Tell Me A Story Season 2 Episode 1 Review: A New Beginning

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The Pruitts aren't an entirely likeable bunch.

And as it turns out, the people they choose to associate with aren't exactly upstanding citizens, either. We learn at least that much during Tell Me A Story Season 2 Episode 1.

Can an entire get built around people for whom you initially care so little? It's happened before, but this group might be a challenge.

The Young Ingenue - Tell Me A Story Season 2 Episode 1

Even before the devasting attack that leaves YouTube star and talented young singer Ashley Rose Pruitt scarred both mentally and physically, there are still visible strains within the family.

It doesn't seem like a surprise that eldest daughter Maddie's boyfriend, Tucker, is a creepy stalker.

It didn't seem like an unusual experience for him to track her while she was jogging as if he was a nutter. And the way he grabbed her and threw her to the ground, while ultimately a cute moment, suggests she might crave similar thrills.

The Intelligent One - Tell Me A Story Season 2 Episode 1

And if that cute moment is the most genuinely normal thing we see of them given their relationship struggles, then the similarity of it to a crime sends up some flaming red flags.

Their fun got cut short when Jackson got introduced. Clearly, Maddie's got her hands full being a lawyer when her family needs so much of her time on the job.

Honky tonkin Jackson is the family screwup just looking for validation from his mom while doing everything he can to ensure it's the last thing he'll ever get from her.

I'm out of favors, Jackson. Next time you go honky tonkin, try Kentucky.

Maddie

And it's Ashley, the youngest, who appears to be keeping the entire family afloat thanks to her rise to stardom as talented kids to these days -- rising up through social media to a record deal.

Honky Tonkin - Tell Me A Story Season 2 Episode 1

She's accomplished a lot for someone aged 25, but she feels stifled by her mother's commanding presence. It's safe to say the entire family suffers a little bit by Rebecca's overbearing presence.

We see that Rebecca wants to hold Jackson accountable for his actions by severing his ties with Ashley's band, but it's impossible to know this early how much of his behavior is as a result of growing up under her possibly too watchful gaze.

Even so, Jackson is a little creepy in his own right. When he decides to tie one on after his run of unpleasantries, he comes on more than a little strong with Simone.

Simone rather forcefully tells Jackson to pound salt, she's out for a night alone in the company of others, but Jackson presses forth with a little too much might to just slough it off as flirtiness.

A Night Alone with Everyone  - Tell Me A Story Season 2 Episode 1

Like Maddie, though, Simone also appears to enjoy a dangerous side to her social interactions as before you know it, the two are in bed together. I don't condemn either of them for jumping into the sack. They're gorgeous people and grown adults.

What is shady, though, is Jackson's dogged persistence despite being told no. He came on strong enough that I noticed, and I'm not a MeToo era kind of gal. Despite his sexiness and rugged good looks, I would have had a much sharper reaction to his attempts to get my attention.

Sorry, Jackson, but you're the last thing in the world I need right now. Good night.

Simone

I wish we had gotten involved with these characters even a couple of days earlier than where this story picked up so that we knew any of them before their latest troubles began.

Maddie surely has been dealing with a lot when it comes to Tucker, but his inability to engage with her sexually doesn't seem like it's tied specifically to his stalking.

Stopping to Smell the Flowers - Tell Me A Story Season 2 Episode 1

They're engaged but seem like they're on vastly different wavelengths, so it's hard to care too much about their relationship disintegrating when it's impossible to imagine them in any other regard.

Maddie: You said you'd call. You need pills.
Dude: [chuckles] I have pills. They don't work. They just fuck up my head and make me buy things off of Amazon.

At first, it seemed like Tucker was embracing his crazy instincts to propel his story forward. Not the story on the show, but his novel in a writer's block leads to desperation kind of thing. But even that doesn't feel right.

Sauntering right into someone's house and petting their cat is a level far above combating a creative slog. And he's so good at it that you have to wonder if he's had practice outside taking down his girlfriend while she's on a run.

How far is he going to go? Well, they're enacting some kind of Sleeping Beauty, so it's hard to decipher. That fairytale has gotten a rather bum rap in the wake of MeToo especially, but it's still hard to guess how the beauty will sleep. 

The Unsuspecting Beauty - Tell Me A Story Season 2 Episode 1

I don't even remember who was responsible for Beauty's deep slumber. Yikes, my lack of Disney experience is showing.

Maddie's and Jackson's troubles pale in comparison to Ashley's though. Fame is a bitch, and when your entire life is on display, you never know what kind of crazy might be lurking around the corner.

The explosion was unexpected. It did cross my mind that she was going to get into an accident or something to cause her disfigurement (trailer and fairytale associations gave that away), but an attack makes more sense.

Still, because I wasn't looking for trouble when Ashley got into the car, I didn't notice if Crazy Hospital Fan aka Burn Boy was right there to set her up for the blazing assault.

The Beastly Side - Tell Me A Story Season 2 Episode 1

Even without seeing it, I assume he was the guy who both ushered her into and out of the burning car. Only a seriously unhinged fan could do that to someone he's obviously crushing on so much and follow it up with an attempt to get an autograph and that odd devotional shtick he pulled with the candelabras.

But for as awful as life got very quickly for Ashley, she also got tossed into the orbit of suspended policeman Beau who is a part of her new security team.

Of course, his courteous demeanor makes me wonder if there isn't a nefarious reason he's not currently on the police force. But surely he's the beauty in this Beauty and the Beast adaptation, right?

As I said when I reviewed what I had seen before the premiere, the direction the characters will take is up in the air. Anything can happen. I wish they were a little more likable upfront, but it still works as entertainment.

And how fun were the little casting surprises including Finding Carter's Kathryn Prescott as Ashley's assistant or friend and the guy who played Prota Zoa from Zeon: Girl of the 21st Century back in the day, Phillip Rhys?

Will you be watching the rest of the season?

What did you think of the premiere?

Which story is grabbing your attention so far?

Don't be shy. Drop me a comment!

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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 2 Episode 1 Quotes

I'm out of favors, Jackson. Next time you go honky tonkin, try Kentucky.

Maddie

Maddie: You said you'd call. You need pills.
Dude: [chuckles] I have pills. They don't work. They just fuck up my head and make me buy things off of Amazon.