‘Tell Me a Story’ Season 1 Episode 5 Recap: “Madness”

Tell Me a Story Season 1 Episode 5
Danielle Campbell, Sam Jaeger, Becki Newton, and Kim Cattrall in ‘Tell Me a Story’ (Photo Cr: Patrick Harbron © 2018 CBS Interactive)

CBS All Access and The CW’s gritty drama Tell Me a Story continues with season one episode five, “Madness.” Episode four left off with Jordan on the receiving end of a beating delivered by Eddie. Episode five picks up with Jordan (James Wolk) back at home and looking as though he’s passed through the blades of a lawn mower after his one-sided fight with Eddie. He imagines his dead girlfriend Beth is helping to soothe his injured face; he even imagines kissing her. He’s sad when he realizes it’s just an illusion.

Fully aware she’s dead, when Beth returns for a chat he acts as though she’s really there. She chides him about attempting to buy a gun online, reminding him he’s incapable of actually firing a weapon. “It’s a bad idea, Jordan. No gun,” says Beth. Jordan insists he can’t let the pigs get away with her murder.

Beth calls him gentle and kind, and she believes he’s not capable of violence. She wants him to stop seeking revenge, but he claims he doesn’t have a choice.

Kayla (Danielle Campbell) is having trouble sleeping and she’s painting to keep her mind off what happened with Ethan. Her dad, Tim (Sam Jaeger), checks in on her before school and then makes breakfast for her and his mom, Colleen (Kim Cattrall). Neither woman speaks at the breakfast table, and Tim figures out something’s going on. They won’t tell him anything and he reminds them they’re supposed to meet for dinner at the restaurant that evening. When Colleen and Kayla claim they can’t attend, Tim’s had enough. He demands to know what’s happening, and Kayla spills the beans about being out overnight and about Ethan attacking her. She brings Colleen into the tale, explaining that because Colleen had to lie to cover up the story she’s pissed.

Tim grounds Kayla indefinitely and says she has to come to dinner. They argue over why they moved to Colleen’s in the first place, with father and daughter blaming each other for the decision.

Over at this place, Nick (Billy Magnussen) is in panic mode after receiving a text from Ethan that included a photo of him kissing Kayla. Nick attempts to get Ethan to call him, but Ethan’s ghosting the substitute teacher after delivering the bombshell photo. Hours later Ethan finally texts him a very brief message: “F*ck off.”

Before class starts, Nick asks Kayla if she’s okay. He’s worried about what Ethan might do, but she claims to be fine. He admits Ethan has him worried. Their chat’s broken up by the arrival of students.

That evening Kayla and Colleen are cordial as they sit across from each other at Tim’s restaurant eating dinner. Kayla claims cooking is the only thing her dad’s good at. Colleen tries to convince Kayla her dad cares for her, admitting he learned to be an absent parent from her. Colleen confesses she was too busy with her career to take care of Tim when he was a child.

Kayla apologizes to Colleen for disappointing her. Small talk ensues, including talk of Colleen’s non-existent love life. Kayla reveals Ethan’s not the guy she was with when she spent the night out. She says that guy is really nice and she really likes him. Tim arrives with a chocolate souffle and an introduction to the hotel’s general manager who brags about how Tim turned the place around. Kayla immediately hates the woman who she assumes is dating her dad.

At home that night, Tim pleads with his daughter to have a talk. She refuses and tries to shut him out of her bedroom, but he barges through the door. He’s shocked to see she’s painted the walls with a gorgeous flowering tree. Tim becomes emotional, choking on tears as he compares Kayla’s talent to her mother’s. He admits he didn’t have any idea she was this talented. Kayla’s in no mood to talk to her dad, but she finally breaks down and reveals she knows he was cheating on her mom. Kayla confesses she heard her mom was upset the night she got into the car and died. Kayla blames her father for her mother’s death.

