Friday, April 14, 2023

REVIEW: 'The Last Thing He Told Me' - Owen Makes a Decision With Uncertain Repercussions for Hannah and Bailey in 'Protect Her'

AppleTV+'s The Last Thing He Told Me - Episode 1.01 "Protect Her"

Hannah's world is turned upside down when her husband goes missing, leaving her and his 16-year-old daughter behind.

"Protect Her" was written by Laura Dave & Josh Singer and directed by Olivia Newman

Something has happened to Owen Michaels. His company has been raided by federal agents and he has disappeared. Hannah and Bailey frantically call but get no response. They are left wondering if they ever truly knew the man they love. They are left to depend on each other even though they have a tense relationship. Bailey is Owen's daughter. She doesn't treat Hannah like a parent. Hannah is trying her best to win over this moody teenager. Nothing works. When their lives change, they are the only two people who understand what it feels like. They are in this situation together whether they like it or not. Moreover, Owen left cryptic notes for both of them. To Hannah, he wants to ensure she protects Bailey. To Bailey, he expresses his love despite not being able to explain what's going on. These women are left in the dark with a duffle bag full of cash. They need answers. None are forthcoming. Everything has changed. Hannah is a celebrated artist. A feature was just released on her career in a magazine. That was a major achievement Owen was proud to show off. He wanted everyone to know how talented his wife was. This is still a relatively new relationship. Owen notes how they are celebrating their 14 month anniversary. Of course, that's not actually a thing. That may indicate how Owen knew something was coming. He wanted to get away for the weekend. That suggestion was genuine. Hannah can tell when he's lying. She makes that observation. And yet, he has seemingly concealed a huge part of his life. Hannah and Bailey want to believe Owen had noble and honest intentions. They can't trust their instincts though. No clarity can be found because he is now a fugitive. They don't know what his fate has become. It's futile to continue calling hoping he will answer. It's still an action they do because it's comforting. It's part of their normal routine. That's how they communicate with one another. They never thought this situation was possible. As such, they don't know how to react. They don't know the ways in which people conceal their movements when they don't want to be found. Bailey wants to infer some deeper meaning in her letter. She believes her father offered her a clue. She just needs to realize what it means. It may have no greater depth than what's written on the page. Owen was in a hurry when he left these messages. These were all that he could offer to the people he loves the most. He made that detour to Bailey's school. He didn't make it to Hannah's studio or their boat house. He simply didn't have the time to do so. That showcases how Bailey remains his priority. Hannah understands that. She knew that from their very first date. A connection still formed. They built this life together. And now, she is tasked with carrying the mantle of protecting Bailey no matter what. That's the role she is resigned to despite the difficulties she has already had managing it.

Owen may have been the only person at his company to be warned that the raid was coming. Jules made that fateful call. Hannah and Bailey's lives may be in limbo because Jules reached out to her friend trying to understand. She saw this as out-of-character for him as well. She seeks to offer some comfort to Hannah. However, she understands that Owen knew about the illegal scheme to defraud investors for half a billion dollars. He didn't have questions about how the scheme operated and who was responsible for it. He simply wanted to know how much time he had to escape. That was the priority for him in the moment. And now, a U.S. Marshal is hunting him down. That's the fate waiting for him. Hannah isn't spared from that either. She notices people peering into her life. She doesn't invite them in. That bond only exists through trust and friendship. Danger still lurks because people infer she knew about this scheme as well. That's how Bobby comforts Bailey in the aftermath. Everyone knows Owen to be incredibly straightforward. It's impossible for him to hide anything from the people he loves. This situation suggests he is far more capable than anyone ever gave him credit for. That simply shatters the trust and love that has been built over the years. Now, Hannah and Bailey are constantly looking over their shoulders. They don't know what to believe. The marshal leads with certainty that he can help Owen in this precarious time. He also suggests Hannah truly doesn't know her husband. That infers something greater going on. But Hannah is at a loss for words. She doesn't know how to comfort Bailey during all of this. Parenthood is still new to her. She acknowledges the wisdom passed down to her from her own family. She doesn't know how to translate that to this current situation. Bailey yearns for her own freedom and independence. Owen has always kept her close. Hannah aims to maintain her routine. And yet, nothing is the same. Things can't operate as business as usual. Bailey is already being tagged in this story online. These arrests have been reported. Lives have been upturned. Bailey isn't responsible for what her father did. She receives the blame because she is present. Owen is missing. As such, no one can direct the responsibility or guilt onto him. He can't share his side of the story. People trusted and loved him. They never had to worry about him before. That's different now. Hannah sees the arrest of the CEO, Avett Thompson. She sees that immediate punishment and knows the kind of trouble Owen is probably in. At least that fate would have offered certainty. That's not the path Owen chose. Instead, it's complete unpredictability. Hannah doesn't know what to believe. That's a scary prospect especially when also trying to manage the emotions of a teenager.