Friday, April 28, 2023

REVIEW: 'The Last Thing He Told Me' - Bailey Reckons With the Mysteries That Change Her Own Identity in 'Witness to Your Life'

AppleTV+'s The Last Thing He Told Me - Episode 1.04 "Witness to Your Life"

Hannah and Bailey uncover a key piece of information. Jake and Jules make another disturbing discovery.

"Witness to Your Life" was written by Harris Danow and directed by Deniz Gamze Ergüven

Hannah and Bailey look for a name. That's all they desperately need right now. Bailey feels compelled to remain in Austin. She knows the answers to her past are here. Nothing is waiting for her back in the Bay Area. Sure, she has Bobby constantly checking up on her. He's invested in how she's doing. She doesn't feel compelled to keep him updated. She doesn't lean on him for support. Instead, she's distraught over her entire life imploding. It was bad enough when it was simply her father's disappearance. But now, she realizes that her life before moving to California is a complete mystery. Her name and birthday may not even be true. She doesn't know who she is. That's relatable to a certain extent for a teenager facing the world for the first time. Hannah recognizes the uncertainty and fear. She was exactly the same when she was a teenager. Their situations are different. However, the parallels are there. Hannah felt abandoned by her mother. She was grateful for her grandfather. He stepped up to take care of her during that turbulent time. And yet, she also pushed her mother away instead of giving her the chance to know her better. Hannah couldn't look past the betrayal. Her mother didn't deserve to know her. Hannah felt her mother didn't view her as a priority worth remembering. She built a different life. One that was inspired by her grandfather. She carries his teachings forward. She seeks to comfort Bailey with those same skills. She doesn't have much clarity in this particular situation. In fact, it seems more extreme than anything they have ever faced before. These circumstances are so foreign to them. They rely on the kindness of strangers. They disrupt their lives in the sheer hope that something Owen did during his time in Austin was memorable. Hannah and Bailey refuse to admit that every story he ever shared was a lie. The details were simply too specific and consistent. They recognize the stories. They didn't personally happen to them. As such, they reach for any potential clue as to where to look next. They recall the fondness Owen showed for a professor. The location of his education was wrong. It makes the journey more convenient for Hannah and Bailey. They just have to stop by the local university. That also produces a nice Alias reunion between Jennifer Garner and Victor Garber. It's always thrilling to see them together. Garber's Professor Tobias Cookman is a stubborn and cruel teacher. However, he has compassion for the situation Hannah and Bailey are in. He too remembers his interactions with Owen. The names don't immediately come to him. He offers support. It's rather limited. He only has a piece of Owen's life story. It was influential for a moment. It's not enough to suggest something more substantial. It's enough of a direction for Hannah and Bailey to pursue though.

Elsewhere, Grady is caught for not conducting official business in his role as a marshal. When his superior looks over the case, she informs him that it is no longer their situation to protect. Grady is upset by that. It all seems informed by the choices Owen has made. However, it's a pair of characters talking around a plot point. That alienates the audience. It prevents the viewer from being an active member of the conversation. A crucial detail has been denied. Moreover, Grady isn't off the case for very long. When he learns exactly where Hannah and Bailey went, he springs into action once more. He knows the dangers they face in Austin. He's not exactly willing to explain them to anyone. He may have taken the duffle bag of cash Owen left behind for his family too. Hannah tells Jules to retrieve it. The bag is no longer under the bed. Grady is the only person previously seen in that environment. He presents as the only option for where it went. That's a plot point to keep an eye on. The conversation shifts instead to how Hannah and Jake's relationship failed in the past. He's furious that she doesn't trust him with every detail despite being her lawyer. He delayed a meeting with the FBI and that isn't mentioned at all. Instead, Hannah and Bailey continue their search for the truth elsewhere. They desperately need it. They try to make sense of the man they once knew. They hope they had an impact on his life. That may inform where Owen hid his secret safe. That's the confirmation Hannah seeks in order to be validated in this relationship. She needs that. She must remain strong for Bailey. However, she's struggling too. She is more adept at lying. She does so with ease. She faces no consequences from doing so either. Again, she's an endearing person that others simply want to help. This situation is baffling. No one offers immediate clarity. Even the show itself wants to be too vague to keep the mystery going. Hannah and Bailey stumble upon a picture that connects all the threads together potentially. They receive a name of someone in Cook's class who was also the bride at the wedding Bailey attended several years ago. The picture carries resonance for the characters. It's ultimately a cold reveal for the audience though. It's a face that could result in anything ultimately. It will further propel these two characters into danger. That's a certainty given their current location. Owen didn't protect them as well as he thought he did. He always kept his daughter close. He refused to let her out of his sight. He understood the danger. And yet, he also opened himself up to love with Hannah. Those emotions were genuine even though it causes history to repeat itself now. Hannah makes that connection with Bailey. It never dawned on her previously. The similarities apparently had to be so striking for that to occur. That's not exactly encouraging. It does produce a rather straightforward depiction of the story despite the annoying withholding of key information elsewhere that limits the potential of other characters.