Tell Me a Story Season 1 Episode 5 Review: Madness

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We really need to find out where they're training hotel owners and substitute teachers these days.

We've already realized that Jordan might go to surprising places after being pushed to his limit, but on Tell Me a Story Season 1 Episode 5 Nick trumped him. Something tells me he isn't your ordinary substitute teacher.

How many big, bad wolves are we going to encounter on this show, anyway?

No Rest for the Weary - Tell Me a Story Season 1 Episode 5

Let's talk about The Three Little Pigs first. 

Jordan is cracking. No, that's wrong. By the time you read this, he will have already cracked. All "ing" was done while we watched, and by the time "Madness" was over, so was his chance at recovery.

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What a shame, too. Jordan was fighting himself so hard for clarity on whether or not he should go through with is plan to turn into a violent man that he conjured Beth after his beatdown from Eddie.

And poor Eddie! Eddie is a rarity on television. We don't often get to see the side of a bad guy who truly regrets his actions. But with each dirty act Eddie makes, he loathes himself more.

Eddie: I don't want anyone else to die! No one was supposed to die! I can't take this shit anymore, Mitch.
Mitch: We're gonna be fine.

Hi From the Pig's Head - Tell Me a Story Season 1 Episode 5

That's what makes The Three Little Pigs saga my favorite of the three. If there wasn't a genuine push and pull between the antagonists, it wouldn't be nearly as intense. But knowing how deeply both Jordan and Eddie are affected by their actions against one another makes all the difference.

Mitch didn't want to believe things were as dire as they seemed until he was experiencing them himself. It took Jordan appearing at his home and an actual bloody (ringing) pig's head breaking through Eddie's window to get his attention.

Just how unreliable has Eddie been in the past that Mitch wasn't willing to give him the benefit of the doubt? 

Let's assume the jewelry heist was Eddie's first major crime. It could have driven him to paranoia. But they did kill someone, and Eddie was already taken in by the police so that paranoia was warranted either way. 

Two Little Pigs - Tall - Tell Me a Story Season 1 Episode 5

Jordan becoming some kind of Spiderman jumping onto rooves with what appeared to be an easily secured pig's head and burner phone is crazy pants, though. As far as we know, he was the sedate side of a normal couple who runs a hotel until just a few days ago. WTH is happening??

Beth appearing as the angel on his shoulder trying to persuade him to let the authorities handle things was heartbreaking. Can you imagine wanting to stifle your actions so badly that your internal struggles invented the hallucination of the person for whom you were acting just to stop you?

Related: Tell Me a Story Season 1 Episode 4 Review: Rage

It didn't make any sense, but it made all the sense in the world. The only person who could stop Jordan from ruining his life was the person for whom he was ruining his life.

But even Beth couldn't help him to Jordan to see he was falling down the same, awful rabbit hole she had allowed herself to go when she was putting him off for the last year unable to commit and believing the world was a terrible place.

Don't Fall Apart! - Tell Me a Story Season 1 Episode 5

Beth: Please be the man that I fell in love with.
Jordan: I can't. That man is gone. Now all that's left is a man with a gun.

If that man is gone now, it's unlikely he'll be able to do anything to pull himself out of his despair. He's dead set on finding Sam, who he believes pulled the trigger on Beth.

I can't even recall at this point. Was Sam the one who pulled the trigger?

I think Eddie is frightened and guilty enough about what occurred that he will turn himself in for his part in the heist to save his life. Whether Mitch follows suit will determine his fate.

That's how I believe the stories between Jordan and Hannah and Gabe will intertwine. Sam is the money man looking for Hannah and Gabe, and there isn't a way for them to come together otherwise.

Jordan is tracking Sam until the bitter end.

Tea with Mom - Tell Me a Story Season 1 Episode 5

Hopefully, Gabe stays out of the crossfire. He's grown on me, and seeing him last the series would be nice.

His love for his sister can sometimes be all-encompassing, but she's too much of a handful. Her woe-is-me stories affect Gabe as much as they do herself, but Gabe has love in his heart and can forgive while Hannah cannot.

Related: Tell Me a Story Season 1 Episode 3 Review: Greed

Hannah's belief that the world owes her a living continues to grate, and the way she handled sharing her life story with her mother was disgraceful.

There wasn't any indication that their mother wouldn't be willing to talk with them and tell them why she did what she did, but nobody asked. She seemed stunned to learn about how terrible things went after she left her kids, which told me she expected them to have a good life with their father.

Don't Run Hannah - Tell Me a Story Season 1 Episode 5

There comes a time when you have to take some of the burdens of a situation onto yourself. Maybe their mom felt it was just as difficult to start the conversation about their past as they did for reasons unknown. If things were bad between husband and wife, kids wouldn't know that.

And why would a father share that with their children? You never know what happens between parents, but as an adult, you have the opportunity to ask.

Gabe noticed something about his sister, though, that should give her something to chew on for a while.

Hannah, you're always judging mom for leaving but whenever there is a problem, your instinct is to do the same thing.


So Much Disappointment - Tell Me a Story Season 1 Episode 5

We learned a lot more about Kayla and her family, and I finally feel for the girl. The relationship between Colleen and Kayla is beautiful and gets better with each scene they share. 

Kayla's relationship with her father is the reason they moved in with Colleen, and any trouble she gets into relates directly to the belief her mother died as a result of Tim's love affair with another woman upsetting her mom so badly she left the house in a state and got into an accident.

