‘Tell Me a Story’ Boss Breaks Down the Season 2 Finale: Who Got a Happily Ever After?
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for the Season 2 finale of Tell Me a Story, “Ever After.”]
And they all lived happily ever after… for the most part.
Tell Me a Story Season 2 ended with its heroes in peril, but they were able to come out the other side. Maddie (Odette Annable) escaped Olivia (Danielle Campbell) and had to rely on ex-fiancé/serial killer Tucker (Paul Wesley) to survive. He was left the “Sleeping Beauty,” in a coma and trapped in a nightmare of his dead sister and victims.
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Simone (Ashley Madekwe) discovered her seemingly nice stepbrother Derek (Christopher Meyer) was the villain of the “Cinderella” story. Her stepmother Veronica (Garcelle Beauvais) was in no way as evil, as she thought, and turned her own son in. And Simone’s future with Jackson (Matt Lauria) looked as shiny as the shoe charm on her bracelet.
Finally, Ashley (Natalie Alyn Lind) learned her attacker was a half-sister she didn’t know about, and while Beau (Eka Darville) was shot in the final confrontation, he survived and “Beauty and the Beast” were finally free of the tangled mystery of the season.
“We wanted to make it all about family,” creator Kevin Williamson told TV Insider about Season 2. “If you look through everything I’ve ever done [and Julie Plec, too], there’s usually family and grief involved.” As he noted, that was true of his other series The Vampire Diaries and going back to his Scream movie franchise.
And if there’s another season of the CBS All Access series, he already has tentative plans to adapt “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” “Jack and the Beanstalk,” and “Rapunzel.”
Here, Williamson breaks down the major events of the Season 2 finale.
Can you talk about the connections between the three stories with the Pruitt family? Were there any ties you wanted to include but that didn’t make it into the season?
Kevin Williamson: We learned a lot from last year because they were all so separate. We thought we’d have our characters be more connected so they would have more of an emotional tie to one another so you would be more emotionally connected to the show, and we created the Pruitt family.
There were several storylines that we were going to pursue, but when you get in the writers room, things just change because everything’s evolving. We wanted to bring Simone into the Pruitt family more and earlier, because we felt that character stayed completely separate of the Pruitt family beyond Jackson. And also Tucker stayed completely separate of the family beyond Maddie. Because we were telling the story of the stepmother, we didn’t have time for [that with Simone].
Maddie had to trust Tucker and even saved his life. What went into that decision for her?
Maddie is the middle sister, so she’s very much the fixer and the caretaker. She’s been there for Jackson. She’s been there for Ashley. And she’s that middle child who really is logical and believes in the law and what’s right and what’s wrong. She just couldn’t let another person suffer, someone else die, even though she tells him, “when this is all over, I can’t keep this a secret.” And he comes back and says, “I don’t expect you to.” But at the end of the day, this man she loved and now she’s learned that he’s a killer, it’s very confusing. And there’s a greater killer out there trying to kill both of them and she needs to rely on him to get through it.
If Olivia hadn’t been there to threaten Maddie’s life, was there part of Tucker that would have let himself burn to death in the cabin?
Yes. He would’ve sacrificed himself for Maddie, 100 times over. He also knows it’s up. As long as he got away with it, he was okay, but once he realized the consequences of Maddie finding out, that ruined his life. He actually really loved her and in his own crazy mind was doing all of this so he could have her and have a career and have a quiet life, and when he realized that was over, he had no reason to live.
But the horror continues for both Maddie and Tucker, with Olivia alive and Tucker trapped in that nightmare. Should Maddie be worried about Olivia being out there or is she going to move on to her next victim?
Olivia’s just going to move on because she did get away with it, but if you notice, they still think she drowned in the lake and haven’t found [her body] yet.
Tucker killed two women. From the very, very beginning, the writers’ room [said], “we have to end this where he’s in a coma so he’s forever Sleeping Beauty.” So we worked towards that, and this endless nightmare became his punishment because we felt like there had to be consequences to his actions. He was living in his eternal prison.