Tim begs to be allowed to explain but Kayla won’t let him talk. She heads downstairs and Colleen hugs her at the bottom of the stairs. Colleen didn’t realize Kayla heard her parents arguing before her mother died. Colleen tries to comfort her granddaughter and tells her she loves her. Kayla refuses to allow that because everyone who loves her ends up dead.

Picking up with the story of siblings on the run, Gabe (Davi Santos) and Hannah’s mother, Madeline (Polly Draper), serves them lunch after they unexpectedly show up at their stepfather Richard’s door. Their mom can’t believe how grown up they are, and she fumbles for what to say to them. When she leaves the room, Richard asks them to please be patient with her. He realizes they’re in trouble and just wants to help.

Caterers are setting up in the backyard when Madeline has a one-on-one with Hannah (Dania Ramirez). Madeline believes Hannah and Gabe both take after their father. It’s a compliment because she thinks Hannah’s dad was a beautiful man, but of course Hannah takes it as a slam against she and Gabe. Madeline apologizes for what she did to her and Gabe, and Hannah replies, “I’ve gone my whole life without a mother. I don’t need one now.”

Richard and Gabe arrive to lighten the tension. Richard’s set them up with his company plane and they can stay in his house in Puerto Rico. They can stay there as long as they want. Hannah, reluctantly, manages to say thank you.

While Hannah relaxes in the bathtub, she and Gabe discuss her hatred of their mother. Hannah can’t forgive their mom after she left them with their dad and went off with another man. Madeline never visited their father when he was dying of cancer. Gabe warns her all this anger is eating her alive.

Gabe and Hannah stay upstairs while downstairs a party for Richard’s work is taking place. Although she promised Gabe she’d avoid the party, Hannah makes her way through the crowd looking for a beer. She finds one and then engages a guest in a conversation. When they ask how she knows Madeline and Richard, Hannah says when she was 11 and her brother was six their mother abandoned them.

Madeline arrives to hear the story, trying to get Hannah to be quiet. Hannah continues her story, describing how their dad didn’t have any money and couldn’t afford to send them to college. He got sick and Hannah joined the army to pay for his medical bills. She then describes being blown up by an IUD and how she can still smell her skin burning. Her therapist taught her to replace that smell with a happy one, so now she thinks of her mother’s hair. “Despite her walking out on us, that is still my happiest memory of her,” says Hannah.

The guests are uncomfortable, and Hannah finishes her story by saying Madeline showed her some hospitality. When they walk away, Madeline apologizes again. She believes some day Hannah will forgive her. “I forgive you for leaving,” replies Hannah. “But I can’t forgive you for not coming back.”

Hannah rejoins Gabe upstairs and admits she crashed the party. She doesn’t want to stay at Richard’s place, but Gabe convinces her to stay with him and forget about their mother. Gabe comforts his big sister, reminding her they shared a bed as children. He promises everything will be okay.

Tell Me a Story Season 1 Episode 5
Paul Wesley and Michael Raymond-James in ‘Tell Me a Story’ season 1 episode 5 (Photo Cr: Patrick Harbron © 2018 CBS Interactive)

Things aren’t going well for brothers Eddie (Paul Wesley) and Mitch (Michael Raymond-James). Eddie and Mitch meet, and Eddie admits he roughed up Jordan to try and scare him off. He’s not sure it worked. Eddie also confesses Jordan broke in and stole his pig mask. Eddie wonders if Sam can take care of the situation, but Mitch believes if Sam’s involved he’ll kill Jordan. Eddie doesn’t want anyone else to die and is still torn up over Beth’s murder. Mitch assures his brother they’ll be fine.

Neither brother notice Jordan’s watching them from a distance. When Mitch leaves, Jordan follows him. Jordan keeps an eye on Mitch as he parks and enters a house.

Inside the house, Mitch goes over paint colors with his wife. He’s distracted when he sees Jordan standing outside in the street. He rushes outside, but Jordan’s gone. A skateboarder rides by and hits him in his right arm. He grabs it in pain, and yells after the guy.

A short distance down the street, Jordan thanks the skateboarder and pays him.

