Updated on 16 July: If you aren’t a fan of the football (or Love Island, we suppose), then there’s probably been very little for you to watch on TV over the past few weeks. Thankfully, though, things are slowly changing – as many people’s newfound obsession with Channel 5’s psychological thriller, Lie With Me, makes all too clear.
Comprising just four episodes, the final instalment of the series dropped last night at 9pm. And it brought us back to those scenes from the show’s premiere of police fishing a murder victim’s body from a swimming pool.
While many viewers assumed from the get-go that the body belonged to troubled Anna Fallmont (Charlie Brooks), though, they couldn’t have been more wrong.
In fact, it was Anna’s lying and manipulative husband, Jake (Brett Tucker), who had met their maker.
Police, of course, assumed that enigmatic nanny Becky (Phoebe Roberts) was to blame, due to a) her torrid affair with the deceased, and b) an incriminating piece of silver jewellery found on the corpse.
Viewers, however, knew the truth. Even if it was utterly mindboggling.
As we’ve said before, the undeniably soapy Lie With Me is essentially a made-for-summer-TV hybrid of Gone Girl and Home & Away.
Which means that, naturally, we were owed a great deal of schlocky melodrama in the wrap-up to this juicy mystery.
Previously, of course, we learned that Anna had welcomed a new nanny, Becky, into her and Jake’s marital home to care for her two young children while she resumed her career.
But, while Anna and Jake’s relationship seemed surface-level perfect, it quickly became apparent that it’s all a front. Because, while she believed her husband had moved them to Australia to make a go of their marriage, the manipulative monster actually had a very different plan in mind.
Speaking to Becky (his lover masquerading as a stranger/employee) in a flashback, he said: “I’ve got a plan; I’ll talk Anna into moving into Australia…
“We’ll give you a reason to move in while I work on getting full custody. You’ll see why we need to protect the kids from her. And we’ll grab moments when we can.”
Lie With Me’s gaslighting narrative
Essentially, the show served up a Hitchcockian tale of gaslighting and infidelity to unravel.
As Brooks explained: “Anna was definitely a strong businesswoman once upon a time, but it’s safe to say that she’s lost herself a little within her marriage. She has compromised who she is for her family and that comes with quite big consequences. She has also experienced heavy gaslighting within the marriage, but she’s a survivor.
The actor added: “I spoke to a friend of mine that emigrated to Australia about the real loneliness and isolation you can feel, even though you are surrounded by people. I also spoke to some friends that have experienced gaslighting within their relationships and made to feel like they’re going mad at some point.
“I have to say I’ve been fortunate in my own relationships and I’ve been really blessed with good people in my life, but I understand how people can get trapped in those very toxic relationships, it happens far too often. For Anna, she always feels on the backfoot and ends up questioning her ability to be a parent and her decisions, which is really dangerous territory.
“Ultimately, it’s the love for her children and the threat that they could be taken away from her that drives her to desperation.”
Essentially, Jake and Becky had been scheming to make Anna appear mentally unstable so they could get her out of the picture. They had even set up Anna’s new farcical job, working with an old friend of Jake’s to get her hired.
Unfortunately, though, the duo hadn’t banked on Anna playing them at their own game. Because, when she uncovered her husband’s affair, she decided not to confront him or Becky about it.
Instead, she took a leaf out of Gone Girl character Amy Dunne’s book, confiding in Becky about Jake’s abusive tendencies and begging the nanny for her help in escaping his clutches.
Becky soon became torn between her loyalty to Jake and her growing concern over Anna’s situation, even reaching out to gardener Liam (Alfie Gledhill) in a bid to ask his opinion about the state of the couple’s marriage.
What happened in Lie With Me episode four?
All the while, Anna continued with her plotting. She suggested that Becky and Jake spend the day together at the family beach house while she spent the day with the children.
There, though, Becky quickly realised that things were “not alright” between her and her lover; not only did he slip her a cocktail of drugs but, when she protested, he hit her in the face. Hard.
Later on, of course, Jake was found floating in the pool, with CCTV confirming to police that Becky was present at the property at the time of his death. And, when she attempted to call on Anna as an ally, she was left stunned when Jake’s widow denied that her husband had ever abused her.
Cue Becky being sentenced to five years in prison.
Later, in the visitors’ room, Becky demanded to know if Jake had ever really hurt Anna.
“Abuse comes in many different forms, whether it’s physical or psychological,” Anna replied. “We’re both free of that now.”
So, how did Jake really die?
The ending of Lie With Me, explained
Well, we know that Anna wasn’t actually spending time with her children as she had told her husband; instead, she’d asked cab driver Ray (Neil Melville) to play babysitter for her. And this gave her more than enough time to follow Jake and Becky to the beach house, drug him with the same substance he’d used on her and Becky, and tip him from his sun lounger into the pool.
Then, as one final ‘fuck you’, she dropped Becky’s bracelet in after him, framing her as the culprit. And viewers watching along at home were very into the bonkers twist.
“So pleased Anna got her own back,” wrote one. “We were worried that the hubby and nanny were going to live happily ever after! Glad they didn’t.”
“Definitely the best drama I’ve seen all year, excitement from start to finish,” added another.
Another tweet read: “Great last episode. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”
One more insisted it was the “perfect ending” to the series, too, while another branded it the “best thing I’ve seen on TV in a long time.”
So, is it worth watching the series?
As executive producer Jason Herbison says: “I want the audience to be entertained but also think about some of the issues presented. Many people can relate to being in a relationship that isn’t healthy for them and finding the way out isn’t always easy.
“Lie With Me takes the dilemma to extremes and I’d never want anyone in the audience to go that far, but there might be some lessons to be learned from it. Situations aren’t always as they seem and it’s always good to keep your eyes open in a relationship.”
Lie With Me aired on Channel 5.
If you are worried that you might be the victim of emotional abuse, it’s quite likely that you are. If these signs of an abusive relationship sound all too familiar to you, then get out of that situation as soon as possible.
Visit womensaid.org.uk or call 0808-2000 247 for more information about coercive control, domestic abuse, and the help available for those affected.
Images: Channel 5
Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.
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