Veronica had to make the tough decision to turn Derek over to the police. How tough was that for her?
It was very tough. She loved her children. She lived for her children. To find out one child killed another child and also the man she loved? What I loved about Veronica is the writers did a good job of making you think she could be bad. You just didn’t know who was in on it. … We liked the idea that Veronica, this evil stepmother, turned out to not be so evil at all. She was actually quite innocent [except with] the will.
Can you talk about shaping Simone and Veronica’s relationship and where you wanted to leave it?
They both got their happy ending. Simone lost her father, and Veronica lost the man she loved and ultimately her family. Veronica and Simone [are both] in need of a family. You see the hope that they’ll run the distillery together and they’ll make it work and they’ll become some sort of quasi, broken family that can heal and repair itself. Hopefully they’ll live on.
And [Simone will] marry Jackson, and he’ll stay sober. I wanted them to have a happily ever after. They had such great chemistry.
Would they have made it work without what they were put through due to her family?
I don’t think she would’ve stuck around. She was a runner. She had to find a reason to stay put. She had been in prison. She was always going from one thing to the next. That’s why she hadn’t been home since she was a child. She was always searching for something and not really knowing what she was searching for. When her mother died, it really left a hole and she never really overcame the grief. By losing her father and by meeting Jackson, it was like the perfect storm of potential healing. With his love and going through this nightmare, she’s going to come out the other side. They both deserve a happily ever after. He was broken from the father. They were both suffering from the grief of an unresolved death.
What did you want to do with Ashley’s journey and the tangled web of the identity of her attacker?
First of all, I wanted a female Beast. I had a room full of female writers mostly, and they were adamant, “we have to do a female Beast, we’ve never had one before, and we have to do a positive portrayal of a young girl, who, something happens to her and she overcomes it, and she rises up, and she stands tall at the end.” I was a little nervous about doing a female Beast, but we didn’t have to follow the rules, we could do whatever we wanted, and we wanted to do a love story, but also a layered mystery. It came right back to family.
The whole family in a weird way is grieving over the death of the father. They never really got over it. So the dead father tied all the storylines together. Even Tucker was grieving over the death of his sister. It’s all about grief and loss.
Ashley and Beau both helped the other return to what they love, her singing and his job. How much did they need to meet each other, for who they are as individuals and their relationship?
We were working from the idea that when the student’s ready, the teacher appears, so they both were able to give to each other and teach each other and enlighten each other.
We love the idea that we have this really great cop who lost his job for telling the truth and so we played him as he was just a hero from the get-go because he’s Belle and Belle is a beautiful, innocent, heroic character in Beauty and the Beast. We wanted to give him a backstory and give him some hardship but at the same time keep him heroic. By having a character be that true and honest from out of the gate, isn’t it going to be interesting when he has to do something wrong? What must it be when he has to lie or break the rules in order to save somebody he loves which he was challenged with throughout the season?
And she of course had to deal with a new identity and find the next chapter of her life and figure out who she is, who she wants to be, and how can she redefine who she is and become a better person because of it?
We just wanted to see two people come together and better each other and better themselves. We were very careful to make sure Ashley stood tall on her own and all the actions she took [were] based on her own decisions. She really took care of herself. She ended up saving the day in that finale scene. She talked the girl out of it. She tried to convince her. She put herself in danger to save her mother. Then Beau shows up with the gun and takes her out, but at the same time, he gets shot, you think he’s dead.
We wanted to play the idea this was going to be a tragic love story and somebody’s story wasn’t going to end well, but at the end of the day, we wanted them together because we love the two of them together.
There were nods to the fairy tales, like Simone’s bracelet. Were there any you wanted to include but didn’t?
In Sleeping Beauty, we had the spinning wheel as part of a storyline, but we cut it out and it just got reduced to a prop in the basement. For Cinderella, we wanted to do the carriage. In Nashville, they have those bars on bicycles and [party] carriage rides. We wanted to see them get in one of those one night. We were going to do a recurring midnight thing where something would always happen at midnight between the two of them where she had to leave for something.