Jennifer Garner is one of my actresses. She may not be known for starring in mysteries, but I was instantly intrigued when I heard that she was starring in a mystery miniseries for AppleTV. Plus, Apple has given us some of the finest content, especially in television. They have also done a really good job of adapting novels, so I went into this one with high expectations. The official synopsis says, “The Last Thing He Told Me follows Hannah (played by Jennifer Garner), a woman who must forge a relationship with her 16-year-old stepdaughter Bailey (played by Angourie Rice) in order to find the truth about why her husband has mysteriously disappeared.” The limited series is created and adapted by Laura Dave and Josh Singer. It is based on the acclaimed best-selling novel written by Dave herself.
The show sets itself as a mystery and given AppleTV’s track record with thrillers and mysteries in recent times, I was hoping for another captivating mystery. But the narrative seriously lacks good twists. I was underwhelmed by most of the turns that the show threw at me. It tries to be grounded and different, and that’s where it loses the viewer’s attention. Another issue with the show is the lack of good supporting characters. We don’t have many of them and whatever characters we do get, they absolutely do not get any depth or screen time for establishing themselves. They feel like they’re just along for the journey.
Jennifer Garner as Hannah is excellent as always. She is convincing in every scene that she is in. Her character has a lot of layers to her, as she lives her newly married life with Owen (played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) while struggling to build a relationship with Owen’s daughter Bailey. Angourie Rice also does really well in her role as Bailey, who loses the only family she has, which is her dad. With Mare of Easttown and now in The Last Thing He Told Me, she is proving herself to be one of the most talented young actresses in the industry. The performances of the lead women was one of the main things that kept me invested in the journey.
This kind of story isn’t necessarily new to the audience. We’ve seen it done time and time again in different styles. But right from the first episode, something feels off about it. It does get better after a few episodes, but I still felt like it isn’t quite coming together in a cohesive manner. The length of the episodes is quite short, with most of them under 40 minutes long, and they still feel slow sometimes. The storytelling gets a lot of things right as it gives us some charming characters, interesting relationship dynamics, and some really nice emotional moments. But the story itself felt a little lightweight. I was not a fan of the direction in which they took the story. They tie all the loose ends and give some decent character arcs, but it just did not satisfy me at the end.
The Last Thing He Told Me is led by strong performances by Jennifer Garner and Angourie Rice, but the story doesn’t offer enough thrills to satisfy the viewer. The tone works well and complements the suspense, but the screenplay is a mess with a narrative that fails to compel more often than not. There was a lot of potential with this setup, which feels wasted and ends up giving us a below-average product overall.
The Last Thing He Told Me will debut on AppleTV+ on April 14 with the first 2 episodes.