‘Tell Me Lies’: Grace Van Patten on ‘Gutting’ Finale Shocker & Hopes for Season 2

Grace Van Patten in 'Tell Me Lies'
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[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for all of Tell Me Lies Season 1.]

In the final minutes of its first season, Tell Me Lies gets even messier than it was before.

Among the big finale moments: Stephen (Jackson White) was driving the night Macy (Lily McInerny) died, detailed in flashbacks. Lucy (Grace Van Patten) could only watch as Stephen left a college party with his ex, Diana (Alicia Crowder), without even a glance in her direction. She then got drunk with Bree’s (Catherine Missal) boyfriend Evan (Branden Cook) and woke up in bed with him the next morning. And at the party in 2015, Lucy and Stephen reunited… and his fiancé, her (former) best friend, Lydia (Natalee Linez), joined them.

Below, Van Patten breaks down the intense finale with us.

The end of the finale is one shock after another involving Lucy in some way. There’s Stephen and Diana getting back together, then Lucy sleeping with Evan, then we find out Stephen and Lydia are engaged at the party. Which one was most surprising to you?

Grace Van Patten: Honestly the most heartbreaking thing to me is that Lucy and Evan hooked up because to hurt Bree is the devil’s work because Bree is the most pure, most innocent, most genuine character on the show. The fact that Lucy does that to her was gutting.

On Evan’s part, too.

On Evan’s part, too. Because you see him talk about how in love with her he is and he’s so happy and he kind of had the reputation as the good boy and he was great and slowly he starts to kind of do some sneaky stuff and starts telling Lucy these things. And so we know he is capable of that, but I just can’t believe they — oh God, it’s so painful.

I’d been thinking I liked Lucy and Evan’s friendship. It seemed normal amidst all this craziness. But then there were moments where it seemed like something could happen.

I know. There was some vibe going on. But I thought, is there some small interest there or is it purely to get information out of him? And when she slept with him, was it just to have something over Stephen to hurt him?

Branden Cook in 'Tell Me Lies'

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I was wondering that: Was it Lucy just reacting to the shock of seeing Stephen and Diana together?

I know. She couldn’t speak. I think she was completely paralyzed by it, and Evan was the one to comfort her and he happened to be his best friend and I think she probably saw a way to hurt him to get him back, which is just probably all she was thinking of in the moment. She wasn’t thinking of Bree, she wasn’t thinking of any consequences except distraction and getting back at him, and oh man, that’s gonna be a mess when they find out about that.

I thought Diana was almost too nice to be caught up in what’s going on with Lucy and Stephen. Was Lucy kind of thinking the same thing, that she didn’t need to be concerned about Diana?

I feel like Lucy never felt safe. I think she always thought at any given moment he could walk away or he could go back to her or he could find another girl. I think that’s what made her go so crazy. It was constant need of validation and reassurance that he wasn’t gonna go anywhere and it made her lose her mind and become manipulative and hold his secret over his head and dangle it right in front of his face and pretty much blackmail him. I think she only did that out of insecurity that he could go. And she was right.

How does Lucy feel about Stephen after seeing him with Diana?

It’s probably very complicated. And they both walked down so stoically as if they had done nothing wrong.

Alicia Crowder and Jackson White in 'Tell Me Lies'

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Almost like the power couple.

Yeah, it was like the king and queen coming down the steps. And Lucy couldn’t believe it. I remember doing a take where I almost started to laugh out of like, is this a joke? I had a hard time deciding what was the right reaction for that because there’s so many ways it could have happened. Is it disbelief? Is it freaking out? Chasing after him saying, what the f**k are you doing? What’s happening? Wanting answers. Or is it just complete paralysis, not knowing how to act, what to say? They went with that, which I feel like would be an honest reaction, just not even knowing. Then the breakdown happens right after, the uncontrollable crying and not understanding and thinking, did I ever know this person? Who is this guy? Especially after the end of [Episode] 9, [that] panic and they say I love you. It’s like to her, they’re only getting stronger. So it was just such a shock.

Lucy thinks that she knows what happened that night with Macy. But the flashbacks reveal Stephen was driving. How might Lucy react if she learned the truth?

