcycle light up the room and he hides as Eddie returns home.
Eddie places his gun on the counter and uses the toilet. He hears a sound but blows it off.
Jordan finds the pig mask in a bag, confirming Eddie’s one of the robbers.
Eddie relaxes with a bong and loud music in the living room, as Jordan creeps around the house. He makes it to the front door when he notices the gun on the counter. Eddie’s passed out and doesn’t see Jordan approaching him with the gun extended. Jordan’s hand shakes and his face contorts as he fights with himself about pulling the trigger. He doesn’t, and leaves the gun behind but takes the pig mask.
Catching up with the Hannah/Gabe storyline, we see Hannah returning to work at the fitness center where she’s a trainer. She keeps her eye on the news and is obviously distracted.
When she gets off work, Hannah meets up with Gabe in a park. She’s worried there’s no new info on Dan’s murder investigation on the news. She’s really bugged by the fact someone moved the body. She whips out Dan’s cellphone which they took from his dead body. She turns it on, even though she had previously warned someone could trace the signal.
They scroll through the new messages and see someone’s worried Dan’s burning them on a deal. She calls the number and the man who answers (Sam) knows Dan’s dead and warns them he wants what he’s owed. He also advises them he’s not to be screwed with. They hang up without speaking.
Hannah reveals she found a card from a storage place and she wants to check it out. Gabe thinks it’s a setup, but Hannah believes they can use this as leverage. Plus, she wants to know exactly what they’re dealing with. Gabe refuses to go along with Hannah’s suggestion.
Hannah’s alone when she visits the storage unit. Inside is a large bag filled with cash.
Gabe returns to his sister’s place after moving out on his roommate, Billy. (Billy was also involved in Dan’s murder but ran from the scene.) Hannah’s got the cash from the locker on the table and it adds up to $2 million. Gabe’s sure she needs to take it back, but Hannah thinks they should just take off. They realize Dan owed it to someone, however Hannah thinks the world owes this to them. Maybe they’re meant to have it. Gabe leaves, upset with what Hannah’s got planned.
Gabe returns to his old apartment and finds it’s been ransacked. He calls out for Billy and no one responds. He discovers him dead, covered in blood in the bathtub. He runs out and phone Hannah, saying someone tortured Billy and killed him. He warns Hannah that Billy knows her address and she needs to leave.
Hannah tells Gabe to go to Queens and take the Fulton St. exit. She’ll meet him there. There’s knocking at her door as they hang up. Before she can do anything, a man has entered her apartment. He asks for the money and claims he’ll leave when he gets it. He’s armed with a hammer and, frightened, Hannah tells him it’s on the top shelf in the kitchen. When he turns, she races for the bathroom but he breaks in the door. She then admits the money is on the bed.
He checks it out and she launches an attack from behind. A vicious fight breaks out and Hannah gets the best of the stranger who is obviously unaware she’s a trainer in top physical shape. After knocking the man out, she grabs the bags and is about to leave when he comes to. He makes a lunge for her leg and she hits him in the head with the hammer.
Elsewhere, Kayla and her dad, Tim (Sam Jaeger), have moved in with Tim’s mom, Colleen (Kim Cattrall). Because they’re under her roof, Colleen feels justified in continuing to punish Kayla for sneaking out late at night by withholding her phone. Kayla protests but Colleen doesn’t give in, adding that she’s also going to make her granddaughter work at her shop after school as further punishment.
Kayla meets her two new BFFs – Laney (Paulina Singer) and Ethan (Rarmian Newton) – during lunch break at school. They think she’s been ignoring them after they almost had a threesome, but it’s just that Colleen has her phone. She reveals she has to work after school at her grandmother’s costume shop.
When school ends, Kayla catches up with Nick walking down the street. He remains worried someone will find out they hooked up, but Kayla just wants to thank him for letting her open up about the death of her mom. Nick thinks their recent talk allowed them to reset the boundaries of their student/teacher relationship. Nick really wants to secure a full-time job as a teacher, but he also confesses he needs the paycheck to fund his real dream of being a writer.
After their chat, Kayla shows up at the costume shop which she labels “way cool” and “very gypsy bohemian.” Colleen gives her a tour, explaining they do business with Broadway, films, and television. However, they make most of their money from online sales.
It’s a slow day and Kayla’s left in charge of the shop. She goes through items and briefly looks like Little Red Riding Hood while trying on a red cape. She hears a noise in the store and calls out for her grandmother. No one answers. Arming herself, she attacks a person who jumps out of a rack wearing a wolf mask. She pounds on him until Ethan removes the mask and shows his face.
Kayla’s freaked out by Ethan tracking her down at the shop. He admits he likes her, and Kayla reminds him Laney’s into him. She wants him to leave, but he keeps talking. He thinks she’s special, but Kayla just wants him gone. Ethan, proving he’s a sleazebag, reveals he knows she had sex with the teacher. Laney told him everything.
The next day Kayla grabs Laney at school and she’s pissed Laney told Ethan about Nick. Laney can’t believe it and spotting Nick opening his locker, she attacks him, ramming his head into the lockers. Kayla grabs Laney away, and the principal rushes up just as Ethan hits Laney in the face. Nick also arrives on the scene as the principal hauls Laney and Ethan into his office. Kayla confirms Nick’s worst fears.
Kayla makes it home and there’s a basket of paint brushes in her room. Colleen suggests she should paint the room however she wants. After her grandmother leaves, Nick texts asking if there’s any news. Instead of replying, Kayla starts to sneak out but changes her mind and asks for permission to leave. Because she didn’t sneak out, Colleen gives Kayla permission to leave for two hours.
Kayla shows up at Nick’s to check on him. She explains that Laney told Ethan what happened, but that Ethan got suspended and didn’t say anything. Kayla doesn’t think Nick’s in trouble and she truly believes their secret is safe. Nick’s still upset and confesses it’s not in his DNA to act like this. He just wants to teach. Kayla reveals Nick’s the only person she wants to talk to. She unzips his sweatshirt as they speak, and moves in for a kiss as he says, “This is wrong.”
Kayla admits she knows it’s wrong but doesn’t care.
- Interview with Tell Me a Story Stars Paul Wesley and James Wolk
- Tell Me a Story Season 1 Episode 4 “Rage” Recap
- Tell Me a Story Season 1 Episode 5 “Madness” Recap
- Tell Me a Story Season 1 Episode 6 “Guilt” Recap