Related: Tell Me a Story Season 1 Episode 2 Review: Loss

That was even news to Colleen, who has grown to love her granddaughter very much.

No, don't! Do not love me! You'll just end up dead because that's what happens to people who love me!


As much as Kayla loves to play grownup, she's just a little girl under that far too adult body and glance she has. That makes what's going on with her and Nick quite disturbing. 

Tim in the Dog House - Tell Me a Story Season 1 Episode 5

The more we know, the more it appears she's seeking a father figure more than love interest, but the only way she really knows how to hook a guy is with her body. After all, that's what she thinks she's seen hook her father, so she's using the same method to hook other men whose attention she wants.

At a forced dinner at the hotel, Kayla got the idea Tim was seeing the hotel manager, Kristina. That brought up a lot of angry memories for her and put her into a dark place in which she needed to find Nick to release the pent-up energy.

The irony is that for the first time, Tim seems to have picked a good one. Witnessing what she did between father and daughter encouraged Kristina to set Tim straight. She's on Kayla's side, and if Kristina and Tim had a relationship, she'd make a great mentor for Kayla. 

Sometimes the right person comes around even when the timing is bad. Tim didn't choose Kristina, but by making an assumption about them being together, Kayla may have just created a situation for herself that will turn out great in the long run. 

With Colleen's help, we know she'll live that long.

In Your Face Ethan - Tell Me a Story Season 1 Episode 5

Oh, Mr. Sullivan, you do not have the patience to be a substitute teacher!

How has the guy been making it through even one class a day, let alone a whole day of school with his piss-poor attitude? He Ethan was the "unknown sender" taunting him with the photo of him and Kayla kissing, but even after scoring all of the passwords and deleting the originals, Nick had no compassion for the little shit.

Related: Tell Me a Story Season 1 Episode 1 Review: Hope

Granted, I would have been hard-pressed to let the opportunity pass me by if I was, how did Nick put it? He was all worked up and just wanted to see it through. God forbid he let a project he started go unfinished!

Really, Nick, you couldn't let a dufus you found masturbating on the couch whose computer password was "FINGERMYHOLE" all caps, no spaces, languish in the thought he might die at any minute instead of outright killing him? For shame.

Who Is at the Door?? - Tell Me a Story Season 1 Episode 5

I also need to know what kind of magic he has up his sleeve that after the scuffle and stabbing that left the place a bloodied mess he was able to clean it up in seconds once Laney arrived at Ethan's place.

Was EVERYthing cleaned other than Nick's body when she used the passcode to enter? And yes, it was utterly ridiculous that she entered asking questions and walking carefully down the stairs as if she was in a horror movie.

Why would she think she was in a horror movie if she was used to using Ethan's code? Wouldn't she just bound down the stairs and excitedly enter the room? Yes. The answer is yes. But production had to give time to Nick to drag a body out of the room.

Related: Tell Me a Story Review: Standout Performances Strengthen New CBS All Access Drama

And I get that glass can have that effect that you cannot see what's outside when there are lights on inside the house, but when both parties are standing practically face-to-face, that effect diminishes greatly.

The Body - Tell Me a Story Season 1 Episode 5

The odds of it working as Nick and Laney were gaping at each other in the glass were pretty low. Under normal circumstances, Laney would have probably looked out the door to see if Ethan was toking outside that window if she couldn't otherwise see out of the glass, too.

So, yes, I had some issues with that scene. And we're going to have to talk about another scene, too, which has some more issues that are also as great as the former.

No, no, no, no, no.

Nick is not so smokin' hot that even a gravely disturbed Kayla wouldn't notice something was amiss.

Kayla Visits her Man - Tell Me a Story Season 1 Episode 5

Nick was COVERED in blood. Blood isn't something you miss if you, you know, have a nose!

Not to mention the maniacally sick Grinch-like smile Nick has plastered to his face when he answered the door. He was all kinds of smarmy when Kayla arrived. She should have had time to calm down after her argument with her father by the time she knocked at his door.

She's Little Red Riding Hood, dammit, not a dolt! She should have more wits about her than what were perceived in that scene. 

Nick was brash, stunted, acting terribly odd and smelled like copper pennies. That smell would have been amplified in the steamy bathroom because humidity carries scent, and the blood was still running off of him when Kayla joined him in the shower.

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I can suspend my disbelief for a lot of things, but there was too much asked of me during Nick's scenes in this installment. They allowed him to get away with murder rather than forcing him to use his noggin, and that's not appreciated.

Better is expected going forward, or I'm going to have to slay that big bad wolf sooner than was expected. How, you ask? By making fun of him continually, that's how.

What did you think of "Madness"? Which remains your favorite chapter of Tell Me a Story Season 1? I'm still with Three Little Pigs. Little Red Riding Hood is up second, and I hope Gabe and Kayla survive and carry over a story together into the second season. They might be good for each other. 

Madness Review

Editor Rating: 4.25 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (3 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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Tell Me A Story Season 1 Episode 5 Quotes

Nick: What's the password to your phone?
Ethan: Go fuck yourself.
Nick: Funny. They only let me put in numbers here.

Eddie: I don't want anyone else to die! No one was supposed to die! I can't take this shit anymore, Mitch.
Mitch: We're gonna be fine.