Oh God, I feel like she’d find some way to justify it and look past it. It seems like he can do no wrong in her eyes except walking down the stairs with Diana and not speaking to her again. But in terms of his actions, he’s getting away with a lot and I could see Lucy being blinded and seeing it as an excuse to protect him. But then again, it is so messed up. I don’t know. I wonder if she ever does find out what happened. I wonder if anyone [does].

Would she be more likely to write another letter if she found out after seeing him with Diana?

I think she’s capable of that.

That letter set off quite the chain of events.

I know. Lucy’s really causing some problems.

What do you know about the Lucy, Lydia, and Stephen dynamic beyond what we saw?

I talked about it with Meaghan [Oppenheimer], the showrunner, and we established that Lucy knew that they were dating, nothing that serious.

Jackson White and Grace Van Patten in 'Tell Me Lies'

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So the fiancée part was the shock.

That was the shock, that they were engaged. And there’s a little moment in Episode 10 where Lucy calls Lydia and Lydia’s distracted and they don’t have that same kind of banter and closeness that they had in the pilot. That’s a little bit of a hint that their friendship is sizzling out. So I can only assume that it sizzles out. I don’t know how Steven and Lydia meet, I don’t know if Lydia comes to visit or… They all live in the same town, very close to each other, so maybe they met without Lucy, but it’s crazy.

Stephen said that Lydia was hoping that Lucy would be there.

Right. I think they might have talked about it, had an awkward, uncomfortable phone call where Lydia was like, “I’m seeing him,” and Lucy’s like, “It’s fine. Yeah. I’m over it.” And so they’re OK. But the fact that they were engaged, I think, really hurt Lucy a lot.

It seems like Max is the guy that Lucy should want as much as he probably wants her to and she might want herself to.

Yeah. And I think that’s life’s phenomenon. We don’t want what we need, and I think that’s Lucy and Max. He’s the stable, sweet guy that will be nice to her and treat her well. But she’s bored by that. It’s really nice to see her in present day and she’s with him and she has a stable job, and of course Stephen just creeps in right when things are OK, at the perfect moment.

There’s that moment of, is Max coming? No. And at least part of her didn’t want him there.

Totally. I don’t know if she’ll ever be able to get [Stephen] out of her head. Whether she knows she shouldn’t be with him or not, I think she’ll always have him in the back of her mind because he was her first obsession and “love.” She thinks she was in love and I think that person sticks with you, especially if it’s that intense.

When Lucy’s mom (Jessica Capshaw) came to visit and the way that Stephen was acting toward her —

Oh God.

That was so painful. How is Lucy feeling about her relationship with her mom at the end of the college storyline in Season 1?

I think she’s starting to feel empathy. She’s been angry for so long and is so ready to be OK with her, but it’s so hard for her because of what she did, understandably. But she’s starting to understand her mom a little bit more and I think it helped having Stephen react so strongly. It made her be able to see the bigger picture a little bit and I don’t think they’re gonna be best friends, but I think they’re working towards being OK and accepting what happened and understanding each other and hopefully moving forward.

When Lucy defended her mom to Stephen, that was the closest that we’ve seen her maybe even thinking she wouldn’t be calling her CJ forever.

Absolutely. Sometimes it takes that. It’s easy to vent about best friends and family members and whatever, but the second somebody else from outside the circle says something bad, it’s like, “watch what you’re f**king saying. Don’t you dare talk about them that way.” It puts you into perspective a little bit and I think that’s what happened to her.

What would you like to see for Lucy in a second season?

I really hope she just figures it out a little bit more and does the work to realize what she needs in life and what she wants and just discover herself a little bit more. I know that takes a long time, but I hope she realizes that Stephen is not meant for her.

I’m interested in seeing what happens between Lucy and Pippa (Sonia Mena) and Lucy and Bree — Lucy and Pippa’s dynamic was chilly.

I know. And at the engagement party, there’s clearly tension. So I don’t know if more happens between them. But I would love to see Pippa and Bree and Lucy reunite in the present day and become really solid and support each other and be great girlfriends to each other because I do believe that they all love each other and they went through so much together and there’s so much potential for great solid friendships.

Lucy’s the one who pointed out Pippa to Wrigley (Spencer House)….

Yeah, Lucy’s still sneaky. She still likes causing some stuff.

Tell Me Lies, Season 1, Streaming Now, Hulu