Later that night, Eddie crashes at his place with a bottle of beer. He’s just settled on the couch when Mitch pounds on his door. Mitch now agrees about Jordan and confirms he saw him outside his own house. Mitch thinks Eddie needs to pack up and leave. As they talk, they hear someone on the roof.

Eddie panics as he searches for his gun, aware that Jordan must have taken it. The brothers hear a different noise and pause for a moment to listen. A severed pig’s head comes flying through the window and hits Eddie in the chest, smearing blood across his white T-shirt.

A phone rings and it turns out it’s inside the pig’s head. Mitch answers it and Jordan says, “Once upon a time there were three little pigs: Eddie, Mitch, and the third pig. Tell me who the third pig is and this all goes away.”

Mitch refuses and realizes Jordan’s calling from nearby. Mitch runs out of the house while Jordan continues to demand to know who pulled the trigger and killed his girlfriend. Mitch warns Jordan he’s out of his league and better stop it or else he’ll wind up dead too. Jordan isn’t backing down and threatens to continue to hunt Mitch and Eddie for the remainder of their lives.

Jordan hangs up and Mitch heads back inside Eddie’s place. Eddie’s falling apart, an emotional wreck who can’t believe they killed someone.

Jordan runs to his car and dead Beth reminds him he’s not a wolf and this isn’t a fairy tale. She wants him to forgive her killer, and Jordan realizes he’s losing his mind. He says there’s only anger and rage left in his world. He can’t stop the hunt now.

And now on to the high school boy causing so much trouble for Nick and Kayla… Ethan (Rarmian Newton) is home alone when he hears a noise. A door’s open but he doesn’t seem worried as he settles in with VR goggles and porn. Only a minute goes by before he discovers there’s someone inside. It’s Nick and he leaps onto the couch, grabbing Ethan around the neck. Ethan’s face turns bright red as Nick continues to strangle him.

Ethan comes to and he’s tied to a chair. He threatens Nick, warning he’s going to ruin him. Nick blames all this on Ethan, telling him he started it. Ethan won’t give up his phone’s password but Nick’s okay with that because he can just use Ethan’s fingerprint. Nick’s worried Ethan texted that photo to his other friends, but Ethan claims he only sent it to Nick.

Next, Nick checks Ethan’s laptop, promising to untie him if he gives up his password. (It’s FINGERMYHOLE.) It appears Ethan’s telling the truth about not forwarding the photo, but Nick says he’s not sure he can trust him. Ethan begs for his life and Nick once again strangles him. However, this time Ethan’s able to headbutt him and the chair falls over, allowing Ethan to free himself while Nick wriggles around in pain. Ethan grabs a kitchen knife and takes a swipe at Nick but misses. Nick gets the better of Ethan and plunges the knife into his stomach. Blood flows from Ethan’s mouth as Nick repeatedly stabs him. Ethan falls to the floor, dead.

Nick locates cleaning supplies and begins the task of covering his tracks. He soaks up the blood and carefully scrubs every inch of the place that he touched. He’s wiping off the laptop and Ethan’s phone when Laney (Paulina Singer) buzzes from the front door. She knows the code and lets herself in.

Laney hears music but of course Ethan doesn’t answer when she calls out. Nick leaves the house via the patio door, waiting outside until Laney leaves.

Nick returns home and he still has Ethan’s phone. He uses Ethan’s detached finger to unlock the phone and return a series of texts from Laney. Pretending to be Ethan, Nick types that he just stepped out for a while. A knock on his door causes Nick to put away the phone for now. It’s Kayla, and Nick zips up his jacket in case there’s any blood on his body.

They kiss and Nick separates from her embrace, claiming he needs a shower. She notices his feet are muddy and he makes up a story about walking in the park. She’s suspicious when he keeps saying he’s dirty and needs a shower.

Nick strips and he does have blood on his clothes and body. He quickly washes off and tries to push the bloody water down the drain. Kayla invites herself into the shower and doesn’t notice the last remnants of blood disappearing down the drain.